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March 29, 2022

10 Book Recommendations for Ramadan (for EVERYONE!)

 

This year, Ramadan is predicted to begin on April 2, although this could change slightly depending on the sighting of the moon, and end on May 1. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, one of the holiest months of the year for Muslims. To honor those who will be celebrating and participating in Ramadan, I am sharing 10 book recommendations with you to help you add diverse books and authors to the titles you read this year, as well as to encourage you to educate yourself on a group of people (Muslims) who are vastly misunderstood and discriminated against. We can only know better and do better if we learn and unlearn, and reading is the best (and easiest) way to do that.


BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:


*** Not the Girls You're Looking For ***

by Aminah Mae Saf


Debut author Aminah Mae Safi's honest and smart young adult novel is about how easy it can be to hurt those around you even if--especially if--you love them. 

Lulu Saad doesn't need your advice, thank you very much. She's got her three best friends and nothing can stop her from conquering the known world. Sure, for half a minute she thought she'd nearly drowned a cute guy at a party, but he was totally faking it. And fine, yes, she caused a scene during Ramadan. It's all under control. Ish.

Except maybe this time she's done a little more damage than she realizes. And if Lulu can't find her way out of this mess soon, she'll have to do more than repair friendships, family alliances, and wet clothing. She'll have to go looking for herself.

BUY @ BOOKSHOP



*** Once Upon an Eid ***

Short Story Collection


A joyous short story collection by and about Muslims, edited by New York Times bestselling author Aisha Saeed and Morris finalist S. K. Ali

Once Upon an Eid is a collection of short stories that showcases the most brilliant Muslim voices writing today, all about the most joyful holiday of the year: Eid! Eid: The short, single-syllable word conjures up a variety of feelings and memories for Muslims. Maybe it's waking up to the sound of frying samosas or the comfort of bean pie, maybe it's the pleasure of putting on a new outfit for Eid prayers, or maybe it's the gift giving and holiday parties to come that day. Whatever it may be, for those who cherish this day of celebration, the emotional responses may be summed up in another short and sweet word: joy. The anthology will also include a poem, graphic-novel chapter, and spot illustrations.

BUY @ BOOKSHOP



*** Love from A to Z ***

by S K Ali 


A School Library Journal Best Young Adult Book of 2019

A YALSA 2020 Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers

A marvel: something you find amazing. Even ordinary-amazing. Like potatoes--because they make French fries happen. Like the perfect fries Adam and his mom used to make together.

An oddity: whatever gives you pause. Like the fact that there are hateful people in the world. Like Zayneb's teacher, who won't stop reminding the class how "bad" Muslims are.

But Zayneb, the only Muslim in class, isn't bad. She's angry.

When she gets suspended for confronting her teacher, and he begins investigating her activist friends, Zayneb heads to her aunt's house in Doha, Qatar, for an early start to spring break.

Fueled by the guilt of getting her friends in trouble, she resolves to try out a newer, "nicer" version of herself in a place where no one knows her.

Then her path crosses with Adam's.

Since he got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November, Adam's stopped going to classes, intent, instead, on perfecting the making of things. Intent on keeping the memory of his mom alive for his little sister.

Adam's also intent on keeping his diagnosis a secret from his grieving father.

Alone, Adam and Zayneb are playing roles for others, keeping their real thoughts locked away in their journals.

Until a marvel and an oddity occurs...

Marvel: Adam and Zayneb meeting.

Oddity: Adam and Zayneb meeting.

BUY @ BOOKSHOP



*** The Bad Muslim Discount ***

by Syed M. Masood 


It is 1995, and Anvar Faris is a restless, rebellious, and sharp-tongued boy doing his best to grow up in Karachi, Pakistan. As fundamentalism takes root within the social order and the zealots next door attempt to make Islam great again, his family decides, not quite unanimously, to start life over in California. Ironically, Anvar's deeply devout mother and his model-Muslim brother adjust easily to life in America, while his fun-loving father can't find anyone he relates to. For his part, Anvar fully commits to being a bad Muslim.

At the same time, thousands of miles away, Safwa, a young girl living in war-torn Baghdad with her grief-stricken, conservative father will find a very different and far more dangerous path to America. When Anvar and Safwa's worlds collide as two remarkable, strong-willed adults, their contradictory, intertwined fates will rock their community, and families, to their core.

