The best books about Pakistan

Who picked these books? Meet our 39 experts.

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


Omar Rising

By Aisha Saeed,

Book cover of Omar Rising

Bridget Farr Author Of Margie Kelly Breaks the Dress Code

From the list on for kids that want to change the world.

Who am I?

I am an author and educator with a passion for justice. I once finished teaching a lesson on peaceful protest thirty minutes before the students at my middle school led a campus-wide walkout. Unlike me, who didn’t attend my first march until I was thirty, they were ready to speak up, following in the steps of the high schoolers from Parkland and the activists on Instagram. Born into the era of the Arab Spring, #MeToo, and Black Lives Matter, they saw the status quo as ripe for the challenge, their voices the anvil to topple it all. The books in this list will be inspiration for any young reader with this same passion for change.

Bridget's book list on for kids that want to change the world

Discover why each book is one of Bridget's favorite books.

Why did Bridget love this book?

This book is both the perfect mirror and window for young readers: it reflects back the typical challenges of adjusting to a new school and meeting the expectations of your family, while also opening up the world of private schools in Pakistan. Aisha Saeed weaves the cultural details into a familiar plot, making this book an excellent choice for building empathy and inspiration. I loved following the friendships of this group of boys who work together to find their place in their school, even when it means breaking the rules. 

By Aisha Saeed,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Irresistibly appealing and genuinely inspiring-a story that helps us to see the world more clearly, and to see ourselves as powerful enough to change it." -Rebecca Stead, author of Newbery Award Winner When You Reach Me

In this compelling companion to New York Times bestseller Amal Unbound, Amal's friend Omar must contend with being treated like a second-class citizen when he gets a scholarship to an elite boarding school.

Omar knows his scholarship to Ghalib Academy Boarding School is a game changer, providing him-the son of a servant-with an opportunity to improve his station in life. He can't wait to…

Looking for X

By Deborah Ellis,

Book cover of Looking for X

Mary Jennifer Payne Author Of Enough

From the list on unforgettable protagonists in urban settings.

Who am I?

Born the same year as Winona Ryder, Tupac Shakur, and Elon Musk, I’m a Toronto-based writer of novels, short fiction, graphic stories, nonfiction, and scripts for film and television. My YA books include the graphic novella The Lion of Africa, the supernatural, climate change-fuelled Daughters of Light trilogy, and the hard-hitting Since You’ve Been Gone. My writing gives voice to strong, diverse protagonists in urban settings who are dealing with seemingly insurmountable challenges. I’ve been a special education teacher for more than 20 years and my characters are often inspired by the amazing young people I’ve worked with. The cities in my work are living, breathing entities that shape the plot and the protagonist’s character.

Mary's book list on unforgettable protagonists in urban settings

Discover why each book is one of Mary's favorite books.

Why did Mary love this book?

The majority of my teaching career was in Regent Park, so the setting of Looking for X is particularly meaningful. Eleven-year-old Khyber is smart, savvy, and mature beyond her years. Told from Khyber’s POV, the story centers around the friendship she develops with X, a woman living in the parkette across from Khyber’s apartment building. When Khyber witnesses X being attacked a group of skinheads, the dangers faced by Toronto’s homeless population, especially those living with mental illness, become glaringly clear. The next day, Khyber is wrongly accused of vandalizing her school. X is the only person who can provide an alibi for Khyber, but she is nowhere to be found. In an effort to locate her friend, Khyber embarks on a a journey navigating the urban landscape of Toronto. 

By Deborah Ellis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner of the Governor General's Literary Award

In this urban adventure story, Khyber, a smart, bold, eleven-year-old girl from a poor neighborhood, sets out to find her friend X, a mysterious homeless woman who has gone missing.

The desperate search takes Khyber on a long, all-night odyssey that proves to be wilder than any adventure she has ever imagined.

The Miraculous

By Jess Redman,

Book cover of The Miraculous

Ellen Mulholland Author Of This Girl Climbs Trees

From the list on middle grade dealing with death, dying, and grief.

Who am I?

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been fascinated with life and death. As a child, my own life was fairly mundane and even joyful. However, I went through loss like most. We lost two dogs when I was maybe seven or nine. Then my beagle Suzy, who we had the longest, was struck by a car on a rainy day. A few years later, my grandfather passed from cancer. Watching my mother grieve stuck with me. It shaped me—how I cared about life, how I longed to understand it. Once I decided to write stories for children, I knew it could be a safe place to explore my hidden feelings.

