100 books like Across the Empty Quarter

By Wilfrid Thesiger,

Here are 100 books that Across the Empty Quarter fans have personally recommended if you like Across the Empty Quarter. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The 39 Steps

Clemens P. Suter Author Of Rebound

From my list on people with guts.

Why am I passionate about this?

Clemens P. Suter is an author of adventure novels. His books deal with people that overcome impossible, life-changing situations. These are entertaining adventure books, with dystopian, post-apocalyptic, and Scifi elements.

Clemens' book list on people with guts

Clemens P. Suter Why did Clemens love this book?

Buchan’s books are full of DIY heroes, men thrown into impossible situations but who manage to survive through their wits, a healthy dose of humor - and if necessary, with their fists. The book follows the hero Hannay, as he tries to escape German spies, first through England and then the wilderness of Scotland. The odds are stacked high against Hannay, but his bravura and strong will help him solve the mystery and dissolve the spy ring. Some of the views expressed in Buchan’s books are no longer politically correct and his works should always be understood in the context of his times, yet they make for very compelling reading.

By John Buchan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The 39 Steps as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the Movie by Alfred Hitchcock, Licensed by ITV Global Entertainment Limited and an original concept by Simon Corble and Nobby Dimon Characters: 3m, 1f Comedy WINNER! 2 Tony® and Drama Desk Awards, 2008 WINNER! BEST NEW COMEDY Laurence Olivier Award, 2007 The 39 Steps, is Broadway's longest running comedy, playing its 500th performance on Broadway, May 19th, 2009! Mix a Hitchcock masterpiece with a juicy spy novel, add a dash of Monty Python and you have The 39 Steps, a fast-paced who


Book cover of Planet of Adventure: City of the Chasch, Servants of the Wankh, The Dirdir, and The Pnume

Clemens P. Suter Author Of Rebound

From my list on people with guts.

Why am I passionate about this?

Clemens P. Suter is an author of adventure novels. His books deal with people that overcome impossible, life-changing situations. These are entertaining adventure books, with dystopian, post-apocalyptic, and Scifi elements.

Clemens' book list on people with guts

Clemens P. Suter Why did Clemens love this book?

Vance is one of the best Sci-Fi authors of the twentieth century, although for a long time he wasn’t a household name in the genre. Over 70 years he has written an abundance of books, all of which focused on distant worlds and human societies that have differentiated into freedom-loving, anarchic and weird cultures. “Planet of Adventure” is a set of four books, and deals with Adam Reith, a single astronaut stranded on a planet ruled by four races of extraterrestrials. Humans are little more than slaves on this planet, and Adam needs all his wits to survive… and to find a way off the planet and back home. The book resembles a wild, expressionist painting; the extraterrestrials and their strange cultures and the humans that serve them provide the color and texture to a truly amazing adventure.

By Jack Vance,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Planet of Adventure as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Stranded on the distant planet Tschai, young Adam Reith is the sole survivor of a space mission who discovers the world is inhabited--not only by warring alien cultures, but human slaves as well, taken early in Earth's history. Reith must find a way off planet to warn the Earth of Tschai's deadly existence.

Against a backdrop of baroque cities and haunted wastelands, sumptuous palaces and riotous inns, Reith will encounter deadly wastrels and murderous aliens, dastardly villains and conniving scoundrels.

And always the random beauty in need of rescue...


Book cover of The Mysterious Island

Clemens P. Suter Author Of Rebound

From my list on people with guts.

Why am I passionate about this?

Clemens P. Suter is an author of adventure novels. His books deal with people that overcome impossible, life-changing situations. These are entertaining adventure books, with dystopian, post-apocalyptic, and Scifi elements.

Clemens' book list on people with guts

Clemens P. Suter Why did Clemens love this book?

Verne has written many books about survival, exploration, and technical innovation. In many aspects, he was far ahead of his time, a nineteen century Sci-Fi wonder boy. He was a masterful storyteller, providing an expert rhythm of action scenes followed by contemplative paragraphs. The Mysterious Island deals with a group of people that has landed in an impossible situation: they are castaways on a deserted island. In most books of this genre, the subjects will succumb or barely manage to survive, but not so for Verne’s engineer and his companions. Through the combination of scientific knowledge, the sheer power of man’s muscles, and unwavering optimism, they quickly turn nature to their benefit and remodel the island to their liking. A thrilling adventure story!

