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Understanding the Middle East Book Club
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Understanding the Middle East Book Club

The Understanding the Middle East book club has the purpose of exploring the rich culture of the Middle East through literature (poetry, fiction, memoirs). They do include readings of nonfiction as they try to gain an understanding of history and current events. Although they read writers from the west, the goal is to discover the many talented authors from Middle Eastern countries who may not be well known in the U.S.

A Horse Walks Into a Bar

By: David Grossman
Narrated by: Joe Barrett
Length: 5 hours 49 minutes

In a little dive in a small Israeli city, Dov Greenstein, a comedian a bit past his prime, is doing a night of standup. In the audience is a district court justice, Avishai Lazar, whom Dov knew as a boy, along with a few others who remember Dov as the awkward, scrawny kid who walked on his hands to confound the neighborhood bullies. Gradually,... Read more

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Iran, Turkey, and America's Future

By: Stephen Kinzer
Narrated by: Alan Sklar
Length: 9 hours 7 minutes

What can the United States do to help realize its dream of a peaceful, democratic Middle East? Stephen Kinzer offers a surprising answer in this paradigm-shifting book. Two countries in the region, he argues, are America's logical partners in the twenty-first century: Turkey and Iran.

Besides proposing this new "power triangle," Kinzer... Read more

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My Pen Is the Wing of a Bird

New Fiction by Afghan Women

By: 18 Afghan Women
Narrated by: Sitara Attaie
Length: 6 hours

“The 23 very short stories in this collection were composed as part of the Write Afghanistan project for Untold, a writing program for women in areas where there has been upheaval. The stories highlight the way oppression and war inflict lasting scars on families, especially women and children. They also illustrate the way these women exhibit... Read more

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More Than I Love My Life

A novel

By: David Grossman
Narrated by: Gilli Messer
Length: 10 hours 47 minutes

INTERNATIONAL BOOKER PRIZE NOMINEE • A remarkable novel of suffering, love, and healing—the story of three generations of women on an unlikely journey to a Croatian island and a secret that needs to be told—from the internationally best-selling author of To the End of the Land
 
“A magnificent book ... The way Grossman writes... Read more

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The Rise and Fall of Osama bin Laden

Bestselling Historical Nonfiction

By: Peter L. Bergen
Narrated by: James Langton
Length: 10 hours 2 minutes

The world’s leading expert on Osama bin Laden delivers for the first time the “riveting” (The New York Times) definitive biography of a man who set the course of American foreign policy for the 21st century and whose ideological heirs we continue to battle today.

In The Rise and Fall of Osama bin Laden, Peter Bergan provides the first... Read more

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Midnight in Cairo

The Divas of Egypt's Roaring 20s

By: Raphael Cormack
Narrated by: Christine Rendel
Length: 14 hours 18 minutes

A vibrant portrait of the talented and entrepreneurial women who defined an era in Cairo.

One of the world's most multicultural cities, twentieth-century Cairo was a magnet for the ambitious and talented. During the 1920s and '30s, a vibrant music, theater, film, and cabaret scene flourished, defining what it meant to be a "modern" Egyptian.... Read more

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The Daughters of Kobani

A Story of Rebellion, Courage, and Justice

By: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
Narrated by: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
Length: 6 hours 49 minutes

The extraordinary story of the women who took on the Islamic State and won

"The Daughters of Kobani is an unforgettable and nearly mythic tale of women's power and courage. The young women profiled in this book fought a fearsome war against brutal men in impossible circumstances--and proved in the process what girls and women can accomplish when...
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Revolution for Dummies

By: Bassem Youssef
Narrated by: Bassem Youssef
Length: 7 hours 12 minutes

""The Jon Stewart of the Arabic World""—the creator of The Program, the most popular television show in Egypt’s history—chronicles his transformation from heart surgeon to political satirist, and offers crucial insight into the Arab Spring, the Egyptian Revolution, and the turmoil roiling the modern Middle East.Bassem Youssef’s incendiary... Read more

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Blood and Oil

Mohammed bin Salman's Ruthless Quest for Global Power

By: Bradley Hope & Justin Scheck
Narrated by: Peter Ganim
Length: 12 hours 37 minutes

From award-winning Wall Street Journal reporters comes a revelatory look at the inner workings of the world's most powerful royal family, and how the struggle for succession produced Saudi Arabia's charismatic but ruthless Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, aka MBS.​ 35-year-old Mohammed bin Salman's sudden rise stunned the world. Political and... Read more

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Against the Loveless World

A Novel

By: Susan Abulhawa
Narrated by: Susan Abulhawa
Length: 13 hours 9 minutes

2020 Palestine Book Awards Winner
2021 Aspen Words Literary Prize Finalist

“Susan Abulhawa possesses the heart of a warrior; she looks into the darkest crevices of lives, conflicts, horrendous injustices, and dares to shine light that can illuminate hidden worlds for us.” —Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize–winning author

In this... Read more

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The Road from Raqqa

A Story of Brotherhood, Borders, and Belonging

By: Jordan Ritter Conn
Narrated by: Graham Halstead
Length: 9 hours 26 minutes

Crossing years and continents, the harrowing story of the road to reunion for two Syrian brothers who—despite a homeland at war and an ocean between them—hold fast to the bonds of family.

