Alex Assouline, vice-president of family-run luxury publishing company Assouline, which has opened in Dubai, on his castaway titles.

Words by Jonathan Whiley.

The American by Henry James


Henry James’s social commentary is cleverly sublime.

He writes characters in a one-two-punch sort of way that charms and stings at the same time.

Whenever I open this book, I find myself subconsciously nodding along and it’s always applicable to current scenarios.

Whitewall magazine


While I love being around books 24/7, sometimes I crave a little bit of brevity.

On those occasions, I turn to Whitewall.

The content is stimulating,  the aesthetic is clean, and it keeps me up to date on everything from art openings to interviews.

Mosques by Assouline


This is a perfectly curated title that presents incredible human achievements and innovations seen in the architecture of mosques.

It’s a testament to the many centuries and continents that have contributed to not only the creation of mosques, but their immense influence on their surrounding societies.

The Lonely City by Olivia Laing


The book is about the paradoxical nature of loneliness in New York City.

As a longtime resident of this city, I can really understand how the loneliness you can feel in this city can also be a vitalising experience for self-discovery.


Art Game Book by David Rosenberg


This book has always been dear to my heart as my parents created it for me when I was kid, as a medium for me to learn while also playing.

During this time, like most kids, I was obsessed with video games, so you can see how useful it was to have such a great book for me to explore.

The amount of knowledge in its 400 pages is truly inspiring, and continues to stimulate me today.

Ikigai by Héctor Garcia and Francesc Miralles


According to the Japanese, everyone has an ikigai – a reason for living.

And, according to residents of the Japanese village with the world’s longest-living people, finding it is the key to a happier and longer life.

Having a strong sense of ikigai – where passion, mission, vocation and profession intersect – means each day is infused with meaning.

Assouline‘s flagship is located at 196a Piccadilly. It also has a second Maison in the Dubai Mall.
To find out more about Assouline, read here.

This article was originally published in the Mayfair Times which you can read here.