By Jules Verne,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Mysterious Island as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With an Introduction by Alex Dolby.

Translation by W.H.G. Kingston.

Jules Verne (1828-1905) is internationally famous as the author of a distinctive series of adventure stories describing new travel technologies which opened up the world and provided means to escape from it. The collective enthusiasm of generations of readers of his 'extraordinary voyages' was a key factor in the rise of modern science fiction.

In The Mysterious Island a group of men escape imprisonment during the American Civil War by stealing a balloon. Blown across the world, they are air-wrecked on a remote desert island. In a manner reminiscent of…


Book cover of Rogue Male

Helen Falconer Author Of Primrose Hill

From my list on for teenagers to pass around their friends.

Why am I passionate about this?

Well, apart from having once been a teenager myself, I’ve also raised four teenagers and I know what they like to read, and in return, they’ve all helped me write my own books. I have a pretty eclectic attitude to stories as you can probably tell from the below list. I don't expect anyone to share my opinions, but I'd never introduce a reader to anything that’s just written to make money. 

Helen's book list on for teenagers to pass around their friends

Helen Falconer Why did Helen love this book?

This was my father’s favourite book, and the teenage me agreed. It’s the greatest prolonged chase story ever written. An English tourist takes a pot shot at Hitler and is hunted all the way to the West Country in England, where he digs himself into the bank of an unused country lane, cornered like a fox. I lived in Devon at the time, and knew those huge high banks along the sides of ancient tree-covered lanes, and I and the village kids built ourselves exactly the same sort of hideaway, dug into a bank in the woods and invisible from above.

By Geoffrey Household,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Rogue Male as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE classic thriller of the 20th century - 'Simply the best escape and pursuit story yet written' [THE TIMES] - with an introduction by Robert Macfarlane

An Englishman plans to assassinate the dictator of a European country. But he is foiled at the last moment and falls into the hands of ruthless and inventive torturers. They devise for him an ingenious and diplomatic death but, for once, they bungle the job and he escapes.

But England provides no safety from his pursuers - and the Rogue Male must strip away all the trappings of status and civilization as the hunter…


Book cover of Cities of Salt

Kim Barnes Author Of In the Kingdom of Men

From my list on Arabic writers on the destruction of colonization.

Why am I passionate about this?

In the 1950s, my mother and father left the red dirt of Oklahoma for the forests of Idaho to escape their families’ poverty. Instead of sharecropping, my father became a logger, but my aunt and her husband, a drilling rig roughneck, moved to the deserts of Saudi Arabia to work for Aramco and live in the American compound of Abqaiq. I remember the gifts they brought me: camel hide purses, Aladdin slippers. The Saudis, too, were experiencing rapid modernization and expanding wealth. I became fascinated by the conflict inherent in the sudden enmeshing of cultures and meteoric shift in power and privilege.

Kim's book list on Arabic writers on the destruction of colonization

Kim Barnes Why did Kim love this book?

Translated into English by Peter Theroux, this gorgeously written and emotionally stunning novel is told from the perspective of the Bedouin inhabitants during a time when Americans were arriving by the shipload to develop the oilfields they had discovered. The story is both epic and intimate (and, at points, wittily ironic) and opened my eyes to the vast destruction not only of the land and its people but the very core of their culture. Banned in several Middle Eastern countries, including Saudi Arabia, this is the first volume of a trilogy (and I recommend them all). 

By Abdelrahman Munif,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Cities of Salt as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first English translation of a major Arab writer's novel that reveals the lifestyle and beliefs of a Bedouin tribe in the 1930s. Set in an unnamed Persian Gulf kingdom, the story tells of the cultural confrontation between American oilmen and a poor oasis community.


Book cover of The Arabian Desert in English Travel Writing Since 1950: A Barren Legacy?

Geoffrey P. Nash Author Of From Empire to Orient: Travellers to the Middle East 1830-1926

From my list on understanding Imperialism in the Middle East.

