68 books like Gate of the Sun

By Elias Khoury, Humphrey Davies (translator),

Here are 68 books that Gate of the Sun fans have personally recommended if you like Gate of the Sun. 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 A Princess In Berlin

Geoffrey Fox Author Of Rabble! A Story of the Paris Commune

From my list on fiction on revolutionary social change.

Why am I passionate about this?

Chicago-born and now living in Spain, I was a community organizer in South America and the US before earning a PhD in sociology and becoming a college professor and author. I’ve written five nonfiction books and articles for publications including The New York Times, The Nation, Counterpunch, etc. Of my collection of short stories, Welcome to My Contri, the NY Times Book Review said that it “leaves us aware that we are in the presence of a formidable new writer.” In Rabble! I’ve called on my organizing experience as well as analysis and fiction to bring to life the actors in the first worker-run, self-governing society in the modern world.

Geoffrey's book list on fiction on revolutionary social change

Geoffrey Fox Why did Geoffrey love this book?

In Princess a reader feels the fears, panic, and illusions in post-World War I Germany that led to the rise of Hitler and World War II. A young German-speaking American, in love with the daughter of a Jewish banking family, witnesses the explosive growth of racist nationalism, blaming Jews for war loss and economic disaster, and how a youth socially related to that family is turned into a furious, murderous Nazi. We also glimpse young Bertolt Brecht, singing scathing critiques of the nationalists, and a Bohemian artist much like George Grosz, representing the left opposition. The book helped me understand how a movement for the exact opposite of the Paris Commune’s ideals of “Freedom, equality, and fraternity,” could develop among frightened and ignorant people, a warning for all of us.

By Arthur R. G. Solmssen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When American soldier Peter Ellis returns to Berlin in 1922 to study painting, he experiences all the opulent decadence of an upper-class romance and the lurid bohemian lifestyle of Berlin's art world


Book cover of Moon Brow

Geoffrey Fox Author Of Rabble! A Story of the Paris Commune

From my list on fiction on revolutionary social change.

Why am I passionate about this?

Chicago-born and now living in Spain, I was a community organizer in South America and the US before earning a PhD in sociology and becoming a college professor and author. I’ve written five nonfiction books and articles for publications including The New York Times, The Nation, Counterpunch, etc. Of my collection of short stories, Welcome to My Contri, the NY Times Book Review said that it “leaves us aware that we are in the presence of a formidable new writer.” In Rabble! I’ve called on my organizing experience as well as analysis and fiction to bring to life the actors in the first worker-run, self-governing society in the modern world.

Geoffrey's book list on fiction on revolutionary social change

Geoffrey Fox Why did Geoffrey love this book?

Moon Brow describes the social tensions between ideals of freedom, religion, and authoritarianism that provoked Iran’s 1978 revolution, but only increased under Islamic rule. Amir, a formerly rich, wild playboy, flogged by the morality police after a drunken orgy, joins the army to escape shame and find meaning for his life in the brutal and futile 10-year war against Iraq. Commanding artillery in the borderland, he encounters the mysterious, sprite-like woman he calls “Moon Brow,” who, after an Iraqi shell maims him, becomes a magical force in his PTSD hallucinations. Her true identity will come as a rebuke for his comparatively pointless existence, while his sister’s spurning of her rich, pretentious suitor will be another rebuke, of his machismo. A brilliant evocation of the illusions that sustain violence.

By Shahriar Mandanipour, Sara Khalili (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From “one of Iran's most important living fiction writers” (The Guardian) comes a fantastically imaginative story of love and war narrated by two angel scribes perched on the shoulders of a shell-shocked Iranian soldier who’s searching for the mysterious woman haunting his dreams.

Before he enlisted as a soldier in the Iran–Iraq War and disappeared, Amir Yamini was a carefree playboy whose only concerns were seducing women and riling his religious family. Five years later, his mother and sister Reyhaneh find him in a mental hospital for shell-shocked soldiers, his left arm and most of his memory lost. Amir is…


Book cover of Libra

Geoffrey Fox Author Of Rabble! A Story of the Paris Commune

From my list on fiction on revolutionary social change.

Why am I passionate about this?

Chicago-born and now living in Spain, I was a community organizer in South America and the US before earning a PhD in sociology and becoming a college professor and author. I’ve written five nonfiction books and articles for publications including The New York Times, The Nation, Counterpunch, etc. Of my collection of short stories, Welcome to My Contri, the NY Times Book Review said that it “leaves us aware that we are in the presence of a formidable new writer.” In Rabble! I’ve called on my organizing experience as well as analysis and fiction to bring to life the actors in the first worker-run, self-governing society in the modern world.

