20 Books to Read Before Visiting Turkey

My recent trip to Istanbul was one of my most inspiring journeys to date. I’m preparing a full city guide based on the trip, but in the meantime, wanted to share a reading list of wonderful books that celebrate Turkish history and culture. Have you spent time in Turkey…? Let me know if there are any titles I should add to the list!I

Istanbul: City of Majesty at the Crossroads of the World by Thomas F. Madden

Turkish Delights by Philippa Scott
(I picked up a used copy of this while in Istanbul, great for design lovers)

My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk

Last Train to Istanbul: A Novel by Ayse Kulin

Lords of the Horizons: A History of the Ottoman Empire by Jason Goodwin

The Grand Bazaar Istanbul by Serdar Gülgün
(eager to get my hands on a copy of this out-of-print beauty)

Midnight at the Pera Palace: The Birth of Modern Istanbul by Charles King

The Bastard of Istanbul by Elif Shafak

Splendors of Istanbul: Houses and Palaces Along the Bosporus by Chris Hellier

Turkey Unveiled: A History of Modern Turkey by Nicola Pope and Hugh Pope

Anatolian Days and Nights: A Love Affair with Turkey, Land of Dervishes, Goddesses, and Saints by Angie Brenner and Joy E. Stocke (for those that enjoy travel writing)

Turquerie: An Eighteenth-Century European Fantasy by Haydn Williams
(lovely coffee table book that explores how Turkish culture influenced Europe)

Istanbul: Memories and the City by Orhan Pamuk

Birds Without Wings by Louis de Bernieres

Istanbul: The Imperial City by John Freely

Living in Istanbul by Kenize Mourad

Ottoman Chic by Serdar Gülgün (a must for design fans)

Strolling Through Istanbul: The Classic Guide to the City by Hilary Sumner-Boyd and John Freely

The Bazaars of Istanbul by Isabel Bocking and Laura Salm-Reifferscheidt

The Architect’s Apprentice: A Novel by Elif Shafak

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2 comments on “20 Books to Read Before Visiting Turkey

  1. Shannkn

    I’m so excited about this list! I’ve been trying to diversify my reading, and I found a few books I can’t wait to read. I’ve also heard good things about Kurt Sayit and Sura on Netflix.

  2. kate

    I’m looking forward to your post about your trip. I visited Istanbul a few years ago and my, what a city!! I was amazed by everything and long to return!

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