Dubai

Best Books to Set the Dubai Mood

Best Books to Set the Dubai Mood http://www.visitdubai.com/en/articles/books-on-dubai 20150907T022208 20161108T185832:636142283123211347 Heritage & Culture Once you’ve got through Jim Krane’s compelling Dubai: The Story of the World’s Fastest City, outlining the Emirate’s transformation from sandpit to global metropolis and the way Emirati culture has adapted to tremendous change, what’s next? Who better to advise than Isobel Abulhoul, director of the annual Emirates Airline Literary Festival, held each March. These are some of the titles Abulhoul says best evoke the real Dubai. Five good reads that best evoke the real Dubai.

Planning a trip to Dubai? It’s never too early to read up on your destination. Let some great books set the mood.


Once you’ve got through Jim Krane’s compelling Dubai: The Story of the World’s Fastest City, outlining the emirate’s transformation from sandpit to global metropolis and the way Emirati culture has adapted to tremendous change, what’s next? Who better to advise than Isobel Abulhoul, director of the annual Emirates Airline Literary Festival, held each March. These are some of the titles Abulhoul says best evoke the real deal.

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Arabian Sands, by Wilfred Thesiger

Penguin Classics

An English explorer considered one of the greatest travellers of the 20th century, Thesiger travelled across the Empty Quarter (covering some 650,000 sq km of the Arabian Peninsula, this is the biggest sand desert on earth). He admired and respected the Bedouin’s sparse and incredibly hard way of life. His account of journeying across the desert, and the stunning black and white photography, make this a must-read for anyone visiting or living in the Emirates.

in-article-mother-without-a-mask-patricia-holton


Mother Without a Mask: A Westerner's Story of Her Arab Family, by Patricia Holton

Cathie, Kyle Limited

Holton’s frequent journeys to stay with a Sheikha and her family in Abu Dhabi’s Garden City Al Ain allow the reader a remarkable insight into an often hidden side of society in the UAE. Hers is a warm and affectionate tale, which was inspired by two young Emirati boys who stayed with her in the UK while they were learning English.

in-article-telling-tales-julia-wheeler


Telling Tales: An Oral History of Dubai, by Julia Wheeler

Explorer Publishing

A BBC Gulf correspondent for a decade, Wheeler focuses on the folk history of the UAE by interviewing a series of nationals, selected by their job roles, such as banker, fisherman and policeman. It’s accompanied by atmospheric portraits by Paul Thuysbaert, and a personal take on the 23 interviewees’ lives.

in-article-the-wink-of-mona-lisa-mohammad-al-murr


Dubai Tales and The Wink of the Mona Lisa, by Mohammad al Murr

Motivate Publishing

These are two books of short stories – charming, funny and reflective, and Roald Dahl-esque in the tales’ surprising twists. Dubai-born al Murr is one of the foremost writers from the Emirates. He has published more than a dozen volumes of short stories, and these are two collections that have been translated into English.

in-article-the-pearl-driver-julia-johnson


The Pearl Diver, by Julia Johnson

Stacey International

Johnson, a well-known writer and former teacher who has lived in Dubai for more than 20 years, has crafted a classic children’s book, with beautiful watercolour illustrations by artist Patricia Al Fahkri. This captivating, award-winning story was written following interviews with an elderly pearl diver, and follows a six-year-old boy’s discovery of the wondrous world beneath the waves. Others in Johnson’s children’s portfolio include The Camel Who Got Away and Ubuntu: Summer of the Rhino.


Some more reading…

Uncommon: Dubai edited by Hind Shoufani

Uncommon Guide Books

Forget everything you’ve heard about Dubai and get ready to look at it through the eyes of the city's inhabitants. An eclectic bunch of contributors share words and images, usually reserved for diaries, to help you navigate your way around the city.


The Turtle Secret by Julia Johnson

Motivate Publishing

Drift away to the beautiful golden expanse of the desert with photographer Wouter Kingma, as he takes you on a journey across the emirate. His awe-inspiring images reflect the magic of the city – apparent in natural landscapes as much as in architectural marvels.


Dubai Aerial Tour by Wouter Kingma

Motivate Publishing

Drift away to the beautiful golden expanse of the desert with photographer Wouter Kingma, as he takes you on a journey across the emirate. His awe-inspiring images reflect the magic of the city – apparent in natural landscapes as much as in architectural marvels.


The Gulf Wife by Jocelyn Henderson

Motivate Publishing

Can you picture this metropolis without paved roads, luxury hotels, and shopping malls? British Diplomat Jocelyn Henderson has lived through it all since 1968. Walk down memory lane with her as she talks about her eventful journey through the sands of time.


Flashes of thought by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai

Motivate Publishing

A permanent fixture on the coffee tables in Emirati homes, this series of essays by Dubai’s ruler is an insight into everything from his personal inspirations to musings on football and poetry. It’s a rare glimpse into the life of the man who has made it all a reality.


The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is held each March under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, The Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

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