100 books like The Lycian Shore

By Freya Stark,

Here are 100 books that The Lycian Shore fans have personally recommended if you like The Lycian Shore. 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 View from the Ground

Sara Wheeler Author Of Glowing Still: A Woman's Life on the Road

From my list on travel by women to inspire a journey of your own.

Why am I passionate about this?

Over the course of my so-called career as a travel writer, the ‘I’ve-Got-A Big-One’ school favoured by the male of the species has ceded ground. Women, less interested in ‘conquering,’ have pioneered a kind of creative non-fiction that suits the travel genre. I prefer it to the blokeish business of seeing how dead you can get. It notices more. As the decades unfurled – Pole to Pole, via Poland – I realised, more and more, the debt I owe to the other women who not only set sail but also unsparingly observed the world that turns within each self. 

Sara's book list on travel by women to inspire a journey of your own

Sara Wheeler Why did Sara love this book?

Martha Gellhorn’s blend of reportage and imagination ensnared me when I was barely out of my teens, and her preferred form has come of age in my working life.

Not only do I think Gellhorn is a marvellous writer – at her best, one of the best – but I also identify with Gellhorn the woman. "The open road," she wrote, was "my first, oldest and strongest love." She lived from 1908 to 1998 and was writing the fighting for six decades, and although each conflict was different, her message remained the same: ‘There is neither victory nor defeat; there is only catastrophe." 

Book cover of Looking For Transwonderland: Travels in Nigeria

Marilyn Kriete Author Of Paradise Road: A Memoir

From my list on memoirs to take you on wild adventures.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a serial memoirist (two published, two more to come), and a true fan of well-written memoir. I read all kinds, but my favorites often combine coming-of-age with unusual travel or life choices. I love getting inside the authors’ heads, discovering not just what they did, but why, and how they felt about it later, and what came next. Great memoirs take us out of our own lives and into settings, situations, and perspectives we may never experience. What better way to understand how other people live and move and think and feel? Fiction is fine, but a unique true story hooks me from start to finish. 

Marilyn's book list on memoirs to take you on wild adventures

Marilyn Kriete Why did Marilyn love this book?

I lived in Lagos for four years in the early ‘90s and have struggled ever since to describe the strange energy and appeal of this troubled, oft-maligned country.

Noo, a British-raised Nigerian, takes us to 12 Nigerian locations in a quest to understand her roots. Her childhood memories of visits to the homeland weren’t great, and she’s highly attuned to the widespread corruption that afflicts almost every aspect of Nigerian life.

Still, she travels with an open mind, asking questions, seeking mini-adventures, and falling in love-and-exasperation with the loud, outspoken, resilient residents of Africa’s most-populated country.

Her lively account, packed with nuggets of history, culture, and one-of-a-kind encounters and conversations, brought me back to a country that stole my heart when I least expected it.  Such a treat!

By Noo Saro-Wiwa,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Looking For Transwonderland as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Wheels within Wheels: The Makings of a Traveller

Sara Wheeler Author Of Glowing Still: A Woman's Life on the Road

From my list on travel by women to inspire a journey of your own.

Why am I passionate about this?

Over the course of my so-called career as a travel writer, the ‘I’ve-Got-A Big-One’ school favoured by the male of the species has ceded ground. Women, less interested in ‘conquering,’ have pioneered a kind of creative non-fiction that suits the travel genre. I prefer it to the blokeish business of seeing how dead you can get. It notices more. As the decades unfurled – Pole to Pole, via Poland – I realised, more and more, the debt I owe to the other women who not only set sail but also unsparingly observed the world that turns within each self. 

Sara's book list on travel by women to inspire a journey of your own

Sara Wheeler Why did Sara love this book?

Dervla Murphy (1931-2022) was queen of the road when I started out. I learnt a lot from her.

Visiting Rwanda is probably my top pick among her many travelogues but her best book by far, in my opinion, is the autobiographical Wheels within Wheels. "I had been brought up to understand," Murphy writes, "that material possessions and physical comfort should never be confused with success, achievement and security."

