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Palace Walk, by Naguib Mahfouz

A family drama set in Cairo during and after World War I. It's a long book, but the going is easy. The variety of characters of different ages and temperaments, each with their own preoccupations in a turbulent time, provide a fascinating glimpse of what to me was an entirely unknown society and culture. It's the first book in a trilogy, so if you like it, there are more books waiting.

Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro

Very sad. It ripped me up the first time I read it. Anybody who grew up feeling different and somehow deficient should read it.

Talking to Strange Men, by Ruth Rendell

An easy and fast-paced kind-of-mystery by a well-known mystery writer. There are two stories related in a crucial but indirect way. Each story has mysteries and twists that could stand on their own for suspense, but they play second fiddle to the development of several interesting characters.

Persepolis and Persepolis 2, by Marjane Satrapi

Graphic memoirs about growing up in Iran and Europe.

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