Books by Muslim Authors, Diverse Books, Muslim Shelf Space, Non Fiction Books

A History of Islam in 21 Women by Hossein Kamaly – ARC Review

I was sent an ARC by One World Publications in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed reading this book, reading about Muslim women, some which I already knew about and some who were new to me.

Rating: 4.5/5

What this book is about:

Beginning in seventh-century Mecca and Medina, A History of Islam in 21 Women takes us around the globe, through eleventh-century Yemen and Khorasan, and into sixteenth-century Spain, Istanbul and India. From there to nineteenth-century Persia and the African savannah, to twentieth-century Russia, Turkey, Egypt and Iraq, before reaching present day London.

From the first believer, Khadija, and the other women who witnessed the formative years of Islam, to award-winning mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani in the twenty-first century, Hossein Kamaly celebrates the lives and ground breaking achievements of these extraordinary women in the history of Islam.

When this book was announced I literally squealed with joy! Finally a book that includes Muslim women! Whenever I see a book published about amazing women, I have always found that consistently Muslim women are excluded or at most only one Muslim women is in there (always Malala) and I always felt upset because surely in 1400 years they must have found more than one woman worthy of being put into these books?

It actually put me off reading them eventually as even in books to empower women, women who looked like me were still excluded. The only time I found Muslim women being spoken about were in classical Islamic texts but I wanted something that was accessible to all and then this gem of a book was published.

While this book isn’t perfect, it is certainly a great book for anyone wanting to learn about Muslim women and how much they have achieved and in so many fields. From being literal queens and leaders of their communities to mathematicians and so much more. This book shows how accomplished women were throughout Islamic history and it is just the tip of the iceberg.

These are the women I was raised learning about, Khadijah (ra) who is the first woman spoken about in this book is my role model and always has been since I was young. She was a successful businesswoman and one of the wealthiest people in her tribes. She proposed to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and he worked for her even after they were married. I could honestly write a whole essay about her and my love for her. And I am so glad that she is in this book and that you all get to meet her.

This book has a wide range of women, starting from when Islam first came all the way up to modern times and I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been to narrow it down to just 21. But I am so glad to have read this book because there are so many women that even I hadn’t heard of. Muslim women who lived in different places in the world but all had a huge impact on their society.

These women are shown as they were, independent, outspoken, brave, smart, and so much more. It was refreshing to see this and not the usual media narrative which perpetuates stereotypes and always shows Muslim women as weak and submissive. This book amongst others I have read this year are the beginning of us taking back the narrative of who we truly are.

I highly recommend this book to everyone, especially if you do not know much about Muslim women throughout history. It is a great starting point as it gives a great overview of their lives and achievements but it isn’t so dense that it puts you off reading.

Monthly Wrap Up

October Monthly Wrap Up

It’s the end of October already! This year has flown by so fast! I had a really great reading month this month and read some amazing books and found some new favourites.

I also went to a Manchester Literature Festival event, Clementine Ford came to discuss her new book, Boys Will Be Boys. She discussed feminism, the patriarchy and how toxic masculinity not only hurts girls but how it also hurts boys and only the rich (white) men are the ones who benefit from this structure. She spoke about how we need to speak up against it and make structural changes to actually make a difference. It was a really great event and she was lovely too talk to. I highly recommend reading her books.

So anyways the books that I read this month are:

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1 Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer – Okay so I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading but I had heard great things so I decided to give it a go and I actually really enjoyed it! It discussed a lot of important and relevant issues from poverty to white privilege.

Rating: 4/5

2 Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill – I started off really enjoying it but then I got bored in the middle so I have mixed feelings about the book.

Rating: 3/5

3 The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco – I loved this book so much! The incredible world building to the wonderfully diverse and complex characters. I cannot wait for the second book! You can read my review here

Rating: 4.5/5

4 A History of Islam in 21 Women by Hossein Kamaly – Finally a book that has so many incredible Muslim women. I really enjoyed reading this book and I really recommend it especially if you’re not familiar with many Muslim women and their achievements. My full review will be up soon.

Rating: 4/5

5 Scars Like Wings by Erin Stewart – This book is so incredibly heartfelt and I really loved it. If you read Wonder and loved it then I highly recommend this one too. You can read my full review here

Rating: 4/5

6 The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh – WOW just wow. I loved this book so much! Renee’s writing is beautiful as always and this story is just incredible and you all need to go read it! You can read my full review here

Rating: 5/5

7 War Girls by Tochi Onyebuchi – This book was really interesting especially as it was set in a black panther inspired future world. The main characters grow up in a Nigeria that is at civil war. It’s a period of history I knew very little about and it was a good read.

