The most recommended books about Baghdad

Who picked these books? Meet our 19 experts.

19 authors created a book list connected to Baghdad, and here are their favorite Baghdad books.
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What type of Baghdad book?


The Pride of Baghdad

By Brian K. Vaughan, Niko Henrichon (illustrator), Todd Klein (illustrator)

Book cover of The Pride of Baghdad

Marthese Fenech Author Of Eight Pointed Cross

From the list on demonstrating the fallout of religious conflict.

Who am I?

Frequent visits to my parents’ Maltese homeland from the time I was very young piqued my interest in the island’s opulent history. Life under the rule of the Knights of St John fascinated me most. The Maltese Islands lend themselves very well to literary descriptions—gifted with four compass points of natural beauty, the smell of the sea constant no matter how far inland one might venture, ancient temples that predate the pyramids of Egypt. It was during a pre-college trip to Malta in July 2000 that the idea to write a novel based on the Siege of 1565 took root, thanks to a visit to the Malta Experience in Valletta.

Marthese's book list on demonstrating the fallout of religious conflict

Why did Marthese love this book?

This powerful graphic novel illustrates—literally and figuratively—the many casualties of religious conflict. Set in Baghdad in 2003 and told from the perspective of a pride of lions, this book captures the struggle for survival, the loss of innocence, and the collateral damage inflicted by war. A clear allegory, this book has proven an excellent teaching tool. The Pride of Baghdad raises important questions about clashing viewpoints, loyalty, sectarian violence, the true price of war, and who, ultimately, pays it. Although narrated by four lions, the story offers a heartbreakingly realistic glimpse into Iraq during the US-led invasion, the consequences of which reverberate still. As I watch the terrible events playing out daily in Ukraine, my mind drifts back to this book, and I am reminded that past is prologue. We are witnesses right now. And may we all be on the right side of history.

By Brian K. Vaughan, Niko Henrichon (illustrator), Todd Klein (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Written by Brian K. Vaughn Art by Niko Henrichon In the spring of 2003, a pride of lions escapes from the Baghdad Zoo during an American bombing raid. Lost and confused, hungry but finally free, the four lions roamed the decimated streets of Baghdad in a desperate struggle for their lives. In documenting the plight of the lions, PRIDE OF BAGHDAD raises questions about the true meaning of liberation - can it be given, or is it earned only through self-determination and sacrifice? And in the end, is it truly better to die free than to live in captivity?

The Ambassadors

By Paul Richter,

Book cover of The Ambassadors: America's Diplomats on the Front Lines

David J. Dunford Author Of From Sadat to Saddam: The Decline of American Diplomacy in the Middle East

From the list on understanding how to fix U.S. diplomacy.

Who am I?

My passion is fixing our diplomacy. Relatively late in my career, I found a new home working with and for some of the Foreign Service’s most talented people. My assignments in Egypt and Saudi Arabia (during the 1990-91 Gulf War) led to my appointment as ambassador in Oman. After retirement I returned to Cairo to set up a regional multilateral development bank (we were unsuccessful) and later rebuild Iraq’s foreign ministry. I experienced the negative and frustrating impact of politicization and militarization on our foreign policy. Knowing we can and must do better motivated me to write From Sadat to Saddam and to commend to you the five books below.    

David's book list on understanding how to fix U.S. diplomacy

Why did David love this book?

Richter recounts the stories of four extraordinary professional diplomats who served post 9/11 and are role models for the diplomats of the future. Anne Patterson, U.S. ambassador in Egypt and Pakistan, worked for me briefly in Washington and Riyadh. I crossed paths with Ryan Crocker, U.S. ambassador in Iraq and Afghanistan, many times in Washington, Baghdad, and elsewhere. I met Chris Stevens once before he became U.S. ambassador in Libya. The political exploitation of his death was outrageous. I didn’t know Robert Ford, who resigned in frustration over U.S. policy toward Syria. They were sent to dangerous and unstable places. Diplomacy can be risky. They had to work closely were their military counterparts. They experienced the frustration of advising Washington politicians who lack both understanding and a willingness to listen. 

By Paul Richter,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Veteran diplomatic correspondent Paul Richter goes behind the battles and the headlines to show how American ambassadors are the unconventional warriors in the Muslim world-running local government, directing drone strikes, building nations, and risking their lives on the front lines.

