100 books like The Shell

By Moustafa Khalifa, Paul Starkey,

Here are 100 books that The Shell fans have personally recommended if you like The Shell. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of Origins: A Memoir

Steven A. Cook Author Of The Struggle for Egypt: From Nasser to Tahrir Square

From my list on understanding the Middle East.

Who am I?

Steven A. Cook is the Eni Enrico Mattei senior fellow for the Middle East and Africa studies and director of the International Affairs Fellowship for Tenured International Relations Scholars at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). He is a columnist at Foreign Policy magazine and an expert on Arab and Turkish politics as well as U.S. Middle East policy. 

Steven's book list on understanding the Middle East

Steven A. Cook Why did Steven love this book?

I read Maalouf's book many years ago and it remains one of the best books I have ever read about identity. It helps that he is a gifted writer and that Maalouf's story is so compelling.

By Amin Maalouf,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Origins, by the world-renowned writer Amin Maalouf, is a sprawling, hemisphere-spanning intergenerational saga.

Set during the last quarter of the nineteenth century and the first quarter of the twentieth, in the mountains of Lebanon and in Havana, Cuba, Origins recounts the family history of the generation of Maalouf's paternal grandfather, Boutros. Why did Boutros, a poet and educator in Lebanon, travel across the globe to rescue his younger brother, Gebrayel, who had settled in Havana?

Maalouf is an energetic and amiable narrator, illuminating the more obscure corners of late Ottoman nationalism, the psychology of Lebanese sectarianism, and the dynamics of…


Book cover of Arabian Love Poems

Sam Dagher Author Of Assad or We Burn the Country: How One Family's Lust for Power Destroyed Syria

From my list on people of the Levant region.

Who am I?

Sam Dagher is a Lebanese-American journalist and author with more than 15 years of experience reporting on the Middle East and its people. He has lived in Baghdad, Beirut, and Damascus and worked throughout the region. Sam has been committed to telling the region’s stories from the ground up and in the process shedding new light on the root causes of war, extremism, and migration.

Sam's book list on people of the Levant region

Sam Dagher Why did Sam love this book?

Damascus-born Nizar Qabbani, a lawyer by training, abandoned a career in diplomacy in the late 1960s to become one of the Arab world’s most beloved poets. Both his sensual and political poems carry seeds of defiance, rebellion and a quest for liberation from autocratic institutions and rigid social norms. This edition reproduces Qabbani’s own handwritten text of the selected poems.

By Clementina R. Brown, Nizar Qabbani, Bassam K. Frangieh

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This translation of Nizar Kabbani's poetry is accompanied by the striking Arabic texts of the poems, penned by Kabbani especially for this collection. Kabbani was a poet of great simplicity - direct, spontaneous, musical, using the language of everyday life. He was a ceasless campaigner for women's rights, and his verses praise the beauty of the female body, and of love. He was an Arab nationalist, yet he criticized Arab dictators and the lack of freedom in the Arab world.


Book cover of We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled: Voices from Syria

Sam Dagher Author Of Assad or We Burn the Country: How One Family's Lust for Power Destroyed Syria

From my list on people of the Levant region.

Who am I?

Sam Dagher is a Lebanese-American journalist and author with more than 15 years of experience reporting on the Middle East and its people. He has lived in Baghdad, Beirut, and Damascus and worked throughout the region. Sam has been committed to telling the region’s stories from the ground up and in the process shedding new light on the root causes of war, extremism, and migration.

Sam's book list on people of the Levant region

Sam Dagher Why did Sam love this book?

Pearlman expertly, delicately and lovingly assembles elements from the stories and journeys of close to 90 Syrians into a mosaic “mapped onto Syria’s historical trajectory from authoritarianism to revolution, war, and exile” as she explains in the introduction. For me there are echoes of Maalouf’s Origins in this book: More than a hundred years later and Syrians and Levantines are still having to flee their homelands because of tyranny, conflict and political and social upheaval. Pearlman is an accomplished professor at Northwestern University who speaks Arabic and has spent more than 20 years studying and living in the Middle East. Her expertise and empathy shine through in a book that gives us a chance “to listen to actual Syrians, as human beings,” as she says.

By Wendy Pearlman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

LONG-LISTED FOR THE CARNEGIE MEDAL

Reminiscent of the work of Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich, an astonishing collection of intimate wartime testimonies and poetic fragments from a cross-section of Syrians whose lives have been transformed by revolution, war, and flight.