Ellen's book list on middle grade dealing with death, dying, and grief

Discover why each book is one of Ellen's favorite books.

Why did Ellen love this book?

Eleven-year-old Wunder Ellis must regain his faith in the world after a terrible tragedy strikes his family. Through journaling miraculous stories and a chance meeting with Faye, a girl in a cape, Wunder finds healing and joy again. A beautiful and quirky tale that delicately and expertly deals with how kids see death and grief.

By Jess Redman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An Amazon Best Children's Book of 2019

In the tradition of heartwrenching and hopeful middle grade novels such as Bridge to Terabithia comes Jess Redman's stunning debut about a young boy who must regain his faith in miracles after a tragedy changes his world.

Eleven-year-old Wunder Ellis is a miracologist. In a journal he calls The Miraculous, he records stories of the inexplicable and the extraordinary. And he believes every single one. But then his newborn sister dies, at only eight days old. If that can happen, then miracles can’t exist. So Wunder gets rid of The Miraculous. He stops…


By Soniah Kamal,

Book cover of Unmarriageable

Chika Unigwe Author Of The Middle Daughter

From the list on re-imaginings of history, classics and myths.

Who am I?

I love reading adaptations of classics which complicate the original texts in interesting ways, I have just written one myself, The Middle Daughter. Transcultural adaptations, particularly remind us that we are all members of one human family, dealing with the same kind of problems across time and space and cultures. In these times of deepening polarization, it's important to see that there's more that unites us than not.

Chika's book list on re-imaginings of history, classics and myths

Discover why each book is one of Chika's favorite books.

Why did Chika love this book?

This is an adaptation of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice set in contemporary Pakistan.

I love Austen adaptations and this is one of my favorites. Funny, witty, and incisive, Kamal explores love, family, and the challenges women face in 21st-century Pakistan.

If you’re an Austen adaptation fan and you haven’t read this, you’re missing out. Also read if you enjoy brilliant storytelling.   

By Soniah Kamal,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“This inventive retelling of Pride and Prejudice charms.”—People
“A fun, page-turning romp and a thought-provoking look at the class-obsessed strata of Pakistani society.”—NPR

Alys Binat has sworn never to marry—until an encounter with one Mr. Darsee at a wedding makes her reconsider.

A scandal and vicious rumor concerning the Binat family have destroyed their fortune and prospects for desirable marriages, but Alys, the second and most practical of the five Binat daughters, has found happiness teaching English literature to schoolgirls. Knowing that many of her students won’t make it to graduation before dropping out to marry and have children, Alys…

House of the Sun

By Meira Chand,

Book cover of House of the Sun

Alison Jean Lester Author Of Lillian on Life

From the list on keeping it real about older women.

Who am I?

Literary agents often say they are looking for books about ‘quirky’ female protagonists. I’m more entertained by female characters who feel real to me. When I write, I make myself uncomfortable a lot of the time, trying to express the many ways people both disguise and reveal the truth. I blame my devotion to my parents for this because when I left home in Massachusetts for college in the foreign land of Indiana, studied for a year in China, then studied in Italy, then worked in Taiwan, then moved to Japan, and later to Singapore, I wrote them copious descriptive, emotional letters. My parents are gone now, but in a way, I’m still doing that.

Alison's book list on keeping it real about older women

Discover why each book is one of Alison's favorite books.

Why did Alison love this book?

The main character in this novel is really a community – Hindu refugees who fled Pakistan for India at the time of Partition and ended up in a Bombay apartment block called Sadhbela. Many South Asian novels mix tragedy and comedy beautifully, and what I love about this one is how Chand mixes this cocktail within her female characters; as usual, there is more to laugh about in the older women than in the young. Like Gardam, Chand sneaks moving moments of self-awareness into her colourfully flawed protagonists. I’m particularly enamoured of illiterate, superstitious (but nonetheless married to a retired journalist) Mrs. Hathiramani. 

By Meira Chand,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In March Saturn is coming into the House of the Sun. Saturn is strong and will bring trouble. [...] Wear a sapphire, then nothing can harm you, Bhai Sahib, the priest, warns Mrs Hathiramani, reading her horoscope in his temple on the second floor of Sadhbela, a Bombay apartment block.

