100 books like The Complete Persepolis

By Marjane Satrapi,

Here are 100 books that The Complete Persepolis fans have personally recommended if you like The Complete Persepolis. 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 All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror

Sara Saedi Author Of I Miss You, I Hate This

From my list on life inside and outside of Iran.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an Iranian-American who left the country with my family after the Islamic Revolution. I'm watching the events unfold in Iran since the murder of Mahsa Amini with equal parts sadness and awe. Sadness for the loss of life and awe for the bravery of the young protestors in the country. My books will always have a nod to my culture of origin—whether about growing up in an immigrant household in my memoir, Americanized, or writing an Iranian-American character like Parisa in I Miss You, I Hate This. It's been fascinating to see people in America pay attention to what's happening in Iran and I wanted to share some books that'll help inform their perspective. 

Sara's book list on life inside and outside of Iran

Sara Saedi Why did Sara love this book?

An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror by Stephen Kinzer. Honestly, if I was Ben Affleck I would have made a movie based on this book instead of Argo. Kinzer’s book exposes the United States and the UK’s role in creating the Iran of today by detailing Operation Ajax—or the coup that caused the downfall of elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh. Spoiler alert: it had a lot to do with oil. What’s devasting is to picture what Iran would look like today without foreign intervention in the 1950s.  

By Stephen Kinzer,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked All the Shah's Men as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With a thrilling narrative that sheds much light on recent events, this national bestseller brings to life the 1953 CIA coup in Iran that ousted the country’s elected prime minister, ushered in a quarter-century of brutal rule under the Shah, and stimulated the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and anti-Americanism in the Middle East. Selected as one of the best books of the year by the Washington Post and The Economist, it now features a new preface by the author on the folly of attacking Iran.


Book cover of Daughter of Persia: A Woman's Journey from Her Father's Harem Through the Islamic Revolution

Lois Pryce Author Of Revolutionary Ride: On the Road to Shiraz, the Heart of Iran

From my list on understanding modern Iran.

Why am I passionate about this?

Lois Pryce is a British author who has travelled extensively in Iran. Her book, Revolutionary Ride tells the story of her 2013 solo motorcycle tour of the country and was shortlisted for the Edward Stanford ‘Adventure Book of the Year’ Award. Her travels have taken her to over fifty countries and her writing has featured in The New York Times, The Guardian, CNN, BBC, The Telegraph and The Independent.

Lois' book list on understanding modern Iran

Lois Pryce Why did Lois love this book?

An astounding 20th century life-story told with honesty and warmth by one of Iran’s most impressive and pioneering women. From growing up as part of her father’s harem before setting sail for the USA during WWII to attend university, then returning to Iran to create a national social care system and finally, the unbearable tragedy of her life’s work being destroyed by the Islamic regime, this is an inspiring but heartbreaking story of bravery and humanity at its best.

By Sattareh Farman Farmaian, Dona Munker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Sattareh Farman Farmaian, the daughter of a once-powerful and wealthy Iranian prince, was raised and educated in the 1920s and 1930s in a Persian harem compound, along with numerous mothers and more than 30 brothers and sisters. As a young woman, she broke with Muslim tradition and travelled to America, where she became the first Persian to study at the University of Southern California. Her new life in the West fired a vision to lift her own people out of backwardness and poverty, and she returned to Iran to found the Tehran School of Social Work. For more than 20…


Book cover of City of Lies: Love, Sex, Death, and the Search for Truth in Tehran

Lois Pryce Author Of Revolutionary Ride: On the Road to Shiraz, the Heart of Iran

From my list on understanding modern Iran.

Why am I passionate about this?

Lois Pryce is a British author who has travelled extensively in Iran. Her book, Revolutionary Ride tells the story of her 2013 solo motorcycle tour of the country and was shortlisted for the Edward Stanford ‘Adventure Book of the Year’ Award. Her travels have taken her to over fifty countries and her writing has featured in The New York Times, The Guardian, CNN, BBC, The Telegraph and The Independent.

Lois' book list on understanding modern Iran

Lois Pryce Why did Lois love this book?

