100 books like The Caliph's House

By Tahir Shah,

Here are 100 books that The Caliph's House fans have personally recommended if you like The Caliph's House. 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 Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly

Kayla Anderson Author Of Moon Northern California Road Trip: Drives along the Coast, Redwoods, and Mountains with the Best Stops along the Way

From my list on embarking on epic adventures from your armchair.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born and raised in Northern California, right on the banks of the Sacramento River. While I didn’t realize it growing up, it was an epicenter for outdoor adventures. Along with skiing, snowboarding, hiking, wakeboarding, and camping, I always read a lot. My dad was worried that I would have no sense of direction because I was always in the back of our van or RV reading a book. That led to writing…and I had my first article published in a wakeboarding magazine when I was 15 years old. Traveling always took a backburner to reading, but now it’s front and center of my writing. 

Kayla's book list on embarking on epic adventures from your armchair

Kayla Anderson Why did Kayla love this book?

Anyone who has ever worked in the food or hospitality industry—as a cook, a waitress, a hostess, a barista, or otherwisecan identify with this book.

The restaurant business is a different beast, and Anthony Bourdain took a huge risk in writing this and burning bridges with his bosses and coworkers. But in doing so, he unlocked the universal hidden language that food and hospitality workers share.

As a former hostess/waitress myself who spent most of her college years with a part-time job at IHOP and the Golden Waffle, I could relate to a lot of what Bourdain experienced working in NYC, especially with minority groups and how they were treated during that time. He was a huge inspiration to a lot of people, including me. 

By Anthony Bourdain,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Kitchen Confidential as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE CLASSIC BESTSELLER: 'The greatest book about food ever written' 'A compelling book with its intriguing mix of clever writing and kitchen patois ... more horrifically gripping than a Stephen King novel' Sunday Times 'Extraordinary ... written with a clarity and a clear-eyed wit to put the professional food-writing fraternity to shame' Observer _____________________________ After twenty-five years of 'sex, drugs, bad behaviour and haute cuisine', chef and novelist Anthony Bourdain decided to tell all - and he meant all. From his first oyster in the Gironde to his lowly position as a dishwasher in a honky-tonk fish restaurant in Provincetown;…


Book cover of Me Talk Pretty One Day

Abraham Chang Author Of 888 Love and the Divine Burden of Numbers

From my list on incorporating pop culture in unexpected ways.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a publishing professional for over 20 years, I’ve worked in a variety of jobs and positions with some of the biggest pop culture creators and brands. Just before the pandemic, I finally took time to invest in myself as a writer and set out to combine my lifelong passions for film, TV, music, video games, and books–with my skills as an award-winning poet–to write my debut novel, from my “certain point of view” as a first-generation Asian American. The books on my list here are from some of the authors that I admire–who are also “one of us”: the bookworms, the pop culture geeks, the hopeless romantics. 

Abraham's book list on incorporating pop culture in unexpected ways

Abraham Chang Why did Abraham love this book?

No one else can make me laugh through all the cringe-y, absurd, awkward pain like David Sedaris. His pop culture touch points are a bit more esoteric than (and a generation or two above) mine–but his Billie Holiday impression is impressive and absolutely pristine. Unexpected and revelatory, his essays and memoirs brought me to tears of laughter but also of compassion and empathy.

I started with this book and quickly devoured more. By the time I was a full-fledged David Sedaris reader, I was already a huge fan of Amy Sedaris–his equally talented sister–a skilled actress and comedian. Amy, matching the same level of genius as her brother, has been a mainstay of TV and film. She also appears in her brother’s writing, and the duo often collaborate creatively–notably in the respective audiobooks. I love the Sedaris family (including all the other, less Hollywood types) and always enjoy reading about…

By David Sedaris,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Me Talk Pretty One Day as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A new collection from David Sedaris is cause for jubilation. His recent move to Paris has inspired hilarious pieces, including Me Talk Pretty One Day, about his attempts to learn French. His family is another inspiration. You Cant Kill the Rooster is a portrait of his brother who talks incessant hip-hop slang to his bewildered father. And no one hones a finer fury in response to such modern annoyances as restaurant meals presented in ludicrous towers and cashiers with 6-inch fingernails. Compared by The New Yorker to Twain and Hawthorne, Sedaris has become one of our best-loved authors. Sedaris is…


Book cover of Merde in Europe

Nolan Yuma Author Of Living with the In-Laws

From my list on nonfiction for travelers to make you laugh and cry.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born in Santiago, Chile, took my first steps in Antwerp, Belgium, and grew up in British Columbia, Canada. In other words, I was a third culture child with an identity crisis that carried on into my twenties. These books have helped me turn my past mistakes into a craft others can enjoy. Like many of the authors on my list, I’ve said yes to just about anything and lived with people from every walk of life. I’m an expert in making mistakes, but I have done one thing well, and that’s learning from people who think differently than I do. 