Forty years before, at the time of Partition, the residents of Sadhbela were Hindu refugees from the rival towns of Rohri and Sukkur. In Sadhbela now these Sindhi exiles live as one family, fortunes drastically changed. Before blown out of the House of the Sun in a monsoon squall, the…

A Stranger Among Us

By Josip Novakovich, Ana Menendez, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Laila Lalami, Rashad Majid, Carolyn Alessio, Diane Lefer

Book cover of A Stranger Among Us: Stories of Cross Cultural Collision and Connection

Shauna Singh Baldwin Author Of The Tiger Claw

From the list on writers breaking cross cross-cultural boundaries.

Who am I?

I am a Canadian-American writer of Indian heritage, an award-winning novelist and short fiction writer, playwright, and poet. I grew up in Delhi, hearing stories from my maternal grandparents who were refugees during the 1947 Partition of India. So, as my work reflects, I’m drawn to stories of resilience in the face of cultural conflict, religious upheaval, migration, immigration, and displacement. My MBA is from Marquette University, and my MFA from the University of British Columbia. I am working on another novel.

Shauna's book list on writers breaking cross cross-cultural boundaries

Discover why each book is one of Shauna's favorite books.

Why did Shauna love this book?

The cross-cultural stories in this anthology are painful, funny, and heartbreaking. You’ll find famous and little-known writers exploring migration, immigration, othering, and otherness. We know these problems, but sometimes stories help us imagine alternate ways of solving them, making connections we can build from our common humanity.

By Josip Novakovich, Ana Menendez, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Laila Lalami, Rashad Majid, Carolyn Alessio, Diane Lefer

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Stranger Among Us as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Thirty acclaimed writers of international fiction explore the stranger in tales of cultural clashes and bonds. These stories of disparate experience travel beyond politics and multicultural manners to become an essential discussion of otherness. Contributors include Nathan Englander, Laila Lalami, Ana Menendez, Josip Novakovich, Wanda Coleman, Tony d'Souza, Samrat Upadhyay, Mary Yukari Waters, Luis Alfaro, and Amanda Eyre Ward, as well as other accomplished writers from Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, and Zimbabwe, some published for the first time in the United States.

Curfewed Night

By Basharat Peer,

Book cover of Curfewed Night

Andrew Otis Author Of Hicky's Bengal Gazette: The Untold Story of India's First Newspaper

From the list on non-fiction journalism and history in India.

Who am I?

As the author of Hicky's Bengal Gazette: The Untold Story of India's First Newspaper I have great interest in journalism and history in the Indian subcontinent. There are relatively few books that explore these topics in a narrative nonfiction way. It is my hope that this shortlist will help readers find a few good books to start with.

Andrew's book list on non-fiction journalism and history in India

Discover why each book is one of Andrew's favorite books.

Why did Andrew love this book?

An elegant first-person tale of loss and change in the Kashmir Valley. I compare this book to the feeling one gets when mist descends on a grey, foggy day, and old long-forgotten memories recur with a vengeance. Peer’s work is remarkable for his pristine and exact memory of events, starting in the troubled 1990s, and ending in 2005 with the forlorn hope of peace in Kashmir.

By Basharat Peer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Since 1989, when the separatist movement exploded in Kashmir, more than 70,000 people have been killed in the battle between India and Pakistan over Kashmir. Born and raised in the war-torn region, Basharat Peer brings this little-known part of the world to life in haunting, vivid detail..

Peer reveals stories from his youth as well as gut-wrenching accounts of the many Kashmiris he met years later, as a reporter. He chronicles a young man’s initiation into a Pakistani training camp; a mother who watches as her son is forced to hold an exploding bomb; a poet who finds religion when…

Malala's Magic Pencil

By Malala Yousafzai, Kerascoët (illustrator),

Book cover of Malala's Magic Pencil

Kathryn Erskine Author Of Mama Africa!: How Miriam Makeba Spread Hope with Her Song

From the list on fascinating people.

Who am I?

Technically, I’m a lawyer and pharmacy technician but I spend my time writing, mostly for kids. I'm inspired by a childhood in different countries as well as what’s currently occurring in our world. I delight in stories for all ages, believing that even adults can enjoy and learn from picture book biographies. At the very least, they provide jumping-off points for further research, and at best they inspire us to achieve the seemingly impossible.

Kathryn's book list on fascinating people

Discover why each book is one of Kathryn's favorite books.

Why did Kathryn love this book?

