What to read in the desert

Stirring stories of war, love and betrayal are among author's top picks to pack for a desert expedition 

Annabel Kantaria

The Sandfish By Maha Gargash

"I choose this book because it takes the reader back to pre-oil times in the UAE but, despite being about a much simpler time, the emotions and entanglements of the characters are every bit as relevant today as they would have been in the 1950s. 

Gargash draws on a wealth of knowledge handed down generations of Emiratis to weave a compelling tale about a young Emirati lady forced to fit into a household where she is the third - and not necessarily welcome - wife to a much older man. 

I love Gargash's portrayal of the heat and the sand of the UAE, of the simplicity of the life back then, and of the complexity of the characters. I can hear the silence of the desert echoing through the story. It's a great read, and one I imagine curling up around a campfire in the desert to hear read out loud..."

Anthony Horowitz 

Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T. E. Lawrence

"This is a book I have always wanted to read – it’s such an amazing story. And the desert would be the perfect place to begin!"

Maitha Al Khayat

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khalid Houseini

"It's a story that really touched my soul.  It showed me that women not only are strong or powerful, but they can create a miracle in the most barren of places and worst conditions."