10 books like The Bookseller of Kabul

By Åsne Seierstad,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Bookseller of Kabul. Shepherd is a community of 6,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Kite Runner

By Khaled Hosseini,

Book cover of The Kite Runner

I could relate to the character who witnessed something wrong and did nothing about it. Most of us encounter that kind of situation and we fail to act for a variety of reasons. Usually we find justifications for our failure to act, which are really excuses. The underlying reason for our failure is usually fear, which is hard for us to acknowledge. So we find ways of deflecting our guilt or covering it up, usually with lies that sooner or later will come back to haunt us. When we seek redemption, it’s always a challenge.

The Kite Runner

By Khaled Hosseini,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Kite Runner as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Afghanistan, 1975: Twelve-year-old Amir is desperate to win the local kite-fighting tournament and his loyal friend Hassan promises to help him. But neither of the boys can foresee what will happen to Hassan that afternoon, an event that is to shatter their lives. After the Russians invade and the family is forced to flee to America, Amir realises that one day he must return to Afghanistan under Taliban rule to find the one thing that his new world cannot grant him: redemption.

The Sewing Circles of Herat

By Christina Lamb,

Book cover of The Sewing Circles of Herat: A Personal Voyage Through Afghanistan

The three Pashtun virtues are hospitality, honor, and revenge. Pashtun hospitality epitomizes human warmth and generosity but Pashtun honor and revenge make a chilling and toxic cocktail. Christina Lamb gives a human face to the destruction wrought by the then unknown ultraconservative political and religious faction led by the one-eyed cleric, Mohammad Omar. Lamb was there before and after the tragedy. A great read. Will history repeat itself?

The Sewing Circles of Herat

By Christina Lamb,

Why should I read it?

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


Ghost Wars

By Steve Coll,

Book cover of Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001

Taking the story from the endgame of the Cold War to the dawn of the War on Terror is this extraordinary book on the rise of Islamist terrorism and the CIA’s efforts to defeat it prior to 9/11. Coll’s research, based on interviews with a vast range of senior officials, is dazzling, yet it never overwhelms a narrative that combines human interest and geopolitical sweep seamlessly. No less impressive is his accomplishment in documenting not just the U.S. and Afghan perspectives but the Saudi and Pakistani as well, all in the same painstaking detail. If this whets the appetite for more of the same, Coll’s Directorate S resumes his account of the intelligence wars in Afghanistan, providing necessary background to understanding the failure of the U.S. occupation there.

Ghost Wars

By Steve Coll,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Ghost Wars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize

The explosive, New York Times bestselling first-hand account of America's secret history in Afghanistan

Prize-winning journalist Steve Coll has spent years reporting from the Middle East, accessed previously classified government files and interviewed senior US officials and foreign spymasters. Here he gives the full inside story of the CIA's covert funding of an Islamic jihad against Soviet forces in Afghanistan, explores how this sowed the seeds of bn Laden's rise, traces how he built his global network and brings to life the dramatic battles within the US government over national security. Above all, he…


Return of a King

By William Dalrymple,

Book cover of Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan, 1839-42

Did the British learn anything from Napoleon’s fatal retreat from Moscow in 1812? Exactly three decades later the greatest debacle in British military history occurred in Afghanistan, the graveyard of conquerors. William Dalrymple serves up a satisfying slice of history, complete with spies, counter-espionage, intrigue, hubris, and folly, and provides context for the emergence of the Taliban. The wise will heed the timeless saying, “The only time Pashtuns stop fighting, is when they go to war.”

Return of a King

By William Dalrymple,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

SHORTLISTED FOR THE SAMUEL JOHNSON PRIZE 2013

'Dazzling' Sunday Times
'Magnificent' Guardian
'Sparkling' Daily Telegraph

In the spring of 1839, Britain invaded Afghanistan for the first time. Nearly 20,000 British and East India Company troops poured through the high mountain passes and re-established on the throne Shah Shuja ul-Mulk.

On the way in, the British faced little resistance. But after two years of occupation, the Afghan people rose in answer to the call for jihad and the country exploded into violent rebellion. The First Anglo-Afghan War ended in Britain's greatest military humiliation of the nineteenth century: an entire army of…

The Little Paris Bookshop

By Nina George,

Book cover of The Little Paris Bookshop

This is a novel that I read in one day, warming to the grieving protagonists who have found each other, and particularly struck by their first meal together—fish poached in cream and white wine, new potatoes roasted in garlic and rosemary, pears and cheese, and with a beautiful French wine to accompany it. In my mind romance can’t exist without meals prepared from scratch and wine to go with it. The other secret ingredient in the novel is books, and the combination of food and wine, a romance, and a love of books gives this book a permanent place in my library. In fact, I am rereading it.