I had been brought up to understand the opposite, and this book showed me, as I tackled a travel memoir of my own, that like Murphy I must take those crucial lessons as a starting point. 

By Dervla Murphy,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of The Springs of Affection: Stories of Dublin

Sara Wheeler Author Of Glowing Still: A Woman's Life on the Road

From my list on travel by women to inspire a journey of your own.

Why am I passionate about this?

Over the course of my so-called career as a travel writer, the ‘I’ve-Got-A Big-One’ school favoured by the male of the species has ceded ground. Women, less interested in ‘conquering,’ have pioneered a kind of creative non-fiction that suits the travel genre. I prefer it to the blokeish business of seeing how dead you can get. It notices more. As the decades unfurled – Pole to Pole, via Poland – I realised, more and more, the debt I owe to the other women who not only set sail but also unsparingly observed the world that turns within each self. 

Sara's book list on travel by women to inspire a journey of your own

Sara Wheeler Why did Sara love this book?

I picked this because it showed me – and still does – that the most foreign journey is within, and that when the body stops travelling, the spirit takes over the trek.

Brennan is a fabulous writer – at her best, among the best – and in her head (she wore a beehive that according to a colleague at The New Yorker was taller than she was) she is travelling all the time.

She ought to be better known. 

By Maeve Brennan,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of In the Sea There Are Crocodiles

Irfan Shah Author Of Sigh For A Strange Land

From my list on displaced people.

Why am I passionate about this?

A combination of things led me to this topic: My father was forced to leave his home in northern India during partition and was therefore a child refugee. In 2016, I was filming in Ukraine and became hugely interested in what was happening there. I have looked for a way to help ever since then. Discovering Monica Stirling’s novel about refugees from East Europe, I realised that here was an opportunity to help give voice to the refugee experience; to help raise funds for Ukraine, and to help bring back to life an incredible story written by an author who deserves to be rediscovered.

Irfan's book list on displaced people

Irfan Shah Why did Irfan love this book?

When his mother disappears, ten-year-old Enaiatollah Akbari embarks on what would end up being a five-year journey that would take him from Afghanistan, through Iran, Greece, and Turkey, and eventually to Italy where he would meet and be befriended by the family of the book’s author, Fabio Geda. 

This is a novelisation of a true story – one that beggars belief as young Enaiatollah works dangerous jobs and has to deal with unscrupulous people-traffickers as well as making perilous crossings across several borders. This is a story, nevertheless, of hope and so I feel it is something that will inspire as well as inform, and yes, entertain.

By Fabio Geda,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In the Sea There Are Crocodiles as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What would you do if, when you were ten, you were left to fend for yourself, and, in order to survive, you had to undertake a harrowing journey all the way from Afghanistan to Italy?
 
In early 2002, Enaiatollah Akbari’s village fell prey to the Taliban. His mother, fearing for his life, led him across the border. So began Enaiat’s remarkable and often publishing five-year ordeal—trekking across bitterly cold mountains, riding the suffocating false bottom of a truck, steering an inflatable raft in violent waters—through Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, and Greece, before he eventually sought political asylum in Italy, all before…


Book cover of The Making of the Modern Middle East: A Personal History

Vassily Klimentov Author Of A Slow Reckoning: The USSR, the Afghan Communists, and Islam

From my list on the modern Middle East and Afghanistan.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian of the Cold War and early post-Cold War period, focusing on Soviet/ Russian foreign policy in Afghanistan and in the Middle East in the 1970s and the 1980s. These are exciting topics on which an increasing number of new documents are released each year. I have a research project and lecture about these issues at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. But academia is my second career. Before my Ph.D., I worked as an aid worker, including for two years in the Middle East. I was in the region during the height of the Syrian crisis, notably running humanitarian multi-sector needs assessments.

