Books I Probably Shouldn’t Take With Me To Israel

I’m headed to Israel in a coupla weeks and I’m trying to think about what would be useful for me to take so I can catch up on some reading–as well as what might help me have even more context for where I’m going. But I’m thinking there are things on my list I might be better off leaving at home.


Gideon’s Spies: The Secret History of the Mossad

I can’t imagine that going over very well…because one never knows where one stands with so many groups always vying for something over there…

Every Spy A Prince 

You know…another book about the history of the Israeli intelligence community. I’m not sure why I’m so fascinated about the spy game, but I am. You should see what I’m planning to take with me on the plane for those times when the ol’ Kindle isn’t allowed to be up and running.

My personal favorite…one I discovered at an indie bookstore in DC last summer and really hoped to read before we left:

The Media Relations Department of Hizbollah Wishes You a Happy Birthday

I’m hoping to someday really and truly understand the Israeli-Palestinian conflict…as well as the things that led to the making and undoing of the Middle East. As best I can tell at this point, everyone’s right and everyone’s wrong. But how did we really get here?

I’m sad I won’t get this one read in time, but it may actually make more sense to read it after the fact.


The Source. I call it the Damn Israel Book–a shout out to Barbara Kingsolver who, while writing The Poisonwood Bible (one of my all-time favorite books. ever.), referred to it as The Damn Africa Book (DAB for short). I swear. This book is a mere 905 pages long and tells the story of the people that lived and moved around a tell in Israel. A friend of mine asked me for the Cliff’s Notes…my response was: discovery, death, digging in the dirt, hope, destruction, despair, digging in the dirt, growth, destruction, death, digging in the dirt, movement, despair, hope, digging in the dirt, the end.

I read Anna Karenina AND War and Peace in a single semester in college. It has taken me this entire semester to get this book done.

But once it IS done, I’ll reward myself with finishing

From Beirut to Jerusalem

I was halfway through when I had to stop to focus on The Source. This is Thomas Friedman’s description and account of his time as a reporter in the Middle East in the early 1980s. It wouldn’t seem relevant to read a book that was written 25 years ago, but some of the same names he writes about then are the same dictators that were tossed or people are trying to toss this year. And since all those guys had such a long-standing regime in the area, it IS still relevant even 25 years later. Friedman has a good style of writing that is, at times, very humorous. That Middle East at that time was incredibly colorful, and you really get a sense of how much it paralleled our own Wild West.

I do hope to get this one finished as well…but I think they’ll let me in the country with this one if push comes to shove.

At least, I hope they will.


One thought on “Books I Probably Shouldn’t Take With Me To Israel

  1. Pingback: So Many Books… « Not All Who Wander Are Lost

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