Last week was a very stressful week for me with trying to be an emotional pillar for my parents and then dealing with my own underlying grief and depression. Normally, when I’m feeling this low and terrible, I tend to go on shopping sprees. However, ever since I began a relationship with my local library, my shopping habits have vastly decreased. Financially and even mentally, this has been a huge source of positivity. But for some reason even the library wasn’t doing its normal part in alleviating my burden of stress. I remember chatting about this with my cousin, Pyar (the one living in Japan), and his support and understanding was probably the only thing that made me feel some mild sense of relief. Then a couple of days after that conversation, I received a box in the mail with some of my anticipated reads for the year. I sat down and sobbed.
My cousin is one of the very few people with whom I am extremely close to within my family, parentals notwithstanding. He is my best friend and my partner in devilish delinquencies; my brother and my sister and everything in between and around. Regardless of knowing him better than anyone else (maybe not as well as his kids), I never expected him to do something like this and that’s one of the many things that I love and appreciate about him. Whatever I must have done in a past life, must have been something quite remarkable for me to have a presence in my life like his. During this month of Ramadan, it’s moments like these and people like him that I cherish the most and feel most thankful for. Pyar, if you’re reading this: bahut shukriya, mere yaar.
Today, I wanted to share with you some of the treats that I received courtesy of cousin Pyar. There are three Islamic young adult contemporaries (one of them I bought myself via a pre-order) and one psychological thriller. I also decided to share the one science-fiction book that I bought for myself a couple of months ago because, well, why not?
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
The Silent Patient is a psychological thriller that I don’t know much about. To be honest, I have been avoiding the synopsis for this book as much as possible because I prefer to go into my thrillers with as little information as possible. All I know is that it takes place in London and is about a woman with a seemingly perfect life who ends up shooting her husband in the face five times after he gets home from work one day without any explanation whatsoever. That’s all it took to colour me intrigued.
Mirage by Somaiya Daud
Mirage is the first instalment in an #OwnVoices Islamic fantasy story about an eighteen-year-old gal named Amani who dreams of life before an occupation, one where she is a poet and an adventurer. One day when she is kidnapped by the regime of the ruthless dominating power in the star system—the Vathek Empire—her adventure arrives in ways she didn’t dream. Taken to a place of utmost secrecy within the royal palace, she finds that she is almost identical to the cruel Vathek Princess, who is loathed by the people she has conquered. When Amani learns that she was brought here to die in place of the Princess in her image, she realises she has been given the perfect opportunity for escape!
The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan
The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali is an #OwnVoices South-Asian, #OwnVoices Islamic young adult contemporary novel that follows a seventeen-year-old named Rukhsana Ali who has done everything she can to live up to her conservative Muslim parents’ expectations, but the older she gets, the more difficult it seems a feat to accomplish. She is counting down the days until her carefully caged existence in Seattle is left in the dust after she heads off to college at Caltech where she can finally be herself. But when her parents catch her kissing her girlfriend, Ariana, all of her dreams get shattered. Being gay is as a good as a death sentence in the Bengali community. Her family immediately takes her to Bangladesh where they try to arrange her marriage and steep her in more conservative traditions. However, when Rukhsana comes across her grandmother’s old diary, she realises that it’s time to stop being afraid of going after what she wants in her life.
Love From A to Z by S.K. Ali
Love From A to Z is one of the books that I had pre-ordered as it’s authored by a woman who changed my life with her debut, and I want to support all of her bookish offerings. Love from A to Z is an #OwnVoices Islamic young adult contemporary story about a young lady named Zayneb, the only Muslima in her class, who gets suspended for confronting her teacher. Fuming over the events, she kicks off Spring Break early by heading to her aunt’s home in Doha, Qatar. After a short while, she crosses paths with a dude named Adam. Since being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, he’s stopped going to school and instead focuses on making things with hope of keeping his mother’s memory alive for his little sister. As Zayneb and Adam navigate the lives they live for others, things begin to unravel in unexpected ways for them, all starting with their first encounter.
Seeds of Earth (Book One of Humanity’s Fire) by Michael Cobley
Seeds of Earth is a science-fiction, space opera book that I picked up at a local bookshop a couple of months ago. I went there to get hot cocoa and to read, and then came home with this first instalment and a new F.R.I.E.N.D.S. bookmarker. It’s about three colony ships that escaped a ruthless attack by an intelligent species from space—their first contact with aliens ever. One-hundred-fifty years after that escape, the planet Darien has become a host for human inhabitants and the indigenous race of scholarly beings called the Uvovo. However, on a forested moon lay the secrets of an epic battle between races as old as time. When the Galactic War arrives to the planet, which side shall the indigenous beings choose?
My plan is to pick up Love From A to Z this weekend! Since it is Ramadan, I shall be trying to read as many books by Muslim authors. There is a Ramadan Readathon going on, for anyone who is interested in participating. I shall be partaking but distantly. I have books checked out from the library by Muslim authors, but they don’t fit any of the challenges that well. My goal is to read books that meet those challenges, not only in May, but throughout 2019. This is my way of supporting the cause and contributing in whatever ways I am able to.
If you have someone in your life that brings you joy or comfort at your worst times, make sure to let them know how much of an impact they make. Life is too damn short not to says thanks to the people that we love and appreciate so dearly.