Thursday, 23 May, 2024

Egypt was one of the world’s first civilizations, with a history that reaches back 5000 years through the sands of time. It’s where writing and two-dimensional drawing and paper began. The god Amun-Ra personified the sun shining down on the deserts — and Osiris, the god of death, inspired a belief in the afterlife that led to the construction of the pyramids.

Life in Egypt clings to the green ribbon of the Nile River that snakes through the country with humans and animals along its length. It’s home to hippos, the Nile crocodiles, and the asp — the poisonous snake that may or may not have sealed Cleopatra’s doom. It’s also a stopover for millions of birds migrating from Europe to Africa.

Egypt has also been the crossroads for human invaders for centuries: Ottoman invaders, Napoleon Bonaparte, and the British. In the past few decades, there’s been rising tension and violence between religious conservatives (see: the Muslim Brotherhood) and secular factions.

But the Egyptian people you’ll meet on the street? They’re friendly, welcoming, and eager to show you the country they love. And with good reason. In addition to the massive shrines in the desert, there’s a world-class museum with the largest collection of ancient artifacts in the world and mosques decorated with breathtaking mosaics. You can also sail on a romantic felucca (Egyptian sailboat) along the Nile, scuba in the Red Sea, navigate the sci-fi calcium formations in the White Desert, or simply enjoy a cup of tea while watching the hustle of daily life.

our podcast

In this episode, we explore Egypt’s dynamic dynastic history, enjoy the antics of King Farouk, dish about The Mummy, and lots more. Then we recommend five books we love that took us there on the page: a fantasy about the djinn, a photo-rich guide to Egyptian antiquities, a novel about sisters navigating the Arab Spring, and two fictional approaches to history that cast a spell on Mel. (show notes / transcript)

recommended books

The Visitors

buy | read review

The City of Brass

buy | read review

A Pure Heart

buy | read review

The Illustrated Guide to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo

buy | read review

The Last Watchman of Old Cairo

buy | read review

The Golem and the Jinni

buy | read review

Top image courtesy of matias planas/Unsplash.

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

featured posts

There's plenty to unearth when you get curious about Egypt: the pharaohs and their Great Pyramids, the majestic Nile river, secrets buried under the sands of time. In our show, we explore all of that and more.
Street food is the best food; we won't be convinced otherwise. With this recipe, you can bring koshari — a.k.a., amazing Egyptian street food, into your kitchen. Carby goodness, spicy tomato sauce, fried onions... YES.
Indulge in travel inspiration to explore Egypt, past and present: the colorful urban landscapes of Cairo and Alexandra, ancient ruins amid caramel-colored sand, glowing golden antiquities and gem-encrusted jewels.
Shake up your breakfast routine with this savory, comforting recipe from ancient Egypt. Tender fava beans are simmered with fragrant cumin, then dressed up with colorful additions and warm, yeasty pita on the side.
Take a virtual trip to Egypt with a fantasy about the djinn, a guide to ancient Egyptian antiquities, a novel about sisters navigating the Arab Spring, and two fictional approaches to history that cast a spell.

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
We'll never share your email with anyone else. Promise.

This is a weekly email. If you'd like a quick alert whenever we update our blog, subscribe here.

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
We'll never share your email with anyone else. Promise.
follow us

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