The Little Paris Bookshop

By Nina George,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Little Paris Bookshop as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The international bestseller, translated from the German by Simon Pare.

On a beautifully restored barge on the Seine, Jean Perdu runs a bookshop; or rather a 'literary apothecary', for this bookseller possesses a rare gift for sensing which books will soothe the troubled souls of his customers.

The only person he is unable to cure, it seems, is himself. He has nursed a broken heart ever since the night, twenty-one years ago, when the love of his life fled Paris, leaving behind a handwritten letter that he has never dared read. His memories and his love have been gathering dust…


Diary Of A Bookseller

By Sean Bythell,

Book cover of Diary Of A Bookseller

This non-fiction book is uplifting, funny, and heartbreaking in equal measure as Shaun Bythell shares his diary of owning Scotland’s biggest second-hand book store. We get to meet the eccentric readers who frequent his bookshop and learn first-hand about the struggles of owning a small business, and the importance of books and the community.

Diary Of A Bookseller

By Sean Bythell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Love, Nina meets Black Books: a wry and hilarious account of life in Scotland's biggest second-hand bookshop and the band of eccentrics and book-obsessives who work there

'The Diary Of A Bookseller is warm (unlike Bythell's freezing-cold shop) and funny, and deserves to become one of those bestsellers that irritate him so much.' (Mail on Sunday)

'Utterly compelling and Bythell has a Bennett-like eye for the amusing eccentricities of ordinary people ... I urge you to buy this book and please, even at the risk of being insulted or moaned at, buy it from a real live bookseller.' (Charlotte Heathcote…

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

By Robin Sloan,

Book cover of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

This book has everything – a charming bookshop with an even more charming and mysterious owner. A secret society. An every-person type who gets drawn into a strange and dangerous world of bookish legacy. The book is twisty and cryptic while also being absolutely accessible and fascinating, and I want to now read everything Robin Sloan has ever written.  

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

By Robin Sloan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


The Last Bookshop in London

By Madeline Martin,

Book cover of The Last Bookshop in London: A Novel of World War II

Martin and I shared the same agent for many years, which is how I came across this novel. It’s set in London and has the most divine main character whom I immediately fell in love with. I find that most readers don’t want too much heavy historical information when they read for pleasure, and Martin has just the right balance of history with her fiction. Also, who wouldn’t love reading about a bookstore that is desperately trying to survive the war!

The Last Bookshop in London

By Madeline Martin,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Last Bookshop in London as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


The Bookseller of Florence

By Ross King,

Book cover of The Bookseller of Florence: The Story of the Manuscripts That Illuminated the Renaissance

After you read about the chase of lost ancient manuscripts, you’ll want to know the story of this Florentine man of humble origins but great intellect who played a crucial role in disseminating these newly discovered texts in Europe and beyond. Along the way you’ll learn how books were made before the invention of the printing press, including a myriad of fascinating details about the production of parchment and paper, the manufacturing of inks and bindings, the creation of figures and illuminations, and the use of movable types.

You’ll step into the life of a famous Florentine bookshop, where humanists, political figures, and church people gathered and where, above all, magnificent books were made for royals and popes, books that were works of art in their own rights.

The Bookseller of Florence

By Ross King,

Why should I read it?

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


84, Charing Cross Road

By Helene Hanff,

Book cover of 84, Charing Cross Road

A memoir in letters about a solitary writer in mid-century New York corresponding with the proprietor and staff of a used book shop in London, from whom she orders inexpensive but attractive copies of mostly classics over a period of decades. Even more, it’s a memoir of relationships that develop as a consequence (all through letters; the principals never meet in person). There are so many reasons I love it. For one thing, Helene Hanff collects, rather than accrues. She’s not in it for the First Editions (which doesn’t mean she can’t appreciate decent paper or proper weight or used book smell); she’s in love with the words, and the way they seem to make her feel more like a fellow human being than her interactions with actual people do. There is the natural infusion, over a period of years, of not just incidental details of lives being lived but…

84, Charing Cross Road

By Helene Hanff,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 84, Charing Cross Road as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Those who have read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a novel comprised of only letters between the characters, will see how much that best-seller owes 84, Charing Cross Road." -- Medium.com

A heartwarming love story about people who love books for readers who love books

This funny, poignant, classic love story unfolds through a series of letters between Helene Hanff, a freelance writer living in New York City, and a used-book dealer in London at 84, Charing Cross Road. Through the years, though never meeting and separated both geographically and culturally, they share a charming, sentimental friendship…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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