British-Iranian journalist, Ramita Navai shines a spotlight on 21st century Tehran that we rarely see in the mainstream press, delving into the city’s youth culture, illicit entertainment, and seedy underbelly of drugs and despair. City of Lies exposes the reality of how young, modern Iranians really live - constantly evading the authorities to seek out the pleasures they are denied under the regime.

By Ramita Navai,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Absorbing and unforgettable, City of Lies travels up and down Vali Asr Street in today's Tehran, where the most ordinary Iranians are forced to live extraordinary lives. Ramita Navai paints an intimate portrait of the city's recesses where intrigues abound. Survival depends on an intricate network of falsehoods, and the difference between modesty and profanity, loyalty and betrayal, honor and disgrace is often no more than the believability of a lie.


Book cover of Shah of Shahs

Lois Pryce Author Of Revolutionary Ride: On the Road to Shiraz, the Heart of Iran

From my list on understanding modern Iran.

Why am I passionate about this?

Lois Pryce is a British author who has travelled extensively in Iran. Her book, Revolutionary Ride tells the story of her 2013 solo motorcycle tour of the country and was shortlisted for the Edward Stanford ‘Adventure Book of the Year’ Award. Her travels have taken her to over fifty countries and her writing has featured in The New York Times, The Guardian, CNN, BBC, The Telegraph and The Independent.

Lois' book list on understanding modern Iran

Lois Pryce Why did Lois love this book?

Written in a powerful journalistic style, this short but compelling book tells of the last years of the Shah’s reign, focusing in painful detail on the brutality of Savak, his secret police force, his detachment from his subjects, and setting the scene for the inevitable revolution that would seal his downfall. The fear on the streets is palpable.

By Ryszard Kapuściński,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Shah of Shahs depicts the final years of the Shah in Iran, and is a compelling meditation on the nature of revolution and the devastating results of fear. Here, Kapuscinski describes the tyrannical monarch, who, despite his cruel oppression of the Iranian people, sees himself as the father of a nation, who can turn a backward country into a great power - a vain hope that proves a complete failure. Yet even as Iran becomes a 'behemoth of riches' and as the Shah lives like a European billionaire, its people live in a climate of fear, terrorized by the secret…


Book cover of The House on Mango Street

Namrata Poddar Author Of Border Less

From my list on debuts that subvert the mainstream Westerns.

Why am I passionate about this?

Namrata Poddar is an Indian American writer of fiction and nonfiction, literature and writing faculty at UCLA, and Interviews Editor for Kweli where she curates the series, “Race, Power and Storytelling.” Her work has explored ways in which writers from across the world decolonize Literature. Her debut novel, Border Less, was a finalist for Feminist Press’s Louise Meriwether Prize, longlisted for The Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, and featured in several media outlets including the “Most Anticipated” 2022 books for The Millions and Ms. Magazine. She holds a PhD in French literature from the University of Pennsylvania, an MFA in Fiction from Bennington College, and a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in Transnational Cultures from UCLA. 

Namrata's book list on debuts that subvert the mainstream Westerns

Namrata Poddar Why did Namrata love this book?

Written in 46 short vignettes, this is a coming-of-age story of Esperanza Cordero, a young girl growing up in a Hispanic neighborhood in Chicago. Yet the novel is anything but one protagonist’s story, as it consistently juxtaposes Esperanza’s story with stories of secondary characters who make a brief appearance in the novel to seldom reappear and tie loose ends of the “sub-plots”: Marin, Louie, Alicia, Geraldo, Rafaela, Minerva, and others. Narrative continuity via a protagonist’s psychological journey that is a key trait of coming-of-age novels, or of mainstream Western or realist novels at large, is repeatedly disrupted here, making the reader wonder, who is the novel’s protagonist?: Esperanza, Mango Street, or its Brown community, or young Latina girls and women in a 20th century USA, alluded by “las Mujeres” to whom the book is dedicated.

By Sandra Cisneros,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The House on Mango Street as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • A coming-of-age classic, acclaimed by critics, beloved by readers of all ages, taught in schools and universities alike, and translated around the world—from the winner of the 2019 PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature.

The House on Mango Street is the remarkable story of Esperanza Cordero, a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago, inventing for herself who and what she will become. Told in a series of vignettes-sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes deeply joyous-Sandra Cisneros' masterpiece is a classic story of childhood and self-discovery. Few other books in our time have touched so many readers.