In Malala’s own kid’s eye view of the world, she tells how she yearned for a magic pencil, like the boy in a TV show she watched, so she could magically make the world a better place. One of the fortunate girls in Afghanistan who was sent to school because her parents believed strongly in education for women, she eventually realized she had that magic pencil already. Her words, her voice, could bring change. This is an empowering book for kids to see that they can make a difference in their world from one of the heroes of their time.

By Malala Yousafzai, Kerascoët (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Malala's Magic Pencil as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

** Shortlisted for the Little Rebels Children's Book Award! **

As a child in Pakistan, Malala made a wish for a magic pencil that she could use to redraw reality. She would use it for good; to give gifts to her family, to erase the smell from the rubbish dump near her house. (And to sleep an extra hour in the morning.)

As she grew older, Malala wished for bigger and bigger things. She saw a world that needed fixing. And even if she never found a magic pencil, Malala realized that she could still work hard every day to…

Days and Nights in Calcutta

By Clark Blaise, Bharati Mukherjee,

Book cover of Days and Nights in Calcutta

Peggy Payne Author Of Sister India

From the list on sensuous literature of India.

Who am I?

About thirty years ago, I spent three months on an Indo-American Fellowship in Varanasi taking notes on daily life in this holy city where my novel Sister India is set. That winter felt like a separate life within my life, a bonus. Because all there was so new to me, and it was unmediated by cars, television, or computers, I felt while I was there so much more in touch with the physical world, what in any given moment I could see, hear, smell…. It was the way I had felt as a child, knowing close-up particular trees and shrubs, the pattern of cracks in a sidewalk.

Peggy's book list on sensuous literature of India

Discover why each book is one of Peggy's favorite books.

Why did Peggy love this book?

Days and Nights in Calcutta is a fascinating dual view of the same time and place by a husband and wife, both highly esteemed writers. The couple has returned to her family home in the famously complex and crowded Indian city and this is the account-in-two-voices of their year there. His feels full of wonder and surprise; it has a sunlit quality. Hers feels full of intensity and concern; it is tightly wrought. The book shows me not just India, a place I love to see and feel, but the importance of everyone’s story and view.

By Clark Blaise, Bharati Mukherjee,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Book by Blaise, Clark, Mukherjee, Bharati

My Life with the Taliban

By Abdul Salam Zaeef,

Book cover of My Life with the Taliban

Phil Halton Author Of Blood Washing Blood: Afghanistan's Hundred-Year War

From the list on the War in Afghanistan.

Who am I?

Phil Halton has worked in conflict zones around the world as an officer in the Canadian Army and as a security consultant and has extensive experience in Afghanistan. He is the author of two novels and a history. He holds a Master's Degree in Defence Studies from Royal Military College of Canada, and a Graduate Certificate in Creative Writing from Humber College. 

Phil's book list on the War in Afghanistan

Discover why each book is one of Phil's favorite books.

Why did Phil love this book?

There are few books available in English that describe the Taliban’s point of view, not just of the war, but of the many years leading up to it. Mullah Zaeef was a senior member of the Taliban government before the US invasion, and he explains a lot of the thinking behind the Taliban’s decisions and policies. Perhaps more importantly, he tells his own life story, which makes those decisions relatable on a human level. A very readable autobiography.

By Abdul Salam Zaeef,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked My Life with the Taliban as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Abdul Zaeef describes growing up in poverty in rural Kandahar province, which he fled for Pakistan after the Russian invasion of 1979. Zaeef joined the jihad in 1983, was seriously wounded in several encounters and met many leading figures of the resistance, including the current Taliban head, Mullah Mohammad Omar. Disgusted by the lawlessness that ensued after the Soviet withdrawal, Zaeef was one among the former mujahidin who were closely involved in the emergence of the Taliban, in 1994. He then details his Taliban career, including negotiations with Ahmed Shah Massoud and role as ambassador to Pakistan during 9/11. In…

Imaginary Fred

By Eoin Colfer, Oliver Jeffers (illustrator),

Book cover of Imaginary Fred

Billy Aronson and Jen Oxley Author Of Melia and Jo

From the list on best friends.

Who are we?

Besides creating inventive best friends Melia and Jo, Jennifer Oxley and Billy Aronson created problem-solving best friends Peg and Cat, stars of Peg + Cat picture books and the PBS TV series which airs around the world. While creating those sets of best friends Jen and Billy became best friends themselves, brainstorming together, learning together, singing and dancing together, sharing pizza, inspiring and supporting each other, and laughing together many times a day. So yeah, they know a lot about best friends. 

