When planning my trip to Qatar, it was hard to decide on reading material. If I go abroad I always try to find a book which matches the place I’m going, as far as possible: it’s like a game. I’ve read The Three Musketeers in Paris and The Leopard beside the pool in Sorrento (Sicily itself is still on the ‘to-do’ list). For the Middle East, the obvious book was Seven Pillars of Wisdom, which is one of the many books I’ve always meant to read. I bought it; but then began to worry that perhaps it might cause offence; I don’t know how T.E. Lawrence is perceived in the Middle East.