Geoffrey's book list on fiction on revolutionary social change

Geoffrey Fox Why did Geoffrey love this book?

Libra is a chillingly realistic novel that re-imagines the assassination of John F. Kennedy. What particularly delighted me was the very realistic-sounding dialogue of the very dissimilar actors in the rambling, uncoordinated but ultimately successful conspiracy, including right-wing Aryan-nation types, non-ideological drifters desperate to leave a mark on history, and (in this version) mobsters and Cuban exile terrorists who blamed Kennedy for the "loss" of Cuba. DeLillo’s renderings of Jack Ruby’s mobster lingo, the uptight tersely coded grunts of the CIA men, the incoherencies of revolutionary wannabe Lee Harvey Oswald and others, are a model of dialogue for any fiction writer.  

By Don DeLillo,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A reconstruction of the events leading up to John Kennedy's assassination. The antihero of the book is, of course, Lee Harvey Oswald, who is as hauntingly real in this novel as he was elusive to us in real life.


Book cover of The Man Who Loved Dogs

Geoffrey Fox Author Of Rabble! A Story of the Paris Commune

From my list on fiction on revolutionary social change.

Why am I passionate about this?

Chicago-born and now living in Spain, I was a community organizer in South America and the US before earning a PhD in sociology and becoming a college professor and author. I’ve written five nonfiction books and articles for publications including The New York Times, The Nation, Counterpunch, etc. Of my collection of short stories, Welcome to My Contri, the NY Times Book Review said that it “leaves us aware that we are in the presence of a formidable new writer.” In Rabble! I’ve called on my organizing experience as well as analysis and fiction to bring to life the actors in the first worker-run, self-governing society in the modern world.

Geoffrey's book list on fiction on revolutionary social change

Geoffrey Fox Why did Geoffrey love this book?

This is a vivid reimagining of the Stalinist plot to assassinate Leon Trotsky, ultimately successful in 1940, and its repercussions in the Communist world. Iván, a frustrated Cuban writer, discovers this story, suppressed in Cuba, when he meets an aged foreigner walking his Russian greyhounds. Sensing a mystery like Raymond Chandler’s The Man Who Liked Dogs, Iván teases information from the man, who turns out to be Ramón Mercader (b. Barcelona, 1913), Trotsky’s assassin.

We also follow Trotsky’s precarious exile in Turkey, Europe, and finally Mexico, his marital and other conflicts and his inability to protect his sons and ultimately himself from murder—and how Mercader, a fervent Communist idealist, is turned by his Stalinist masters into the robot-like agent programed to infiltrate Trotsky’s circle and kill him.

By Leonardo Padura, Anna Kushner (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Man Who Loved Dogs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A gripping novel about the assassination of Leon Trotsky in Mexico City in 1940

In The Man Who Loved Dogs, Leonardo Padura brings a noir sensibility to one of the most fascinating and complex political narratives of the past hundred years: the assassination of Leon Trotsky by Ramón Mercader.

The story revolves around Iván Cárdenas Maturell, who in his youth was the great hope of modern Cuban literature—until he dared to write a story that was deemed counterrevolutionary. When we meet him years later in Havana, Iván is a loser: a humbled and defeated man with a quiet, unremarkable life…


Book cover of The Palestinians: From Peasants to Revolutionaries

Anne Irfan Author Of Refuge and Resistance: Palestinians and the International Refugee System

From my list on Palestinian refugees.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian at University College London, where I examine Palestinian refugee history in both my writing and my teaching. I first visited a Palestinian refugee camp 15 years ago, and I’ve spent much of my life since then researching the subject’s history and politics. As I see it, this topic is really the key to understanding the political dynamics of Israel-Palestine today. While a huge amount has been written on Israel-Palestine, I have always found that the most striking and informative works focus on refugees’ own experiences – and that’s the common thread running through the books I’ve chosen here.

Anne's book list on Palestinian refugees

Anne Irfan Why did Anne love this book?

This is the book that made me want to learn more and more about Palestinian refugee experiences.

On first publication it was groundbreaking in various ways. Way before it was commonplace for researchers and activists, the author Rosemary Sayigh spent time living in a Palestinian refugee camp and learning directly from her interactions with people there.

She also took an unconventional approach to understanding Palestinian history; instead of engaging with formal historical narratives, she was interested in how people experienced history. To do this she focused primarily on listening to the experiences of refugee women.

As a result, her work became significant in the field of oral history as well as Palestinian studies. The Palestinians presents the refugees’ history on this basis, and is all the more memorable for it. 

By Rosemary Sayigh,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

As the Israel-Palestine conflict rages on, it is more important now than ever to understand the history of the Palestinian people. Rosemary Sayigh's The Palestinians is a classic of radical history.