The tale's heroes are a small circle of top career diplomats who have been an unheralded but crucial line of national defense in the past two decades of wars in the greater Middle East. In The Ambassadors, Paul Richter shares the astonishing, true-life stories of four expeditionary diplomats who "do the hardest things in the hardest places."

The book describes…


By Ted Chiang,

Book cover of Exhalation

Tom Mustill Author Of How to Speak Whale: The Power and Wonder of Listening to Animals

From the list on escaping into worlds of animal wonder.

Who am I?

I was first a biologist, working with endangered species. Then I switched and spent fifteen years making nature documentaries with people like Greta Thunberg and David Attenborough. Then a humpback whale breached onto me when I was kayaking, this led to a life-changing adventure culminating in my becoming involved in efforts to use AI to translate the communications of whales! I wrote about this for my first book. My great passion was always reading and in becoming a writer I get to go deeper and more playfully into my favorite parts of filmmaking – following heroic and fascinating people on their adventures, reading hundreds of complicated scientific papers, and finding ways to connect these.

Tom's book list on escaping into worlds of animal wonder

Why did Tom love this book?

I'm recommending this entire lovely collection of stories for the one called "The Great Silence". It is told from the perspective of an endangered parrot discussing the Arecibo telescope.

It was written as an installation to be played on the telescope. It's a short story but also an astonishingly punchy compressed non-fiction primer on animal communication, but most importantly it will make you cry and you will read it again and again and again.

By Ted Chiang,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Lean, relentless, and incandescent.' Colson Whitehead, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Underground Railroad and The Nickel Boys

This much-anticipated second collection of stories is signature Ted Chiang, full of revelatory ideas and deeply sympathetic characters. In 'The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate,' a portal through time forces a fabric seller in ancient Baghdad to grapple with past mistakes and the temptation of second chances. In the epistolary 'Exhalation,' an alien scientist makes a shocking discovery with ramifications not just for his own people, but for all of reality. And in 'The Lifecycle of Software Objects,' a woman cares for…

War Stories

By Jeremy Bowen,

Book cover of War Stories

Zahera Harb Author Of Reporting the Middle East: The Practice of News in the Twenty-First Century

From the list on the Middle East from a Lebanese journalist.

Who am I?

Arriving in the UK to pursue my PhD after a career in Journalism in my native country Lebanon, a few days before September 11, 2001, set me on a journey to put right the way my region and its people are represented in British and international media. The Middle East, the Arab region, Islam, and Muslims became the focal point of coverage for many years that followed. Most of that coverage had been tainted with negative stereotypes that do not speak true to who we are and what we stand for. Achieving fair representation and portrayal of ethnic and religious minorities have become one of my life passions.  

Zahera's book list on the Middle East from a Lebanese journalist

Why did Zahera love this book?

I have read this book years ago and till today I am still able to remember encounters Bowen had experienced and dealt with as a journalist and had cleverly brought it to life for his readers. He is one of those Middle East correspondents who got to study and know the region closely, not from afar, and hence reported on it accurately and with much-appreciated humanity. It is all reflected in his book. From Baghdad to South Lebanon, Bowen’s storytelling tells future journalists a story of conviction in seeking and standing up for the truth no matter the pressures journalists may face to act differently.

By Jeremy Bowen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Having joined the BBC as a trainee in 1984, Jeremy Bowen first became a foreign correspondent four years later. He had witnessed violence already, both at home and abroad, but it wasn't until he covered his first war -- in El Salvador -- that he felt he had arrived. Armed with the fearlessness of youth he lived for the job, was in love with it, aware of the dangers but assuming the bullets and bombs were meant for others. In 2000, however, after eleven years in some of the world's most dangerous places, the bullets came too close for comfort,…

Who Owns Antiquity?

By James Cuno,

Book cover of Who Owns Antiquity?: Museums and the Battle Over Our Ancient Heritage

Michael Findlay Author Of The Value of Art: Money. Power. Beauty.

From Michael's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why did Michael love this book?

Until read this book, I took it as a given that countries had a right to request the return of antiquities that ended up in (mostly) Western museums, narratives that are now making headlines in our anti-colonial present.

