Khaled Hosseini’s Recommended Reading List
West Of Kabul, East Of New York: An Afghan American Story by Tamim Ansary
Tamim Ansary’s response to the 9/11 attacks sparked a worldwide discussion. He shares his personal experience of being caught between two vastly different worlds: Islam and the secular West. Ansary’s father was from Afghanistan, and his mother was American. His honest expression has become an inspiration for his generation and beyond, as he continues to be a voice for those struggling to reconcile their different worlds. His message resonates with hope for a brighter future.
The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
The Corrections is an American epic for the 21st century that speaks to the complexities of modern life. The story of the Lambert family is profoundly intimate and often hilarious. It is about deconstructing and reconciling one family’s crisis as their world seems to crumble from inside and out. Franzen expertly analyses the breaking point of family life in America in witty and sharp prose.
The Divan Of Hafiz by Shams al-Din Muhammad Hafez
Shamsuddin Mohammad Hafiz Shirazi, the 14th-century Persian poet, is one of Iran’s greatest poets. Exploring various themes such as love, ecstasy, despair, and introspection, his unique style incorporates Sufi mysticism, while the Persian tradition imbues every poem with the potential for sensual and mystical interpretations – inspiring us to explore the many layers of meaning within each verse.
Runaway by Alice Munro
One of the greatest Canadian short story writers, Munro gives a masterclass in sharp, realistic short story writing. Her characters feel living and breathing, and each page is imbued with the emotional turmoil of the women’s stories she tells.
The Places In Between by Rory Stewart
In 2002, Rory Stewart embarked on a journey across Afghanistan. He navigated through a country ravaged by war and divided by ideology and history. Following in the footsteps of the Mughal Emperor Babur the Great, he encountered the generosity and resilience of the Afghan people and their land, forging friendships and companionships along the way. Stewart navigates politics and history in poetic prose, providing his unique perspective on Afghanistan.
The Year Of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
Through her intimate confession, one of America’s most beloved and iconic writers reveals the year her life fell apart. In 2003, Didion saw her only daughter, Quintana, fall critically ill. Only days later, her husband, the American writer John Dunne, suffered a fatal heart attack. The Year of Magical Thinking conveys Didion’s vulnerability in her iconic frank style, and a heartbreaking story grips each page. Didion paints a starkly honest portrait of her marriage and life in the worst year of her life.
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám by Omar Khayyám
This book, crafted by 11th-century Iranian scholar Omar Khayyám, is a timeless literary gem that transcends its temporal origins. Overflowing with profound reflections on death, nature and pleasure, its influence on both the literary world and readers is immeasurable. Its enduring significance is exemplified by the fact that a translation of it was considered by one critic as the most eminent victim of the Titanic’s sinking, underscoring the book’s profound impact on literature. The Rubaiyat’s rich tapestry of insights continues to captivate minds and hearts, cementing its status as an enduring masterpiece that resonates across generations.
The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
O’Brien takes us on an introspective journey into soldiers’ lives during the Vietnam War. Through their stories, he shows us the weight of guilt, the power of fear and the physical and emotional burdens they carry. His honest portrayal of their struggles has become essential reading for all those seeking to understand Vietnam. O’Brien’s words reveal the enduring impact of the war on these soldiers but also the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity. Through the power of storytelling, he helps us navigate the complexities of life, including our own guilt and loss.
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Satrapi uses simple illustrations to convey a powerful message in response to the West’s dehumanisation of Iranian people. Her work covers major events from the Islamic revolution, fundamentalist regime, and Iran-Iraq war through the eyes of a child, empowering future generations with knowledge about the challenges faced by the Iranian people.