Immigrants Write: The Best Books to Understand Our World

Aleppo, Syria/Image © Dima Moroz/Shutterstock

As always, but perhaps now more than ever, books are key to fostering knowledge in uncertain times. Here at Signature, we turn to the best books to understand our world, nation by nation. In an ongoing series, we present a look at a nation that’s on our minds through a literary lens, recommending reads by that country’s citizens, or by others who are intimately acquainted with that nation. We’ll update this rundown of what we’ve got on offer as the series grows. Happy reading, and happy learning.

This Side of Syria: Best Books to Understand the Syrian Experience
In the kickoff to our new series, we’ve curated essential reading – fiction and nonfiction, by Syrians and non-Syrians, to understand this war-torn country.

Persian Perspective: Best Books to Understand Iran
Iran is largely unknown to those of us living life in the West. Check out any of these great books for some perspective into life in Persia.

Yemen Revealed: Best Books to Understand a Complicated Nation
Yemen, one of seven Muslim-majority countries whose citizens Trump tried to ban from entering the U.S., has a history unlike any other.

Reading the Republic: Best Books to Understand Iraq
Books, as ever, offer insight and understanding into topics we don’t always understand. Today, we turn to literature to better understand Iraq.

The Sharp Horn of Africa: Best Books on Somalia
Somalia is home to a complex history and a richly storied people. Here are the best books to understand Somalia and its population.

Understanding Sudan: The Best Books on Sudanese History to Today
The complicated history of Sudan is filled with conflict, genocide, and tragedy. Here we present the books to turn to in an effort to understand.

South of the Mediterranean: The Best Books on Libya
As we continue to bring you the best books to learn about oft-misunderstood nations, we look at the North African nation of Libya.

Transcontinental World: The Best Books to Understand Egypt
Egypt, a storied nation spanning two continents, offers much in the way of history, tradition, and culture. Herewith, the best books to understand Egypt.

A Literary Look Behind the Iron Curtain: Best North Korea Books
Though North Korea remains as impenetrable as ever, these books offer glimpses into the nation through fiction, memoir, and more.

Between the Tamil and the Sinhalese: Best Books About Sri Lanka
Herewith, the best books about Sri Lanka, a country that has risen from a complicated history – and has only emerged from civil war in the last decade.

Beyond the Border: Best Books to Truly Understand Mexico
Mexico is front of mind and top of the news in the U.S. these days. For a deeper look at our southern neighbor, check out these ten books about Mexico.

The Best Contemporary Novels with Which to Understand Ireland
The best place to begin trying to understand Ireland’s history is through its literature. Take these twenty-first-century novels for example.

A Nation Unveiled: Best Books to Understand Cuba
As U.S.-Cuba relations continue to thaw – while under threat from the Trump administration – dive into any or all of these books to understand Cuba.

A Growing Nation: Best Books to Understand India
India is already the second most populous country in the world – and growing steadily. Here are the best books to understand this vast nation.

From Apartheid to Now: Best Books on South Africa
These ten books will shed light on the complex history of South Africa, and the ways in which apartheid continues to hinder the country and its people.

A Vibrant Nation Torn by Violence: The Best Books About Colombia
These books will explore the South American nation of Colombia: a place filled with natural beauty and resources, but also plagued by decades of violence.

After the Ottoman Empire: The Best Turkey Books to Read Now
The complicated history of Turkey can be clearly articulated through the lens of literature, with the help of some of the best Turkey books out there.

Beyond Bolivar: 8 of the Best Venezuela Books Available
Venezuela is top of mind these days, but how much do we really know about this nation? Herewith, the best Venezuela books to know it better.

A Scarred, Resilient Nation: 10 Best Philippines Books
These books, many written by Filipino and Filipino-American authors, will help readers understand the Philippines and the facets that shape that nation’s culture.

A Nation Plagued by Conflict: 10 Best Israel Books to Read Now
These books, many by Israeli authors, provide insight into Israeli culture and identity, and the complexities and trials inherent to life in Israel.

Dispatches from Burma: 8 Best Books on Myanmar
It may be impossible to appreciate the heart and soul of Burmese culture from afar, but these titles will help set you on your journey.

A Nordic Paradise: 9 Best Books to Understand Swedish Life and Culture
The books in this list are all written by Swedish authors, and represent a slice of what the nation’s long-thriving literary community has to offer.

A Journey to Independence: The 8 Best Books to Understand Kenya
These books and novels, many of which written are by Kenyan authors, should give insight into the remarkable country of Kenya and its complex history.

A Fiercely Passionate Nation: 10 Best Books to Understand Argentina
These books and novels, most written by Argentinian authors, are a cross-section of the creative outlets developed within Argentina’s vibrant culture.

A Republic Marked by War: 8 Best Books to Understand South Korea
These novels and books, many by South Korean authors, should provide a window into South Korea and its culture.

The World Down Under: Best Books to Understand Australia
This list of ten books and novels, most written by Australian authors, should give insight into the literary world down under.

Steeped in Tradition: Best Books to Understand Haiti’s Past and Present
Haitian history is defined by turmoil and upheaval. These books provide an opening view into the fascinating world of Haitian literature.

Beyond Tolstoy and Nabokov: The Best Books on Russia Today
Rather than exploring the known classics of Russian literature, we’re exploring contemporary fiction and nonfiction to understand Russia’s current state.

After the Genocide: The Best Books to Understand Armenia
Books by Armenian and Armenian-American writers demonstrate a struggle to come to terms with one of the 20th century’s biggest atrocities.