Cuno explains how complex this issue is ethically, legally and philosophically. Many of the peoples whose heritage these objects represent have disappeared or no longer occupy the countries in question.

Also for the sake of the objects themselves should they be studied and maintained and made available to a wide public in a museum rather than be returned to a corrupt government?

By James Cuno,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Who Owns Antiquity? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Whether antiquities should be returned to the countries where they were found is one of the most urgent and controversial issues in the art world today, and it has pitted museums, private collectors, and dealers against source countries, archaeologists, and academics. Maintaining that the acquisition of undocumented antiquities by museums encourages the looting of archaeological sites, countries such as Italy, Greece, Egypt, Turkey, and China have claimed ancient artifacts as state property, called for their return from museums around the world, and passed laws against their future export. But in Who Owns Antiquity?, one of the world's leading museum directors…

The Fist of God

By Frederick Forsyth,

Book cover of The Fist of God

Jay Bonansinga Author Of Return to Woodbury

From the list on thrillers that begin with a bang.

Who am I?

I am a veteran novelist who believes this over all else: The opening is everything. This has been my modus operandi as a storyteller for over thirty books, as well as a half dozen screenplays. I love a great opening. It is how a reader or viewer will subconsciously decide whether they will devote themselves to a story. It is the first kiss. The first shot over the bow. The ignition, the countdown, and the launch. It is the alpha and omega… because the beginning dictates the ending. Oh my, how I love the beginning! 

Jay's book list on thrillers that begin with a bang

Why did Jay love this book?

“The man with ten minutes to live was laughing.” Thus begins one of the greatest war novels by one of the greatest living writers of espionage thrillers. 

Frederick Forsyth’s epic story of the Persian Gulf War mingles fact with fiction, and never lets up its humming current of suspense. Incidentally, that laughing man was Gerald Vincent Bull, a real historical figure who invented a super-gun for Saddam Hussein. Not exactly the safest line of work. 

His assassination triggered a Rube Goldberg series of events that only Forsyth would have the… well… foresight to use as the first sentence in this violent, epochal tale. 

By Frederick Forsyth,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From behind-the-scenes decision making of the Allies to the secret meeting of Saddam Hussein's war cabinet, from the brave American fliers running dangerous missions over Iraq to a heroic young spy planted deep in the heart of Baghdad, Forsyths incomparable storytelling keeps the suspense at a breakneck pace.

Peopled with vivid characters, brilliantly displaying the intricacies of intelligence operations moving back and forth between Washington and London, Baghdad and Kuwait, and revealing espionage tradecraft as only Frederick Forsyth can, The Fist of God tells the utterly convincing story of what may actually have happened behind the headlines.

Thunder Run

By David Zucchino,

Book cover of Thunder Run: The Armored Strike to Capture Baghdad

Darin Pepple Author Of Dodgebomb: Outside the Wire in the Second Iraq War

From the list on the Iraq War without fake Hollywood nonsense.

Who am I?

Being an Iraq War veteran and former Army officer, I cringe at the prevailing Hollywood cliché that stereotypes everyone that served in Iraq as Special Forces with crazy PTSD or being some broken human being. It’s apparent that popular movies and books on this war were produced without any veteran input, usually done by authors completely unfamiliar with the military and this region. I wrote my book Dodgebomb to insert reality into the narrative—that most servicemembers were regular men and women who expertly fought jihadists, rebuilt this country, and tried to instill democratic self-determination while reconciling impossible political and strategic goals that muddled completing the job.

Darin's book list on the Iraq War without fake Hollywood nonsense

Why did Darin love this book?

This compelling history of the U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Division’s armored spearhead into Baghdad details the coup de main that broke the Saddam’s regime’s grip on Iraq. Rich with exploits of individual soldiers, tank operations, and combat this nonfiction work relates the initial success in the war when victory seemed obtainable in months not years. I thoroughly enjoy this history because it illustrates the early war’s events accurately without politicized narrative and details just how daring and complicated this decisive attack was. If more people read this history, then our society could remember and have a fairer discourse on the Iraq War.

