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Here is a list of recommended books;
To all travellers and especially women, here is a great book for all wishing to travel to Turkey. There is always the same question posed "single female traveller" and this book will open your eyes, make you laugh and see the riches of Turkey through others eyes.
"TALES FROM THE EXPAT HAREM: Foreign Women in Modern Turkey" edited by Anastasia M. Ashman and Jennifer Eaton Gökmen --
A #1 international bestseller, top 10 in the USA and top 20 in the UK, EXPAT HAREM is edited by two American writers living in Istanbul and showcases the captivating Turkish lives of 29 foreign women from 6 countries and 4 continents. Real life stories span the past four decades and indeed the whole country as scholars, artists, missionaries, journalists, entrepreneurs, Peace Corps volunteers and many others assimilate into Turkish friendship, neighborhood, wifehood, and motherhood.
"Exploring Turkish Landscapes: Crossing Inner Boundaries" by Lisa Morrow
At first the author travelled across the vast expanses of Turkey as a visitor, but then she began to stay for longer and longer periods of time. Over time her initial glimpses of a culture less western than eastern were replaced by an awareness that Turkey is at times both and yet something more. These experiences became a metaphor for an inner journey from the known to the unknown and back. The uncompromising nature of Turkish culture and society meant she had to accept what she saw without changing it. In so doing she started to question who she was and look for an alternative way of being.This latest collection offers a much more personal insight into Turkish traditions and beliefs, and also takes the reader on an emotional journey as one woman rediscovers herself.
See http://www.insideoutinistanbul.com for reviews and more writing by the author.
"Istanbul" by Turkey's greatest living author, the incomparable Orhan Pamuk.
Turkey - Bright Sun, Strong Tea '' written by Tom Brosnahan the original writer of the Lonely Planet guide books. It includes a lot of background information on Turkey, history, language and the Turks. And the short shorties are very funny as well.
Here is the website for more info about this book http://www.turkeytravelplanner.com/in... .
'' Birds without Wings'' written by Louis de Bernieres
Birds Without Wings begins in the early 1900s in an idyllic town in southwest Turkey in the declining years of the Ottoman Empire. The people are a mix of Greek and Turkish, Muslim and Christian, and they live harmoniously in a simple life unfettered by outside forces. The beautiful Philothei, who is Christian, loves the Muslim boy, Ibrahim. Rustem Bey, the local landlord, finds his wife with another man, murders her lover, and drags her to the town square to be stoned, but the imam saves her. Intertwined with their stories of the townspeople is the history of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the father of modern Turkey.
"In the Tracks of the Ten Thousand" by Shane Brennan, published by Hale
The "Ten Thousand" were Greek mercenaries who back in 401 - 399 BC were recruited by Cyrus for an expedition leaving from Sardis (Sart - near Izmir), his plan being to overthrow his brother from the throne of the Persian Empire. Cyrus was killed in the battle at Cumaxa (Mesopotamia) and the ten thousand mercenaries who were left had to find their way back to Greece, going North through the Anatolian plateau to Trapezus (Trabzon). They were led by Xenophon who wrote the story of this epic adventure in his text "Anabasis". Shane Brennan, nearly 2,500 years later, retraced their steps through modern Turkey, Syria and Iraq, and currently lives in Istanbul.
"Inside Out In Istanbul: Making Sense of the City 2nd Ed" by Lisa Morrow
For most people, Istanbul is synonymous with its world famous sights, the Haghia Sophia, the Blue Mosque and Dolmabahçe Palace. Few tourists manage to go beyond the beauty of the historical district of Sultanahmet to visit the other face of Istanbul. Yet a short ferry ride from the Bosphorus to the Sea of Marmara brings you to the shores of Asia, to an Istanbul that is vibrantly alive with the sounds of street vendors, wedding parties, dog walkers and more. The stories in the second edition of Inside Out In Istanbul take the reader beyond the tourist façades deep into this sometimes chaotic, often schizophrenic but always charming city.
See http://www.insideoutinistanbul.com for reviews and more writing by the author.
''Portrait of a Turkish Family' by Irfan Orga
t is literally what the title says - a portrait of a Turkish family - from the early 20th century through WW1 and then the Turkish War of Independence, and then through military life afterwards....and speaks volumes about family culture, rich and poor, in the most fascinating city in the world.
''Constantinople'' by Edmondo De Amicis Written more than 130 years ago, an extraordinary descriptive account written by another visitor. As the author enters the waters around the Golden Horn on ship, the steersman says, "To come into Constantinople on a fine morning, well, that's a great moment in a man's life." He describes his first sight of the city as the fog slowly lifts, and then the book is divided into different subtopics, such as The Idleness, The Night, The Walls ...
''The Flea Palace'' by Elif Shafak - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elif_Shafak
“The Janissary Tree” by Jason Goodwin is a thriller/murder mystery set in 19th Century Istanbul.
"A Fez of the heart" by Jeremy Seal, which includes a potted history of modern Turkey
Upon the orders of Kemal Ataturk, the fez replaced the turban as Turkey's national headdress. Outlawed completely in 1925, the turban is viewed as a symbol of Turkish backwardness. While living and teaching in Turkey for several years, Jeremy Seals developed an obsession for the fez, a hat he believes has come to symbolize the soul of the country. Through interviews with villagers and historical essays, Seals chronicles his journey through Turkey, to areas both metropolitan and remote, to find the heart of the country as embodied by its national head gear.
"Istanbul : The Imperial City" by John Freely
"Surrounded by a garland of waters" on the narrow straits of the Bosporus dividing Europe and Asia, Istanbul--formerly known as Constantinople--has been an unrivaled locus of cultural exchange since its beginnings as the Greek colony Byzantium. In its more than twenty-six centuries of existence the city has survived countless natural and political catastrophes, foreign conquests, and dynastic upheavals, enduring fantastic changes in religion, language, political status, and name. Despite these onslaughts of time, a vibrant local character and spirit have abided. This fascinating history of the city from its foundation to the present is a guide for the curious traveler as well as an evocation of an illustrious past.
Also included is a comprehensive gazetteer of all major monuments and museums
"Inside the Seraglio : the Private Lives of the Sultans in Istanbul" by John Freely
Ahmet III (1703-30) was the 23rd sultan of the imperial Osmanli dynasty. His predecessors had created the vast Ottoman empire, but by the time of Ahmet's reign, the empire was in decline, and the sultans spent most of their time in Istanbul's fabled pleasure palace, Topkapi Sarayi-known to the Turks as the House of Felicity. In this fascinating work, John Freely explores the decadent world within the palace walls and exposes most of the later sultans as weak, some as insane, and many as dominated by their wives or mothers. Freely describes the imperial harem, black eunuch guards, and the other people who served and amused the sultans-and sometimes imprisoned and murdered them. Witty, detailed, and illustrated throughout, this book is an opulent pleasure.
Books by Orhan Pamuk
''Snow" is a fascinating book set in the Eastern Turkish city of Kars .
''The White Castle''
''The Black Book''
"Turkish Reflections" by Mary Lee Settle and also "Blood Tie" by Mary Lee Settle
"The Last Train to Istanbul" by Ayse Kulin. It's a historical novel based on numerous incidents recounted by Necdet Kent, Namik Yolga and other Turkish diplomats posted in Europe during WWII.
'Istanbul, Memories and City'' by Orhan Pamuk
''The Turks Today'' by Andrew Mango
''Ataturk: The Biography of the founder of Modern Turkey'' by Andrew Mango
''Ancient Turkey: A Traveller's History'' by Seton Lloyd