At the end of the year, we reflect. We reflect on our accomplishments, our adventures, our heartbreaks, and everything in between. In the bookish world, we also look at the books we’ve read, because ulimately, the books that you read contribute towards your growth.
My growth was encouraged by many books and authors, especially by Corban Addison (read more about it in my previous post). I also opened my eyes to the world of bookstagram and blogs – my greatest achievement of 2018. With a great interest in the bookish community, I have asked a few bibliophiles to write a little about their 2018. Here’s what they have said:
Written by Azraa Mayet:
A House Without Windows – Nadia Hashimi
Identifying myself as a proud feminist, I’ve always been particularly interested in conversation surrounding aspects of patriarchy, power and oppression.
A House Without Windows reignited my already existing spark of interest in such topics.
Zeba, a loving wife, a patient mother, and a peaceful villager. Yet, her fate lies in the hands of dishonorable men.
Guilty until proven innocent.
This novel brought about a wide disarray of emotion. On the one hand I often found myself feeling sad and disheartened about the poor justice system that Muslim women, in particular, are forced to face on a daily basis, around the globe. Whereas on the other hand, completely and utterly thrilled, almost fascinated to be able to experience such explicit realism. And then unfortunately, unpleasant feelings arising once again, for not having any solutions to help & honor such remarkable women.
“Sometimes it’s hard to figure out if you are crazy or if it is the world around you that’s insane”
– Nadia Hashimi, A House Without Windows
Written by Yasira Moolla:
Reclaim your Heart – Yasmin Mogahed
2018 has been the most challenging year of my life. I lost so many people who I never dreamed to lose. So many people walked out of my life and so many people hurt me. Yasmin’s self-help guide, helped me to find myself and my true purpose. She reminded me that no matter what difficulty you face, Allah is always by your side and if that’s not the most comforting thought, I don’t know what is.
Written by Sameera Khan, ShesBooked:
“Like maybe you think I’m a little crazy but I only let people see the tip of my crazy iceberg. Underneath this veneer of slightly crazy and socially inept, I’m a complete disaster.”
– Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell.
Give me a library of books and I will devour them effortlessly, spending copious amounts of time getting to know each fictional character I find myself attached to, falling in love with a long list of fictional soul mates. Give me a real life situation with real feelings and actual people and I am rendered a complete mess. I am absolutely, inevitably and ardently clueless.
Perhaps I have an internal glitch that prevents me from having normal, functional relationships or from being an actual normal, functioning person. But I have never had the luxury of a dull ache; I’ve always been cursed with feeling too much or nothing at all. There are days when I feel absolutely nothing and there are days when I’m so overcome with emotion that I just want to sit in silence in the dark, lost in the abyss of it all. Then there’s the curse of being rendered incapable of expressing any feelings. I would choose to forgo a possibility of a relationship than have to express my feelings to another human being. The possibility of rejection is too much a fear for me to take a risk in expressing how I feel. More than the possibility of rejection is the actual expected certainty of rejection. This is possibly why I will always remain a grenade of bottled up feelings.
Read further on: https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/41903032/posts/347
Written by Faatima:
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness – Arundhati Roy
I doubt that much can be adequately said about all that this novel entails. Personally, I took from it, that happiness can literally be found in a graveyard, provided that one is surrounded by like-minded people who co-exist without a filter and rawness is the only
reality. The rest, will see to itself because when one is happy, one is able to see the path clearer.
“If you’ll pardon me for making this somewhat prosaic observation – maybe that’s what life is, or ends up being most of the time: a rehearsal for a performance that never eventually materializes.”
– Arundhati Roy, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness
Written by Dr Zaheera Jina:
The Ones With Purpose – Cynthia Jele
I must admit that I was really apprehensive to read The Ones With Purpose only because I had lost my own mother to cancer. I did not want to re-visit the memories of my mother being ill and I did not want to re-live her last moments.
I decided to read the book because I wanted to review the book.