By David Zucchino,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“A Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter provides a brilliant account of the harrowing drive into Baghdad by an American armor brigade.” —Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Based on reporting that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, Thunder Run chronicles one of the boldest gambles in modern military history: the surprise assault on Baghdad by the Spartan Brigade, the Second Brigade of the Third Infantry Division (Mechanized). Three battalions and fewer than a thousand men launched a violent thrust of tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles into the heart of a city of five million people—and in three days of bloody combat ended the Iraqi war.…

Book cover of When Baghdad Ruled the Muslim World: The Rise and Fall of Islam's Greatest Dynasty

Wayne H. Bowen Author Of Undoing Saddam: From Occupation to Sovereignty in Northern Iraq

From the list on the history of the Middle East.

Who am I?

My primary field in history is Spain, over which I have published six books. However, I became interested in the Middle East when the US Army deployed me to Iraq in 2004. Although I had taught the history of the region, experiencing war and reconstruction for myself, and spending time in Iraq, Kuwait, and Qatar made the Middle East come alive to me. I wrote Undoing Saddam, my war diary, during my Iraq tour. I followed up that work with a textbook on Arabia, articles on the Ottoman Empire, and plans for future projects on the region, both on its own and in relation to early modern and modern Spain.  

Wayne's book list on the history of the Middle East

Why did Wayne love this book?

Few cities in history have had powerful claims to be at the center of the world: Rome in the ancient world, Constantinople in the early Middle Ages, London in the late 19th century, and Washington during the early Cold War. To this we need to add another city: Baghdad from the 9th to 11th centuries. Not only was it at the center of the most powerful and united Islamic dynasty, it accumulated and created the greatest library and center for learning in world history. With an empire stretching from India to North Africa, the Abbasids were the hub for global trade, intellectual life, and military strength. This book tells the story of the dynasty and their capital, a remarkable city with incredible technology, religious dynamism, and tolerance for diversity. It’s a captivating story, well-told and deserving of more attention. 

By Hugh Kennedy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked When Baghdad Ruled the Muslim World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A "remarkable narrative history" (The Times) of the dynasty that ruled from Baghdad during Islam's greatest era The "golden age of Islam" in the eighth and ninth centuries was as significant to world history as the Roman Empire was in the first and second centuries. Islamic culture and enterprise stretched from Tunisia to India; its legacy influenced politics and society for years to come. From the founding of the city of Baghdad in AD 762 to the end of the ninth century, the rule of the Abbasid dynasty was the zenith of Islamic conquest and influence. The caliphs of Baghdad…

When the Apricots Bloom

By Gina Wilkinson,

Book cover of When the Apricots Bloom

Catherine A. Hamilton Author Of Victoria's War

From the list on inspired by heroic women from around the world.

Who am I?

As a native Oregonian of Polish descent, I was born in the small town of Sweet Home, Oregon. After finishing high school, I moved to Portland where I graduated from Lewis and Clark College with a Master’s degree in psychology. I spent twelve years as a psychotherapist, publishing over a dozen articles. After joining a writing group and trying my hand at fiction, my stories, articles, and poems have been published in magazines and newspapers—including Sarasota Herald-Tribune, The Oregonian, Catholic Sentinel, Dziennik Związkowy, and The Polish American Journal. My debut novel, Victoria’s War, won CIBA’s Hemingway Award for 20th Century Wartime Fiction and was #1 Best Seller on Amazon Kindle Unlimited in German Historical Fiction.

Catherine's book list on inspired by heroic women from around the world

Why did Catherine love this book?

Inspired by her personal experience living in Baghdad, Wilkinson writes a fascinating book that is breathtakingly beautiful and powerfully true! I chose this debut novel because it is about three courageous women who risk it all to help the next generation of Iraqis—Huda, Rania, and Australian journalist Ally.

The story carried me away to Baghdad, and I willingly went on an exotic adventure with these fierce females, where mud-brick huts dot the landscape. The suspense unwinds along the Tigris in the undying gritty winds, during a time when Iraq was cut off from the world by Saddam Hussein.

Can Huda, Ally, and Rania, help two teenagers whose lives are endangered by the regime? Read Wilkinson’s enchanting When the Apricots Bloom and find out for yourself.

