Skip to main content

9 books to satisfy your Moroccan wanderlust










9 books to quench your Moroccan wanderlust






In Essaouira, it's been cold and rainy all week, which means it's perfect weather to curl up with a good book and cup of mint tea!  As someone who is both always craving adventure as well as a voracious reader, I read books on travel like there's no tomorrow. While it's not always possible to travel (wouldn't that be nice!) good books allow me to live vicariously through the characters when I'm in between travels, they work to quench my constant wanderlust and culture curiosity, and help to better educate me on future destinations. Upon my decision to move to Morocco, I read anything and everything I could get my hands on in an attempt to prepare myself for the upcoming and unavoidable culture shock. While everyone's Morocco experience is different and there's simply no way to completely dodge culture shock, doing a lot of research on Morocco prior to making my expat journey helped immensely. 




In honor of the lovely Essaouira stormy weather, I've compiled a list of my favorite 9 books on Morocco to share with you guys. These are not only books that I personally recommend, but books you can find in my collection that I often lend out, or re-read from time to time. 




Grab a cup of coffee and get ready to start your Wanderlust journey, here are my favorite books on Morocco









In the tradition of A Year in Provence and Under the Tuscan Sun, acclaimed English travel writer Tahir Shah shares a highly entertaining account of making an exotic dream come true. By turns hilarious and harrowing, here is the story of his family’s move from the gray skies of London to the sun-drenched city of Casablanca, where Islamic tradition and African folklore converge–and nothing is as easy as it seems….

Inspired by the Moroccan vacations of his childhood, Tahir Shah dreamed of making a home in that astonishing country. At age thirty-six he got his chance. Investing what money he and his wife, Rachana, had, Tahir packed up his growing family and bought Dar Khalifa, a crumbling ruin of a mansion by the sea in Casablanca that once belonged to the city’s caliph, or spiritual leader.

With its lush grounds, cool, secluded courtyards, and relaxed pace, life at Dar Khalifa seems sure to fulfill Tahir’s fantasy–until he discovers that in many ways he is farther from home than he imagined. For in Morocco an empty house is thought to attract jinns, invisible spirits unique to the Islamic world. The ardent belief in their presence greatly hampers sleep and renovation plans, but that is just the beginning. From elaborate exorcism rituals involving sacrificial goats to dealing with gangster neighbors intent on stealing their property, the Shahs must cope with a new culture and all that comes with it. 

Endlessly enthralling, The Caliph’s House charts a year in the life of one family who takes a tremendous gamble. As we follow Tahir on his travels throughout the kingdom, from Tangier to Marrakech to the Sahara, we discover a world of fierce contrasts that any true adventurer would be thrilled to call home.


 
A House in Fez: Building a Life in the Ancient Heart of Morocco

The Medina -- the Old City -- of Fez is the best-preserved, medieval walled city in the world. Inside this vibrant Moroccan community, internet cafes and mobile phones coexist with a maze of donkey-trod alleyways, thousand-year-old sewer systems, and Arab-style houses, gorgeous with intricate, if often shabby, mosaic work. 

While vacationing in Morocco, Suzanna Clarke and her husband, Sandy, are inspired to buy a dilapidated, centuries-old riad in Fez with the aim of restoring it to its original splendor, using only traditional craftsmen and handmade materials. So begins a remarkable adventure that is bewildering, at times hilarious, and ultimately immensely rewarding. 

A House in Fez chronicles their meticulous restoration, but it is also a journey into Moroccan customs and lore and a window into the lives of its people as friendships blossom. When the riad is finally returned to its former glory, Suzanna finds she has not just restored an old house, but also her soul.



Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits

The book begins as four Moroccans illegally cross the Strait of Gibraltar in an inflatable boat headed for Spain. There’s Murad, a gentle, educated man who’s been reduced to hustling tourists around Tangier; Halima, who’s fleeing her drunken husband and the slums of Casablanca; Aziz, who must leave behind his devoted wife to find work in Spain; and Faten, a student and religious fanatic whose faith is at odds with an influential man determined to destroy her future. 

 What has driven these men and women to risk their lives? And will the rewards prove to be worth the danger? Sensitively written with beauty and boldness, this is a grip­ping book about people in search of a better future.