Billy's book list on best friends

Discover why each book is one of Billy's favorite books.

Why did Billy love this book?

Can imaginary friends count as best friends? Totally. Imaginary Fred is a brilliant riff on imaginary friendship, told from the point of view of the imaginary friend. When imaginary Fred befriends non-imaginary Sam, the two have so much fun that Fred panics he’ll be replaced by a real kid (again!). But when real Sam brings home his new friend real Sammi, Sammi befriends Fred too…and her own imaginary friend Freida becomes Fred’s total B(I)FF! The book is quirky/funny, but really moving too. Everybody gets a best friend.

By Eoin Colfer, Oliver Jeffers (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An extraordinary collaboration between Irish Children's Laureate, Eoin Colfer, and picture book superstar, Oliver Jeffers!

Sometimes, with a little electricity, or luck, or even magic, an imaginary friend might appear when you need one. An imaginary friend like Fred...

Fred floated like a feather in the wind until a lonely little boy wished for him and found a friendship like no other.

The perfect chemistry between Eoin Colfer's text and Oliver Jeffer's artwork make for a dazzlingly original colour gift book.

The Raj at War

By Yasmin Khan,

Book cover of The Raj at War: A People's History of India's Second World War

Lucy Noakes Author Of Dying for the Nation: Death, Grief and Bereavement in Second World War Britain

From the list on civilians in war.

Who am I?

I have been fascinated by the Second World War since I was a child. I grew up with tales of London and Coventry in wartime, stories of family separation, rationing, and air raids. The stories that really gripped me included the streams of refugees passing my grandmother’s house in the suburbs of Coventry after that city was bombed, and the night my aunts and (infant) father spent waiting to be rescued from a bombed house in south London. As a historian I wanted to know more about stories like this, and about the ways that wars shape lives, and my books have returned again and again to the civilian experience of war.

Lucy's book list on civilians in war

Discover why each book is one of Lucy's favorite books.

Why did Lucy love this book?

It is all too easy to forget that when Britain went to war in 1939, it did so as the world’s largest imperial power. Khan’s book is a rich social history of India at war, telling us the stories of not only the soldiers, but the business owners, the peasants, the refugees, and the political activists whose lives were shaped by war in the Indian subcontinent. The flawed political settlement that brought independence and partition to India and Pakistan was born out of the Raj’s experience of war, and this book gives voice to those who experienced this most turbulent time in the region’s recent history.

By Yasmin Khan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Second World War was not fought by Britain alone. India produced the largest volunteer army in world history: over 2 million men. But, until now, there has never been a comprehensive account of India's turbulent home front and the nexus between warfare and India's society.

At the heart of The Raj at War are the many lives and voices of ordinary Indian people. From the first Indian to win the Victoria Cross in the war to the three soldiers imprisoned as 'traitors to the Raj' who returned to a hero's welcome, from the nurses in Indian General Hospitals to…

Savage Summit

By Jennifer Jordan,

Book cover of Savage Summit: The Life and Death of the First Women of K2

Roz Morris Author Of Ever Rest

From the list on high-altitude mountaineering.

Who am I?

When I was 10, my father quoted to me the line by Henry David Thoreau, that "the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." This scared me deeply. It became an enduring question. What makes us feel truly alive? I love stories that take us to these edges. I like to explore what we chase - love, adventure, ambition, art - and where it goes wrong. I’ve long been drawn to stories about people who climb the world’s most dangerous mountains, putting themselves through unthinkable ordeals in places that don’t care if we live or die. And what of their friends, families and partners?

Roz's book list on high-altitude mountaineering

Discover why each book is one of Roz's favorite books.

Why did Roz love this book?

A different mountain, and reputedly more deadly than Everest. The focus is on a handful of professional elite mountaineers, all women, and the different ways they achieve their climbing dreams, according to their personalities - from phenomenal physical grit to unashamed use of every feminine wile. Yes, it seems you can sleep your way to the top. You might think this sounds monstrous, but I found it incredibly human and moving, and afterward I searched YouTube for videos of these women, to see their actual faces, full of unstoppable life.