Through extensive interviews with Palestinians in refugee camps, she provides a deeply-moving, grassroots story of how the Palestinians came to be who they are today. In their own voices, Palestinians tell stories of the Nabka and their flight from their homeland. Sayigh's powerful account of Palestinians' economic marginalisation the social and psychological effects of being uprooted and the political oppression which they have faced continues to resonate today.

Reissued…


Book cover of Exile's Return: The Making of a Palestinian-American

Anne Irfan Author Of Refuge and Resistance: Palestinians and the International Refugee System

From my list on Palestinian refugees.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian at University College London, where I examine Palestinian refugee history in both my writing and my teaching. I first visited a Palestinian refugee camp 15 years ago, and I’ve spent much of my life since then researching the subject’s history and politics. As I see it, this topic is really the key to understanding the political dynamics of Israel-Palestine today. While a huge amount has been written on Israel-Palestine, I have always found that the most striking and informative works focus on refugees’ own experiences – and that’s the common thread running through the books I’ve chosen here.

Anne's book list on Palestinian refugees

Anne Irfan Why did Anne love this book?

If you only ever read one Palestinian memoirist, it should be Fawaz Turki.

He published three book-length memoirs, all excellent, but this is his most comprehensive autobiography and as such the must-read of all his works. It covers his early years in Haifa, his family’s displacement to Lebanon in 1948, and his subsequent adolescence in Burj al-Barajneh refugee camp; as well as his later studies and career in the US.

Exile’s Return is organized around his first return visit to Palestine in the 1990s, where he comes face-to-face with the realities of the Israeli occupation and continuing Palestinian dispossession. There are now many brilliant memoirs and autobiographies by Palestinian refugees, but Turki remains the memoirist par excellence in this genre. 

By Fawaz Turki,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A memoir tells of a Palestinian exile's return to his family's West Bank home after forty years of Western life, his dismay at the rigid conformity of Palestinian society, and his recognition that he has become a Palestinian American


Book cover of Being Palestinian: Personal Reflections on Palestinian Identity in the Diaspora

Anne Irfan Author Of Refuge and Resistance: Palestinians and the International Refugee System

From my list on Palestinian refugees.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian at University College London, where I examine Palestinian refugee history in both my writing and my teaching. I first visited a Palestinian refugee camp 15 years ago, and I’ve spent much of my life since then researching the subject’s history and politics. As I see it, this topic is really the key to understanding the political dynamics of Israel-Palestine today. While a huge amount has been written on Israel-Palestine, I have always found that the most striking and informative works focus on refugees’ own experiences – and that’s the common thread running through the books I’ve chosen here.

Anne's book list on Palestinian refugees

Anne Irfan Why did Anne love this book?

Being Palestinian is a collection of essays by Palestinians reflecting on their identity and experiences living outside of their homeland.

I’ve chosen it here because few works are so effective in conveying both the commonalities and the diversity of the Palestinian refugee experience. The contributors range from Ivy League professors to activists campaigning for justice in the Middle East today; they include figures who grew up in refugee camps and those raised in some of the wealthiest cities in the world.

In many ways Being Palestinian is the perfect introduction to learning more about the subject, because it is accessible and highly personal without being simplistic. 

By Yasir Suleiman (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What does it means to be Palestinian in the diaspora? This collection of 100 personal reflections on being Palestinian is the first book of its kind. Reflecting on Palestinian identity as it is experienced at the individual level, issues of identity, exile, refugee status, nostalgia, belonging and alienation are at the heart of the book. The contributors speak in many voices, exploring the richness and diversity of identity construction among Palestinians in the diaspora. Included are contributions from Palestinians living in the Anglo-Saxon diaspora, mainly the UK and North America. They come from a variety of professional backgrounds: business people,…


Book cover of Refugees of the Revolution: Experiences of Palestinian Exile

Anne Irfan Author Of Refuge and Resistance: Palestinians and the International Refugee System

From my list on Palestinian refugees.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian at University College London, where I examine Palestinian refugee history in both my writing and my teaching. I first visited a Palestinian refugee camp 15 years ago, and I’ve spent much of my life since then researching the subject’s history and politics. As I see it, this topic is really the key to understanding the political dynamics of Israel-Palestine today. While a huge amount has been written on Israel-Palestine, I have always found that the most striking and informative works focus on refugees’ own experiences – and that’s the common thread running through the books I’ve chosen here.

Anne's book list on Palestinian refugees

Anne Irfan Why did Anne love this book?

Refugees of the Revolution is an ethnographic study of Shatila refugee camp, which is notorious as the site of a 1982 massacre and has become central to Palestinian nationalist narratives.