 

Winner of the 1981 Nobel Prize for Literature, Elias Canetti uncovers the secret life hidden beneath Marrakesh’s bewildering array of voices, gestures and faces. In a series of sharply etched scenes, he portrays the languages and cultures of the people who fill its bazaars, cafes, and streets. The book presents vivid images of daily life: the storytellers in the Djema el Fna, the armies of beggars ready to set upon the unwary, and the rituals of Moroccan family life. This is Marrakesh -described by one of Europe’s major literary intellects in an account lauded as "cosmopolitan in the tradition of Goethe" by the New York Times. "A unique travel book," according to John Bayley of the London Review of Books.


   


 

In Leaving Tangier, award-winning, internationally bestselling author Tahar Ben Jelloun tells the story of a Moroccan brother and sister making new lives for themselves in Spain. Azel is a young man in Tangier who dreams of crossing the Strait of Gibraltar. When he meets Miguel, a wealthy Spaniard, he leaves behind his girlfriend, his sister, Kenza, and his mother, and moves with him to Barcelona, where Kenza eventually joins them. What they find there forms the heart of this novel of seduction and betrayal, deception and disillusionment, in which Azel and Kenza are reminded powerfully not only of where they've come from, but also of who they really are.




 

Marrakech is the heart and lifeblood of Morocco's ancient storytelling tradition. For nearly a thousand years, storytellers have gathered in the Jemaa el Fna, the legendary square of the city, to recount ancient folktales and fables to rapt audiences. But this unique chain of oral tradition that has passed seamlessly from generation to generation is teetering on the brink of extinction. The competing distractions of television, movies and the internet have drawn the crowds away from the storytellers and few have the desire to learn the stories and continue their legacy. Richard Hamilton has witnessed at first hand the death throes of this rich and captivating tradition and, in the labyrinth of the Marrakech medina, has tracked down the last few remaining storytellers, recording stories that are replete with the mysteries and beauty of the Maghreb.


 

Morocco: Ancient cities, adobe fortresses of centuries past, fertile plains of wheat and olives, carpets of wildflowers, endless deserts, wild mountains, and isolated rural villages. And of course, the fabled open-air markets framed with stacks of woven rugs and other handicrafts, exotic scents wafting through the aisles, the hum of Arabic, Berber, French. Within this diverse land and confluence of cultures, many rich and ancient craft traditions carry on—women spin and weave, make buttons, embroider designs passed down through generations, and sew stunning native costumes. Women Artisans of Morocco tells the stories of twenty-five women who practice these textile traditions with an inspiring energy, pride, and fortitude. For the first time, we have a book that focuses on the artisans of Morocco themselves, those who produce these beautiful textiles that contribute substantially to their family's income while maintaining households and raising children.
You will step into the lives of these Moroccan women artisans and gain an appreciation for their artistic skills and ingenuity but also for their strong roles in this supposedly male-dominated society, their fierce independence and determination as they work to improve their economic livelihoods. You will be welcomed into their homes in rural Berber villages, in bustling cities, and in a remarkable desert oasis. You will begin to learn truly what it is like to live as a woman in Morocco and to be part of a rapidly changing society. Most of the women presented here are rug weavers whose ancient skills and designs vary from region to region. You will also meet Fes embroidery artists, women who needle-weave buttons that have decorated native costumes for centuries, and a contemporary seamstress. Joe Coca’s award-winning photography, guided by his curious and reverent sensibility, captures the beauty of the women, their work, and Morocco.



Arabian Nights in contemporary Morocco

Though it lies just across the Mediterranean from Europe, barely a stone’s throw from Spain’s southernmost tip, Morocco couldn’t possibly be farther away.

With its mountainous and desert landscapes, labyrinthine souks, delectable cuisine, exquisite rugs and textiles, vibrant mosaics, fragrant odors, mesmerizing music, and welcoming people, Morocco is a most alluring and tantalizingly exotic destination. Digging a little deeper into the myth of Morocco, Barbara and RenĂ© Stoeltie bring us this eclectic selection of homes to demonstrate all that is most wonderful about the Moroccan style: from tiled, turquoise swimming pools and lavish gardens to carved wooden furniture and jade-colored marble fountains.

With more than 500 pages featuring brand new, unpublished photographs, flipping through these fairy tale–like visions of exotic havens (ideally while sipping a steaming cup of sweet, fragrant mint tea) will instantly whisk you away. 