By Jennifer Jordan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Here is narrative nonfiction at its most gripping. Journalist Jennifer Jordan chronicled the individual stories of the five courageous women who have climbed K2, the most fearsome mountain in the world. Climbers call K2 "The Savage Mountain." It is not quite as tall as Everest, but it is far more dangerous, located at the border of China and Pakistan, in the deadly Karakoram range, which has the harshest climbing conditions and weather of any place in the world. Ninety women have climbed Everest, but only five female climbers have ever reached the summit of K2 alive. Three of these women…

Forgotten Queens of Islam

By Fatima Mernissi,

Book cover of Forgotten Queens of Islam

Elena Woodacre Author Of Queens and Queenship

From the list on queens and queenship.

Who am I?

Queens and queenship is a topic that has fascinated me since childhood when I first read about women like Cleopatra and Eleanor of Aquitaine. They ignited a passion to learn about the lives of royal women which led me from the ancient Mediterranean to medieval Europe, on into the early modern era, and has now gone truly global. I am particularly passionate to draw out the hidden histories of all the women who aren’t as well-known as their more famous counterparts and push for a fully global outlook in both queenship and royal studies in the works I write and the journal and two book series that I edit.

Elena's book list on queens and queenship

Discover why each book is one of Elena's favorite books.

Why did Elena love this book?

This book has rightly become a classic in the field and is a book I keep returning to for Mernissi’s fantastic insights into the particularities of queenship in the Islamic world and her fascinating examples of the agency of royal women. Mernissi’s passion for the subject, and for the wider history of women’s political agency in the Islamic world springs from the page, making this an absorbing read. A more recent work that builds on Mernissi’s book and is also highly recommended is Shahla Haeri’s The Unforgettable Queens of Islam - both Mernissi and Haeri make clear connections between royal women of the premodern era and modern female politicians today.

By Fatima Mernissi,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this extraordinary and powerful book, now available in paperback, Fatima Mernissi, one of the most original and distinctive voices in the Islamic world, uncovers a hidden history of women leaders of Islamic states stretching back over fifteen centuries.


By Samuel G. Tooma,

Book cover of The SOOF

Geza Tatrallyay Author Of Arctic Meltdown

From the list on climate change thrillers.

Who am I?

I have always been interested in the environment, ever since I studied Human Ecology under Professor Roger Revelle at Harvard. Several summer jobs in the Arctic with the Geological Survey of Canada gave me an early appreciation of what climate change meant for the polar region, and a more recent visit to Greenland brought the environmental devastation there more into focus. Also, having escaped from Communist Hungary in 1956, I have keenly followed Russia and its superpower ambitions, so it was natural for me to combine these two areas of interest into an environmental thriller. I am now writing a sequel, Arctic Inferno.

Geza's book list on climate change thrillers

Discover why each book is one of Geza's favorite books.

Why did Geza love this book?

This is the kind of book I love, based on deep knowledge of and research into the subject, with the construction of a highly, engaging, gripping plot. You get both learning and titillation. In this book, the lovely environmental scientist, Dr. Samantha Stone is tasked by the US president to lead a submarine mission with Captain Ira Coen to seek out and destroy “The SOOF”, a secret command and control facility in the Sea of Okhotsk built by renegade parties in the Russian military. The mission is fraught with danger, but its success is critical for both sides and the survival of the world.

By Samuel G. Tooma,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Dr. Samantha Stone, a civilian environmental scientist, is thrust into the middle of the male-dominated nuclear submarine world when the president tasks her to help plan a suicide mission in the Sea of Okhotsk. The objective: to locate and destroy a top-secret Russian command and control facility called the SOOF.

The SOOF has been built out of sight, under the waves and sea-ice canopy of the Okhotsk, to support a Russian military coup that has been in the works for ten years-a coup that is only the first step on the path to world domination. Critical to both sides, the…

I Am Malala

By Malala Yousafzai, Christina Lamb,

Book cover of I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban

Peter Martuneac Author Of Her Name Was Abby

From the list on with strong, admirable women.

Who am I?

I have an amazing daughter in my life, and I want there to be more books for her to read that feature strong, admirable, and good women in leading roles. That’s one of the things I keep an eye out for in the books I read as well as the books I write.

Peter's book list on with strong, admirable women

Discover why each book is one of Peter's favorite books.

Why did Peter love this book?

I was a United States Marine preparing to deploy to Afghanistan when the Taliban tried to assassinate the young Malala Yousafzai. Her crime? Daring to go to school as a Muslim girl. I’ve been inspired by her story ever since, and I feel a particular closeness to the things she stands for, like women’s rights in Muslim countries, because of my time spent in the Middle East. After seeing first-hand what life is like for women in Afghanistan, especially with the Taliban’s resurgence in 2021, it’s one of my greatest hopes that Malala’s mission is successful. 

