The Striving Soul


Well, here’s the long due review. As I started reading the book, I already knew I did not want it to end so I resorted to reading only a few pages a day so that it may last as long as possible. I couldn’t help but remember my friend who jokes about how unfair it can be when the rate of consumption is faster than the rate of production. She says how can one prepare food for three hours only for it to be eaten in five minutes? How can one strive the whole month to earn money only for it to be spent in a week? How can one take a whole year to write a book only for one to read it overnight? So I hoped in taking a long time to read it I would have done some little justice to the long time it took to write it.

I like it when a book is divided into parts that are related to each other whereby each part seems to complement the other parts. This reminds me of the book When Breath Becomes Air which is divided into two parts. Part 1:  in perfect health I begin describes the author’s life before he was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer and part 2: cease not till death describes his life after the diagnosis. I do not know whether it is because I like poems or the titles truly did sound poetic but it gave me the impression that part two is a completion of part one just like the phrase cease not till death completes the phrase in perfect health I begin. I got the same feeling as I read the parts of this book. I saw the chapters as a journey with one part leading onto the next. We start with an aching soul but through pondering, it came to believe. By pondering over Allah’s creation, it came to believe in Allah; by pondering on its blessings and capabilities, it came to believe in its self and its abilities; by pondering about how other people survived struggles that were similar to my own struggles and how the survivors were willing to help others, I came to believe in the power of humanity. And after believing, the soul was finally able to love; to love its Creator, to love itself, and to love the creation. At least that is how I saw the chapters to complete each other.

Many a times I read a page and I felt as if the thoughts were taken right out of my brain. I related deeply to a lot of parts and it felt amazing and shocking at the same to know that someone else out there was having similar thoughts. I stuck page markers on the pages that resonated with me most and I ran out of them and I had to resort to folding the top of pages despite not wanting to distort the book in any way because I felt protective of it.

As I read some parts, I felt that the words were coming from a very deep place. I wondered whether it was easy for the writer to write them down. Because for me, I find it very difficult to put my innermost thoughts on paper for fear that other people might read them and get an access into my mind. A mind which has some thoughts I hold too dear that I find sharing them will make them lose their value. I have a fear that letting people know what transpires in my brain will make me vulnerable and exposed. I fear I might lose the privacy that I reverently cherish. This is something that was holding me back from writing and I’m still working on overcoming it. I wonder whether the writer has a similar hesitance when it comes to writing about innermost feelings or whether it’s not a challenge for her.

The hallmark of it all was that the book was signed for me despite the writer not really knowing me.  And I keep on going back to the message to remind myself to keep striving. Talking of the idea of striving, it reminds me of another concept that I adore. The concept of Ihsaan. The concept of doing everything that one does to their best of abilities, in the best way and form possible. If you knew me personally you’d know that I keep on stressing about it. I find striving to be part of Ihsaan since it entails working towards being the best version of oneself.

This is one of the few paperbacks that I own and I think I’ll keep on revisiting it time and again until the cherished lines are committed to memory. I want to read it so many times that the pages threaten to fade from overuse. And I don’t think I’m willing to lend it to anyone because I intend to keep it as a personal journal, jotting down my thought on the bottom of the pages. So if I manage to get one interested in the book, they have to get their own copy! The least I could do is market the book right?

To get your copy, contact: 0704 731 560. The book can be sent as a parcel to wherever you are!


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Image Courtesy: Ahmed Elmawi

Continuing swiftly from where we left off last time: https://lubnah.me.ke/pieces-of-my-heart-part-1/


A beautiful, moving and intriguing story of a teenage girl Kambili and her older brother Jaja who come from a rather privileged and respected family. Their father is very generous and admired in the community. However, he was also fanatically religious and tyrannical with his family. Despite the perfect outward image this cute family portrays, there is a lot of tension within the house, built on deep fear of ever crossing their father’s limits and set rules. A military coup becomes the reason these young siblings get to experience freedom and deep joy when they move to their aunt’s house, outside the city. But when they come back home, the tension heightens. The two young siblings with their mother silently endure the unendurable until they no longer can and someone goes to jail…

It is an emotional roller coaster built upon the family bonds. You will definitely love this one because it is very relatable. High chances you will relate to Kambili and Jaja or you know someone who lives what they’ve lived through. I am very fond of this book I think mainly because it is family based and really moves one to the core.