Rating: 3/5

8 Angel Mage by Garth Nix – This is the first Garth Nix I read and I really enjoyed it. The story was really interesting and there was a great group of characters and a ruthless villain. You can read my review here

Rating: 4/5

9 The Light at the Bottom of the World by London Shah – I loved this book so much! This is such a wonderful ownvoices book. I just loved the characters and the incredible world that London has created. My review will be up soon!

Rating: 5/5

10 All American Muslim Girl by Nadine Jolie Courtney – I stayed up until 5am reading this whole book in one night. It made me sob and laugh and made me angry and hopeful and I just loved this book so much! I really need you all to go read it! My review will be up soon!

Rating: 5/5

So these are books that I read this month. I really loved several books this month!

 

I also reviewed these books this month:

Boys Will Be Boys by Clementine Ford

Otherlife by Jason Segan and Kirsten Miller

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Highfire by Eoin Colfer

I also posted these on my blog this month:

5 Reasons Why You Should Read The Light at the Bottom of the World by London Shah

Fiction Books With Mental Health Rep

Lightbearers Book Tag

 

Fiction Books, YA Books

Otherlife by Jason Segal and Kirsten Miller – ARC Review

Thank you to Netgalley and One World Publications for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

This is the last book in the Last Reality trilogy and I loved it! You can read my review of Otherearth here

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Rating: 4.5/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Simon, Kat, Busara, and Elvis are on the run with the tech super-villains at the Company hot on their heels. The new VR gaming experience the Company created, OtherEarth, is set to change how the world experiences video games. Paired with the hardware the Company developed, it has the potential to change the world as we know it, altering our reality forever.
The Company is on its way to becoming the world’s newest superpower. And Simon is determined to shut them down forever. But to do that, he’ll have to survive OtherLife – the next phase of gaming, and a complete reality reboot.

This trilogy will take you on a wild ride and honestly you won’t know who or what to believe. I completely fell in love with this trilogy and the world that they created, even though it was a little scary and dark at times. The world building was incredible and each book they eexpanded and built upon the world and it was all so vivid it felt like you were right there. They discussed such important and relevant issues in the books so well too.

I really loved seeing the characters grow throughout the trilogy but I also really loved that they still behaved like teenagers at times. They were scared when their lives were in danger and they were impulsive at times, making mistakes but they were also courageous and smart and witty.

Both Busara and Kat were great female main characters, they weren’t just love interests and played important roles in helping take down the company. They were smart and total badasses, and Kat was often the voice of reason in the group. She would rein in the impulsiveness of Busara and Simon and Busara was often the reason that Simon was able to succeed.

Again this book builds on and discusses the ethical side of the gaming world and virtual reality, how far can we take it, and how corporations can be ruthless in their greed to gain wealth and power. But that we can all do something to prevent that, no matter how young or insignificant you think you are. You can make a difference. It parallels real life where it is often the youth who are the ones who stand up and fight for a better and safer world.

This book is action packed and fast paced and kept me on the edge of my seat. Once I started I could not put it down, I read it in two evenings. The ending was really satisfying too. There is so many secrets throughout the story and we find the answers and Simon is successful. Loose ends are tied up nicely yet it is still left open in a way that we know that they are not yet done with everything they want to achieve. We are left imagining them doing so much more in the world.

Non Fiction Books

Boys Will Be Boys by Clementine Ford – ARC Review

Thank you to One World Publications for sending me ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I absolutely loved Fight Like a Girl so when One World Publications surprised me with by sending me an ARC of Boys Will Be Boys I was so excited to read it! And it did not disappoint!

You can read my review of Fight Like a Girl here

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Rating: 4.5/5

What the book is about:

Fearless feminist Clementine Ford’s incendiary first book, Fight Like A Girl, is taking the world by storm, galvanizing women to demand and fight for real equality and not merely the illusion of it.
Now Boys Will Be Boys examines what needs to change for that equality to become a reality. It answers the question most asked of Clementine: “How do I raise my son to respect women and give them equal space in the world? How do I make sure he’s a supporter and not a perpetrator?”
Ford demolishes the age-old assumption that superiority and aggression are natural realms for boys, and demonstrates how toxic masculinity creates a disturbingly limited and potentially dangerous idea of what it is to be a man. Crucially, Boys Will Be Boys reveals how the patriarchy we live in is as harmful to boys and men as it is to women and girls, and asks what we have to do to reverse that damage. The world needs to — this book shows the way.

