I hope that you pick up one of these books about Palestinian culture for your next TBR (to-be-read) and start to enjoyably make your way down the list.
Palestinian literature is an ideal way to #TravelFromHome or gain some background information before your next trip to learn even more about Palestinian people, culture and history. The collection of books listed below ranges from poetry, memoir to non-fiction and novels. We hope these stories can widen your worldview to include the complex, beautiful and diverse Palestinian stories.
Before the Next Bomb Drops: Rising Up from Brooklyn to Palestine, by Remi Kanazi
This powerful book of poetry focuses heavily on the diaspora outside of Palestine. Remi Kanazi’s insightful poems are a perfect display of intersectionality across the globe as he compares and examines the many different forms of oppression that exist not only in Palestine. So, if you are looking to understand more about why Palestinian rights are relevant to everyone who is struggling for justice around the world, then this is the right place to start.
The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine: A History of Settler-Colonial Conquest and Resistance, 1917-2017, by Rashid Khalidi
Rashid Khalidi is one of the leading historians on Palestinian history in the United States and his book will answer all of your history questions. His book documents the history of Palestine through the emergence of movements and important events while focused on providing a completely Palestinian viewpoint of the conflict.
Looking for Palestine: Growing Up Confused in an Arab-American Family, by Najla Said
As a daughter of the leading Palestinian scholar, Edward Said, Najla grew up confused and in-between two worlds. I really liked this book because it gives an interesting perspective on a young Palestinian/Lebanese woman who grew up in New York City and felt like an outsider for most of her life. In this book, you watch Najla grow into herself and find her place in the world which I believe is inspiring for any reader.
Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights, by Omar Barghouti
The BDS movement is growing across the globe and in order to understand the activism surrounding Palestinian rights you must dive deeper into this movement. Omar Barghouti writes about the origins of the BDS movement and makes a strong case for why it should continue to grow and gain traction for the sake of Palestinian rights.
Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement, by Angela Y. Davis
Angela Davis is well known for her work on prison and police abolition in the United States, so you might be wondering why she would write about Palestine. According to Davis, solidarity across the globe is necessary for true justice. In this short collection of speeches, you will learn more about the global connections between corporations and militaries and why this is harmful for Palestinian people and inhibits justice for all.
Men in the Sun and Other Palestinian Stories, by Ghassan Kanafani, Hilary Kilpatrick (Translator)
This collection of short stories from Ghassan Kanafani is a perfect glimpse into the expansive and creative realm of Palestinian literature. Throughout his stories, you will read about common themes among Palestinian history such as struggle, resilience, love and strength. This book is a must read for understanding Palestinian identity and culture through literature.
Orientalism, by Edward W. Said
Edward Said is one of the most famous Palestinian scholars in the world because of his book, Orientalism. This book takes a closer look at the dangers of “Western” perspective. Said argues that the orient or the other is one of the biggest problems today because it further divides our world and prevents those outside of the “West” to truly represent themselves. I think that this book is a must-read so that you can reframe your learning about Palestine and move away from less Eurocentric ways of thought as you work your way through this reading list.
Salt Houses, by Hala Alyan
Salt Houses is a heart wrenching yet stunning novel about a family’s troubles during the Six-Day War of 1967. The two main characters, Salma and Alia, are forced to leave their home in Palestine and then later, Kuwait. Throughout the novel, you follow the family’s constant journey on the road while they search for stability and peace. This book does a wonderful job of humanizing those trapped between the conflict and following the story of a family that survives on love and strength.