By Gina Wilkinson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked When the Apricots Bloom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Breathtaking…Riveting and profound! I adored this book!” —Ellen Marie Wiseman, New York Times bestselling author of The Orphan Collector
“A deeply involving and important novel by a master storyteller.” —Susan Wiggs, # 1 New York Times bestselling author


In this moving, suspenseful debut novel, three courageous women confront the complexities of trust, friendship, motherhood, and betrayal under the rule of a ruthless dictator and his brutal secret police. Former foreign correspondent Gina Wilkinson draws on her own experiences to take readers inside a haunting story of Iraq at the turn of the millennium and the impossible choices faced…

Book cover of Thank You for Your Service

John A. Nagl Author Of Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam

From the list on the exorbitant cost of America’s War in Iraq.

Who am I?

I am a retired Army officer who served in a tank unit in Operation Desert Storm. After that war, I became convinced that the future of warfare looked more like America’s experience in Vietnam than like the war in which I had just fought. I taught at West Point and then served in another tank unit early in the war in Iraq before being sent to the Pentagon where I helped Generals David Petraeus and Jim Mattis write the Army and Marine Corps doctrine for counterinsurgency campaigns. I am now studying and teaching about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as a professor at the U.S. Army War College.  

John's book list on the exorbitant cost of America’s War in Iraq

Why did John love this book?

A sequel to The Good Soldiers, which told the story of an infantry battalion through some of the bloodiest fighting of the war during the “Surge” in Baghdad, David Finkel’s Thank You for Your Service follows the soldiers on their return to the United States. All are marked forever by the experience of combat; many have devastating physical wounds while others struggle mentally and emotionally with what they have seen and done at their country’s call. Life after war can be harder than life in war, and Finkel unpacks how and why with an unsparing but compassionate eye. This book should be read by every politician with responsibility for sending troops to combat—before they start America’s next war.

By David Finkel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Thank You for Your Service as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

No journalist is better situated to reckon with the psychology of war than New York Times bestselling author David Finkel. In Thank You for Your Service he weaves a masterly, compelling narrative out of the troubling stories of a US infantry battalion as they return home from Iraq and attempt to survive peace.

Finkel writes frankly and compassionately about the soldiers, and about their partners and children: the heartbroken wife who wonders privately whether her returned husband is going to get better, or kill her; and the heroic victims, with the fresh taste of gunmetal in their mouths, who will…

Frankenstein in Baghdad

By Ahmed Saadawi,

Book cover of Frankenstein in Baghdad

Alastair Bonnett Author Of The Age of Islands: In Search of New and Disappearing Islands

From Alastair's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Professor Geographer

Alastair's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Alastair love this book?

It only takes a few pages to know that you’re in safe hands. What sounds like a strange idea – a Frankenstein monster roaming the streets of occupied Baghdad – turns out to be both a perfect narrative device and political metaphor.

Assembled from the parts of people blown up by terrorists, soldiers and insurgents, our monster carries both the conscience and the guilt, the humanity and the violence, of a disassembled city. 

By Ahmed Saadawi,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

*Man Booker International Prize finalist*

"Brave and ingenious." -The New York Times

"Gripping, darkly humorous . . . profound." -Phil Klay, bestselling author and National Book Award winner for Redeployment

"Extraordinary . . . A devastating but essential read." -Kevin Powers, bestselling author and National Book Award finalist for The Yellow Birds

From the rubble-strewn streets of U.S.-occupied Baghdad, Hadi-a scavenger and an oddball fixture at a local cafe-collects human body parts and stitches them together to create a corpse. His goal, he claims, is for the government to recognize the parts as people and to give them proper burial.…

Book cover of How Europe Made the Modern World: Creating the Great Divergence

Dag Detter Author Of The Public Wealth of Nations: How Management of Public Assets Can Boost or Bust Economic Growth

From the list on how we as societies can thrive in challenges ahead.

Who am I?

I advise private and public sector clients on the unlocking of value from public assets. After a few years in investment banking in Asia and Europe, I was asked to lead the comprehensive restructuring of Sweden’s USD70bn national portfolio of commercial assets—the first attempt by a European government to systematically address the ownership and management of government enterprises and real estate. This experience has allowed me to work in over thirty countries and serve as a Non-Executive Director. Ultimately sharing the collective experience in two books written together with Stefan Fölster—The Public Wealth of Nations—which was awarded The Economist and Financial Time’s best book of the year, as well as The Public Wealth of Cities.

