The Caliph's House is an interesting story about a family's year spent in Casablanca renovating an old, sprawling Moroccan villa. Told with honesty and humour, Shah details the many missteps along the way and provides good insight into some of the customs and superstitions of Morocco which together make this an extremely pleasant way to while away the time.
Where the Hell is Tuvalu? describes the two and a bit years Ells spent working as the People's Lawyer, or the People's Liar as came to be known, in the world's 4th smallest independent nation during the mid 1990's. Focusing on his job and ex-pat life among the Tuvaluans, Ells self-deprecating humour makes this an interesting read and stands almost alone as the only travel book written on this country.
Hawks stumbles into something like a mid-life crossroads and decides that the two things he wants most in life is to meet his soulmate and to find lovely house abroad somewhere. For most of us, this simply would have been an ill-advised thought over a pint and a bag of crisps. But for a man who has made his name out of taking on wagers such as lugging a fridge around Ireland or attempting to beat all eleven members of the Moldovan soccer team at tennis, it is inevitable that this course of action will be put into practice.
My Desert Kingdom is an enjoyable and insightful book detailing an Australian couples ex-pat experience in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. While written prior to 9/11, it nonetheless provides a good feel for the trials and tribulations of ex-pat life, not shying away from the unglamorous aspects that are part and parcel of living in this insular country.