I was recently interviewed by the great website Five Books, about the Arab world and books worth reading about it. I decided to give some broad (and somewhat idiosyncratic) recommendations. It was very difficult to choose what books to talk about, so in the end I went partly with books that give context to the current situation, and partly with very personal choices (and yes I fully expect to be branded an Orientalist for picking the Arabian Nights as my fifth choice, and I don't care — it's my favorite book.)
It made me think that I need to get around to making a longer list about what to read about the Arab world. I'd be interested to hear what readers believe should be included, and in what category (for instance, fiction, politics, history, religion, etc.) Putting together of 100 books might be a fun summer project.