SSoP Podcast Ep. 18 — Iran: Revolution, Poetry, Storytelling, and Spices

SSoP Podcast Ep. 18 — Iran: Revolution, Poetry, Storytelling, and Spices

Monday, 2 November, 2020

Iran (formerly known as Persia) is the second largest country in the Middle East, and its culture reaches back through the millennia. About 2500 years ago, the Persian Empire stretched from Greece to India, and its impact is still felt in the world today.

Persia was the world’s first superpower. Its leader Cyrus the Great allowed kings to continue to rule the areas he conquered, earning him the moniker ‘King of Kings’ and laying the foundation for our next remarkable fact:

Persia was the first multi-cultural, multi-religious, multi-lingual empire.

Persian leaders envisioned a world in which religion was not the basis for strife and division. As long as people paid taxes, they were free to believe as they wished. And speaking of being free: the Persian empire didn’t have slavery. A bold notion in 500 BCE!

So how did this society based on equality — and wildly passionate about civic improvements, art, philosophy, food, and poetry — become the theocracy we know today?

That’s a long and interesting story that we explore in our podcast and the books we’re recommending, including a memoir of an epic trip to Iran, a graphic novel about living through the Iranian Revolution, and three novels that blur the lines between fiction and autobiography to weave irresistible tales of human resilience.

Books, Transcript, and More

For a complete roundup of all the books we recommend, plus a full transcript and the other cool stuff we talked about, visit the Episode 18 show notes.


Subscribe to our podcast so you never miss a must-read book or thrilling destination!

If we're not available on your favorite podcast-listening platform, send us an email!

Top image courtesy of Mostafa Meraji/Unsplash.

Want to keep up with our book-related adventures? Sign up for our newsletter!

keep reading

Iran, formerly known as Persia, has an ancient, turbulent history and a fascinating present. In this episode, we get curious about the culture (food! poetry! storytelling!) and explore the impact of the 1979 Revolution.
These Instagrammers are busting up stereotypes the rest of the world might have about Iran. City spires, colorful deserts, vibrant food, and striking fashion, these Instagram accounts showcase everyday life in Iran.
We can all agree that meat on a stick surpasses every other kind of meat. This recipe for Persian kabobs is easy to make and will transport you into the world of Darius, a teenager who's yet to recognize his greatness.
Take a suspenseful, surprising trip to pre-Revolution Iran with an unforgettable heroine. This gripping story travels from the green mountains of northern Iran to the city streets of Tehran and Paris of the 1980s.
This traditional rice dish is a feast for the eyes, glistening with spice-infused butter and gem-colored fruits. It's a celebration of hope and life and family, a delicious way to bring a taste of Persia to your table.
Burning with an intelligence and a rebelliousness that couldn't be contained, Iranian poet Forugh Farrokhzad poured her passion into words that have inspired readers for decades. Fierce, feminist, and gone too soon.

sharing is caring!

Can you help us? If you like this article, share it your friends!

our mission

Strong Sense of Place is a website and podcast dedicated to literary travel and books we love. Reading good books increases empathy. Empathy is good for all of us and the amazing world we inhabit.

our patreon

Strong Sense of Place is a listener-supported podcast. If you like the work we do, you can help make it happen by joining our Patreon! That'll unlock bonus content for you, too — including Mel's secret book reviews and Dave's behind-the-scenes notes for the latest Two Truths and a Lie.

get our newsletter

Join our Substack to get our FREE newsletter with podcast updates and behind-the-scenes info join in fun chats about books and travel.

no spoilers. ever.

We'll share enough detail to help you decide if a book is for you, but we'll never ruin plot twists or give away the ending.

super-cool reading fun
reading atlas

This 30-page Reading Atlas takes you around the world with dozens of excellent books and gorgeous travel photos. Get your free copy when you subscribe to our newsletter.

get our newsletter
Sign up for our free Substack!
follow us

Content on this site is ©2024 by Smudge Publishing, unless otherwise noted. Peace be with you, person who reads the small type.