By Malala Yousafzai, Christina Lamb,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 2009 Malala Yousafzai began writing a blog on BBC Urdu about life in the Swat Valley as the Taliban gained control, at times banning girls from attending school. When her identity was discovered, Malala began to appear in both Pakistani and international media, advocating the freedom to pursue education for all. In October 2012, gunmen boarded Malala's school bus and shot her in the face, a bullet passing through her head and into her shoulder. Remarkably, Malala survived the shooting.

At a very young age, Malala Yousafzai has become a worldwide symbol of courage and hope. Her shooting has…

Book cover of The Storyteller's Daughter: One Woman's Return to Her Lost Homeland

Steven Nightingale Author Of The Hot Climate of Promises and Grace: 64 Stories

From the list on by or about world-changing women.

Who am I?

The first person I ever trusted in the world was a high-school English teacher, a woman named Margaret Muth. She plucked me out of a trash-can, literally and figuratively. When I was seventeen years old, she told me: “Books will teach you. They will help you. Choose books the way you choose the risks you take in life: do it patiently, thoughtfully. Then give yourself to them with a whole heart. This is how you learn.” This is one sentence, from one teacher, given to a teenager of decidedly crude and primitive material—one sentence that changed his whole life for the better. Bless her. 

Steven's book list on by or about world-changing women

Discover why each book is one of Steven's favorite books.

Why did Steven love this book?

An extraordinary book by an extraordinary woman. Saira Shah recounts her journeys in Pakistan and Afghanistan, in the context of her upbringing in a family with deep roots in the region. She is on the ground during the rise of the Taliban and the fight against the Russian occupation, and the story is hair-raising, enlightening, revelatory, informed, and insightfully detailed. Ms. Shah went on to make the celebrated documentary Beneath the Veil, risking her life daily to shoot video during the first phase of Taliban control. Unforgettable, and indispensable for understanding Afghanistan.

By Saira Shah,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Imagine that a jewel-like garden overlooking Kabul is your ancestral home. Imagine a kitchen made fragrant with saffron strands and cardamom pods simmering in an authentic pilau. Now remember that you were born in London, your family in exile, and that you have never seen Afghanistan in peacetime.

These are but the starting points of Saira Shah’s memoir, by turns inevitably exotic and unavoidably heartbreaking, in which she explores her family’s history in and out of Afghanistan. As an accomplished journalist and documentarian–her film Beneath the Veil unflinchingly depicted for CNN viewers the humiliations forced on women under Taliban rule–Shah…

Moth Smoke

By Mohsin Hamid,

Book cover of Moth Smoke

Stephen E. Eisenbraun Author Of Danger and Romance in Foreign Lands

From the list on South Asia and East Africa to keep you awake.

Who am I?

From my days as a student in India in the early 1970s through my years in the U.S. Foreign Service with postings in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Kenya, as well as assignments to the India, Kenya, and Uganda desks at the Department of State, I learned something of the cultures of South Asia and East Africa and gained an appreciation for the peoples of those countries. During the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic, I had the time to write. I developed a novel that was part autobiography and part fiction, and most of which was set in South Asia and East Africa. The result is Danger and Romance in Foreign Lands.

Stephen's book list on South Asia and East Africa to keep you awake

Discover why each book is one of Stephen's favorite books.

Why did Stephen love this book?

In the early 1980s, when I lived in Lahore, Pakistan, and served on the board of the Lahore American School—an institution that catered to rich Pakistanis and expats whose commercial companies paid the high tuition—I talked to a fourth-grade class whose Pakistani teacher was a close friend. She alerted me twenty years later that one of those students had just published his first novel, describing the fast life of the affluent and often decadent Pakistanis who lived in mansions, partied till dawn, drank heavily, and engaged, it was rumored, in romantic liaisons with each other’s spouses.

Moth Smoke describes this life, with a main character who falls in love with a friend’s wife while losing his job and turning to the sale of heroin and hashish to survive.  Mohsin takes the reader through a bittersweet recounting of life in the fast lane in modern Pakistan, a life I observed for…

By Mohsin Hamid,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The debut novel from the internationally bestselling author of Exit West and The Reluctant Fundamentalist, both shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize

Moth Smoke, Mohsin Hamid’s deftly conceived first novel, immediately marked him as an uncommonly gifted and ambitious young literary talent to watch when it was published in 2000. It tells the story of Daru Shezad, who, fired from his banking job in Lahore, begins a decline that plummets the length of Hamid’s sharply drawn, subversive tale.