“Cisneros draws…


Book cover of The Color Purple

Hari Ziyad Author Of Black Boy Out of Time

From my list on loss and grief from a certified death doula.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a journalist, author and screenwriter, my work has always pondered loss and grief. I think this has something to do with the fact that of my mother’s religion; she was a convert to Hinduism and started conversations about the inevitability of death and how the soul and the body aren’t the same when us children were at a very young age. It probably also has something to do with the constant presence of death within my family and communities as a Black and queer person in a violently anti-Black and queerantagonistic world. I currently volunteer at a hospice, and provide community-building programming to death workers from diverse communities.

Hari's book list on loss and grief from a certified death doula

Hari Ziyad Why did Hari love this book?

This novel is a soul-stirring journey of resilience and self-discovery.

Reminding us that loss of connection to a loved one shares many of the same aspects as death, The Color Purple is a testament to the strength of the human spirit, particularly in the face of adversity. Along the way, you’ll come to a deeper understanding of gendered violence, the healing power of sisterhood and the enduring nature of love.

By Alice Walker,

Why should I read it?

15 authors picked The Color Purple as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. Alice Walker's iconic modern classic is now a Penguin Book.

A powerful cultural touchstone of modern American literature, The Color Purple depicts the lives of African American women in early twentieth-century rural Georgia. Separated as girls, sisters Celie and Nettie sustain their loyalty to and hope in each other across time, distance and silence. Through a series of letters spanning twenty years, first from Celie to God, then the sisters to each other despite the unknown, the novel draws readers into its rich and memorable portrayals of Celie, Nettie, Shug…


Book cover of Somebody's Daughter: A Memoir

Jenny Jaeckel Author Of Eighteen

From my list on coming-of-age stories by diverse women.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jenny Jaeckel is the award-winning author and illustrator of several books including her historical fiction companion novels House of Rougeaux and Boy, Falling, a collection of illustrated short fiction entitled For the Love of Meat, and the graphic novel memoir Spot 12: Five Months in the Neonatal ICU. She has a special passion for coming-of-age stories for their power in capturing the stories of life that are the most specific and most vivid. When not writing, Jaeckel works as an editor and translator. She lives in Victoria, British Columbia, with her family. Eighteen is her third novel. 

Jenny's book list on coming-of-age stories by diverse women

Jenny Jaeckel Why did Jenny love this book?

Like all the young girls in this shortlist of coming-of-age stories, Ashley C. Ford (one of Angelou’s literary children) is a survivor hell-bent on finding a life better than the one she was handed, and, like the others, she is remarkably sensitive, imaginative, and able to paint her world for us in the most tender and unique shapes and colors. How does a young girl weather such brutal realities, experience beauty, and splice together a space for her soul? Ford’s memoir is one such contemporary story. 

By Ashley C. Ford,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
NBCC John Leonard Prize Finalist
Indie Bestseller

“This is a book people will be talking about forever.” —Glennon Doyle, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Untamed

“Ford’s wrenchingly brilliant memoir is truly a classic in the making. The writing is so richly observed and so suffused with love and yearning that I kept forgetting to breathe while reading it.” —John Green, #1 New York Times bestselling author

One of the most prominent voices of her generation debuts with an extraordinarily powerful memoir: the story of a childhood defined by the looming absence of her…


Book cover of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Lynn Alsup Author Of Tinderbox: One Family's Story of Adoption, Neurodiversity, and Fierce Love

From my list on memoirs that crack open a brutal and beautiful world.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a young social worker, I left the world I knew and moved into violent urban centers and traveled the developing world. The suffering and beauty entranced me. Questions reverberated in me: What does it mean to be part of the vast human community? How can I live most fully? When I adopted children, violence and difference confronted me not “out there” but at home. I wrestled, shocked by my own judgment and narrowness—until I accepted in my bones the myriad ways to live a remarkable life. Curiosity became my superpower. Tinderbox, my unflinching memoir, invites readers into my family’s brutal and beautiful transformation through embracing neurodiversity. 

Lynn's book list on memoirs that crack open a brutal and beautiful world

Lynn Alsup Why did Lynn love this book?

Angelou’s words sat me in a comfy chair as if in a favorite movie theater as the lights dimmed.