Trevor Noah is one of my favourite comedians without a say but that aside, this book is magnificent by its own glory. In his book, Trevor talks about being ‘born a crime’; having parents who are black and Swiss, something that was totally forbidden during the apartheid period in South Africa. He struggles in a huge way to fit in anywhere and he ends up being the boy who could survive everywhere. He learns five languages and how to adapt to the rather racist system.

His mother is a very firm, independent woman who plays a huge role in raising Trevor into being a smart, witty young man. The best part for me is how they develop a tradition where she’d write him letters on his chores and his duties in the house and Trevor would write back to her 😀 And she would write hilarious statements (in their context) like ‘Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of discipline will remove it far from him’ which is an excerpt from the bible just to threaten him. His mother is literal goals! Then there’s his beloved dog Fufi who disappears for a while before learning that he actually has another owner. This also became one of my favourite pieces in the book with the moral of the story being that ‘You don’t own what you love.’

This book is not only hilarious but there are many instances where we get to learn from the experiences that Trevor lived. The most tragic one being his mother being shot by his own step father. Intense! I know! However, it is always lovely to know the back story of our favourite people in real life. We get to understand where they are coming from and why they are who they are!


You definitely, DEFINITELY saw this coming didnt you?! Paulo Coelho is one of the best authors of our times and his books never disappoint but to date, in my opinion, this is his best work yet!!

The story revolves around an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to a desert in Egypt in search of treasure supposedly buried at the pyramids. This young man is both ambitious and thoughtful. Filled with hope, he follows his dreams and explores the land. He meets many different people along his journey to his quest and learns a lot of lessons. At some point he reaches a dead end with his search and he is robbed too. The different experiences push him to take control of his own life and seek out the spiritual world. He gets to the alchemist; who claims he can turn metal to gold and also meet Fatima who affirms to him the reality of fate and the spiritual forces that align with our dreams, goals, choices and beliefs.

The book is magical in its own way and very intriguing. It makes us readers reflect on our inner world and how our core beliefs inevitably affect our lives. This book is almost always amongst everyone’s favourite books.


John Grisham is a master of thrillers and mysteries. This is one of the books that at the end, you throw it to the wall and stare for many moments at nothing; dismayed, shocked!

Patrick Lanigan,the main character of our story is a lawyer who decided to steal 90 million dollars from his law firm then proceeded to fake his own death in a seemingly brutal car accident. Patrick manages to run to Brazil where he changes his entire appearance and changed his name to Danilo Silva. He starts everything afresh so as to not get caught by the FBI who were looking for him. However, four years down the line he is arrested by the FBI agents at a small town called Ponta Porã.

During the years of his escape, he had a partner by the name of Eva Miranda alias Leah Pires. He entrusts her with EVERYTHING. From covering his tracks to hiding the money, to withdrawals and deposits to disappearing from the world’s existence. She was the perfect partner…until she wasn’t…

I’ll leave it at that so y’all can read it on your own. Nonetheless, it was really captivating and intriguing 😀


I came across this book by mere chance at second hand book stalls and I was hesitant because I had never read the author. But then I went ahead and took it with me (see? sometimes you gotta give unknown authors to you or new ones a chance) When I started reading, I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN. The books puts you at the edge and the suspense is intense!!

The story is about a young lady who finds herself in a dark, unknown location and quite disoriented. Abbie Devereaux can’t remember her recent past or how she got here with a strange man who keeps promising her death. Abbie stays for long hours alone, imagining the sun and butterflies while still having nightmares;

being hopeful that someday she will make it to her world again. However, a twist of events happen when Abbie finally gets to escape and resume her normal life…but guess what? People don’t believe her story. Her doctors think it is a fantasy merely made up by Abbie. It is then that Abbie realizes that her before life had been destroyed too. She is terrified whether her kidnapper would find her again. Would she ever remember what exactly happened to her? Abbie therefore desperately tries to reconstruct her life, taking step by step into the past to find out what exactly took place and also prove what everyone didn’t believe…Exciting, thrilling, terrifying!!! If you love thrillers, you should consider this.