Nolan's book list on nonfiction for travelers to make you laugh and cry

Nolan Yuma Why did Nolan love this book?

Okay, fine, this book isn’t actually nonfiction, but it’s so accurate and believable that it may as well be. You might not question Clarke’s life choices, but you’ll question Paul West, the protagonist. Have you ever wanted to know what it’s like to be a bureaucrat? Neither have I. But that didn’t stop me from reading this book. As someone who has had to deal with funcionarios  (Spanish government employees), bureaucrats aren’t high on my list as people I’d invite to a dinner party, but this book gave me a chance to learn about their lives at a safe distance. I learned something new and laughed out loud on almost every page.

By Stephen Clarke,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE POST-BREXIT EDITION - brand new chapters with extra EU chaos for Englishman Paul West.

An Englishman, Paul West, goes to Brussels to work for a French MEP. There he gets an insider's view of what really goes on in the massive madhouse that is the EU Parliament. With the referendum on the horizon, things are even more hysterical than usual.

When the Brexit result comes in, Paul has to make a decision. If he wants to work in Europe, should he apply for a French passport?

But can an Englishman really become French?
Can he sing the bloodthirsty 'Marseillaise'?…


Book cover of Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses

Nolan Yuma Author Of Living with the In-Laws

From my list on nonfiction for travelers to make you laugh and cry.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born in Santiago, Chile, took my first steps in Antwerp, Belgium, and grew up in British Columbia, Canada. In other words, I was a third culture child with an identity crisis that carried on into my twenties. These books have helped me turn my past mistakes into a craft others can enjoy. Like many of the authors on my list, I’ve said yes to just about anything and lived with people from every walk of life. I’m an expert in making mistakes, but I have done one thing well, and that’s learning from people who think differently than I do. 

Nolan's book list on nonfiction for travelers to make you laugh and cry

Nolan Yuma Why did Nolan love this book?

No puedo escribir una lista de libros para viajeros solo en inglés. Margaret Sayers Peden es una traductora maravillosa, pero los libros de Allende siempre son mejores en español, en particular un libro sobre comida y sexo. El “sabor” de inglés no es lo mismo que el “sabor” de español. Leí este libro en inglés cuando tenía la edad del pavo y en español durante mi veintitantos. No cuestioné las decisiones de la vida de Allende, pero este libro me hizo reflexionar por mi cuenta. Todo hombre que quiera entender a las mujeres y la comida debe leer este libro.

By Isabel Allende,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From an internationally acclaimed author, this is a magical, fascinating book exploring the intimate relationship between food and sex.

This book of recipes, sensuous stories, aphrodisiacs and lovers' spells is an irresistible fusion of Allende's favourite things. Lavishly illustrated, this fascinating, personal guide to all things erotic encompasses a multicultural history of seduction through food, ancient and modern stories and poems about sex and eating, titillating recipes and advice. Chapter titles include: Cooking in the Nude; The Spell of Smell; Death by Perfume; Table Manners; With the Tip of the Tongue; The Orgy; Sins of the Flesh; Love Potions, and…


Book cover of The Man Between

Ephraim Author Of Requiem for Betrayal

From my list on international spy thrillers with cultural differences.

Why am I passionate about this?

In the early 70s I was a pop singer/recording artist in Paris with a dinner show at a restaurant/discotheque/bar called Jacky’s Far West Saloon. Located in the trendy Montparnasse area, it was popular with the US embassy personnel. As such, it was also a magnet for spooks looking to score contacts with the Americans. I witnessed a lot of intrigue there, some of it major, most of it minor, and developed a passion for international espionage. I also developed a passion for international finance and went on to author or co-author ten books and over a hundred journal articles on the subject.  

Ephraim's book list on international spy thrillers with cultural differences

Ephraim Why did Ephraim love this book?

The reason I recommend this book is because it is so different from most spy thrillers.

The hero,  Kit Carradine, is not a spy. He is a writer living a boring life in London. His father was a spy, however. He gets recruited to do a small job for the Service. When he agrees, his life is changed. Kit is different from the Jack Reachers and Ryans.

He is a professionally naive, and often in over his head, which provides readers a fresh and accessible vantage to the typical genre tropes.

By Charles Cumming,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Man Between as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Recommended. I read it one breathless sitting' Ian Rankin

A gripping new standalone spy thriller, recalling the classic film Casablanca, from the winner of the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for Best Thriller of the Year and 'the master of the modern spy thriller' (Mail on Sunday).

