Best Books To Read Before Going To Morocco

Best Books To Read Before Going To Morocco

When preparing to travel to Morocco, diving into its rich literary tapestry can be an excellent way to deepen your understanding of its culture, history, and people. From bustling markets to the serene beauty of the Atlas Mountains, Morocco’s diverse landscapes and vibrant culture have inspired numerous authors over the years. This comprehensive reading list aims to guide you through an array of captivating books that provide profound insights into the soul of Morocco. Whether you are interested in gripping travelogues, captivating memoirs, insightful non-fiction works, or thought-provoking novels, these books will undoubtedly enrich your travel experience by offering a deeper appreciation of Morocco’s multifaceted heritage and allure.

Travelogues and Memoirs:

1. “In Morocco” by Edith Wharton


“In Morocco” is a vivid travelogue penned by the esteemed American writer Edith Wharton. Her journey through the intricacies of Moroccan culture in the early 20th century provides a captivating narrative of her experiences in the imperial cities of Rabat, Fez, and Marrakech. Wharton’s acute observations and engaging storytelling offer readers a unique glimpse into the customs, traditions, and social dynamics of Morocco during a transformative period in its history.

Why You Should Read It:

Wharton’s elegant prose and detailed descriptions paint a vivid picture of the Moroccan landscape and its people. By delving into the nuances of Moroccan society and architecture, this travelogue serves as an insightful introduction to the country’s cultural intricacies, making it a must-read for those seeking a deeper understanding of Morocco’s past and present.

2. “Tangier: A Literary Guide for Travelers” by Josh Shoemake


“Tangier: A Literary Guide for Travelers” serves as a captivating exploration of the literary heritage of Tangier, a city that has long inspired writers and artists from around the world. Shoemake’s guide intertwines insightful narratives with historical context, offering readers a unique perspective on the city’s rich cultural and literary significance.

Why You Should Read It:

This literary guide not only illuminates the storied history of Tangier but also introduces readers to the works of famous writers who found inspiration in the city’s vibrant ambiance. Exploring the intersections between literature and the city’s physical landscape, this book provides an enriching context for understanding the cultural significance of Tangier and its profound influence on numerous renowned authors.


3. “The Caliph’s House: A Year in Casablanca” by Tahir Shah


“The Caliph’s House” is a captivating memoir by Tahir Shah, a British writer of Afghan descent, detailing his family’s relocation to Casablanca and their experiences renovating a sprawling mansion rumored to be haunted. Shah’s immersive storytelling weaves together Moroccan folklore, mystical tales, and personal anecdotes, offering readers a fascinating glimpse into the intricacies of Moroccan society and its mystical undercurrents.

Why You Should Read It:

Shah’s evocative storytelling immerses readers in the vibrant tapestry of Moroccan culture, unveiling the country’s deep-rooted traditions and supernatural beliefs. Through his encounters with local craftsmen, spiritual leaders, and everyday Moroccans, Shah provides a unique perspective on the country’s rich cultural heritage and the interplay between tradition and modernity.

4. “The Sand Child” by Tahar Ben Jelloun


“The Sand Child” is a powerful novel by the celebrated Moroccan author Tahar Ben Jelloun. Set in the backdrop of traditional Moroccan society, the novel follows the struggles of a young girl raised as a boy to fulfill her father’s desire for a male heir. Jelloun’s poignant narrative delves into themes of gender identity, cultural norms, and the complexities of familial expectations, offering a profound exploration of the societal constraints prevalent in Morocco.

Why You Should Read It:

Through the lens of a compelling and thought-provoking narrative, Ben Jelloun addresses critical sociocultural issues prevalent in Moroccan society. By delving into the complexities of gender roles and societal expectations, the novel provides readers with a profound understanding of the challenges faced by individuals striving to navigate cultural norms and expectations within a traditional Moroccan context.

Non-Fiction Works:

5. “Morocco: From Empire to Independence” by C.R. Pennell


“Morocco: From Empire to Independence” offers a comprehensive historical account of Morocco’s journey from an imperial power to its struggle for independence in the 20th century. Pennell’s meticulous research and insightful analysis provide readers with a nuanced understanding of the country’s complex political and social transformations, shedding light on key historical events and their lasting impact on contemporary Moroccan society.

Why You Should Read It:

Pennell’s well-researched narrative not only chronicles Morocco’s colonial past but also elucidates the intricate dynamics that shaped the country’s path to independence. By delving into the sociopolitical complexities of Morocco’s history, this book offers readers a comprehensive perspective on the country’s struggles, triumphs, and evolving identity within the broader context of North Africa and the Middle East.

6. “Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood” by Fatima Mernissi


“Dreams of Trespass” is a captivating memoir by the renowned Moroccan feminist and sociologist Fatima Mernissi. Recounting her childhood experiences within the confines of a harem in Fez, Mernissi offers a poignant reflection on the interplay between tradition, gender, and societal constraints in Morocco. Through her personal journey, Mernissi delves into the complexities of Moroccan family dynamics and the struggles faced by women within a patriarchal society.

