If you were born anytime after, say, 1974, you probably associate Lebanon and its capital city of Beirut with political strife, violence, and bombed-out buildings. But this beautiful, misunderstood country is far more than its troubled past.
Lebanon is a tiny nation on the eastern side of the Mediterranean. Beirut was once known as the Paris of the East, a holiday getaway for movie stars, moguls, and spies. Lebanon’s coast is still a dreamy beach destination with long stretches of sand — or dramatic rock formations — lined with palm trees on one side and perfect turquoise-blue water on the other.
The name Lebanon comes from the Semitic word lbn in reference to the snow-kissed Mount Lebanon range. The interior’s rugged mountains are great for winter skiing and hiking among the fragrant cedar trees during the warmer months.
You can also visit wineries, explore ancient ruins, dance the dabke, and eat delicious things like hummus, kibbeh, kofta, tabbouleh, and baklava — a.k.a. some of Mel’s favorite food in the world.
In this episode, we briefly walk through the long history of Lebanon, delve into amazing stories of sibling rivalry and bank robbery, and Mel shares stories about her Lebanese great-grandmother. Then we recommend great books that took us to Lebanon on the page, including a family saga, an unusual coming-of-age story, an adventure memoir about a life-changing bike ride, a story-filled cookbook, and a journalist’s account of connecting to his Lebanese heritage.
Here are the books about Lebanon we recommend on the show:
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 50 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 Beyond the Road Prod/Shutterstock.
Want to keep up with our book-related adventures? Sign up for our newsletter!
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.
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.
This is a weekly email. If you'd like a quick alert whenever we update our blog, subscribe here.
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.
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.
Content on this site is ©2024 by Smudge Publishing, unless otherwise noted. Peace be with you, person who reads the small type.