In the early 21st century, Allan spent time living in Shatila, originally wanting to research the nationalist discourse there. Instead, she came away with a much more complex study of the refugees’ complex struggles, in both the political and the quotidian sense. In taking an unconventional approach, Allan has something in common with Sayigh, even though they were writing 40 years apart.

For these reasons Refugees of the Revolution is particularly interested to read as a follow-up to Sayigh’s The Palestinians, which is my first pick above. 

By Diana Allan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Refugees of the Revolution as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Some sixty-five years after 750,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled from their homeland, the popular conception of Palestinian refugees still emphasizes their fierce commitment to exercising their "right of return." Exile has come to seem a kind of historical amber, preserving refugees in a way of life that ended abruptly with "the catastrophe" of 1948 and their camps-inhabited now for four generations-as mere zones of waiting. While reducing refugees to symbols of steadfast single-mindedness has been politically expedient to both sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict it comes at a tremendous cost for refugees themselves, overlooking their individual memories and aspirations…


Book cover of Jokes for the Gunmen

Selma Dabbagh Author Of Out Of It

From my list on being Palestinian.

Why am I passionate about this?

My father is Palestinian, my mother English. I am a typical diaspora Palestinian, having moved many times. I’m intrigued by what this highly politicized nationality–being Palestinian–does to peoples’ emotions, their desire to be accepted and thrive, their sense of community, their ability to deal with the challenges and joys of political engagement as well as the difficulties of not being political if they choose not to be. Being Palestinian is an extreme case of what humans can be forced to endure as political and social animals. Living under military occupation gives rise to huge sacrifices and pure heroism in the most quotidian way. Acts that deserve recognition.

Selma's book list on being Palestinian

Selma Dabbagh Why did Selma love this book?

Take the bleakest setting you can imagine–such as a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon –quadruple the population, encircle it, populate it with militias, then turn yourself into an absurdist or a surrealist to describe it. This seems to be the task that Maarouf has set himself with this collection of short stories, which are as funny and surprising as they are somber and sobering.

He is a poet and a comedian. The poet in him stops, dwells, absorbs, and is porous to the unfolding loss around him before the comedian kicks in with his will to survive. A quirky, uncanny collection. 

By Mazen Maarouf, Jonathan Wright (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Jokes for the Gunmen as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

LONGLISTED FOR THE INTERNATIONAL MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2019

A brilliant collection of fictions in the vein of Roald Dahl, Etgar Keret and Amy Hempel. These are stories of what the world looks like from a child's pure but sometimes vengeful or muddled perspective. These are stories of life in a war zone, life peppered by surreal mistakes, tragic accidents and painful encounters. These are stories of fantasist matadors, lost limbs and perplexed voyeurs. This is a collection about sex, death and the all-important skill of making life into a joke. These are unexpected stories by a very fresh voice. These…


Book cover of Mornings in Jenin

Helen Benedict Author Of The Good Deed

From my list on honest novels about being a refugee.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a novelist and journalist who has been writing about war and refugees for nearly two decades. In 2018, I went to the Greek island of Samos, which held one of the most inhumane refugee camps in Europe, to talk to people there about their lives and hopes. Out of this, I wrote several articles and later two books, including The Good Deed. My hope is to counteract the demonization of refugees, so rife in the world today, by bringing out all that we humans have in common, such as our need for shelter, food, family, safety, and love. 

Helen's book list on honest novels about being a refugee

Helen Benedict Why did Helen love this book?

I listened to this book because I wanted to understand more about the history and people of Palestine as the 2023-24 war between Israel and Hamas was escalating to ever more deadly heights.

Abulhawa is a renowned Palestinian author, and this book was an international bestseller back in 2010, but I knew nothing of it at the time. I found the novel, a family saga stretching several generations from 1941 to 2022, so immediate, eye-opening, and moving that it was as if I were reading about the current war in real-time.

I loved it so much that I bought the actual book to keep forever. 

By Susan Abulhawa,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mornings in Jenin as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A heart-wrenching, powerfully written novel that does for Palestine what The Kite Runner did for Afghanistan.

Mornings in Jenin is a multi-generational story about a Palestinian family. Forcibly removed from the olive-farming village of Ein Hod by the newly formed state of Israel in 1948, the Abulhejos are displaced to live in canvas tents in the Jenin refugee camp. We follow the Abulhejo family as they live through a half century of violent history. Amidst the loss and fear, hatred and pain, as their tents are replaced by more forebodingly permanent cinderblock huts, there is always the waiting, waiting to…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Palestinians, Lebanon, and Israel and Palestine?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Palestinians, Lebanon, and Israel and Palestine.

Palestinians Explore 46 books about Palestinians
Lebanon Explore 24 books about Lebanon
Israel And Palestine Explore 79 books about Israel and Palestine