Vassily's book list on the modern Middle East and Afghanistan

Vassily Klimentov Why did Vassily love this book?

I bought Jeremy Bowen’s book by chance as I searched for books about the Middle East. I wanted something different from the traditional (and sometimes a bit difficult to read) academic nonfiction book. This book appealed to me because it was written in a journalistic style and because it was as much a book about recent history as one about Bowen’s own travels and encounters in the Middle East. Well, I was not disappointed.

I really enjoyed reading Bowen’s recollections of his time in the Middle East and critical reflections on great powers’ involvement there. That is a book I felt gave a good sense of how the West has mismanaged its policies in the region during the past fifty years. 

By Jeremy Bowen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Making of the Modern Middle East as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Spectator Book of the Year
A New Statesman Book of the Year
'An illuminating and riveting read' - Jonathan Dimbleby

Jeremy Bowen, the International Editor of the BBC, has been covering the Middle East since 1989 and is uniquely placed to explain its complex past and its troubled present.

In The Making of the Modern Middle East - in part based on his acclaimed podcast, 'Our Man in the Middle East' - Bowen takes us on a journey across the Middle East and through its history. He meets ordinary men and women on the front line, their leaders, whether…


Book cover of I Confess: Revelations in Exile

Robin de Crespigny Author Of The People Smuggler: The true story of Ali Al Jenabi the Oskar Schindler of Asia

From my list on refugee odysseys to freedom.

Why am I passionate about this?

I began writing Ali’s incredible international odyssey as a film, but once I discovered the epic breadth of his journey, I decided on a book first. For 3 years I worked intensely with Ali. Not only was it a passionate and personal epic tale about love and loss, overcoming insurmountable odds, endurance and survival, but it hit a chord with readers from all walks of life, bringing understand to why people fled their countries, and help to change attitudes on refugees from fear to compassion. After three years on the road with the book I have now completed the screenplay.

Robin's book list on refugee odysseys to freedom

Robin de Crespigny Why did Robin love this book?

Kooshyar Karimi wrote this stunning memoir so beautifully it blew me away. Now a Sydney-based doctor and writer, he grew up as a Jew in Muslim Iran, hiding his origins from a brutal regime, always with a humorous eye. 

It is such a powerful story of survival, torture, and spying, plus forced deceptions and betrayal of others for helping desperate female rape victims. The struggle for redemption and eventual escape make his journey an unforgettable one.  

By Kooshyar Karimi,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Whilst many stories have come out of Iran in the last few decades, nothing matches the grittiness of this portrayal of life in the crumbling alleyways and damp cellars of an Iranian slum district--the extreme poverty and desperation, and the regular betrayals and compromises, even within families, in the fight for survival. Born on the back seat of a police car in the subzero temperatures of a bleak and icy winter's night, Karimi summons extraordinary and unwavering dedication throughout his childhood to break free of this hopeless existence, culminating in the achievement of his dream to become a surgeon. But…


Book cover of Kurdish Ethno-Nationalism versus Nation-Building States: Collected Articles

Ceren Sengül Author Of Customized Forms of Kurdishness in Turkey: State Rhetoric, Locality, and Language Use

From my list on the relationship between Turkey and Kurds.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been interested in political and social events around me, and being from Turkey, it was inevitable not to be surrounded by the news of the conflict between the Turkish state and the PKK that has been going on for decades. However, perhaps due to being a member of the non-Muslim minority community of Turkey myself, I have always been interested in the ‘non-mainstream’ explanations of a state-ethnic group conflict. This interest in alternative explanations led me to study an MSc in Nationalism Studies and to a PhD in Sociology at the University of Edinburgh, with the focus of my thesis being Kurdishness in Turkey. 

Ceren's book list on the relationship between Turkey and Kurds

Ceren Sengül Why did Ceren love this book?

It is safe to say that this book was like a holy book to me when I was doing my MSc and during my early PhD years.

