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Books about Dubai

Sunday 24 March 2019 (UAE)   

Books and novels about Dubai

Books about Dubai - fiction

  • Camels Love Dubai, by Stephen Wilkins, published May 2009. The story of Mohan Adikaram from Sri Lanka who loses his family in the 2004 Tsunami, and then moves to Dubai and goes to university after being fostered or sponsored by a rich Dubai resident.
  • Carte Blanche, by Jeffery Deaver, published 26 May 2011. James Bond novel with Mr Bond chasing a bad guy to Dubai.
  • Charmed and Dangerous: Bronwyn the Witch No. 1, by Candace Havens. First of a series of books about Bronwyn, a witch who is employed by the British Prime Minister as part of his protection detail. In Book one she travels to Dubai to help protect a Sheikh.
  • Desperate in Dubai by Ameera Al Hakawati (published 2011) - novel about Lady Luxe and several other women living in Dubai, on the hunt for husbands or failing that, nocturnal pleasures, and events in their lives surrounding their search.
  • The Dog, by Joseph O'Neill, published Sep 2014. An unnamed (unless he really is called Mr X) depressed lawyer in New York seeks fame, fortune, and happiness in Dubai. Instead, Dubai kicks his ass and he remains depressed, unknown, but does make a bit of money for doing not very much. It's another opportunity for an author to regurgitate the Dubai stereotypes of poorly paid Indian laborers and Sri Lankan maids, and depressed middle-aged western men living a fantasy that Russian prostitutes really do love them and not their money. Residents will recognise the familiar themes and places, and others will be left bemused, wondering if Dubai really is like it sounds in the book. Spoiler alert: yes, Dubai is like that if you want it to be (and you fit the mold of one of the stereotypes); no it's not if you don't.
  • Dubai, by Robin Moore, fiction (or was there really a Ten Tola Bar in Deira?), published 1976. Interesting read for anyone who is interested in life in Dubai in the 1960s and 1970s. Ok, the story is fiction but the background is indicative of what it was like.
  • Dubai Creek, by Stephen Wilkins, published February 2006. The story of Nick Williams from London who moves to Dubai, and prison. The first part of the book reads like a blog about moving to Dubai, or a series of long emails you'd send to your mates. But not a bad way to learn about moving to Dubai for newbies, just don't take it too seriously.
  • Layover in Dubai, by Dan Fesperman, published July 2010. A thriller based in Dubai.
  • Rigged, by Ben Mezrich, fiction (sort of), about the establishment of the Dubai Mercantile Exchange. A good read for at the beach. Not as useful as the many other setting up guides for Dubai.
  • The Dark Side of Dubai, by Johann Hari (published 07 Apr 2009, The Independent). Not a book but almost long enough to be one. A newspaper article published as fact but in fact was mostly fiction, as was much of what Mr Hari wrote it turns out, when he was discredited. Mentioned here because so many sources still seem to think it was a reputable report revealing the truth about the dark underbelly of Dubai. Claims of broke expats living in Range Rovers in secret desert camps were laughable, and yet people believed them. As for Mr Hari, on 15 Sep 2011 he wrote a weasel apology in The Independent, saying "This time, I am writing an article laying bare and polemicising against the errors and idiocies of myself." Ironically, going on to make excuses and blame others for his "errors and idiocies"...
    • http://www.economist.com/blogs/bagehot/2011/09/unethical-journalism.
  • The Duke of Dubai, by Luigi Falconi, fiction
  • The Rainbow that Never Was - Ayadh Farooq
  • The Sand Fish (Sandfish) - Maha Gargash, published 2009
Children's books about Dubai and UAE - fiction
  • Earth Djinn, by Linda Davies, fourth in the Djinn series, not yet published (as of January 2010), title might be Rock Djinn.
  • Fire Djinn, by Linda Davies, second in the series about Finn and the djinns, set in the Empty Quarter and Egypt. Published November 2009 or February 2010?
  • Hakima's Tale - trilogy for children, with Phoenix Kassam as the central character, set in the UAE. Books are 1 - The Revenge of the Blue Jinni, 2 - The Rise of the Warrior, 3 - The Dawn of Redemption (published June 2010). Author Dedra L Stevenson has lived in Sharjah since about 1990, so she ought to know all about strange things happening in the UAE.
  • I Love My Dad's Long Beard - by Maitha Al Khayat, illlustrated story book for young children, in Arabic and English.
  • My Mum's Pretty Veil - by Maitha Al Khayat (not yet published as of June 2010). Also for young children.
  • Rock Djinn, by Linda Davies, fourth in the Djinn series, not yet published, title might be Earth Djinn.
  • Sea Djinn, by Linda Davies, first (of five) books in a series. The author was kidnapped by the Iranian navy and held for two weeks in 2005 but that did not inspire the story, even though the parents of the central character, Finn, are kidnapped by a djinn (genie). Published November 2007 (or 2009?) by Jerboa Books. A Dubai version of Harry Potter?
  • Storm Djinn, by Linda Davies, third book in the series about Finn and his friends battling the evil djinns in the UAE, set in Jumeirah and Umm Suqeim. Published 2010?
  • The Sand Fish, by Maha Gargash, pub 2009.
  • War of the Djinn, by Linda Davies, fifth in the Djinn series, not yet written.