Against the backdrop of the wave of demonstrations known as the Arab Spring, in 2011 hundreds of thousands of Syrians took to the streets demanding freedom, democracy and human rights. The government's ferocious response, and the refusal of the demonstrators to back down, sparked a brutal civil war that over the past five years has escalated into the worst humanitarian…


Book cover of A Woman Is No Man

Sam Dagher Author Of Assad or We Burn the Country: How One Family's Lust for Power Destroyed Syria

From my list on people of the Levant region.

Who am I?

Sam Dagher is a Lebanese-American journalist and author with more than 15 years of experience reporting on the Middle East and its people. He has lived in Baghdad, Beirut, and Damascus and worked throughout the region. Sam has been committed to telling the region’s stories from the ground up and in the process shedding new light on the root causes of war, extremism, and migration.

Sam's book list on people of the Levant region

Sam Dagher Why did Sam love this book?

In a 2019 interview with NPR, Etaf Rum—the daughter of Palestinian immigrants who was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York—said one of her struggles in writing the book was the fear that she was in a way confirming stereotypes about Arabs and Middle Easterners, including “oppression, domestic abuse, and terrorism.” Thankfully Rum overcame these struggles to deliver a courageous, beautiful, and incredibly authentic debut novel that follows the lives of three generations of Palestinian-American women trying to find their voices and identities within the confines of patriarchal and conservative milieus. In a way, the struggles of Rum and her characters mirror the battles that young people throughout the Middle East have been waging against tyranny and oppression since the start of the Arab Spring in 2010.

By Etaf Rum,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Woman Is No Man as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A The Millions Most Anticipated Book of 2019

"Sometimes heroism is loud and dramatic. Other times, it is daring to listen to that quiet voice within and having the courage to follow it. In this story, we see inside the lives of three generations of Palestinian women living in America, struggling and suffering to hear that voice. Etaf Rum has done a great service by sharing these voices with us." -Shilpi Somaya Gowda, New York Times Bestselling Author of SECRET DAUGHTER and THE GOLDEN SON

Three generations of Palestinian-American women living in Brooklyn are torn between individual desire and the…


Book cover of Silence

Ken Yoder Reed Author Of Both My Sons

From my list on time travel to transport to another time and place.

Who am I?

"There is no frigate like a book"—my grade school teacher, Mrs. Gundy, liked to quote Emily Dickinson as she encouraged us to read. I became a novelist because I found imagination has the power to transport a reader across centuries and perhaps national boundaries and into a character’s heart and soul. After growing up in the Mennonite/Amish culture of Pennsylvania I published four novels, three of them three historical novels that present that culture. What do I look for in good historical fiction? An unforgettable character and a good capture of the Zeitgeist, the spirit of the times in which that character lives. The five books I recommend all do that.

Ken's book list on time travel to transport to another time and place

Ken Yoder Reed Why did Ken love this book?

Japan’s Tokugawa Era was created by the first shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu, in 1603. Ieyasu withdrew Japan from international trade and relations and created a closed, feudal society.  For 250 years, the Japanese conducted international trade only with the Dutch and Chinese, and even then only in specially designated trading ports such as the manmade island of Dejima in Nagasaki harbor. Ieyasu also brutally suppressed Christianity and expelled European missionaries. 

Silence tells the story of a Portuguese Jesuit priest, Sebastiao Rodrigues, who is sent by the Catholic Church to Japan in 1639 to investigate reports that his mentor, a Jesuit priest in Japan named Ferreira, has committed apostasy and renounced the Christian faith. About half of the book is Rodriguez's written journal. Rodrigues and his companion Garrpe arrive in Japan to find the local Christian population has been driven underground. To ferret out these hidden Christians, government officials force suspected Christians…

By Shusaku Endo, William Johnston (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Now a major motion picture directed by Martin Scorsese, starring Liam Neeson, Adam Driver and Andrew Garfield.

With an introduction by Martin Scorsese

'One of the finest historical novels written by anyone, anywhere . . . Flawless' - David Mitchell

Father Rodrigues is an idealistic Portuguese Jesuit priest who, in the 1640s, sets sail for Japan on a determined mission to help the brutally oppressed Japanese Christians and to discover the truth behind unthinkable rumours that his famous teacher Ferreira has renounced his faith. Once faced with the realities of religious persecution Rodrigues himself is forced to make an impossible…


Book cover of From the Holy Mountain: A Journey Among the Christians of the Middle East

T.C. Kuhn Author Of The Byzantine Cipher

From my list on the longest empire in western history.