The world unrolling before me enveloped me from the red dirt of Arkansas in the 1930s all the way to the California sun. Her prose read like poetry and led me into each space she inhabited, including the ones in her mind. She slowed down the moment and let me ponder—no sideways judgments or explanations.

Her experience of childhood sexual assault ripped through me as my own had. She didn’t shy away from the horrors or beauty of life as a young Black woman finding her place in the world but projected them onto the screen in my mind. They’ve lingered there a long time.

By Maya Angelou,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Maya Angelou's seven volumes of autobiography are a testament to the talents and resilience of this extraordinary writer. Loving the world, she also knows its cruelty. As a Black woman she has known discrimination and extreme poverty, but also hope, joy,achievement and celebration. In this first volume of her six books of autobiography, Maya Angelou beautifully evokes her childhood with her grandmother in the American south of the 1930s. She learns the power of the white folks at the other end of town and suffers the terrible trauma of rape by her mother's lover.


Book cover of Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books

G. Wayne Miller Author Of Unfit to Print: A Modern Media Satire

From my list on an important moment or time in history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been passionate about journalism since I was a teenager, when I became the co-editor of my high school newspaper. My career as a full-time journalist began decades ago, at a small family-owned newspaper in Berkshire County, Mass., and continued through staff writer positions at The Cape Cod Times, Providence Journal and now at OceanStateStories.org, the new non-profit news outlet based at Salve Regina University’s Pell Center in Newport, R.I., that I co-founded and now direct. So I have the long and inside view of American journalism!

G.'s book list on an important moment or time in history

G. Wayne Miller Why did G. love this book?

This landmark book by the Iranian-American writer Azar Afisi is an account of the oppression of the Islamic Revolution in her native Iran and an ode to the liberating power of literature and truth.

In her book, Nafisi recounts the experiences of a group of students she worked with as a professor of English at the University of Tehran. She was dismissed from that professorship in 1981 for refusing to cover her hair and 16 years later, emigrated to America, where she teaches, writes, and is an internationally respected voice for press and personal freedoms.

By Azar Nafisi,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Reading Lolita in Tehran as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Azar Nafisi was fired from Tehran University (where she was teaching English literature) because she refused to wear a veil, she gathered a group of her female students and resumed her classes at home, privately and discreetly. There, a group of young women discussed, argued about and communed with Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Henry James, Nabokov and others in the canon of English writers. The surreal picture of reading "Lolita", weighing the sexuality of Jane Austen or the American authenticity of Gatsby in the severe aftermath of Iran's Islamic Revolution was not lost on either Nafisi or her students. The…


Book cover of Funny in Farsi

Danny Ramadan Author Of Crooked Teeth: A Queer Syrian Refugee Memoir

From my list on memoirs written refugees and immigrants.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have gone through the refugee experience, and it has shaped me. I grew up queer in Syria, became a man in Egypt, a refugee in Lebanon, then an author in Canada. At the expense of romanticizing something so deeply painful, I do believe that the experience has made me a better man. It matured me, offered me a deep connection with others within my community, and built an unmatched appreciation of my culture of home back in Syria and my culture of diaspora here in Canada. As a fiction writer, I am obsessed with writing queer stories about immigration. 

Danny's book list on memoirs written refugees and immigrants

Danny Ramadan Why did Danny love this book?

I laughed out loud way too many times at this book. The thing that attracted me the most about it was that it allowed a complex narrative to be brought forward on its pages.

The writer is not only able to bring truths to the page but also make it accessible, light, and humorous. I was enhanced by this book, and I keep recommending it to friends and family. 

By Firoozeh Dumas,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Funny in Farsi as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMESBESTSELLER • Finalist for the PEN/USA Award in Creative Nonfiction, the Thurber Prize for American Humor, and the Audie Award in Biography/Memoir

This Random House Reader’s Circle edition includes a reading group guide and a conversation between Firoozeh Dumas and Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner!

“Remarkable . . . told with wry humor shorn of sentimentality . . . In the end, what sticks with the reader is an exuberant immigrant embrace of America.”—San Francisco Chronicle

In 1972, when she was seven, Firoozeh Dumas and her family moved from Iran to Southern California, arriving with no…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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