A SIMPLE TASK
Successful novelist Kit Carradine has grown restless. So when British Intelligence invites him to enter the secret world of espionage, he willingly takes a leap into the unknown.

A GLOBAL THREAT
Kit finds himself in Morocco on the trail of Lara Bartok - a leading figure in Resurrection, a revolutionary…


Book cover of Food and Families in the Making: Knowledge Reproduction and Political Economy of Cooking in Morocco

David E. Sutton Author Of Bigger Fish to Fry: A Theory of Cooking as Risk, with Greek Examples

From my list on scholarly reads about cooking.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been interested in food, even as young as 3 years old I remember wanting to taste everything, and I found the process of cooking fascinating. But I really got interested in food as a topic for research during my time studying Greek culture for my PhD thesis. People on the island of Kalymnos, where I’ve conducted research for 30 years, made a strong connection between food and memory, but it was a connection that few scholars have written about until recently. So I’ve been excited to participate in a new field reflected by all of these books, and hope you will be as well.

David's book list on scholarly reads about cooking

David E. Sutton Why did David love this book?

This book tells the story of the transmission and learning of cooking knowledge and skill in Morocco.

What makes it stand out for me is not only the focus on multisensory experience, but the way the author provides an account of her own process of learning to cook, and learning to know what cooking is, as part of her apprenticeship to Marrakchi women.

Graf takes us into the lives of three Marrakchi women and their families, illustrating their struggles and the power that they deploy through cooking. Food and Families in the Making thus makes for a moving account of sensuous scholarship.

By Katharina Graf,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Food and Families in the Making as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Even in the context of rapid material and social change in urban Morocco, women, and especially those from a low-income household, continue to invest a lot of work in preparing good food for their families. Through the lens of domestic food preparation, this book looks at knowledge reproduction on how we know cooking and its role in the making of everyday family life. It also examines a political economy of cooking that situates Marrakchi women's lived experience in the broader context of persisting poverty and food insecurity in Morocco.


Book cover of The Sheltering Sky

Stephen McCauley Author Of The Easy Way out

From my list on for readers to travel who hate to leave the house.

Why am I passionate about this?

For much of the 1980s, I worked at a travel agency in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The travel benefits back then were amazing. Like most of my hippie-ish colleagues, I’d return from one trip and immediately plan the next. I was on a tour of Egypt (ten days for $300!) when I acknowledged I liked the idea of travel more than the reality. I was reading Flaubert’s letters to his mother from Egypt, and his descriptions seemed more real than the landscape in front of me. I still like getting on airplanes, but traveling through literature is the cheaper and, for me, more broadening experience.  

Stephen's book list on for readers to travel who hate to leave the house

Stephen McCauley Why did Stephen love this book?

I first read The Sheltering Sky on a train to New York. I was so caught up in the book, I hated to get off at Penn Station.

It feels as if the novel sprang directly from the author’s subconscious,  and it has an eerie way of burrowing into the reader’s thoughts and dreams. An American couple (modeled on Bowles and his wife Jane) embark on a journey deep into the North African desert. To say they have a complicated marriage is an understatement.

The murky sexuality of the characters, the astonishing descriptions of the landscape and the sky, and the truly shocking events make this a journey no reader can ever forget, even if you’d like to.  

By Paul Bowles,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'The Sheltering Sky is a book about people on the edge of an alien space; somewhere where, curiously, they are never alone' Michael Hoffman.

Port and Kit Moresbury, a sophisticated American couple, are finding it more than a little difficult to live with each other. Endeavouring to escape this predicament, they set off for North Africa intending to travel through Algeria - uncertain of exactly where they are heading, but determined to leave the modern world behind. The results of this casually taken decision are both tragic and compelling.


Book cover of Hideous Kinky

Buffy Cram Author Of Once Upon an Effing Time

From my list on living that 60s cult/commune life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up living in a housing co-op on Vancouver Island, BC. While not technically a commune, it did have some of the hallmarks. There were gangs of partially clothed kids roaming wild. There were a bunch of idealistic adults who had dreams of shared land stewardship and, well, shared everything. The housing project succeeded in many ways (it still exists today) and, it failed in other ways (over the years there were many fractures in the community). I’ve always been fascinated by attempts at communal living. I suppose my obsession with cult life is just an extension of this. It is my life imagined one step further.

Buffy's book list on living that 60s cult/commune life

Buffy Cram Why did Buffy love this book?