Who am I?

After my third visit to this part of the world, I decided to revisit the locales that had become engrained in my memories in the company of a character I had tentatively invented some years back who was in search of a time and place to emerge it seemed. As a retired archaeologist and amateur historian of early time periods I became fascinated with Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire, which lasted for a thousand years and has received so little attention in average history books and even college and public school teaching. Constantinople sat at the center of a unique and important world and deserves far more attention than we have often given it.

T.C.'s book list on the longest empire in western history

T.C. Kuhn Why did T.C. love this book?

Are you a fan of travel literature? If so, then you will be as amazed as I was to find this remarkable account. In the 1990s, the author, a noted travel writer, undertook a task that would be impossible to duplicate today for obvious reasons. Based upon the contents of a rare manuscript, he decided to trace the footsteps of two eastern orthodox monks who, in the Sixth Century, traveled through much of the Byzantine World, moving from one ancient monastery to another while describing their adventures. Tracing their route, the author relates in a witty, yet always respectful and well-written narrative the many obstacles he and his predecessors 1,300 years earlier faced. “The more things (and people) change the more they stay the same,” if for different reasons, and nothing can point that euphemism out better than this entertaining and informative book of a lost world and a time…

By William Dalrymple,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked From the Holy Mountain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the spring of A.D. 587, John Moschos and his pupil Sophronius the Sophist embarked on a remarkable expedition across the entire Byzantine world, traveling from the shores of Bosphorus to the sand dunes of Egypt. Using Moschos’s writings as his guide and inspiration, the acclaimed travel writer William Dalrymple retraces the footsteps of these two monks, providing along the way a moving elegy to the slowly dying civilization of Eastern Christianity and to the people who are struggling to keep its flame alive. The result is Dalrymple’s unsurpassed masterpiece: a beautifully written travelogue, at once rich and scholarly, moving…


Book cover of Breaking Busy: How to Find Peace and Purpose in a World of Crazy

Lida Citroën Author Of Success After Service: How to Take Control of Your Job Search and Career After Military Duty

From my list on success in a civilian life after the military.

Who am I?

I’m an executive coach, personal branding consultant, and reputation management expert helping global executives, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders manage how they’re perceived and drive towards ideal opportunities. A long-time passionate supporter of the military, I volunteer to help veterans transitioning to civilian careers. My work with veterans comes from gratitude for their sacrifice. I regularly speak at military installations, podcasts, and events on veteran transition and hiring, teach in the TAP program at the US Air Force Academy, and serve on the Board of Directors at Project Sanctuary, which focuses on healing military families. Since 2012, I’ve also been a writer for Military.com.

Lida's book list on success in a civilian life after the military

Lida Citroën Why did Lida love this book?

I loved this book! It’s easy to get stuck on being busy with many tasks and responsibilities, and not move forward in our lives and careers.

This book helped me learn systems to become more efficient (in life and work), identify what was holding me back from being more empowered with my choices, and recognize when to say yes, and when to say no. Leaving the military – where “no” isn’t as much of an option, this is a good skill for veterans to embrace.

By Alli Worthington,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Do you feel like you're living busily but not abundantly? Are you struggling to find balance in life? Have you ever felt like you've reached your capacity and just need a break?

Bestselling author Alli Worthington dismantles common happiness myths and empowers you to rediscover your God-given purpose. In ten succinct chapters, Alli breaks apart the sources of our stress and tackles major topics like relationships, calling, traditions, and decisions. With her trademark candor, practicality, and uproarious true stories, she will help you:

Find your peace in a world of worry. Find your rhythm in a world that's constantly overwhelmed.…


Book cover of The Book of Margery Kempe

Nicola Rose O'Hara Author Of Girl With Two Fingers

From my list on taking you where you can’t go.

Who am I?

I’ve chosen these books because they take me to times and places I can’t go (although I did serendipitously get to Kerala, and am hoping to go to the West Coast of America one day). Girl with Two Fingers takes you into the studio, hopefully as if you could have been there yourself. I want readers to be able to share something of the experience I was so lucky to have. And to be able to see perhaps more questioningly when they look at art.

Nicola's book list on taking you where you can’t go

Nicola Rose O'Hara Why did Nicola love this book?

You can’t go to the past, but the past can come to you, through a written voice. 