Dag's book list on how we as societies can thrive in challenges ahead

Why did Dag love this book?

A thousand years ago, a traveller to Baghdad, Constantinople, or China would find vast and flourishing cities of broad streets, spacious gardens, and sophisticated urban amenities; meanwhile, Paris, Rome, and London were cramped and unhygienic collections of villages. Europe was then a backwater. How, then, did it rise to world pre-eminence over the next several centuries? Having experienced China and its epic growth since being in Student in Shanghai in the early 1980s and then later as a banker, it seems there could be something to learn from history. Daly avoids the twin dangers of Eurocentrism and anti-Westernism, strongly emphasizing the contributions of other cultures of the world, as well as the vibrant and internal competition among cities and nations of Europe.

By Jonathan Daly,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How Europe Made the Modern World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One thousand years ago, a traveler to Baghdad or the Chinese capital Kaifeng would have discovered a vast and flourishing city of broad streets, spacious gardens, and sophisticated urban amenities; meanwhile, Paris, Rome, and London were cramped and unhygienic collections of villages, and Europe was a backwater. How, then, did it rise to world preeminence over the next several centuries? This is the central historical conundrum of modern times.

How Europe Made the Modern World draws upon the latest scholarship dealing with the various aspects of the West's divergence, including geography, demography, technology, culture, institutions, science and economics. It avoids…

Into Iraq

By Michael Palin,

Book cover of Into Iraq

Karen Gershowitz Author Of Wanderlust: Extraordinary People, Quirky Places, and Curious Cuisine

From Karen's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Travel fanatic Intensely curious Marketing consultant Mentor Professor

Karen's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Karen love this book?

Despite having traveled to 95 countries, I have never been to Iraq, nor am I likely to travel there in the near future. My images of the country mainly come from news reports of the war, which don’t offer much insight into what the people and place are like. Palin’s vivid writing, curiosity, and non-judgmental take on his experiences made me feel as though I was traveling with him.

In addition to his encounters with people, he provides historical context and a glimpse into what Iraq’s future might be. It is the best kind of travel writing.

By Michael Palin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In March 2022, Michael Palin travelled the length of the River Tigris through Iraq to get a sense of what life is like in a region of the world that once formed the cradle of civilisation, but that in recent times has witnessed turmoil and appalling bloodshed. In the journal he kept during his trip he describes the war-ravaged city of Mosul and the children he encounters growing up amid its ruins. He contemplates the graffiti-strewn ruins of Saddam Hussein's former palaces, and he notes the constant presence of armed guards. But there are patches of light amid the dark:…


By Ben Wilson,

Book cover of Metropolis: A History of the City, Humankind's Greatest Invention

Conrad Kickert Author Of Dream City: Creation, Destruction, and Reinvention in Downtown Detroit

From the list on the exciting life of cities.

Who am I?

Growing up in a Dutch city, I vividly remember witnessing the excitement of urban life through the windows of a streetcar, on foot, or by bike. Soon, I began to recreate this excitement by drawing maps of imaginary cities of my own. My small towns turned into entire regions, their streets coming to life as I closed my eyes. I essentially turned my childhood fascination into my job, as I now study, design, and teach students how to improve cities. Our best cities are places where citizens can interact with one another, overcoming social, economic, and environmental evolutions and revolutions. I never cease to be fascinated with the key to these everlasting cities.

Conrad's book list on the exciting life of cities

Why did Conrad love this book?

To understand cities today, you also have to understand why and how they were built to begin with. After all, our environment contains the materialization of previous decisions – we should know why those were made! Through the story of over a dozen global cities, historian Ben Wilson demonstrates how cities are concentrations of hopes, dreams, power, and conflict. While many great historians like Lewis Mumford and Stephen Hall have preceded him with excellently detailed urban history books of their own, this book stands out in its readability, attention to detail, and especially its coverage of global cities. After all, the urban future of most of the world lies beyond the Global North, and this broad survey shows the vast differences in urbanism between cultures.

By Ben Wilson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the Sunday Times bestselling author, a dazzling, globe-spanning history of humankind's greatest invention: the city.

