Reading list inspiration for travel
Books & eBooks
- Alexandria: A History and GuideView on Amazon The well-regarded English novelist turns his gaze to Egypt, narrating a unique journey through the mesmerizing city of Alexandria. By EM Forster.
- Ancient EveningsView on Amazon Dazzlingly rich, deeply evocative novel of ancient Egypt breathes life into the figures of a lost era: the eighteenth-dynasty Pharaoh Rameses and his wife, Queen Nefertiti; Menenhetet, their creature, lover, and victim; and the gods and mortals that surround them in intimate and telepathic communion. By Norman Mailer.
- Egyptian Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Goddesses, and Traditions of Ancient EgyptView on Amazon The author, an egyptologist at the Oriental Institute of Oxford University, provides invaluable insight into the cosmological worldview and religious beliefs of the ancient Egyptians. By Geraldine Pinch.
- Holy Image, Hallowed Ground: Icons from SinaiView on Amazon This excellent catalog created in conjunction with the J. Paul Getty Museum's exhibit on the subject offers insights into the first-rate icon collection at St Catherine's Monastery. Edited by Kristen M Collins; contributions from Thomas F Mathews, David Jacoby and Justin Sinaites.
- How to Read Egyptian Hieroglyphs: A Step-by-Step Guide to Teach YourselfView on Amazon Hieroglyphs will be a big part of any touring itinerary and this helpful guide allows you decipher passages and link them with the associated imagery. By Mark Collier and Bill Manley; illustrated by Richard Parkinson.
- Islamic Monuments in Cairo: The Practical GuideView on Amazon Cairo's Islamic monuments are part of an uninterrupted tradition that spans over a thousand years of building activity. No other Islamic city can equal Cairo's spectacular heritage, nor trace its historical and architectural development with such clarity. By Caroline Williams.
- Sahara: A Natural HistoryView on Amazon The sweeping story of the desert: its geology, its flora-fauna, and its people. Invaluable for any trips into the desert. By Marq de Villiers and Sheila Hirtle.
- Tales of the Marvellous and News of the StrangeView on Amazon Dating from at least a millennium ago, these are the earliest-known Arabic short stories. Resembling those in The Arabian Nights, these charming, surreal, baffling and beautiful tales are indeed both marvelous and strange. Illustrated by Coralie Bickford-Smith; translated by Malcolm C. Lyons.
- The Cairo Trilogy: Palace Walk, Palace of Desire, Sugar StreetView on Amazon The Nobel Prize-winning Egyptian writer’s masterwork is the engrossing story of a Muslim family in Cairo during Britain’s occupation of Egypt in the early decades of the twentieth century. By Naguib Mahfouz.
- The Tale of Sinuhe and Other Ancient Egyptian PoemsView on Amazon The Oxford scholar's new translations bring to life for the modern reader the golden age of Egyptian fictional literature, the Middle Kingdom (c. 1940-1640 BCE). The book's highlight is The Tale of Sinuhe, acclaimed as the masterpiece of Egyptian poetry, which tells of a courtier's adventures after he flees Egypt. Translated by R. B. Parkinson.
- The White NileView on Amazon The daring exploration of the Nile River in the second half of the nineteenth century, which was at that time the most mysterious and impenetrable region on earth. If you are curious about the complete story, you will also have to read the second book in the series, the Blue Nile. By Alan Moorehead.
- The Yacoubian Building: A NovelView on Amazon Drawing its title from the once-elegant temple of Art Deco splendor now slowly decaying in the smog and bustle of downtown Cairo, this controversial bestselling novel in the Arab world reveals the political corruption, sexual repression, religious extremism and modern hopes of Egypt today. By Alaa Al Aswany.
Articles & Academic Papers
- “Egypt’s 4,600-year-old pyramid of Zoser”View on TheGuardian.com Erected in Memphis, one of the world’s first purpose-built cities, the step-pyramid of Zoser is the oldest large-scale stone monument still standing. By Patrick Kingsley.