Now something I learnt, people have different tastes in books just like everything else. Been checking reviews od the different books I have mentioned so far and I was shocked to find some of my favourites were somebody’s ‘total waste of time’. Sooo…I am not promising anything but I believe my taste is above average good 🙂 Enjoy!!

Other great books (in my opinion):

-Reclaim your heart by Yasmin Mogahed
-Enjoy your life by Mohammad Al-Arefe
-I know why the caged bird sings by Maya Angelou
-When Breath becomes air by Paul Kalanishi
-I too had a love story by Ravinder Singh
-A walk to remember by Nicholas Sparks
-Nothing lasts forever by Sidney sheldon
-Tell me your dreams by Sidney Sheldon
-The Street Lawyer by John Grisham
-The Poet by Michael Connelly
-The Spy by Paulo Coelho

Local authors (with their instagram handles to get yourself some copies ?)

-The Striving Soul by meeeee (Contact me at 0704 731 560 to get yours now!!)
-Point of deflection by Dr Mohammad Bahaidar (and 3 other books) @dr.bahaidar
-The billionaire sahaba by Suleiman Ndoro @_draudi
-A Painted Inspiration from the Palm-Fringed Beaches: A Collection of Inspirational Quotes by Salma Abdulatif @expressing_through_salummy
-Building a Million dollar business by Aminah Suleiman @wa_kwale_
-Drunk by Jackson Biko @bikozulu
-Too pretty to be broke by Joan @joanthatiah

Among many many other great books!! Pardon me if I forgot to mention your favourite ?

Don’t forget to subscribe below and share!! Thank you!

Image Courtesy: Salma Abdulatif

Look at those overflowing emotions. What does one do with a heart like that?
Lubnah AbdulHalim
~The Striving Soul

I’ve loved words for as long as I can remember. I’ve dived in libraries, drowned myself in piles and piles highlighting every bit that speaks to me. Turned to poetry and mastered every line that touched me. Listened to great speeches and jotted down the parts that moved me. That’s what happens when you’re a hopelessly inept person struggling vehemently to properly express yourself. When you know what to say but do not know how to.

It’s not often a book captures the entirety of the human condition; warts and all. On survival. Mental health. How it can get from 0-100 real quick. On life and the meaning of it all. Trying to see sense in a world that doesn’t make any and enjoying that confusion. On loneliness and how it’s not similar to being alone. The struggles with the feeling of ever being enough and whether your work will amount to something. Whether you’ll amount to anything. But more than anything, a book about faith, silver linings and that no matter what… “we got this.” Ladies and gentlemen, as rare as they occur; a gem; The Striving Soul.

The Striving Soul is a book by the extremely hardworking, extremely gifted Lubnah AbdulHalim A.K.A Strokes of my Pen. I promise, her skill with the quill is undeniable. The book is a thought-provoking emotional rollercoaster providing us glimpses into the soul of a highly sensitive anxious overthinker (Her own words). It’s real, it’s raw and it’s beautiful. If you think yourself hard as ice, this is the book that will melt you. I could keep on marching these chorus lines of clichés but it wouldn’t actually touch even the tiniest bit on how emotion-packed and impactful this book is. It’s a different experience all on its own. And will leave you wondering, how much depth can one tiny person have?

And when I say an emotional rollercoaster, I actually mean that. The beginning bits are mostly soul-punching, finding you in the pits of despair hovered by dark stormy clouds. And it journeys you through the crawl to the top at which you get to see your life with fresh eyes. With optimism. Her idealism kind of rubs on you as she sucks you into her world where; …humanity is divine and love is eternal. Where mountains of pain erupt yet the breeze of solace interrupts. Where understanding is a rule and reading between the lines is an art. Ask me and I’ll introduce you to my world; where poverty is a blessing compared to the cruelty around. Where laughter and smiling heal a broken heart. Where souls pray from dawn to dusk and find piece in the smallest things. Ask me and I will introduce you to my world; where darkness and light never meet. Where you and I will never be apart.
What a world to be in?