This is a strong and extraordinary woman’s autobiography from the late 1400s and early 1500s. It’s like taking a phone call from the 15th century.

This directness is what I wanted in my own book.

Kempe could neither read nor write, so she dictated her story. She did things women often weren’t able to do back then. She ran a business, travelled to France, Germany, Spain, and even to Jerusalem. And she spoke out against many received medieval opinions.

How brave Kempe was to challenge the patriarchy.

By Margery Kempe, Lynn Staley (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Kempe's work is accompanied by an introduction, a map of medieval England, a Kempe lexicon, and explanatory annotations.

"Contexts" collects primary readings that illuminate The Book of Margery Kempe. Included are excerpts from The Constitutions of Thomas Arundel, Meditations on the Life of Christ, The Shewings of Julian of Norwich, The Book of Saint Bride, and The Life of Marie d'Oignies by Jacques de Vitry.

"Criticism" includes nine varied interpretations of the autobiography, written by Clarissa W. Atkinson, Lynn Staley, Karma Lochrie, David Aers, Kathleen Ashley, Gail McMurray Gibson, Sarah Beckwith, Caroline Walker Bynum, and Nicholas Watson.

A Selected Bibliography…


Book cover of The Promised One: Seeing Jesus in Genesis

Scott LaPierre Author Of A Father Offers His Son: The True and Greater Sacrifice Revealed Through Abraham and Isaac

From my list on learning about Jesus Christ in the Old Testament.

Who am I?

I am the teaching pastor of Woodland Christian Church. I have been in ministry since 2007, preaching God’s Word an average of 1 to 3 times weekly. Because my ministry focuses on teaching and preaching, I study God’s Word for 20 to 30 hours per week, and I have developed a deep and rich understanding of Christ in the Old Testament.

Scott's book list on learning about Jesus Christ in the Old Testament

Scott LaPierre Why did Scott love this book?

This is a bible study by Mrs. Guthrie. She takes each of the ten weeks to look at Christ in a different way throughout the book of Genesis.

For example, she sees him as the agent of creation, the offspring who will crush the head of the serpent, the ark of salvation, the source of the righteousness credited to Abraham, the substitutionary sacrifice provided by God, the Savior to whom the whole world must come for life. Some of these are prophecies and some of these are types and shadows.

The book is focused on small groups and comes with a leader’s guide. Christ in the Old Testament can be used in small groups, but it’s just as fitting for personal study.

By Nancy Guthrie,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This ten-week study helps readers understand the book of Genesis through a Christological, redemptive-historical lens. Book 1 in the Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament series.


Book cover of Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food

Wendy Speake Author Of The 40-Day Sugar Fast: Where Physical Detox Meets Spiritual Transformation

From my list on overcoming food addiction with faith.

Who am I?

Before becoming an author, my career was as an actress in Hollywood. I stepped off of the stage and onto the page in 2016 and have never looked back. Telling stories about real life has allowed me to not only entertain but also encourage my literary audience. After writing parenting books I transitioned into devotionals and Bible studies for Christian women.

Wendy's book list on overcoming food addiction with faith

Wendy Speake Why did Wendy love this book?

What would happen if you started listening to your cravings instead of trying to silence them? If you’re tired of the same old messages of eat less and move more, this book is what you’ve been missing. You know “how to” get healthy… but now there’s finally a book to help you find your “want to” - the lasting emotional and spiritual motivation to meet your goals and stay healthy.

The reality is we were made to crave. Craving isn’t a bad thing. But we must realize God created us to crave more of him. Many of us have misplaced that craving by overindulging in physical pleasures instead of lasting spiritual satisfaction. New York Times bestselling author of It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way, Uninvited, and The Best Yes, Lysa TerKeurst, invites you to find the missing link between a woman’s desire to be healthy and the spiritual empowerment…

By Lysa TerKeurst,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What would happen if you started listening to your cravings instead of trying to silence them? If you're tired of the same old messages of eat less and move more, this book is what you've been missing. You know "how to" get healthy... but now there's finally a book to help you find your "want to"- the lasting emotional and spiritual motivation to meet your goals and stay healthy.

The reality is we were made to crave. Craving isn't a bad thing. But we must realize God created us to crave more of him. Many of us have misplaced that…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in torture, political prisoners, and Syria?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about torture, political prisoners, and Syria.

Torture Explore 40 books about torture
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Syria Explore 47 books about Syria