The Bad Muslim Discount is an irreverent, poignant, and often hysterically funny debut novel by an amazing new voice. With deep insight, warmth, and an irreverent sense of humor, Syed M. Masood examines universal questions of identity, faith (or lack thereof), and belonging through the lens of Muslim Americans.

BUY @ BOOKSHOP



*** Amal Unbound ***

by Aisha Saeed


Amal has big dreams, until a nightmarish encounter . . .

Twelve-year-old Amal's dream of becoming a teacher one day is dashed in an instant when she accidentally insults a member of her Pakistani village's ruling family. As punishment for her behavior, she is forced to leave her heartbroken family behind and go work at their estate.

Amal is distraught but has faced setbacks before. So she summons her courage and begins navigating the complex rules of life as a servant, with all its attendant jealousies and pecking-order woes. Most troubling, though, is Amal's increasing awareness of the deadly measures the Khan family will go to in order to stay in control. It's clear that their hold over her village will never loosen as long as everyone is too afraid to challenge them--so if Amal is to have any chance of ensuring her loved ones' safety and winning back her freedom, she must find a way to work with the other servants to make it happen.

BUY @ BOOKSHOP



*** Amina's Voice ***

by Hena Khan


A Washington Post Best Children's Book of 2017

A Pakistani-American Muslim girl struggles to stay true to her family's vibrant culture while simultaneously blending in at school after tragedy strikes her community in this "compassionate, timely novel" (Booklist, starred review) from the award-winning author of It's Ramadan, Curious George and Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns.

Amina has never been comfortable in the spotlight. She is happy just hanging out with her best friend, Soojin. Except now that she's in middle school everything feels different. Soojin is suddenly hanging out with Emily, one of the "cool" girls in the class, and even talking about changing her name to something more "American." Does Amina need to start changing too? Or hiding who she is to fit in? While Amina grapples with these questions, she is devastated when her local mosque is vandalized.

Amina's Voice brings to life the joys and challenges of a young Pakistani-American and highlights the many ways in which one girl's voice can help bring a diverse community together to love and support each other.

BUY @ BOOKSHOP



*** All-American Muslim Girl ***

by Nadine Jolie Courtney


A Kirkus Best Book of 2019

Nadine Jolie Courtney's All-American Muslim Girl is a relevant, relatable story of being caught between two worlds, and the struggles and hard-won joys of finding your place.

Allie Abraham has it all going for her--she's a straight-A student, with good friends and a close-knit family, and she's dating popular, sweet Wells Henderson. One problem: Wells's father is Jack Henderson, America's most famous conservative shock jock, and Allie hasn't told Wells that her family is Muslim. It's not like Allie's religion is a secret. It's just that her parents don't practice, and raised her to keep it to herself.

But as Allie witnesses Islamophobia in her small town and across the nation, she decides to embrace her faith--study, practice it, and even face misunderstanding for it. Who is Allie, if she sheds the façade of the "perfect" all-American girl?

BUY @ BOOKSHOP



*** The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali ***

by Sabina Khan 


Seventeen-year-old Rukhsana Ali has always been fascinated by the universe around her and the laws of physics that keep everything in order. But her life at home isn't so absolute.

Unable to come out to her conservative Muslim parents, she keeps that part of her identity hidden. And that means keeping her girlfriend, Ariana, a secret from them too. Luckily, only a few more months stand between her carefully monitored life at home and a fresh start at Caltech in the fall. But when Rukhsana's mom catches her and Ariana together, her future begins to collapse around her.

Devastated and confused, Rukhsana's parents whisk her off to stay with their extended family in Bangladesh where, along with the loving arms of her grandmother and cousins, she is met with a world of arranged marriages, religious tradition, and intolerance. Fortunately, Rukhsana finds allies along the way and, through reading her grandmother's old diary, finds the courage to take control of her future and fight for her love.

An intersectional, diverse coming-of-age story that will break your heart in the best way (Bustle), The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali provides a timely and achingly honest portrait of what it's like to grow up feeling unwelcome in your own culture and proves that love, above all else, has the power to change the world.

