2016 Middle East Reading Challenge


Join me in the 2016 Middle East Reading Challenge! The goal is to read books by Middle Eastern authors or the setting occurring in the Middle East.


You can read any genre and any age range. Crossovers with other challenges are fine. Any format that you choose is also acceptable. The challenge will run from January 1 through December 31, 2016.

I am not limiting the challenge to bloggers, you can link to a review you wrote on another site.

Mediterranean Sea: Read 1 to 5 books
The Red Sea: Read 5 to 10 books
The Arabian Sea: Read 10 to 15 books
Caspian Sea: Read 15 books or more

Please join me in the fun. Sign up anytime during the year by linking below. There will be a separate post for review links, both will be located in sidebar.


20 thoughts on “2016 Middle East Reading Challenge

  1. Reblogged this on thepocobookreader and commented:
    Mybookself has just started this fab new challenge for 2016 which I’m definitely going to get behind. I’m an avid reader of books from the Middle East and you can check out some of my reviews for some good titles. If you’re in London you can also find some great reads at the Alef book shop on Baker Street and Saqi Books in Westbourne Grove. Happy reading!


  2. Pingback: 2016 Middle East Reading Challenge Review Links | My Book Self

  3. Pingback: 2016 Middle East Reading Challenge | My Book Self

    • HI Jeremy,

      I suggest the following, I would hope you would enjoy at least 1. They all are memorable without a doubt.

      Stealth by Sonallah Ibrahim

      Cairo Trilogy by Naguib Mahfouz

      The Nightingale’s Prayer by Taha Hussein

      Story of Zahra by Hanan al-Shaykh

      Yalo by Elias Khoury

      The Bleeding of the Stone by Ibrahim al-Koni

      Cities of Salt by Abdulrahman Munif

      The Polymath by Bensalem Himmich.

      Journal of an Ordinary Grief by Mahmoud Darwish

      The Silence and the Roar by Nihad Sirees

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This challenge sounds great – I’ve just signed up! 😀 Do you have a Twitter hashtag for the challenge? I’ve added my Twitter handle to the linky for the moment, but I’m hoping to set up a blog to post my reviews! (hope that’s okay!) Do you take part in the Middle East/North African Lit group on Goodreads? 🙂


    • Wow Sarah, thanks for brining the Twitter hashtag to my attention. I never considered it, admittedly I’m not much of a Tweeter. Not sure how the hashtag works, enlighten me please. Yes I am a member of the ME/NA group on GR. I also lived in the ME for a few years. My three passions Russian, ME and African literature. I’m happy you are joining us. I have NEVER hosted a reading challenge so any input please feel free to bring to my attention. Should be fun. I wanted to let others participate that’s why I didn’t want to limit to bloggers only.


      • You’re welcome! 😀 Well, I’m quite new to Twitter myself, but I’m pretty sure hashtags help to spread the word. So, if we include the hashtag in our tweets, then they’ll be easier to find and of course, our tweets will be grouped together under the hashtag (if anyone searches for the hashtag or similar key words, then they will find our tweets). I hope that makes sense?! 😀 We could use #ReadMiddleEast or something like that! (Totally your choice, you’re the creator :-D) Oh really, where in the ME did you live? If I have any ideas, I will definitely let you know! What book are you starting with? I just finished reading Mornings in Jenin, have you read it? also, I’m so thankful for your map. I always get confused as to what countries are classified as the ME.

        So sorry for the late reply, I didn’t get a notification!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hello Sarah,

        My apologies for the delay in responding. Been trying to adjust to the work grind after the holiday long break.

        I like the hashtag YOU came up with soooo we’ll go with it. I will add it to the challenge post. Thank you for your help, this is my first time hosting, I can use all the help and input possible, again thank you.

        Sadly my reading has started off slow. Work has taken up much of my time and left me with little time to indulge in my book adventures. However, I should hit my stride soon, fingers crossed. To answer your question, I haven’t read any ME books….yet but this will change shortly. I have no idea what I will start off with, many great books to choose from. Will keep you posted. Mornings in Jenin sounds intriguing, I look forward to your review. I figured the map could only help, I’m happy you found it useful.

        I lived in Iran just short of 3 years. This was pre-revolution. A very enlightening time for me and my memories are very vivid. My experience there definitely added to my fondness of ME literature, of course I have always been a HUGE fan of world lit. Russian, ME and African among my favorites.

        Any other suggestions you have please feel free to share. Once again I’m sorry it took me forever to respond, thank for your patience.



      • No need to apologise! I hope you get back into your routine and return to your books soon 😀 I’m so glad you liked the hashtag 😀 I will definitely use it when I get to my next read. For another suggestion, we could all read the same book together sometime in the year? I hope you have a great week!


    • I’m sure you’ll be a great host!! 😀 I can’t take the credit for these ideas – they’re just things I’ve noticed from other challenges/book groups! 😀 x


  5. Pingback: 2016 Reading Challenge (Around the Web) | xxertz

  6. I don’t do challenges anymore but I’ve always enjoyed reading books set in ME. In Dec I read Fleeing the Hijab: A Jewish Woman’s Escape from Iran by Sima Goel. It’s a memoir and it left a lasting impression on me. It made my Best Reads of 2015 list. I also read The Dressmaker of Khair Khana by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon which was very good.

    If you like historical fiction, Harvest of Gold by Tessa Afshar is good and she has a whole series too. The YA trilogy Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little is great too.


    • Thank you for the suggestions Laura. This is my first go with challenges. I love Afshar’s books, and I plan on reading Fleeing the Hijab: A Jewish Woman’s Escape from Iran by Sima Goel, missed the review opportunity when you hosted the tour. Several people have recommended Forbidden trilogy, I must check it out. So happy you stopped by, thanks again for your comments and suggestions, greatly appreciated.


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