- “Egyptian Art in the Age of the Pyramids”View on MetMuseum.org A comprehensive, scholarly compilation of essays on ancient Egyptian art by a Met-assembled group of experts, spanning a wide range to subjects, from historical context to reliefs and statuary.
- “Kushari: Egypt’s Ubiquitous Street Food Specialty”View on TheAtlantic.com A quick, cheap mixture of rice, legumes, pasta, and tomato sauce is Cairo's vibrant, spicy snack of choice. By Maggie Schmitt.
- “Marooned in the Desert”View on RoadsandKingdoms.com The challenging conditions confronting Palestinians in Egypt. By Emily Crane.
- “Mubarak’s Last Breath”View on London Review of Books website An thoughtful review of Mubarak's regime and waning Egyptian influence in the Arab world. By Adam Shatz.
- “On the Square”View on NewYorker.com Were the Egyptian protesters right to trust the military? By Wendell Steavenson.
- “The Rise and Fall and Rise of Zahi Hawass”View on Smithsonian.com The long-reigning king of Egyptian antiquities has been forced into exile—but he’s plotting a return. By Joshua Hammer.
- “Trading in Souls: Inside the World of the People Smugglers”View on TheGuardian.com Abu Hamada, the kingpin of the Syrian smuggling network in Egypt, earns about £30,000 a week but sees nothing wrong in profiting from desperate migrants. By Patrick Kingsley.
Online Sources & Blogs
- Google Street View | The Pyramids of GizaVisit google.com Tour the greatest of Cairo's ancient structures.
- Reef Base | Egypt’s Red SeaVisit reefbase.org An excellent resource for detailed information on the region's coral reefs and reef fish.
- Timeline of Turmoil in Egypt From Mubarak and Morsi to SisiVisit NYTimes.com Egypt’s three-year experiment with democracy has ousted Hosni Mubarak and deposed Mohamed Morsi, the country’s first elected leader. Explore key moments of their rule and the aftermath..
- World Bank | EgyptVisit worldbank.org A great resource for the country's quality of living indicators, economy and climate change data.
- AkhenatenListen on bbc.co.uk Three academics discuss the Pharaoh Akhenaten, the ruler who brought revolutionary change to ancient Egypt. Richard Parkinson is an Egyptologist at the British Museum; Elizabeth Frood is a Lecturer in Egyptology at the University of Oxford; Kate Spence is a Lecturer in the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt at the University of Cambridge.
- Challenges and Imperatives for Egypt and the RegionListen on soundcloud.com Harvard Kennedy School Professor Nicholas Burns discusses the state of Egypt with Nabil Fahmy, the country's former Foreign Minister.
Just for Kids
- Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of ColorsView on Amazon Wonderfully illustrated, this book magnificently captures the world of Islam, celebrating its beauty and traditions for even the youngest readers. By Hena Khan and Mehrdokht Amini.
- National Geographic Kids: Ancient EgyptView on Amazon Kids will discover all they want to know about the mysteries of ancient Egypt and learn new weird, wacky, and fascinating facts as well. By Crispin Boyer.
- PyramidsView on Amazon Through concise text and richly detailed black and white illustrations we come to know the philosophy of life and death in ancient Egypt. By David Macaulay.
Who to Follow
- Twitter: Ahram OnlineFollow @ahramonline Ahram Online is the English-language news web site published by Al-Ahram Establishment, Egypt’s largest news organization.
- Twitter: Cairo 360Follow @Cairo360 The Definitive Guide to Life in Cairo, Egypt. All you need to know about the capital's restaurants, nightlife, arts & culture, cinema, events and more!
- Twitter: Patrick KingsleyFollow @patrickkingsley The @Guardian's Egypt correspondent, focussing on
#migration for the summer.
- Twitter: Zahi HawassFollow @ZahiHawass Egyptologist and Former Minister of Antiquities of Egypt and General Secretary of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.