Word Wonder’s TBR Expansion: MENAH Month Recommendations

Menah Month

Hello friends!

I know I haven’t really been keeping up with blogging the past month and I’m really sorry about that! But I’ll get more into that in my August wrap-up, for now, I am back with a list that’s near and dear to my heart. In case you didn’t know (how?) I’m North African, Moroccan to be more specific. So, in celebration of August being Middle Eastern North African Heritage Month (which, most of the world isn’t aware of) I decided I would make books with North African and Middle Eastern  main characters the focus of my recommendations post.
I knew venturing into this that the rep is pretty scarse, but I didn’t anticipate how frustrated I would get because of a couple reasons:

  1. I have just a little over 20 books on the list and only five of them are actually North African. @ Publishing, what’s up with that?
  2. WHERE IS MY MENA FANTASY? Fantasy books were a struggle to find and even then I only have five. So it’s safe to say I’m annoyed.

I will try to include content warnings for as many of them. The ones that I couldn’t find content warnings for will have a (*) in front of their titles.1Contemporary

Darius the great is not okay – Adib Khorram (Iranian)

CW: Depression, fatshaming, bulliying, relative has terminal illness.

Saints and Misfits – S. K. Ali (Egyptian)


CW: Sexual assault, death of a loved one, one aromisic comment (unchallenged)

Not the girls you’re looking for – Aminah Maé Safi (Iraqi)


CW: Dubious consent, sexual assault and harrassement, slut shaming, ableist language (not challenged), underage drinking

Down and Across* – Arvin Ahmadi (Iranian)


Kiffe kiffe, Tomorrow * – Faïza Guène (Algerian)


A land of permanent goodbyes – Atia Abawi (Palestinian)


CW: War, violence, death, depictions of torture and hanging, human trafficking, drowning, bombing, mention of sexual assault.

The Authentics * – Abdi Nazemian (Iranian by adoption)

Driving by starlight * – Anat Deracine (Saudi Arabian)

Ten Things I Hate About Me * – Randa Abdel-Fattah (Lebanese)


Does my Head Look Big in This – Randa Abdel-Fattah (Palestinian)


CW: Ableist language, islamophobia, fatshaming.

Here we Are Now – Jasmine Warga (Jordanian)


CW: Father and grandmother’s death.

My heart and Other Black Holes – Jasmine Warga (Turkish)


CW: Depression, suicide ideations, suicide attempt, bullying, survivor’s guilt.

The Map of Salt and Star – Jennifer Zaynab Joukhadar (Syrian)


CW: Attempted rape, violence, death.


Mirage – Somaiya Daud (Moroccan)


CW: Colonization, racism, gore, violence, torture, death

The Forbidden Wish – Jessica Khoury


The Final Six – Alexandra Monir (Iranian)

CW: Suicide attempt, death, drugs, natural disasters.

Historical fiction:

Hot Pink in the city * – Medeia Sharif

The Servant * – Fatima Sharafeddine (Lebanese)



Crescent * – Diana Abu-Jaber (Iraqi)



The City of Brass – S. A. Chakraborty (Egyptian)

CW: Death, blood, violence, assault, passing mention of rape.

The Queue*  – Basma Abdel Aziz

Historical Fiction

The Moor’s Account * – Laila Lalami (Moroccan)

Salt Houses * – Hala Alyan (Palestinian)

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That’s it until next time.

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.




11 thoughts on “Word Wonder’s TBR Expansion: MENAH Month Recommendations

  1. As I was scrolling through your list, I missed The City of Brass the first time through and had to go back and double-check. I was like, noooooo!!! But then I realized I’m just a goof and scrolled right past it, haha. Gosh that book is just too dang good.

    Also, I’ve had Saints & Misfits on my TBR for months now and still haven’t picked it up yet. My goal is to read it really soon though. I’ve heard such great things about it!

    Thanks for all of the recommendations, Fadwa!


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  3. As always, I appreciate your book recommendation lists! I am always on the look out for these to diversify my reading. It really is a shame this list is so small… AND that there are not more SFF MENA books.

    I have an adult book to add, or recommend. I remember taking a class in college that focused on Middle Eastern/ North African culture. The professor assigned the book Midaq Alley by Naguib Mahfouz. It is set in Cairo, Egypt. It has been a good 10 years since I read it, BUT I remember really enjoying the book.


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