The main take-away for me was “choose you.” No matter what. And that being you is the secret sauce to creating magic in this world. So:

Let us do what is no longer ordinary. Let us be ourselves.

Image Courtesy: Salma Abdulatif

For more information on the book, you can contact the following number: 0704 731 560

You can get your copy at the following places:

Mombasa:  IOU centre, also known as MLC centre.

Chetna Restaurant, 2nd floor. Along Haile Sellasie Road. Ahead of Oil Libya petrol Station and just before Royal Court Hotel.

Contacts: 0770 136 463/0770 630 997

Open from Monday to Saturday: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Nairobi: from Ahmed: 0718232852 

For parcels to other areas of the country contact: 0704 731 560

Photo Courtesy: Ahmed Elmawi

Have you ever had the experience of reading a book till the end, closing it, watching the world move on while you lay there feeling like you just lost a bosom friend?


All views expressed here are my own and do NOT represent the opinion of any entity. I have also NOT received payment of any kind that I’m aware of.

All you are left with is a wistful collection of the writer’s words of wisdom that you obsessively re-read to feel their presence again. You wish you could turn back time just a little, back to the moment you opened the first page. Well, if that hasn’t happened to you yet, let me introduce you to my lost friend The Striving Soul.

We have been inseparable!

When I first got hold of it, something strange caught my attention. Some of the pages were essentially blank apart from a few paragraphs at the top. “Mmm, that’s not very economical.” I thought to myself as I began reading.

I was barely two pages in when, lo and behold I just had a startling realization! The few words at the top were so powerful, so thought-provoking you needed the space to breathe, to contemplate, to let it resonate with your whole being.

I literally had to tear myself away from the book after every few pages. I just couldn’t rush through it, not with the kind of emotions it aroused. I was left feeling both gratified and saddened when I reached the final page.

The author began writing consistently at the young age of 12, started a successful blog lubnah.me.ke at the age of 25 which was nominated by BAKE(Bloggers Association of Kenya) in 2016 among the top 5 creative writing blogs in Kenya, is a part time lecturer and has written two biographies; Unbroken Wings published in 2017 and Dropped to the world, Adopted by Faith published in 2018. I mean, need I say more? ?

The book touches on the struggles we all face albeit to varying degrees such as anxiety, depression, loneliness, shame, the need for recognition, the need to fit in, sexual harassment but in a way that inspires you to rise above the feeling of complete powerlessness and to embrace your true power.

The writer implores you to wear your emotional scars as the ornaments they are and to use them to fuel your success.

The language is simple and easy to comprehend but each word weighs heavily on your heart. I cried, I smiled and I revelled in it’s beauty.

If you are the kind of person who isn’t given to philosophical contemplation in any significant sense then this book is sadly not for you.

Nothing I have said above could honestly do justice to this book, the excerpt below will speak volumes instead:

Everyone thinks they’ve had it worse. Everyone thinks their story is more devastating, more terrifying, more everything. But everyone carries trauma. We’ve all hit rock bottom, we’ve all been pushed to the edge, we’ve all felt shattered we thought we’d never rise again. True, some people have it worse, but we are all on the same ship in unpredictable weather. We could sink any moment and not everyone can swim against the currents. Not everyone survives. -The Striving Soul

It’s a book I would probably never pass on, never lend out but you can contact this number; 0704 731 560 or order via Instagram @strokes.of.my.pen to get your copy for just 1000Ksh. Thank me later.

I repeat for the sake of emphasis, I do NOT stand to benefit from the book’s purchase in any way.

Have you read a book you absolutely adored? Please let me know below. I would love to check it out.


You can read more of her work at: https://kenyanmuslimah.com/

The books are available at the following location:
IOU centre,
Chetna Restaurant, 2nd floor.
Along Haile Sellasie Road (Ahead of Oil Libya petrol station and just before Royal Court hotel)
Contact: 0770 136 463/0770 630 997

In Nairobi, we have some few copies available with Ahmed: 0718 232 852