Books about Dubai - non-fiction

  • Best of Dubai UAE Volume 1, by Sven Boermeester and/or Lisa Durante (Arabic, English, French editions), published in 2005 or 2006 by One2One Publishing (One to One) or Zodiac Publishing? Not clear if it's really a book about Dubai, or a fashion magazine (with lots of advertisements - before you even get to the publisher information page the first 9 pages are glossy ads) with a hard cover, an ISBN number (1904566715 in case you're interested), an author, and a long magazine story about Dubai. It was intended to be a series of 5 volumes published annually up to 2010. Volume 2 was published in early 2007, Volume 3 in early 2009, unknown what happened to Volume 4 or Volume 5. Volumes 2 and 3 were called "Best of Dubai and the Northern Emirates", and had fewer advertisements. One of many "Best of ..." books for cities around the world. They sometimes have nice photos.
  • City of Gold: Dubai and the Dream of Capitalism, by Jim Krane. Mr Krane is (or was) an Associated Press (AP) reporter for the Arabian (Persian) Gulf region.
  • Dubai: The Story of the World's Fastest City, by Jim Krane
  • Dubai: The Vulnerability of Success, non-fiction, pub 2008, author Christopher M Davidson.
  • Dubai & Co: Global Strategies for Doing Business in the Gulf States, by Aamir Rehman, published November 2007.
  • Escape from Dubai, by Herve Jaubert, supposedly a true story but many would view it more as fiction, published 2009. Story of Mr Jaubert, a French ex-spy who turned his hand to building submarines for a Dubai Government owned company but failed. Then successfully escapes Dubai by dressing up as an Emirati woman wearing scuba tanks (hard to imagine such a sight being inconspicuous) and swimming to a boat that took him to India.
  • My Vision - Challenges in the Race for Excellence, by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Ruler of Dubai.
  • Opportunity Dubai: Making a Fortune in the Middle East, by Peter Cooper.
Books published in Dubai and the UAE
  • Flashes of Thought - by Sheikh Mohammed, Ruler of Dubai - published by Motivate Publishing in Arabic May 2013, in English Sep 2013. Thoughts and reflections on leadership and the development of Dubai.
  • My Vision - by Sheikh Mohammed.
  • Spirit of the Union - by Sheikh Mohammed.
List of Travel books and Guidebooks for Dubai
  • A Hedonist's Guide to Dubai (HG2 Dubai)
  • Eyewitness Travel Guide to Dubai
  • Let's Go Dubai
  • Lonely Planet Dubai
  • LUXE Guide to Dubai
  • The Rough Guide Dubai
  • Wallpaper Guide to Dubai

Books about Abu Dhabi

  • A Diamond in the Desert, by Jo Tatchell, pub 2009? A memoir and modern history book written by an Abu Dhabi resident who arrived in 1974 as a 3-year old child (from the UK?), then spent the next 35 years between the UK and Abu Dhabi.
  • Abu Dhabi, Nature Preserved - launched by The National Geographic Society in association with Total Abu Al Bukhoosh and the Total Foundation, with support from the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD). A book about the natural environment, wildlife, and natural history of Abu Dhabi (WAM news 11 July 2012).
  • Abu Dhabi: Oil and Beyond, by Christopher Davidson, published July 2009. Book about the history and development of Abu Dhabi from the 18th century to the present.
  • From Rags to Riches: A Story of Abu Dhabi, by Mohammed Al Fahim, a UAE businessman who tells the story of the growth of Abu Dhabi from the 1950s to 1990s. An excellent read. First published 1995? As of 2012, available in Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, Urdu.
Guidebooks for Abu Dubai
  • Ask Ali: A Guide to Abu Dhabi - Ali Alsaloom is an Emirati who has a website and a column in M Magazine in The National On Saturday, answering cultural questions about Abu Dhabi and the UAE. Now he has a book, launched during the 2010 Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (01 or 02 to 07 March 2010). Mr Alsaloom also worked for the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority as a tour guide so he should know his way around.

Books about Fujairah - non-fiction

  • Doing Business in Fujairah - launched April 2011 by the Fujairah Free Zone Authority (FFZA) and Morison Menon? Available from the FFZA? Or at the website www.doingbusinessinfujairah.com (PDF download available, 36 pages, 1.5 MB). A reasonably useful general introduction to Fujairah, not just for business or company setup.

