I LOVED this. A much-needed collection of essays from Muslim women on faith, feminism and sexuality as a Muslim woman. Each piece was distinct and worked towards dismantling a very stereotypical narrative around Muslim women. It does its best to discuss a wide range of experiences and allows Muslim women to take a step into a discussion we are never invited to join. It starts for a much bigger conversation where Muslim women can reclaim their identity for themselves without generalisation and gives a great insight into many other perspectives of intersections of Muslim identities.
Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes?
Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3/5)
Olive is given a chance to join a new mental health programme where, for one month, she will receive a new form of therapy with other kids like herself, who are dealing with mental health issues. Except Olive does not know her diagnosis and she wants to keep it that way. In this summer camp, Olive comes to term with her thoughts, and while everyone around her is trying to fix her, she realises that maybe it is the world that needs fixing. So, she teams up with the other campers and figures out a way to fix
the world. This book is quite blunt and I, personally, had some seriously mixed feelings about this book. However, I did appreciate the discussion it had on mental health, and it encourages others to discuss it more. The characters are ridiculous and real, and their journey together as a group was a shining moment in this book. I just personally did not connect with this book, but I also did not want to rate it really negatively because of my own personal shortcomings with this book.
The Beauty That Remains
Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3/5)
Told from the perspective of three teenagers, all experienced the death of a loved one. Autumn lost her best friend, Shay, her twin sister, and Logan, the boy he loved. Their stories are linked through an indie band called Unravelling Lovely, and this book essentially follows them as they navigate their grief. It’s an emotional story, and I really enjoy how each narrator uses music differently to deal with their pain. Towards the end, I feel like the plot thins especially as it’s spread between three different perspectives, but nonetheless, I really enjoyed. It’s, in essence, three different stories in one, and it has a beautifully diverse cast of characters.
June Bana is a growing make up artist whose looks are gaining traction by the day on social media. But to June, the real her is a quiet homebody and lives a life less eventful than the pictures on her feed. Then she meets Selena Clarke, drop dead gorgeous model, who loves June for who she is.
A soft sweet tale of two women learning each other and falling in love. A rapid contemporary read with little to none conflict. This title is very fitting. Soft on Soft is precisely what you get. This story centres two women of colour falling in love. The writing is simple and easy to follow. Pop culture references abound!
Its uneventful plot makes a bit tricky to read since you can hardly tell what is going on at the moment. I don’t expect something tragic to happen to make it interesting, but something a little more eventful would’ve improved the pacing a lot.
Overall, there’s something to love in this. Em Ali has a bright future in of them. I know I’ll read more.
UPDATE: Purchase links for Soft on Soft are not currently available as the author has taken them offline for further edits. I will upload a longer review once it’s available.
Women of Resistance: Poems for a New Feminism – Edited by Danielle Barnhart and Iris Mahan
Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3/5)
when a girl pronounces her own name
there is glorywhen a woman tells her own life story
she lives forever
A feminist poetry collection that discusses race, gender identity and sexuality. I really enjoyed the variety of poetry styles that each contributor used. There’s a variety in content and form. I am not sure each piece is beautiful and exciting. The collection encompasses the works of a diverse range of poets who I’ll definitely want to check out. I don’t read that much poetry, but this collection of works from such inspiring people was indeed a hidden gem.
I received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review. This in no way affected by opinions of the book.
Honestly, there’s little to say about The Good Immigrant that hasn’t already been said. I’m not a huge non-fiction reader, but I can say this book was so worth reading.
It’s an interesting and fascinating collection of essays, from authors who are BAME individuals and sharing the stories of their lives and what makes someone a ‘good immigrant’, each one bringing a different aspect of their own lives. They all touch on different topics: why they/or their families move to the UK, their own culture, and the situations they had to deal with. That’s what I loved about this collection, how everyone had a completely different story to tell, each compelling and interesting as the one before it. Its contributors range from people whose families immigrated here, those who were born here, and to ones who had decided to leave.
I think the only flaw I could really point out is that most of the contributors are mainly in media/entertainment which means it excludes people from other fields of work where immigrants have greatly contributed. But, overall, this is a great collection of essays which were all thought-provoking and most importantly, honest. Highly recommended.
* I received an uncorrected proof of this book from the publisher. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.
“I hope she knows my pain is genuine, I thought. I hope she doesn’t doubt that a Muslim American can be impacted by 9/11, too. The truth is that 9/11 never ended for us.”
Muslim Girl is Amani’s memoir about growing up in a post-9/11 world and how her experiences in life, including moving back to her father’s homeland of Jordan, helped shape her voice as a Muslim woman which later aided her in the creation of MuslimGirl.com. Muslim Girl is a personal account of one of many voices. Amani’s voice is so necessary, so honest and so damn important
Simply put, I loved this. Amani’s journey and story is an important one, one that many Muslims in Western countries could relate to. I know I did. One moment I really enjoyed was how she was introduced to self-realised interpretations of Islam. While I’m across the ocean, my experience mirrored hers so perfectly, just a couple of years down the line and on a new form of social media. I loved that Muslim Girl is about no longer depending on the attention of mainstream media. A Coming of Age shows Amani turning inwards and throwing herself into the centre. She created an identity by seeing the sparse area in our mainstream news which rarely focuses on us positively. We follow her story of how she creates her own platform so Muslim women can talk back.
MuslimGirl.com is changing the way Islam is portrayed all over the world. Amani and this book is part of a new generation of Muslim women who are committed to combating stereotypical views. This book is merely a dip into the power and strength Amani has as she and the others alongside her are creating their own path as Muslim women living in today’s modern society. It’s been a year since I found MG.com and I love everything that Amani and the others alongside her have done to achieve to get where they all are now. Watch out for this October 18th
Anyone Can Get An A+: How To Beat Procrastination, Reduce Stress and Improve Your Grades is a self-help book aimed at college students. Mukherjee uses her own experience alongside research to create a series of tips which one can use to improve their grades and study skills.
As someone who’s currently in the middle of her A-levels, this was extremely helpful in reminding me to rethink my revision strategy. In this book, there’s various ways in which anyone can improve their study skills such as planning your study breaks, creating weekly plans and how to get something out of procrastination. This book really condenses everything teachers tell us but in a more practical and easy way to read and without going into so much detail and leaving you’re overwhelmed.
I should note that this book is very US-centric which is probably why I didn’t connect to it as much but the tips and information given still stands and Geetanjali definitely knows her stuff. It’s a helpful read that can help you reconsider revision habits, and turn them into more positive strategies.
Kindle Edition, 195 pages
Published September 2nd 2015 (first published August 2nd 2015)