Jordan has had a revival over the last few years, as travellers head to Wadi Rum or Petra to explore this incredible country. I’ve always found that the best place to really explore a country is through its literature; reading to get a sense of the place before you even reach its shores. So, read on for a list of 7 books about Jordan, perfect for the plane ride or even while on a country tour in the land of tombs and temples.
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A Leap of Faith: Memoir of an Unexpected Life – Queen Noor
Written by King Hussein’s fourth wife, Queen Noor (Lisa Najeeb Halaby) this memoir talks about her life with the king in the 1970s-1999, which provides insights into Jordan’s very difficult time.
Pillars of Salt – Fadia Faqir
A Jordanian-British author who was born in Amman, Fadia Faqir is one of the country’s most famous writers. While she has written other acclaimed books, including The Cry of the Dove, it’s Pillars of Salt that is her most compelling – about two women in a mental hospital in Jordan.
Appointment with Death – Agatha Christie
Christie fans might not have thought about this one, but it’s set in Petra! Renowned character, Poirot, has 24 hours to solve a murder mystery in the ancient ruins.
Married to a Bedouin – Marguerite van Geldermalsen
A memoir from a New-Zealand born nurse who fell in love with a Bedouin hawker, and lived with him and 100 other families in a 2,000 year-old cave in Petra. A fascinating tale of love, life and sweet black tea, and one of the best books about Jordan.
Seven Pillars of Wisdom – T.E. Lawrence
Best known because of the film, Lawrence of Arabia, this book is based in Wadi Rum and outlines Lawrence’s time during the Arab Revolt in the early 1900’s. It’s a beautifully-written book about Jordan and one for the must-read list!
The Language of Baklava – Diana Abu-Jaber
This biography is a treat – written with great humour, documenting Abu-Jaber’s family life and also including a feast of delicious recipes that just jump off the page.
An absolutely harrowing work of non-fiction, it chronicles a woman set on fire by her brother, for having sex before marriage. The book is hard going because of the subject matter, but provides a balanced perspective on culture and religion in Jordan. It’s also slightly controversial since has been sold as non-fiction but seems to be fictional.
Looking for book recommendations in other countries? Head over to our Best Travel Books section, where we have the ultimate must-read travel books, selected by travel bloggers, and other articles to provide you with travel inspiration including the best books about Turkey, books to read before you go to Brazil and books on South Africa that you won’t be able to put down!
Read next: Looking for the perfect 7 day Jordan itinerary?
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