BUY @ BOOKSHOP



*** Ayesha at Last ***

by Uzma Jalaluddin 


As seen on The Today Show! One of the best summer romance picks!

One of Publishers Weekly Best Romance Books of 2019!

A modern-day Muslim Pride and Prejudice for a new generation of love.

Ayesha Shamsi has a lot going on. Her dreams of being a poet have been set aside for a teaching job so she can pay off her debts to her wealthy uncle. She lives with her boisterous Muslim family and is always being reminded that her flighty younger cousin, Hafsa, is close to rejecting her one hundredth marriage proposal. Though Ayesha is lonely, she doesn't want an arranged marriage. Then she meets Khalid, who is just as smart and handsome as he is conservative and judgmental. She is irritatingly attracted to someone who looks down on her choices and who dresses like he belongs in the seventh century.

When a surprise engagement is announced between Khalid and Hafsa, Ayesha is torn between how she feels about the straightforward Khalid and the unsettling new gossip she hears about his family. Looking into the rumors, she finds she has to deal with not only what she discovers about Khalid, but also the truth she realizes about herself.

BUY @ BOOKSHOP



*** Alif the Unseen ***

by G. Willow Wilson



In an unnamed Middle Eastern security state, a young Arab-Indian hacker shields his clients--dissidents, outlaws, Islamists, and other watched groups--from surveillance and tries to stay out of trouble. He goes by Alif--the first letter of the Arabic alphabet, and a convenient handle to hide behind. The aristocratic woman Alif loves has jilted him for a prince chosen by her parents, and his computer has just been breached by the state's electronic security force, putting his clients and his own neck on the line. Then it turns out his lover's new fiancé is the "Hand of God," as they call the head of state security, and his henchmen come after Alif, driving him underground. When Alif discovers The Thousand and One Days, the secret book of the jinn, which both he and the Hand suspect may unleash a new level of information technology, the stakes are raised and Alif must struggle for life or death, aided by forces seen and unseen.

With shades of Neal Stephenson, Philip Pullman, and The Thousand and One Nights, Alif the Unseen is a tour de force debut--a sophisticated melting pot of ideas, philosophy, technology, and spirituality smuggled inside an irresistible page-turner.

BUY @ BOOKSHOP



QUESTIONS: Have you read any of these books? Are you adding any of these books to your TBR list with the intention of reading them soon?




18 comments:

Liz A. said...

Looks like a good list.

Chrys Fey said...

I think so. 😉

M.J. Fifield said...

I haven't read any of these, but they all look so great! Thanks for sharing!

Chrys Fey said...

You’re very welcome, MJ!

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

The covers are all so well done. I like that. It means the artist was connected to the story in a passionate way. I have a few friends who fast during Ramadan. I'm thinking it wouldn't hurt me. Thanks for reminding me, Chrys.

Sandra Cox said...

Good on you for Ramadan recommended reading, Chrys. That's great.
Hope all is well in your corner of the world.

Shannon Lawrence said...

Thanks for the list! I grabbed the short story collection so I could try out a variety of voices.

Deniz Bevan said...

Ooh, these all sound fascinating, especially Amina's Voice. I'd like to read one like that set in the UK!

J Lenni Dorner said...

Yup, adding two to my TBR, a third was already on there.
I'm doing the #AtoZChallenge - writing a speculative fiction short story.
On the main A to Z site today for "B" I shared a list of books. Check it out!
At Operation Awesome we're doing the A to Z Challenge and running a survey to pick the next Pass or Pages query contest genre.

Haddock said...

Like the cover illustration of Amina's Voice

Chrys Fey said...

The covers are amazing.

I'm wishing your friends a beautiful, peaceful, and festive Ramadan!

Chrys Fey said...

Thank you, Sandra! I am doing what I can to encourage readers to read widely and to read books written by author or with characters from other cultures, races, faiths, etc. <3

Chrys Fey said...

That's a great one to read!

Chrys Fey said...

Amina's Voice has a sequel, too. It's called Amina's Song. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Yay! I am so happy that you added two to your TBR list. :D

Chrys Fey said...

It is stunning, isn't it?

Toi Thomas said...

I actually have quite a few of these books but have not yet read them. Guess this is a good time.

Chrys Fey said...

Now is an excellent time. 😀