Runner-Up for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize • Riveting . . . a resplendent love letter to an obliterated city.”—The New York Times

The Road from Raqqa had me... Read more

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The Map of Salt and Stars

By: Zeyn Joukhadar
Narrated by: Lara Sawalha
Length: 12 hours 17 minutes

“The two intertwining stories--one an ancient folk tale, one a story set in modern day Syria, and both featuring a young girl not yet come of age as the protagonist and hero of her own adventure--is brilliantly performed by Lara Sawalha. I was captivated from the first but both the rich stories and the gorgeous telling of them. Read more

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Black Wave

Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory in the Middle East

By: Kim Ghattas
Narrated by: Kim Ghattas & Nan McNamara
Length: 16 hours 32 minutes

Kim Ghattas delivers a gripping account of the largely unexplored story of the rivalry between between Saudi Arabia and Iran, born from the sparks of the 1979 Iranian revolution and fueled by American policy.

With vivid story-telling, extensive historical research and on-the-ground reporting, Ghattas dispels accepted truths about a region she... Read more

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If the Oceans Were Ink

An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran

By: Carla Power
Narrated by: Kate Reading
Length: 12 hours 35 minutes

Hailed by the Washington Post as “mandatory reading,” and praised by Fareed Zakaria as “intelligent, compassionate, and revealing,” this powerful journey will help bridge one of the greatest divides shaping our world today.If the Oceans Were Ink is Carla Power’s eye-opening story of how she and her longtime friend Sheikh Mohammad Akram Nadwi... Read more

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Dinner at the Center of the Earth

A novel

By: Nathan Englander
Narrated by: Mark Bramhall
Length: 7 hours

The best work yet from the Pulitzer finalist and best-selling author of For the Relief of Unbearable Urges--a political thriller that unfolds in the highly charged territory of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and pivots on the complex relationship between a secret prisoner and his guard.

A prisoner in a secret cell. The guard who has watched... Read more

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Midnight at the Pera Palace

The Birth of Modern Istanbul

By: Charles King
Narrated by: Grover Gardner
Length: 12 hours 12 minutes

At midnight, December 31, 1925, citizens of the newly proclaimed Turkish Republic celebrated the New Year. For the first time ever, they had agreed to use a nationally unified calendar and clock.Yet in Istanbul—an ancient crossroads and Turkey's largest city—people were looking toward an uncertain future. Never purely Turkish, Istanbul was home... Read more

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Our Women on the Ground

Essays by Arab Women Reporting from the Arab World

By: Zahra Hankir
Narrated by: Soneela Nankani
Length: 10 hours 51 minutes

Nineteen Arab women journalists speak out about what it’s like to report on their changing homelands in this first-of-its-kind essay collection, with a foreword by CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour

“A stirring, provocative and well-made new anthology . . . that rewrites the hoary rules of the foreign correspondent...
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The Parisian

By: Isabella Hammad
Narrated by: Fiona Button
Length: 20 hours 17 minutes

The Parisian, a captivating novel of cultural assimilation, deprivation, and sacrifice in times of war, is quite simply a beautifully vivid, immersive love story. While these attributes alone would make The Parisian a compelling read, it is Hammad’s writing that marks this work as one of the greatest novels I’ve read in recent years. The... Read more

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Enemies and Neighbors

Arabs and Jews in Palestine and Israel, 1917-2017

By: Ian Black
Narrated by: Michael Page
Length: 20 hours 3 minutes

In Enemies and Neighbors, Ian Black, who has spent over three decades covering events in the Middle East and is currently a fellow at the London School of Economics, offers a major new history of the Arab-Zionist conflict from 1917 to today.

Laying the historical groundwork in the final decades of the Ottoman Era, when the first Zionist... Read more

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The Siege of Mecca

The Forgotten Uprising in Islam's Holiest Shrine and the Birth of Al Qaeda

By: Yaroslav Trofimov
Narrated by: Todd McLaren
Length: 8 hours 11 minutes

On November 20, 1979, worldwide attention was focused on Tehran, where the Iranian hostage crisis was entering its third week. The same morning—the first of a new Muslim century—hundreds of gunmen stunned the world by seizing Islam's holiest shrine, the Grand Mosque in Mecca. Armed with rifles that they had smuggled inside coffins, these men... Read more

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