Ramadan Mubarak to all of the Muslims and Muslimas out there! May you have a beautiful and blessed month!
This year I have decided to participate in a readathon event that is very near and dear to my heart, the Ramadan Readathon. I discovered it’s existence over on twitter with their Twitter page, and knew immediately that it was something that I wanted to and needed to participate in. Muslims stories, specifically by #OwnVoices authors, is such an important necessity now more than ever. We are people and we are a community of love, compassion, mercy, and warmth. We have stories to tell that show us as real people with real feelings and real existences that are just like anyone else out there in the world. Our voice is one that needs to be shared and heard in society today. My post today will share information regarding the readathon and the books that I plan on reading during the months of June and Ramadan.
So, to share my love and passion, as well as my respect and friendship to Muslims all over the world, I want to participate in this month-long event that spotlights books written by Muslim authors, in an array of genres from comics to fiction to poetry and non-fiction as well. The goal of the readathon is to support marginalised writers and raise awareness about the importance of diversifying reading choices and bookshelves.
This year the readathon event is hosted by Nadia @ Words Beneath Wings and Zoya @ We Are All Critics! It runs from June 1st to June 30th, and anyone can participate! Just create a TBR and share it on either Twitter or Instagram. If you can’t participate in the actual reading part of the event, don’t worry! The hosts will be holding Twitter chats throughout the month, with details going up on their page soon, and you’re more than welcome to join in on these chats and discussions. In addition, there’ll be photo prompts for IG and giveaways as well. Let’s all build our Muslim shelf space together! ♥
My small book stack of #OwnVoices Islamic books, all written by Muslima (Muslim women) can be found down below. Once again, wishing all of my Muslim and Muslima followers a very blessed Ramadan Mubarak!
Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azra Nafisi
An #OwnVoices, Iranian non-fiction memoir explores life amidst arbitrary raids in Tehran and the fundamentalists that seized hold of the universities, and an inspired teacher named, Azra Nafisi, who gathered seven of her most committed female students to read forbidden Western classics. In Nafisi’s living room, they removed their veils and immersed themselves in the worlds of Jane Austen, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Henry James, and Vladimir Nabokov. A book that’s an exhibition of extraordinary resilience and inner power in the face of tyranny; a narrative that truly is the celebration of the emancipative power of literature.
Broken Verses by Kamila Shamsie
An #OwnVoices, Pakistani fiction novel that tells the tale of a young woman named Aasmani. In 1986, the greatest known Poet was found brutally murdered, beaten to death by government thugs. Two years after the fact, his lover, Samina Akram, suddenly disappears. Their daughter, Aasmani, had always assumed that her mother abandoned her, until one day she runs into an old friend of her mother’s, who hands her a letter written–recently–in the Poet and Samina’s secret code, sending Aasmani on a quest she wasn’t prepared for.
Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed
Another #OwnVoices Pakistani novel from the young adult genre, it tells the story of a young girl named Naila. Her parents have always given her the freedom to make her own choices in regards to attire, education, appearance, etc., however. Their only restriction is that she’s not allowed to have a boyfriend. Her parents would inevitably choose her future husband for her. But when Naila meets Saif, her world turns upside down as she breaks her family’s single rule and falls in love. When her parents learn of Naila’s love, they take her on a family trip to Pakistan, where the future of her fate will be drastically altered.
Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi
A novel written by a Muslim woman, who’s known for her bestselling series, Shatter Me, this middle-grade fantasy novel follows the adventures of a young girl named Alice Alexis Queensmeadow. The three most important things in her life consist of Mother, magic and colours, and her father who disappeared three years ago. To bring him home, Alice will travel through the mythical, dangerous land of Futhermore, where up can be down, paper is alive, and left can be both right and very, very wrong. Her only companion is a boy named Oliver, who is an experienced guide with his own tangle of dark secrets.
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
A novel written by British-South Asian Muslim author, Sabaa Tahir, it’s the first in a young adult fantasy series and follows a young teenager named Laia. Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Laia and her family know this better than anyone. But when her brother is taken, she’s forced to make a terribly difficult decision. In exchange for helping rebels who promise to help rescue her brother, she’ll risk her life to play the part of spy from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.
Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali (e-book)
Another #OwnVoices book, this young adult contemporary novel follows the everyday musings of an Arab-American, hijabi teenager named Janna Yusuf. She’s a book nerd, an aspiring photographer, and sometime graphic novelist who’s obsessed with Flannery O’Connor. Janna suddenly finds herself caring what a certain boy named Jeremy thinks. Not that she would ever date him—Muslim girls don’t date. Or they shouldn’t date. Or won’t? Janna is still working all this out. While her heart might be leading her in one direction, her mind is spinning in others. She is trying to decide what kind of person she wants to be, and what it means to be a saint, a misfit, or a monster. Except she knows a monster…one who happens to be parading around as a saint…Will she be the one to call him out on it? What will people in her tightknit Muslim community think of her then?
God Smites & Other Muslim Girls Problems by Ishara Deen (e-book)
An #OwnVoices young adult novel that follows Bengali-Canadian, Asiya Haque. One day she defies her parents and goes on a small walk with her friend, Michael, whom she also has a crush on! Her small, little transgression takes a huge turn for the worst then the duo stumble onto a dead body. Michael covers for Asiya and then soon afterwards disappears himself. Convinced of Michael’s innocence, Asiya embarks on a journey to find Michael and help prove him to be innocent. Her only obstacles are her protective parents, a rabid police officer, and a murderer. How hard can it be… really?