By Humaira

When I’m working as an Afghanistan Cultural Consultant on stage productions, people always ask me about Afghanistan related books and movies. I’ve curated “My 130 List” of non-fiction and fiction as well as documentaries, films, and photographer relating to Afghanistan and the Islamic world.

So, I invite you to enjoy this list and share with others who might be on the journey of learning about Afghanistan. I have not read all of these books and nor do I promote or endorse any specific writer, film maker or type of message. If you would like to make suggestions of books, films or documentaries to be included in the master, please drop me a note in the comment section of my blog.

Below are some of my favorite books and why they’ve made it on my top picks from the “My One Hundred

From my Non-Fiction bookshelf:


I can’t tell you how often I reference this book and its sister book, Zarbul Masalha: 151 Afghan Dari Proverbs in my writing. It’s the only comprehensive book of Afghan proverbs which has been compiled and shared by my friend Edward Zellem an American who fell in love with Afghan sayings. These books have been translated into 17 languages.

Check it out here.


No sane Afghan walks across Afghanistan so you can imagine the reception, Rory Stewart, a British writer (now politician) received during his journey which began in 2002, shortly after the Taliban were deposed and the United States invaded Afghanistan.

Check it out here.


One of the best written and comprehensive books on the history of Afghanistan that has ever been written. If you’re going to read only one book about Afghanistan, this book is for you.

Check it out here.


This is the sequel to Ghost Wars, a book I’ve recommended over and over when people ask me about the current history of Afghanistan. Directorate S is an in-depth study of U.S.’s involvement in Afghanistan, all the cast of the characters that have been involved and the issues plaguing Afghanistan and the United States today.

Check it out here.

And from the Fiction side:


I would say this book is one of writer Khaled Hosseini’s literary works which highlights his talent as a writer and a storyteller of epic proportions. Khaled weaves an intricate carpet of stories starting from the villages of Afghanistan, going through the upper middle class families of Kabul in the 60’s before heading to the islands of Greece and finally finding it’s grounding in California.

Check it out here.


I must admit, I have not read this book but I have great respect for Atiq Rahimi’s prolific writing. I added this to the list of recommendations not only for you but for myself.

Check it out here.


Deborah Rodriguez’s talent as a storyteller shines through every page of this fast-paced and entertaining book. This is a great beach read and of course the fact that the publisher included several of my desert recipes at the end of the book makes me extra attached to it.

Check it out here.

These books are immensely important in giving us a glimpse into Afghan lives, history, and continued turmoil. I’ve been honored to share in some of the experiences of them, such as writing the foreword for Mataluna, interviewing Khaled Hosseini or sharing some of my recipes in The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul. By no means is this a complete list as I am a firm believer in Abigail Adams’ quote, “Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.”

Source : afghancultureunveiled[dot]com