The Reading List: The Middle East

Welcome to The Reading List, a new occasional series where we provide some recommended reading on a topic!


We recently hosted journalist Robert Azzi here at the library for Ask A Muslim Anything. No question was off limits – and he answered many!

Azzi provided us with his list of recommended books that “bring people into the Middle East.” This list provides a broader set of experiences and perspectives and highlights authors who were born in the region.

Linked titles are available through Portsmouth Public Library.


The Crusades Through Arab Eyes by Amin Maalouf

Culture and Imperialism by Edward Said

Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes by Mir Tamim Ansary

The Fragrance of Faith by Jamal Rahman

Islam by Huston Smith (Edition published after 9/11)
(note: we have a DVD of the PBS show with Smith on Islam)

No God but God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam by Reza Aslan

Orientalism by Edward Said

The Road to Mecca by Muhammad Asad


The Cairo Trilogy by Naguib Mahfouz

Gate of the Sun by Elias Khoury

The Journey of Ibn Fattumah by Naguib Mahfouz

Samarkand by Amin Maalouf

Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih

Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree by Tariq Ali

The Yacoubian Building by Alaa Al Aswani

LauraLaura Horwood-Benton is PPL’s Public Programming & Community Relations Librarian. She enjoys literary and speculative fiction, vegan baking, drawing and traveling.  If you have suggestions for future book reviews OR library events, email her at

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