This book made me laugh and cry and rage and everything in between. It’s a book that explains the injustices and the toxic structural issues in society that prevent most people from truly gaining equality and justice. It’s a book that took me a long time to get through and not because I didn’t like it but because it is an incredibly difficult read because of how personal it felt to me.

I have grown up in a society that told me because I am a woman I am less and that added to the obstacles put in place because I am brown and Muslim and wear a hijab, made me rage and cry for all the things that I could barely put into words myself. Clementine wrote all the things I felt and gave voice to those feelings. The second half of the book took me months to read because I had to keep putting it down after every few pages.

However it’s a book that I think everyone NEEDS to read. From discussing rape culture to how boys are taught from a young age that, ‘that’s just boys being boys’ and how the victim is blamed and men are protected from being held to account, to how toxic masculinity not only is an issue for women but for men too.

One of things I really loved reading about was how toxic masculinity can have such a negative effect on so many boys as well as girls. There is a very rigid view of what makes a man, ‘a man’ and that means that any boy that does not fit that description is shamed for it.

I know this from experience of having to constantly stand up for my young cousin (he’s 11) because he expresses his emotions, he likes reading and art instead of sports and is a total nerd (very proud of this fact lol) but is constantly told by those who should be his role models that he needs to ‘be a real man’ and that ‘boys don’t cry’ and it makes me so mad because of how much it affects him. So reading about how it affects men was really great because it helped me to explain better just how it affects him to his parents and explain to him that there is nothing wrong with him.

This book has helped with my confidence in standing up with these issues that I am so passionate about and that to bring about real change in society we all need to learn about what obstacles have been put in place to allow only a small minority to hold all the power and then we can really make structural changes.

Non Fiction Books

Fight Like A Girl By Clementine Ford – Book Review

I have been wanting to read this book for a long time and then I received an ARC of her new book coming out in July so it finally gave me the push to read it. And wow did I love this book so much!

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Rating: 4.5/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Personal and fearless – a call to arms for feminists new, old and as yet unrealised by one of our most outspoken feminist writers.
Online sensation, fearless feminist heroine and scourge of trolls and misogynists everywhere, Clementine Ford is a beacon of hope and inspiration to thousands of Australian women and girls. Her incendiary debut Fight Like A Girl is an essential manifesto for feminists new, old and soon-to-be, and exposes just how unequal the world continues to be for women. Crucially, it is a call to arms for all women to rediscover the fury that has been suppressed by a society that still considers feminism a threat.
Fight Like A Girl will make you laugh, cry and scream. But above all it will make you demand and fight for a world in which women have real equality and not merely the illusion of it.

I borrowed the audiobook from the library and the narrator was Clementine herself. Her narration was so engaging, witty and sarcastic that I just didn’t want to pause the audiobook! She speaks about a lot of things that I related to and I was glad to hear her speak about cross sectional feminism and including everyone and not just white feminism.

Honestly, this book had me pumped and raging and I just wanted to tear down the patriarchy! It reignited my passion for speaking up about female empowerment and injustices done against women. It was empowering to listen to her and also heart breaking at times to hear the statistics and encounters of what so many women are faced with on a daily basis.

One of the benefits of reading it as an audiobook was that my husband also heard it when I played it in the evenings, and this led to lots of healthy discussions (and lots of me ranting). And I think it’s a book that can create lots of engagement and discussion. You don’t have to agree with everything she says but it’s important to listen to other perspectives too.

“We fight like girls. This is how we prevail, and this is why we’re still standing.”

This book gave voice to so many things I could not express myself, I found myself nodding along and gasping in horror and laughing my head off at her sarcasm and sass! She is actually hilarious, and I think that helped when dealing with so many heavy and intense topics. She was serious and light-hearted and balanced both really well so you don’t feel overwhelmed by everything.

One of things I do want to mention is how she spoke about having a girl gang. How having a really great group of female friends who are truly there for you and you for them is so important in battling the patriarchy. The system is set up against us and it can be exhausting constantly fighting against it but your girls can support and empower you. I adore my girl gang and I have no idea where I would be without them. They have been there for me through everything.

She also spoke about how women can never win no matter what they do in this system. We are either too feminine or not feminine enough and it’s men who decide this for us. There are so many issues so deeply ingrained into our society that most people, especially me, don’t even see that a problem exists but we need to start speaking up and making a change.

This book is unapologetic, it’s empowering and I absolutely loved it. I highly recommend you all read this and if you enjoy audiobooks do listen, it’s really great!