Which Book Should We Read from Saudi Arabia?


As always, I've included the flag of the country we're reading on the ballot box to the left. If you're curious about it, I've included some interesting Saudi flag facts at the bottom of this post. But if you just want to know about the books, read on.

5 members sent in Saudi suggestions so we chose 2 of the books randomly as shown here. However, 2 of the other books were on my long list of Saudi reads so I included them as my own suggestions. Thanks to all who sent in suggestions: Aisha Esbhani, Judy Tanguay, Karen Van Drie, Kayla Reynolds & Neha Mehta!

This month, you'll be voting on 2 works of literature, a memoir political in nature, a combo YA sci fi/fantasy/romance novel which was banned in Saudi Arabia & included for free on Kindle Unlimited in many countries now (great find, Mia!), & 2 works in a genre I didn't know had a name: epistolary. An epistolary is a novel written as a series of documents (e.g., letters, diary entries, blog posts, email, etc.).

Note: You'll notice a change to the Amazon book links included. Instead of a link to the Canadian Amazon site, I'm now including the Indian Amazon site instead because the number of Indian book club members has far surpassed Canada & a number of Canadians have noted that they don't use Canadian Amazon due to higher pricing.


You can vote until Fri., March. 23 11PM ET. (That's NYC time. See this converted to your local time below.)

Time converter at worldtimebuddy.com

To participate:

1. Review the books.

2. Then, click here to vote.

We'll publish the anonymous results afterwards so you can get the book in advance.

Bonus This Month: Interesting Saudi Flag Facts

When I was young, I used to manage a flag store along with 2 other smaller locations in 3 New Jersey malls so I find flags interesting. The Saudi flag is a unique one.

1. The green represents Islam believed to be a favorite color of Prophet Muhammad.

2. The Shahada (Islamic declaration of faith) is included in an Arabic script called Thuluth which reads, "There is no god but God and Muhammad is the messenger of God." (Religious inscriptions are popular with Arab governments because representational art is forbidden by the Muslim faith & calligraphy has thus become a highly developed artistic form.)

3. The sword underlines the importance of the Shahada. It also symbolizes the military strength & prowess of Saudi Arabia as well as its strictness in applying justice.

4. Due to its religious importance:

  • The flag is never flown at half mast.
  • The flag is not normally used on t-shirts or other items which is why Saudi Arabia protested against its inclusion on a planned soccer ball bearing all the flags of the participants of a prior FIFA World Cup. 
  • 2 flags must always be combined back-to-back together so that the sword always points to the flag pole & the writing can be read correctly. To that end, the normal flag cannot be turned vertically. There are special vertical flags made with the writing & sword pointed correctly, but these are rarely used.