This book is about a young mother who takes her two daughters to Marrakech, Morocco in the 1960s so she can study Sufism, which, although not technically a “cult” does seem rather cult-like when described from the point of view of a five-year-old child who is watching her mother do strange ritual spinning to try to annihilate her ego.

You might remember the 1998 movie adaptation of this book starring Kate Winslet, but I think the book is better because of its dreamy, almost other-worldly descriptions of street life in Marrakech. This gem of a book is steeped in childlike wonder and longing and it will be over far too soon.

By Esther Freud,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An unusual story about Marrakesh in the 1960's told through the eyes of a five year old child.


Book cover of The Sultan’s Jew: Morocco and the Sephardi World

Alan Verskin Author Of A Vision of Yemen: The Travels of a European Orientalist and His Native Guide, A Translation of Hayyim Habshush's Travelogue

From my list on the life stories of modern Middle Eastern Jews.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a history professor who is drawn to history out of a love of recovering and making accessible otherwise forgotten voices and stories of the past. I’m especially interested in relationships between Jews and Muslims and how they’ve dealt with minorityhood, displacement, colonialism, and modernization. I’ve written four books, two focusing on Muslims and two on Jews, as well as numerous articles. Among my greatest pleasures as a scholar is seeing my readers begin with an interest in the stories of one religious group (either Muslims or Jews) and then become so curious about the drama, joy, and conflicts of the era that they become interested in the stories of the other as well.

Alan's book list on the life stories of modern Middle Eastern Jews

Alan Verskin Why did Alan love this book?

Daniel Schroeter’s The Sultan’s Jew focuses on the colorful life of Me'ir Macnin (d. 1835), an ambassador-at-large for two successive Moroccan sultans. Schroeter uses Macnin’s life to discuss three main topics: the relationship between Jews and Muslims in Morocco; the relationship between Moroccan Jews and the Sephardic world beyond; and Morocco’s relationship with Europe. Macnin’s ambassadorial stint in London, which eventually saw him become the president of the city’s main synagogue, also allows Schroeter to talk about the complexities of Jewish life in Britain and of Sephardic/Ashkenazic rivalries. The power of Schroeter’s work is in presenting a sophisticated political and socio-economic study through the lens of a gripping biography.

By Daniel Schroeter,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This pathbreaking study uses the extraordinary life of Meir Macnin, a prosperous Jewish merchant, as a lens for examining the Jewish community of Morocco and its relationship to the Sephardi world in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Macnin, a member of one of the most prominent Jewish families in Marrakesh, became the most important merchant for the sultans who ruled Morocco, and was their chief intermediary between Morocco and Europe. He lived in London for about twenty years, and then shuttled between Morocco and England for fifteen years until his death in 1835.

This book challenges accepted views…


Book cover of Sister Stardust

John Glynn Author Of Out East: Memoir of a Montauk Summer

From my list on books that feel like Taylor Swift’s “Cruel Summer”.

Why am I passionate about this?

Hi! I'm John Glynn, and I'm excited to share some book recommendations inspired by one of my favorite Taylor Swift songs, "Cruel Summer."  To me, this song perfectly encapsulates the heightened emotions of summer love—a theme at the heart of my memoir Out East. I chose books that capture the "fever dream highs" of the season. But at the same time, as Taylor sings, "Summer's a knife," filled with longing and heartache, primed for nostalgia. All of these books carry the kind of moonlit shimmer I crave in a smart beach read. As a Swiftie, a beach lover, an avid reader, and a hopeless romantic, I hope you enjoy.

John's book list on books that feel like Taylor Swift’s “Cruel Summer”

John Glynn Why did John love this book?

Jane Green is an icon in every sense, and this is my absolute favorite of her many bestselling books. I love stories with a strong sense of place, stories that transport me. This book does just that, whisking the reader to a forgotten scene from the Swinging 60s, an ex-pat community in Marrakesh once frequented in real life by the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Yves Saint Laurent, and other luminaries of the era.

The narrator is an outsider who falls under the spell of Talitha Getty, a magnetic actress and model who presides over the whole swirling scene. This novel feels like the literary equivalent of a starry summer night. 

By Jane Green,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

*NATIONAL BESTSELLER*

A PARADE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF THE YEAR
A NEW YORK POST BEST BOOK OF THE WEEK

In her first novel inspired by a true story, Jane Green re-imagines the life of troubled icon Talitha Getty in this transporting story from a forgotten chapter of the Swinging '60s

From afar Talitha's life seemed perfect. In her twenties, and already a famous model and actress, she moved from London to a palace in Marrakesh, with her husband Paul Getty, the famous oil heir. There she presided over a swirling ex-pat scene filled with music, art, free love and a…


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