Books about the UAE

  • After the Sheikhs: The Coming Collapse of the Gulf Monarchies - about rulers of the GCC countries and how and when the author expects them to fall (according to him "within the next three to five years" which sounds like sometime between 2015 and 2017). Published Nov 2012? By Dr Christopher M. Davidson, a Middle East and GCC studies professor at Durham University who often has something to say about Dubai, the UAE, and the Gulf region, not always positive and sometimes quite critical, but he is a highly respected academic. Unknown if book will be available in the UAE.
    • One review (The Independent 18 Jan 2013) said "Already, power cuts and long queues at patrol stations can be seen in Sharjah and Dubai" as evidence of impending doom, which makes no sense, and diminishes the value of anything else Dr Davidson writes.
    • Petrol stations in Dubai with long queues are found on busy roads at peak traffic hours, which is not unusual in any country, and there are plenty of petrol stations without queues. In Sharjah there was a period during which some petrol stations operated by Dubai companies stopped selling petrol, resulting in increased demand and longer queues at those stations operated by Abu Dhabi companies, but that was eventually resolved.
    • Power cuts in Dubai are almost unheard of, and in the past have been attributed to unusual circumstances, not excess demand over supply, or some sort of indication that the infrastructure is about to collapse.
    • Admittedly power cuts in Sharjah are more common (regular occurences during summer months in some areas) but they reflect significant differences in infrastructure development between Sharjah and Dubai.
  • Arabian Days; Memoirs of Two Trucial Oman Scouts - memoirs of Michael Curtis and Anthony Cawston. Interesting reflections on life in parts of the UAE before and after the UAE was formed.
  • "Birds of the United Arab Emirates" - launched by the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD) at the 22nd Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (WAM 29 March 2012). Comprehensive 256-page illustrated guide, written by Simon Aspinall, Salim Javed, and Hanne & Jens Eriksen. Includes an introduction to bird watching, information and maps about where to spot birds in the UAE.
  • Don't They Know It's Friday?, by Jeremy Williams, published 1999. Guide for expatriates living not only in the UAE but in the Gulf region.
  • From Trucial States to United Arab Emirates, by Dr Frauke Heard-Bey. Author moved to Abu Dhabi in 1967 and has lived there since then (as of 2009), worked at the Centre for Documentation and Research in Abu Dhabi from 1969 to 2008. Book is a history of the UAE. First published in 1982 by Longman in London, current editions published by Motivate in Dubai. Translated into 4 languages. German edition to be published in 2010.
  • "In the Land of the Emirates: The Archaeology and History of the UAE" by Dr Daniel Potts (he is the Edwin Cuthbert Hall Professor of Middle Eastern Archaeology at the University of Sydney in Australia, and has conducted excavations at UAE archaeological sites Al Sufouh, ed-Dur, Husn Awhala, Jabal al-Emalah, Sharm, Tell Abraq). Launched by the Sultan Bin Zayed Culture and Media Centre, announced 07 March 2012 (WAM news). Chapter headings are 1. Witnesses of the Past, 2. The First Inhabitants, 3. The Appearance of Monumental Tombs, 4. Magan, 5. Restructuring in the Middle and Late Bronze Age, 6. The Iron Age, 7. Abi’el and the Polities of the pre-Islamic Era, 8. The Centuries Leading up to the Arrival of Islam, 9. The First Centuries after the Coming of Islam, 10. From the Portuguese to Modernity. The book is one of a series of books planned by the Sultan Bin Zayed Culture and Media Centre.
  • "Kish Island" - Kish Island is part of Iran's Hormozgan Province, not the UAE, but the book is included here given that a large number of people do UAE visa renewals via Kish Island. Authors are Frederic P. Miller, Agnes F. Vandome, John McBrewster. Published December 2009 by VDM Publishing House.
  • Sard Al That, by Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, pub 2009. An autobiography of the Ruler of Sharjah, and history and politics in the UAE. In Arabic but might be translated to English.
  • The Myth of Arab Piracy in The Gulf, by by Sheikh Dr Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, pub 1986. Disputes the accounts of Arab pirates in the Arabian Gulf attacking the British Navy in the 19th century.
  • "The Three Islands - Mapping the UAE-Iran Dispute" - book about the dispute between the UAE and Iran over the Iranian occupation of the three islands Abu Musa, Greater Tunb, and Lesser Tunb in the Arabian Gulf (or Persian Gulf for Iranians). The islands are claimed by the UAE, but Iran invaded them in 1971 and has occupied them since then. Book launch 30 Nov 2013, unknown if any Iranians attended the ceremony. Author is Sheikh Khalid bin Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan who researched the history of the islands as part of his PhD doctorate studies at King's College, London.
  • "Time for Emirates: The History of the Wristwatch From the Sundial to the Tourbillon" - a 400 year history of watches, author Gisbert L Brunner, foreword by Mr Abdul Hamied Seddiqi, which explains the UAE connection. Mr Seddiqi is vice chairman of Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, a large retailer of Swiss watches (and other personal goods) in Dubai. The book is a joint project between the Swiss watch company Time for SA, and Ahmed Seddiqi and Sons, and won the Bronze prize in the 2009 Dubai International Print Awards by the Printing and Publishing Group of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI). Published 2009 or 2010 in hardback, 321 pages.
  • Women of the UAE - photograph collection (178 pages), photographer Charney Magri, published March 2012?
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