Why am I passionate about this?

I graduated from Oxford University in 1975 at a time of social and economic crisis for Great Britain. My country has since unraveled from being a world imperial power to a petty nationalist rump on the western fringes of Europe. In addition to England I’ve taught at universities in North East Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia, areas of the world where the British Empire once held sway. And I’ve also participated in conferences on various Middle Eastern topics in venues in the United States, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Morocco to name but a few. Hence my fascination with the Middle East and how the Western empires have impacted upon it.

Geoffrey's book list on understanding Imperialism in the Middle East

Geoffrey P. Nash Why did Geoffrey love this book?

A book that deconstructs shibboleths of Britons’ patrician identity and their romantic urge to escape modernity in the Arabian desert, A Barren Legacy reorders and erases the imperial world of From Empire to Orient. The author has spent decades working as a civil servant in Oman and has written several Lonely Planet Guides about Middle Eastern countries. Here, she reviews the Arabian journeys of some media-savvy contemporary British travellers and articulately delivers the genre of Arabian travel-writing into the post-modern era. 

By Jenny Walker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Arabian Desert in English Travel Writing Since 1950 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Broadly this book is about the Arabian desert as the locus of exploration by a long tradition of British travellers that includes T.E. Lawrence and Wilfred Thesiger; more specifically, it is about those who, since 1950, have followed in their literary footsteps. In analysing modern works covering a land greater than the sum of its geographical parts, the discussion identifies outmoded tropes that continue to impinge upon the perception of the Middle East today while recognising that the laboured binaries of "East and West", "desert and sown", "noble and savage" have outrun their course. Where, however, only a barren legacy…


Book cover of A Bedouin Boyhood

Kim Barnes Author Of In the Kingdom of Men

From my list on Arabic writers on the destruction of colonization.

Why am I passionate about this?

In the 1950s, my mother and father left the red dirt of Oklahoma for the forests of Idaho to escape their families’ poverty. Instead of sharecropping, my father became a logger, but my aunt and her husband, a drilling rig roughneck, moved to the deserts of Saudi Arabia to work for Aramco and live in the American compound of Abqaiq. I remember the gifts they brought me: camel hide purses, Aladdin slippers. The Saudis, too, were experiencing rapid modernization and expanding wealth. I became fascinated by the conflict inherent in the sudden enmeshing of cultures and meteoric shift in power and privilege.

Kim's book list on Arabic writers on the destruction of colonization

Kim Barnes Why did Kim love this book?

A simple yet elegantly written memoir about growing up in mid-century as a Palestinian Arab Bedouin. Diqs’ focus is not on politics but on family, tribe, and tradition as he details his boyhood and his people’s dislocation and transition from nomads tending their sheep to an agrarian, village-based culture. Diqs’ written memories provided me with a profound and intimate awareness of the details of Bedouin life before the partitioning of Palestine and the petroleum industry’s impact on the Middle East.

By Isaak Diqs,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Bedouin Boyhood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Isaak Diqs recalls his life as a member of the nomadic Arab tribe on the Negev Desert in Palestine


Book cover of Connect the Stars

Joni Sensel Author Of The Farwalker's Quest

From my list on girls on epic outdoor adventures.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up playing in the woods near my home and as an adult I enjoy backpacking, scuba diving, biking, snow-shoeing, and solo travel. When I was young, most books with exciting adventure stories in nature were about boys, but I know from experience that girls can do all the same things. And whether it’s set in a fantasy world or our own, I think adventures in nature help us learn who we are and how we connect to all that’s around us. That’s why my Farwalker trilogy features a strong, resourceful girl on a walking adventure, and it’s why I love to find and share other outdoorsy heroines with young readers. 

Joni's book list on girls on epic outdoor adventures

Joni Sensel Why did Joni love this book?

This fun book includes plenty of humor and kooky characters as well as desert disasters to be overcome. I love deserts, have traveled as far as the Namib and the Sahara to enjoy them, and included a desert in my own book, so the atmosphere of this story resonated with me. And I’ve been a camp counselor, too—though not in any camp as extreme as the one in this book! The dual narratives, one by 13-year-old Audrey and one by Aaron, coordinate well together and help the reader better feel their shared experience—as well as what they learn from each other. Readers who, like me, enjoyed Holes by Louis Sachar would probably also enjoy this one.

