I just picked up 3 at a used bookstore tonight: "Postmodernism and Islam" by Akbar Ahmed, "The Political Language of Islam" by Bernard Lewis, and "The Forgotten Queens of Islam" by Fatima Mernissi. I've read both Mernissi and Lewis before, and both are obvioulsy hugely influential in Mid East studies. The Ahmed one I hadn't heard of before, and actually I confused the name with the late Eqbal Ahmad, who I've been meaning to read more of, but this one looks good too. Anyway, here's three worth checking out: 1) "The Veil and the Male Eilte: A Feminist Interpretation of Women's Rights in Islam," by Fatima Mernissi. - Brilliantly throws down the gauntlet to the conservative old Islamic scholars, as Mernissi reads all their own ancient texts closer and better than they do. In the process, she practically makes a couple thousand hadith worthless. 2) "The Israeli-Arab Reader," edited by William Laquer and Barry Rubin. - Great for the background to the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, especially with the reprints of early primary documents from turn of the century. 3) "Daughter of Persia: A Woman's Journey from Her Father's Harem Through the Islamic Revolution" by Sattareh Farman Farmaian - Yeah, it sounds like an Oprah book, but trust me, it's great. Actually, it probably could be an Oprah book...very readable insider's account of 20th century Iranian history. I think Farmaian was a niece of the shah or something. Alternates: Imaginary Homelands, Salman Rushdie The Question of Palestine, by Edward Said The Politics of Dispossession, Said Covering Islam, Said Islam: A Brief History, by Karen Armstrong The Proudest Day, by Read and Fisher (about partition of India/Pakistan) The Wretched of the Earth, Fanon (not specifically about Muslim World, but inspired by and relevant to it) Veiled Sentiments, Leila Ahmad Beyond the Veil, Fatima Mernissi Novels: The Year of the Elephant, by Laila Aboussid Cracking India, by Bapsi Sidwa A Train to Pakistan, by Khushwant Singh The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie The Moor's Last Sigh, Rushdie Recommendations?