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I am not an avid reader. There, I said it! In broad daylight! (Or rather, in dark nightlight 😀 ) Do nerds do honor killing as well? Coz I could be the next victim of a ‘ruthless word-murder case on twitter.’ It is always on twitter, right? However, I am a big believer of quality over quantity (See my excuse 😀 ) I love taking time with books so that I can really absorb and ponder what’s in it. Also, overthink about everything in it, the sequel if there was any, feel the pain of the characters excessively to a fault and take time to heal too lol. The only books I don’t keep down are the thriller/crime/mystery books (which are my favourites by the way) because I totally love how they keep me on the edge. Sometimes though, we have the reallllyyy moving books that are just too profound to keep down, those too. Otherwise, I’m not rushing anywhere. Quality reading y’all! (P.S I really respect avid readers. I admire their deep commitment).
Good Lord. We have some really A.M.A.Z.I.N.G books out there and picking the best ones is really a task. Nonetheless, here are my top books that I’ve read so far:
Please note that there may be a feeew spoilers here!
1. THE KITE RUNNER BY KHALED HOSSEINI
I LOVE THIS BOOK. I LOVE KHALED HOSSEINI. And to date there is no single book I have ever read that made me feel what I feel about the Kite Runner or even Khaled Hosseini’s works. He is the absolute best writer ever. Don’t argue with me!
The Kite Runner is a coming-of-age story revolving around Amir (who longs deeply for his father’s affection), his best friend Hassan, Hassan’s father Ali (who is the servant of Amir’s family) and the very tragic war in Afghanistan. Amir and Hassan share an extra-ordinary bond of friendship and love but the unthinkable happens when Amir betrays his childhood best friend at a very critical moment (no spoilers!) They eventually separate when Amir immigrates with his father to US. The story has a huge plot twist, a very sad one,towards the end of the story concerning the two boys.
This book is very sweet, and heart-breaking, and sad, and heart-warming and very moving at the same time. An emotional roller coaster. And perhaps I love it deeply because the story-line concentrates a lot on friendship, something I really value. It has a special place in my heart and I never lend this book to anyone unless I REALLY trust you because ‘I AM GIVING YOU A PIECE OF MY HEART’ 😀 It is one of those books you finish reading and you HATE that you are done with it, yet you are crying and you hate that it made you cry but you still text your friend and say, ‘You MUST read this book. 11/10 recommend!’
Honestly, Khaled Hosseini is my writing guru. Ultimately, I hope that one day I can write and move mountains within people like he does with his stories (and in real life too!! He does a lot of projects helping refugees!!)
2. A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS BY KHALED HOSSEINI
YES!! HIM AGAIN!! And when you read the book you will understand why.
This book will STING you to the core. The story revolves around two women; Mariam and Laila.
Mariam is the illegitimate daughter of a wealthy businessman which makes her and her mother, Nana as outcasts. Mariam loves her father dearly and yearns to live with him at all times. However, this desire leads to her mother’s death and eventually her forced marriage. On the other galaxy, is Laila, a young girl loses both her parents due to a stray rocket during the soviet union invasion in Afghanistan. Laila loses her best friend too, Tariq whose family decides to move to Pakistan.
An unexpected twist happens when Mariam’s husband decides to marry the young Laila as his second wife since Mariam had failed to conceive. The two women don’t get along at first but they eventually realize they are both on the same side.
The story is about their huge struggles as women, instances where society fails them in a terrible way and how fate brings them together to become co-wives. The story has themes on fate, war, marriage, domestic violence, machoism, the plight of the girl child, culture, family and mostly love; the struggles that Laila and Tariq experience (don’t ask me if they meet again. READ THE BOOK!!), in pursuit of their happy ending. This book will make you CRY (or maybe I just cry a lot lol) but either way you will have that kiazi on your throat in several instances in the book. It is a master-piece. A tragic one but a really beautiful one nonetheless.
You can thank me later!!
3. A TEMPORARY GIFT BY ASMAA HUSSEIN
Amr Kassem a 26 year old man, was murdered in 2013 while going home after a peaceful protest in Alexandria, Egypt. Him and the many other people were rallying against the mass injustices under the command of AbdelFattah al-Sisi. He left behind his very heart-broken widow, Asmaa and their daughter Ruqaya. The book consists of journal entries of his widow, Asmaa, two years after his death. The book is sweet, heart-warming (concerning the two as a couple), spiritual but mostly heart-breaking. The intensity of it is on another level. I however love how despite the deep darkness, Asmaa was always seeking God and light. She would find the courage to trust that God’s plan is the best. It is definitely a spiritually uplifting book that will be a game-changer for so many people.
The book talks on love, marriage, fate, death, deep grief, faith, and outstanding patience.
By the way, this is a true story, not fiction. You can check out her page on Instagram @ruqayas.bookshelf or her website: ruqayasbookshelf.com in which this book is sold as well. Help a widow by buying her book y’all 🙂
4. THE BOOK THIEF BY MARKUS ZUSAK
First, this book is very unique because DEATH is the narrator in the book (Imagine hearing Death’s point of view of people and life!) He tells the story of Liesel, a young girl who has a traumatic experience of losing her younger brother during their journey to the Hans family (which adopts her) and thereafter losing her mother who leaves never to return. Liesel steals several books in the story, thus becoming ‘the book thief’ and it is this deep love of books that eventually saved her from death.
The family that adopted her was of Hans Hubermann and Rosa, who she doesn’t like much at first. The story happens during the world war II in Germany and despite them not being Jewish, they do not agree with the Nazi regime. They then hide a Jewish boy, Max, in their basement to protect him, who thereafter becomes very fond of young Liesel.
Liesel also forms a special friendship with Rudy Steiner, who impacts her life in a huge way. Their bond is highlighted in a large part of the book which makes it very intriguing.
The story takes a slow move at first and takes a while before it catches up speed (It is a big book). I almost underestimated it because I am not a big fan of slow moving stories, however, I am very glad to have given Markus a chance and read his work to the end.
I believe this is one of the most powerful books ever written. Liesel will steal your heart with her innocence, her pain, her love for books and her sweet nature. The story revolves around war, love, kindness, books, friendship and cruelty.
5. TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE BY MITCH ALBOM
This is a memoir of a student, Mitch and his ailing professor, Morrie who is diagnosed with ALS (a disease that causes the death of neurons controlling voluntary muscles). Upon knowledge of his professor’s ailment, 16 years after his graduation, he visits him and spends valuable time with him. For the next fourteen weeks, Mitch visits Morrie every Tuesday and they discuss issues like death, self-pity, family, marriage, aging, and a wide variety of other topics. We get to experience death alongside Morrie whose health deteriorates over the weeks but in the meanwhile, learn very valuable lessons that Mitch learns from him.
I say this is a book of wisdom, especially considering this is a true story. The bond between teacher and student is very beautiful and from the two, you learn truths about life and you are challenged too. This is the kind of book you sit with a pencil or a highlighter because it is a journey worth noting down.
There are many many books I want to talk about and deserve to be talked about but I chose this because I learn a lot from the above mentioned. I also now realize all these are rather ‘sad’ stories, but good news is, it is TOTALLY worth the tears. Enjoy!!
P.S. Part 2 will be more exciting stories I promise! In shaa Allah.