By Marisa De Los Santos, David Teague,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Connect the Stars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

From Saving Lucas Biggs authors Marisa de los Santos and David Teague comes a heartwarming middle grade adventure about two misfits discovering the importance of just being themselves. When thirteen-year-olds Aaron and Audrey meet at a wilderness camp in the desert, they think their quirks are enough to prevent them from ever having friends. But as they trek through the challenging and unforgiving landscape, they learn that they each have what it takes to make the other whole. Luminous and clever, Connect the Stars takes on some hefty topics of the day-bullying, understanding where you fit in, and learning to…


Book cover of Michael's Wife

Andrea Smith Author Of Murders on the Ridge: Mystery in Briar County

From my list on 'who-dun-it' fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion for true crime fiction started in 2016 with the murders of eight family members in a neighboring county in Southern Ohio. The case made international news, and five years later there are still more questions than answers. I felt the victims of this heinous crime deserved some closure which the legal system has not yet provided. So, writing a fictional version of this story was my way of providing closure - at least in my own mind.

Andrea's book list on 'who-dun-it' fiction

Andrea Smith Why did Andrea love this book?

So I read this book back in the late 1970s and when the title of a book that I read so long ago still floats through my mind, demanding a re-read, then that is a great suspense mystery read. Yes, as I re-read this recently, the book captures the 1970s prior to cell phones, internet, etc., but it still holds up with the twisty events of a woman haunted by a past she does not remember. You will have a challenge in trying to figure out exactly which character to believe! A young woman wakes up on the desert floor with nothing but the clothes on her back. No clue as to who she is, where she is, how she came to be there and how she can find any of the answers to those questions. So she does the only thing she can do: she walks. She finds a…

By Marlys Millhiser,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Michael's Wife as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this modern twist on a Gothic classic, a woman awakens in the desert with no memory of who she is or how she got there 

A screeching hawk circling ominously above rouses a woman from sleep. She finds herself immersed in total darkness, with no idea of who she is or what she’s doing here. Only two things tether her to reality: the intriguing Westerner who gives her a ride into town, and a piece of paper tucked into the waistband of her trousers, containing the handwritten words Captain Michael Devereaux, Luke A.F.B.
 
Soon she discovers that her name…


Book cover of At the Drop of a Veil

Andrea Rugh Author Of Simple Gestures: A Cultural Journey into the Middle East

From my list on Middle Eastern culture written by outsiders.

Why am I passionate about this?

My quest after culture began as a child reading National Geographic and wondering about exotic peoples. Later with a PhD in anthropology and living decades in the Middle East, I had a chance to immerse myself in the lives of people going about their normal activities. Eventually their thinking became almost as familiar as my own. The anthropologist Edward Hall says culture is elusive, “and what it hides it hides most effectively from its own practitioners.” He suggests that detached outsiders sometimes see cultures more clearly than local observers who have difficulty viewing themselves dispassionately. As outsider-writers, they validate insights much like anthropologists do, through comparisons of cultural values across time and space. 

Andrea's book list on Middle Eastern culture written by outsiders

Andrea Rugh Why did Andrea love this book?

In 1945 Alireza married a member of a prominent Saudi family and went to live with him in his extended family. She recounts her experience living mainly in the company of the women of the family. Over 12 years and the birth of four children, she grows close to her Arabian family and learns to live according to their customs. The reader becomes immersed in Saudi culture in a way not easily available to an outsider and feels the same sadness as Marianne when ultimately her husband divorces her and she has to leave the family she has grown to love. 

By Marianne Alireza,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked At the Drop of a Veil as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Autobiography: A harem is a female group composed of a married woman's mother-in-law, sisters-in-law, children, and servants. Californian Alireza arrived in Arabia in 1945 with her husband Ali. Shew grew to lover her expanded family and the harem. After 8 years, she was summarily divorced by Ali and escaped with the children to Switzerland, then home to America.


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