In 1894, on the eve of the French conquest of Morocco, a young Muslim mystic named Muhammad al-Kattani decided to abandon his life of asceticism to preach Islamic revival and jihad against the French. Ten years later, al-Kattani mobilized a socially diverse coalition of Moroccans who called for resistance against French colonization.
In 1909, he met a violent death at the hands of the same Moroccan anti-colonialists he had empowered through his activism. Today, the government of Morocco regards al-Kattani’s story as subversive, and he has virtually disappeared from the narratives of the early Moroccan anti-colonialism and nationalism. Despite this silencing, al-Kattani’s remarkable personal transformation and sacrifice is at the heart of the events that, although ultimately failing to prevent French rule, gave birth to Moroccan nationalism and to modern concepts of Moroccan political power and authority.
Forgotten Saints draws on a diverse collection of previously unknown primary sources to narrate the vivid story of al-Kattani and his virtual disappearance from accounts of modern Moroccan history.




These books not only celebrate Moroccan culture and give both current and historical perspectives, they transport you to Morocco from the comfort of your own home. If you liked this post, please let me know in the comments! 



*This post contains affiliate links, which allow me to receive a small comission at absolutely no cost to you.



















Comments

  1. I dream of moving far away so think i could relate to In Arabian Nights: A Caravan of Moroccan Dreams

    ReplyDelete
  2. Id love to read Women Artisans of Morocco: Their Stories, Their Lives. It looks like it gives insight as to how they live.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Scents of Morocco: Yves Rocher Comme Une Evidence Review and Giveway

Scents of Morocco: Yves Rocher Comme Une Evidence Review and Giveaway
Scents of Morocco:



Yves Rocher Comme Une Evidence Review and GiveawayWin a 1.7oz bottle of Yves Rocher Comme Un Evidence, and a $25 Amazon giftcard!



Hi guys! Welcome to my review of Yves Rocher Comme Une Evidence. Recently, I blogged about a special they were having with buy 1 get 1 free perfumes for Valentines Day. I was lucky enough to receive both this and Secrets d'essences Tendre Jasmin (Read my review here) from my awesome husband on Valentines. Since I enjoy it so much, I've decided to give away a bottle to my readers, along with a $25 amazon gift code!




While Yves Rocher is a French company, you can find them in just about every major Moroccan City. We have one just down the street from us in Essaouira, and I prefer to buy the majority of my cosmetics here because it can sometimes be difficult to buy the real versions of products here. They're always running awesome specials, and when I'm not ord…

April Showers Giveaway Hop $30 Amazon Giftcode Giveaway

*Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, which allow me to receive a small commission at no cost to you. 
Spring is FINALLY here and what a better way to celebrate than with a giveaway! Andersons Angels, The More The Merrier, This Mamas Life and Woven by Words have teamed up to bring you a FUN Spring Showers Giveaway Hop! I don't know about you but I am always looking to win some fun and new stuff!

Each participant will have a prize starting at $25 ARV, so I suggest you visit all of the awesome bloggers listed in this link up, check out their blogs, and let them know that Love, Gawria sent you!

As for the giveaway here at Love, Gawria, we will be offering a $30 Amazon giftcode so you can pick some cool spring swag. This giveaway will be open for the month of April, to anyone with valid entries. My giveaway is open worldwide, and you can enter below. To start, please visit Amazon and tell me in the comments what you are going to buy with your gift code!

*Winner will be c…

Cinema Maroc: Five unforgettable Moroccan films about life in Morocco that you can't miss!

Five controversial Moroccan Films you must see
Are you curious about Moroccan culture, or wanting a better understanding of how Moroccan society works? Perhaps you're interested in the dark underbelly of Morocco, the things people don't speak of.

In this post, I'll highlight not only some of the most controversial Moroccan films, but the most beautiful ones that are simply unforgettable. 

The following films document life in Morocco without the sugar coating, showing you social issues in Morocco that often go undiscussed. 

While I love Morocco with every particle of my being, I feel it tremendously important to educate my readers on Morocco in it's entirety, rather than painting a candy coated picture all of the time. 
When I first moved to Morocco, we were living in the tiny village of Sebaa Aioun, and there wasn't a lot to do. During this time, I watched literally everything I could on Morocco. 

While there are a literal ton of low budget films, I wanted to share a lis…