Why You Should Read It:

Mernissi’s candid narrative offers a unique perspective on the intricacies of Moroccan family life and the challenges encountered by women striving for autonomy and self-expression. By intertwining personal anecdotes with insightful cultural analysis, Mernissi sheds light on the multifaceted nature of Moroccan society, making this memoir an essential read for those interested in understanding the sociocultural dynamics of gender and family within a traditional Moroccan context.

Suggested Reading Order and Tips for Access:

For those seeking a comprehensive understanding of Morocco’s cultural landscape, it is recommended to begin with Edith Wharton’s “In Morocco” and then delve into Tahir Shah’s “The Caliph’s House” to gain insights into the country’s traditional folklore and mystical beliefs. Subsequently, exploring “The Sand Child” by Tahar Ben Jelloun can provide a deeper understanding of the complexities of gender roles within Moroccan society. To gain a comprehensive historical perspective, readers can then turn to C.R. Pennell’s “Morocco: From Empire to Independence,” followed by Fatima Mernissi’s “Dreams of Trespass” to delve into the intricacies of Moroccan family life and societal constraints.

These books can be found at major bookstores and online retailers. Additionally, digital versions are available for those who prefer e-books or audiobooks. Public libraries and university libraries often stock these titles, providing an accessible avenue for readers to explore Morocco’s literary landscape.

In conclusion, immersing yourself in the world of Moroccan literature before embarking on your journey can enrich your travel experience by fostering a deeper understanding of the country’s cultural nuances, historical intricacies, and societal dynamics.

Each book on this list offers a unique perspective on Morocco, allowing readers to embark on a literary adventure that unveils the diverse facets of this captivating North African nation. Whether you’re strolling through the bustling medinas or marveling at the picturesque landscapes, these books will serve as invaluable companions, guiding you through the heart and soul of Morocco’s vibrant tapestry of life and tradition. if you are a women read about Morocco travel women, Happy reading and bon voyage!

Best Books To Read Before Going To Morocco FAQs

What are some essential books to read before visiting Morocco?

“The Caliph’s House: A Year in Casablanca” by Tahir Shah
“The Sheltering Sky” by Paul Bowles
“In Arabian Nights: A Caravan of Moroccan Dreams” by Tahir Shah

Are there any guidebooks that can help me navigate Morocco effectively?

“Lonely Planet Morocco” by Lonely Planet
“DK Eyewitness Morocco” by DK Eyewitness

Which books can provide insight into Moroccan culture and history?

“A House in Fez” by Suzanna Clarke
“Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood” by Fatima Mernissi

I’m interested in Moroccan cuisine. Any recommendations on books that delve into this topic?

“The Food of Morocco” by Paula Wolfert
“Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco” by Paula Wolfert

What are some books that offer a glimpse into the Moroccan way of life?

“Morocco That Was” by Walter Harris
“Moroccan Folktales” by Jilali El Koudia

Are there any literary works that showcase the beauty of Moroccan landscapes and cities?

“The Spider’s House” by Paul Bowles
“The Moor’s Account” by Laila Lalami

Can you recommend any travel memoirs related to exploring Morocco?

“Tangier: A Literary Guide for Travelers” by Josh Shoemake
“Married to a Bedouin” by Marguerite van Geldermalsen

I want to learn about the history of Moroccan architecture. Any suggested readings?

“Islamic Architecture in Morocco” by Henri Stierlin
“The Moroccan House” by Corinne Verner

Do you have any recommendations for books on Moroccan arts and crafts?

“Moroccan Textile Embroidery” by Isabelle Denamur
“Living in Morocco: Design from Casablanca to Marrakesh” by Lisl Dennis and Landt Dennis

I’m interested in contemporary Moroccan literature. Any modern authors you would recommend?

“The Happy Marriage” by Tahar Ben Jelloun
“Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits” by Laila Lalami

One response to “Best Books To Read Before Going To Morocco”

  1. […] Morocco, a land of vibrant colors, bustling markets, and rich cultural tapestries, offers an enchanting experience for the intrepid female traveler. From the maze-like alleys of Fes to the sun-kissed beaches of Essaouira and different Morocco tours, the country’s allure is an irresistible blend of ancient traditions and contemporary charm. While navigating this captivating North African gem, it’s crucial to embrace the culture and customs respectfully, ensuring a safe and fulfilling journey. In this comprehensive guide, we unravel the essence of Morocco, providing essential safety tips, highlighting top attractions, delving into cultural experiences, uncovering shopping treasures, recommending accommodation options, savoring local cuisine, and empowering women to embark on solo adventures with confidence and empowerment, for more help you could read Best Books To Read Before Going To Morocco. […]

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