Do you love to read about a new country before you travel there?
Some people like to visit a country and be completely surprised, taking no expectations along with them for the journey. Others prefer to do their research and learn as much as they can about the country before traveling.
We have found that reading before travel is a great way to get yourself excited about the destination. It gives you a good base of knowledge about the country, so that you understand a little about how the culture works. Even if it is fiction, when you have read about specific places it is fun to see them in real life and imagine your favorite characters there or understand the historical context of the location.
Have we convinced you yet?
If you are the type of traveler that loves to read, then we have a few suggestions for your reading list before Morocco.
A House in Fez – Building a Life in the Ancient Heart of Morocco by Suzanna Clarke
In this book, Suzanna Clarke discusses her experience of buying and restoring an old Moroccan riad in Fez. She discusses the difficulties of finding craftsmen to renovate the house and the challenges that came with this endeavor, but shows her love for the city of Fez and the community that she and her husband found during their year there.
The Caliph’s House – A Year in Casablanca by Tahir Shah
Tahir Shah trades in London for the caliph of Casablanca’s old house, and discovers the adventures that come along with the territory. He is amazed to learn that the house is haunted by jinns, or spirits. Shah sticks out his time in Casablanca, despite the remarkable and sometimes bizarre experiences he has in the process.
In Morocco – Edith Wharton
In this book from 1920, Edith Wharton writes about her time traveling through Morocco as the guest of Hubert Lyautey, French Govenor General of the Protectorate. She writes about the interactions she has in Morocco and with Moroccan culture with deep description.
Dreams of a Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood by Fatima Mernissi
Fatima Mernissi writes this story about a girl who grew up in a harem in Fez in the late 1940’s. In this compelling story, she recounts what it meant to be in a harem based on some of her own memories and discusses issues of progression, gender and sex in the situation she was born into.
Alternate title: The Harem Within: Tales of a Moroccan Girlhood
The Secret Son – Laila Lalami
Of course, the most accurate descriptions of Morocco will come from Moroccan authors. Laila Lalami writes about a poor boy, Youssef who realizes that he is the illegitimate child of a rich businessman. He longs to spend time with his father, but becomes susceptible to the ideas of a Islamist extremist group.
Also by Laila Lalami: Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits
The Sand Child – Tahar Ben Jelloun
This 1985 novel is written by the first Maghreb winner of the Prix Goncourt award. He writes about post-colonial Morocco through a story told of Mohammed Ahmed, a girl who was raised as a boy due to the father’s desires.
Also by Tahar Ben Jelloun: The Sacred Night, This Blinding Absence of Light
If those weren’t enough, here are some more options for you to consider, as well as some from other genres.
Handful of Honey: Away to the Palm Groves of Morocco and Algeria by Annie Hawes
White Gold by Giles Milton
A Wedding by the Sea by Abdelkader Benali
Mother Comes of Age by Driss Chraibi
Morocco That Was by Walter Harris
The Last Storyteller: Tales from the Heart of Morocco by Richard Hamilton
Fodor’s Morocco by Fodor’s
The Rough Guide to Morocco by Thomas Hollowell
DK Eyewitness Guide: Morocco by DK
Lonely Planet Morocco by Lonely Planet
Culture Shock! Morocco: A Survival Guide to Customs & Etiquette by Orin Hargraves
Morocco: The Collected Traveler Ed. Barrie Kerper
Mourad: New Moroccan
Flavors of Morocco by Ghillie Basan
The Food of Morocco by Paula Wolfert
The Scent of Orange Blossoms: Sephardic Cuisine from Morocco by Kitty Morse & Danielle Mamane
We hope you enjoy these books! Let us know your opinions or your favorites. If you are looking for specific information on a certain subject – contact us!