Fast-paced and unexpected, Moth Smoke was ahead of its time in portraying a contemporary Pakistan far more vivid and complex than the…

Book cover of Boy of Fire and Earth

Helen Grant Author Of Too Near the Dead

From the list on thrillers with a strong sense of place.

Who am I?

I write Gothic novels and short ghost stories, nearly always with a very vivid setting. One reviewer observed of my debut novel that the German town where it was set, Bad Münstereifel, almost felt like one of the characters in the book. For the last ten years I have lived in Scotland and much of my recent work is set here. I love to explore the derelict mansions that are dotted about the countryside, walk along the old railway line, or swim in the river. I'm fascinated by the way that traces of Scotland's history are visible in the landscape, and I write this into my books. 

Helen's book list on thrillers with a strong sense of place

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Why did Helen love this book?

I bought this book after reading Sami Shah's standout story "Reap" in the anthology The Djinn Falls In Love And Other Stories. It's set in Karachi, Pakistan, and follows the adventures of Wahid Hasain, as he attempts to recover the soul of the girl he loves, which was stolen by a djinn. It is a book full of horror and wonder, gore and lyricism, and I was glued to every single page. It brings Karachi to life in all its gritty glory: the traffic, the university, auto rickshaws, chai cafés, mithai shops, and lemon juice sellers. Shah peoples the city with characters like Badshah, the youthful 'King of Karachi', Kamran, the sadistic killer, and above all the djinn – many different types of them, from the vaguely pitiful to the outright terrifying. A read that will take you far from home. 

By Sami Shah,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

‘Sami Shah’s imagination is a place of wonder and terror’ Kamila Shamsie ‘Bold, compelling fantasy with a truly original setting’ Saladin Ahmed Born of a smokeless fire, and raised in Karachi, Wahid’s life comes apart when he loses the girl he loves to vengeful djinns. Setting out on a journey to recover her soul and find out the truth of his own origins, he is accompanied by Iblis, the Devil himself. Together, they traverse a city infested with corrupt cops and hustling beggars, and discover deathly creatures lurking under its sinister surface, even as the threat of Judgement Day looms…

City of Spies

By Sorayya Khan,

Book cover of City of Spies

Janet MacLeod Trotter Author Of The Emerald Affair

From the list on the British in India.

Who am I?

As a historical novelist, my passion is world history and the story of my own family. Having survived the First World War, my Scottish grandfather went to India as a forester and my granny followed him out there; they married in Lahore. I was fascinated by their stories of trekking and camping in the remote Himalayas. They lived through momentous times: world war, Indian Independence and Partition. Grandfather Bob stayed on to work for the new country of Pakistan. Long after they’d died, I discovered their letters, diaries, and cine films from that era – a treasure-trove for a novelist! – which have helped enrich my novels set during the British Raj.

Janet's book list on the British in India

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Why did Janet love this book?

As this novel is set in 1970s Islamabad, Pakistan and the ex-pats are mainly American, it’s technically not about the British in India. But the ex-colonial legacy is there to see: Pakistan was a creation of independence from British rule and is still being affected by geo-politics. I was gripped by the description of life in the Pakistani capital; an area where my grandparents had lived and worked and through which I had travelled in the ’70s. This coming-of-age story is told by teenager Aliya, (half-Pakistani and half-Dutch) who attends the American school. Not only are the tensions of identity well portrayed but also the growing unease between the communities after a traffic accident leaves a young boy dead and world events ignite further unrest. Fascinating and unusual historical fiction.

By Sorayya Khan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this intimate coming-of-age story set in the late 1970s, a young girl struggles to make sense of the chaos around her during Pakistan's political upheaval, where the military revolts, the embassy burns, and a terrible secret tears her world apart.

Eleven-year-old Aliya Shah lives a double life in Islamabad, Pakistan-at home with her Pakistani father and Dutch mother, and at the American School, where Aliya tries to downplay that she is a "half-and-half." But when a hit-and-run driver kills the son of the family's servant, Sadiq, who is also Aliya's dear friend, her world is turned upside down. After…