'Brilliant...enchanting' Evening Standard 'Exhilarating' New York Times

The story of the city is the story of civilisation. From Uruk and Babylon to Baghdad and Venice, and on to London, New York, Shanghai and Lagos, Ben Wilson takes us through millennia on a thrilling global tour of the key urban centres of history.

Rich with individual characters, scenes and snapshots of daily life, Metropolis is at once the story of these extraordinary places and of the vital role they have played in making us who…

They Came to Baghdad

By Agatha Christie,

Book cover of They Came to Baghdad

Autumn Cornwell Author Of Carpe Diem

From the list on fish out of water travel books.

Who am I?

Squat toilets, profuse sweating, jumbo centipedes, ear nibbling—these are just some of the delights I’ve encountered in my global travels, which inspired my YA comedic adventure novels, Never Sorry Ever Jolly and Carpe Diem, which was published in the U.S., Germany, the Netherlands, and China. Carpe Diem was also nominated for numerous YA awards, chosen as a Book Sense/Indie Bound Pick, received a starred review from the School Library Journal, and according to The Washington Post: “This is self-confessed travel junkie Autumn Cornwell's first novel—and she's hit one out of the park.” Basically, I live my life as an adventure then write about it!

Autumn's book list on fish out of water travel books

Why did Autumn love this book?

I read and reread this suspense novel as a teen, wanting to live vicariously through Victoria Jones — a bored twenty-something working as a temp in 1950’s London, yearning for adventure. After being fired for the umpteenth time, Victoria impulsively takes a job as a travel companion for an invalid heading to Baghdad, where political intrigue bubbles beneath the surface of the city. When a spy unexpectedly dies in her bedroom, Victoria finds herself on the run, and must hide out in an archaeological dig in the middle of the desert. Plot twists and unlikely romance culminate in a rather clever ending. Agatha Christie’s own experiences on digs in the Middle East lend this book the distinct flavor of that time period. If only the role of “travel companion” still existed today — sign me up!

By Agatha Christie,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Agatha Christie's international mystery thriller, reissued with a striking new cover designed to appeal to the latest generation of Agatha Christie fans and book lovers.

Baghdad is the chosen location for a secret summit of superpowers, concerned but not convinced, about the development of an, as yet, unidentified and undescribed secret weapon.

Only one man has the proof that can confirm the nature of this fantastic secret weapon - a British agent named Carmichael. Unfortunately the criminal organisation responsible for the weapon's development will stop at nothing to prevent him entering Baghdad and presenting his proof to the assembled delegates.…

Paper Girls, Volume 1

By Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang (artist),

Book cover of Paper Girls, Volume 1

Amber Mosby Author Of Thunder and Lightning

From the list on strong female leads of color.

Who am I?

I chose these stories because as a Black woman, seeing characters like me in stories as the main character instead of the sidekick or friend is always so refreshing. Like the main characters of my own novels, Black women taking charge is something to be celebrated.

Amber's book list on strong female leads of color

Why did Amber love this book?

This group of graphic novels will take you on a time traveling, inter-dimensional, coming-of-age journey for a group of 12-year-old girls. I include this choice because of the versatility of the characters. It's easy for the reader to see themselves in any of the leads including Tiff Quilkin, a smart, video game-loving young woman from a mixed-race family. She learns a lot about herself as a Black woman, learns about what it means to have white loved ones in modern society, and learns about what she stands for as an individual. It is her quick thinking that helps the others navigate the future they are suddenly transported to and it is her prudent planning that gives the girls a way to escape when they are being hunted. 

As a whole, Paper Girls is an amazing series. The fact that a young Black woman plays an integral part in the story…

By Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang (artist),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Paper Girls, Volume 1 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang's Eisner Award winning series Paper Girls is coming Amazon Prime Video in July 2022!

From Brian K. Vaughan, #1 New York Times bestselling writer of SAGA, and Cliff Chiang, legendary artist of WONDER WOMAN, comes the first volume of an all-new ongoing adventure.

In the early hours after Halloween of 1988, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls uncover the most important story of all time. Suburban drama and otherworldly mysteries collide in this smash-hit series about nostalgia, first jobs, and the last days of childhood.

Collecting Issues #1-5 for only $9.99! "Along with Paper Girls,…