They say that books choose us. This book found me, it gave me the understanding that I sought after my mother’s passing. The Ones with Purpose is a beautiful yet painful portrayal of family, disappointment, sacrifice, forgiveness and love; it tells the story of a sister named Fikile who dies from cancer and the intertwined narratives of those closest to her.
Fikile was The One with Purpose and so was my own mother. Fikile’s death had context – there was a past that had happened with her being there and an untold future which will unfold without her in the physical sense but through her memory and lived actions. My mother’s death did that too – her passing has left a deep void in me but at the same time, she will always be with me through that which I have learnt from her. Her life had meaning, her living had Purpose and she lived within the context of others and her life has had a ripple effect on those around her and many others not within her reach. But within my mother’s life, there was also disappointment and sacrifice and pain – and there was happiness. My mother, (like Fikile) was human after all. “The Ones with Purpose” beautifully illustrates the drama that unfolds in life through realistic characters like me and you. We all have our stories to tell and these stories involve others.
The Ones with Purpose has kept me deeply absorbed throughout my reading experience and has stayed with me for days now. It’s most highly recommended.
The Ones with purpose is on my list of Top Three reads of 2018, along with Gold Diggers by Sue Nyathi and The Blessed Girl by Angela Makholwa. I’m looking forward to 2019 – a year of more ground breaking African reads.
Written by Aadilah Mahomed:
Origin – Dan Brown
Dan Brown, famously known as the author of The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, released his new book called Origin.
Having previously read and loved his other books, I tried to get my hands on a copy as soon as I heard that it was released. And once again, I was not disappointed. The book follows Harvard Professor Robert Langdon along yet another dangerous adventure as he races against time and a myriad of people trying to kill him and the beautiful museum director, Ambra Vidal as they attempt to release a scientific presentation that “will change the face of science forever”.
Not unlike his other books, Origin is full of action and plot twists that will keep you so engrossed that you’ll find this book hard to put down. What I like about Dan Brown’s books is that they’re all set in different countries and cities and he writes in such a way that you feel like you are alongside the characters every step of the way, exploring one country after another. Being someone that loves traveling, these books feed my wanderlust. Dan Brown delves a lot into art, history, architecture and science which I feel broadens my mind and teaches me a lot more than a regular novel.
All in all, this book is definitely one I’d recommend!
Written by Zakiyya, TheBookishNerd:
2018 was for me, a really good reading year. I have always enjoyed reading but this year I fell in love with the act all over again. I really treasured and enjoyed my reading time and I managed to read some really wonderful books which obviously helped. Each year I like to give myself a reading goal that will push me out of my comfort zone a little bit, my comfort zone being Contemporary novels.
This year I aimed to read more nonfiction books, I achieved my goal to a certain extent. I did pick up a few more nonfiction books and two of them really stood out to me: You Can Stop Humming Now by Dr Daniela Lamas and Born A Crime by Trevor Noah.
Ultimately I am a creature of habit and so I did find myself reaching for Contemporary novels quite often, the genre still remains a firm favorite of mine. Titles that stood out to me in 2018 are:
- I Am Thunder by Muhammed Khan (boundless)
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (revolutionary)
- Tin Man by Sarah Winman (eye opening)
- The Astonishing Color of After by Emily. X. R. Pan (hope giving)
- Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley (heartwarming)
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (life changing).
- The Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar
A quote from The Astonishing Color of After really stuck with me throughout the year:
“We’re not lost,” “We’re just headed somewhere different.”
These words sort of grounded me and succeeded in reminding me that there is no ‘correct’ path in life, just because you’re on a different path doesn’t mean you’re lost.
Other bookish joys came from taking pictures of books, talking to other bookworms about books and buying more books as well as appreciating reading and books in all of its forms. Overall 2018 was a very happy bookish year and I could not be more grateful for that. Here’s to an even happier 2019!
I am so grateful to have people in my life who encourage me to read and contribute towards my education and growth. My goal is to be a person who continues this cycle, and my blog is one of the tools for achieving this goal. I hope that, through each of these reflections, gives you reason to read more in 2019!
Let me know which books stood out for you in 2018, and which you will be adding to your 2019 TBR!
Happy New Year, fellow bookworm.