Martin van Bruinessen is a scholar that everyone who has an interest in Kurdish studies should be familiar with, and this book, which is a collection of his earlier articles, is a good introduction to get acquainted with Kurds and their history.

Even though the articles in this book date back to the 1980s and to the 1990s, it is a classic book for those who want to familiarise themselves with Kurds.

The articles here are not only about Kurds of Turkey but also those of Iran and Iraq. 

By Martin van Bruinessen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Kurdish Ethno-Nationalism versus Nation-Building States as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A collection of articles by Martin van Bruinessen on Kurds, Kurdish history and identity from the perspective of nationalism and nation-building in the Middle East.


Book cover of Interwoven Globe: The Worldwide Textile Trade, 1500–1800

Peter Koepke Author Of Patterns, Inside the Design Library

From my list on textile for your design library.

Why am I passionate about this?

Nearly 50 years ago I was completely taken with the patterns drawn, woven, or embroidered by the Indigenous Peoples of the Upper Amazon of Peru. This was my first experience with the power of pattern and led to a career in collecting and curating the pottery and textiles from that area. By the end of the 1980s, I was ready to start a family and a more settled job. The Design Library was the perfect segue. The patterns created in Europe, Africa, and Asia over the past 250 years are also important cultural statements and are continually re-interpreted by our clients for today's market.

Peter's book list on textile for your design library

Peter Koepke Why did Peter love this book?

This scholarly book accompanied the enlightening exhibition of the same name at the MET 2013-2014. The way we learn how trade in textiles united the world is fascinating. One revelation for me was discovering that the first non-noble wealth was generated in the 18th century through textile trade.

By Amelia Peck,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Beginning in the 16th century, the golden age of European navigation created a vigorous textile trade, and a breathtaking variety of textile designs subsequently spread across the globe. Trade textiles blended the traditional designs, skills, and tastes of their cultures of origin, with new techniques learned through global exchange, creating beautiful new works that are also historically fascinating. Interwoven Globe is the first book to analyze these textiles within the larger history of trade and design. Richly illustrated texts explore the interrelationship of textiles, commerce, and taste from the age of discovery to the 19th century, including a detailed discussion…


Book cover of Rolling Blackouts: Dispatches from Turkey, Syria, and Iraq

Anders Nilsen Author Of Big Questions

From my list on deeply human graphic novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was a kid in the 80s the superhero comics I was obsessed with were beginning to deal with the real world in a new way. And their creators were beginning to push and pull at the boundaries of the medium with a new spirit of play and provocation. I still love comics that seriously deal with real life – its complexities and its profound weirdness – and that push the medium in new directions and reckon with its history. I also want to be absorbed and moved and to identify intently with characters. It’s what I try to do in my own work, and what I look for in that of others.

Anders' book list on deeply human graphic novels

Anders Nilsen Why did Anders love this book?

This is a book about deep listening. It follows two childhood friends – a journalist and a former American soldier – on a kind of road trip through Turkey, Syria and Iraq in the close aftermath of the U.S. war there.

We watch them wrestle over the meaning of the conflict and their places in it. It’s reportage – the author is a third friend, following along, chronicling their conversation and laying out their arguments, blind spots and occasionally questionable reasoning as they try and deal with something almost too big and complicated to get a handle on.

The characters are not generals, or presidents, or militia leaders, they are just two old friends, trying to reckon with a war on a very human scale. Also the watercolored art is gorgeous.

By Sarah Glidden,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Cartoonist Sarah Glidden follows up her acclaimed debut, How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less, with Rolling Black- outs, which details her two-month long journey through Turkey, Iraq, and Syria. Glidden accompanies her two friends reporters and founders of the journalistic non-profit the Seattle Globalist as they research stories on the Iraq War s effect on the Middle East and, specifically, the war s refugees. Joining them is a former Marine and childhood friend of one of the journalists whose deployment to Iraq in 2007 adds an unexpected and sometimes unwelcome viewpoint, both to the people they come…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Turkey, Iran, and Afghanistan?

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