Diversity Spotlight Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Bookshelves and Paperbacks. Each week, you feature a diverse book you have read and enjoyed, a diverse book on your TBR and a diverse book that has not yet been released.
Since diversity is quite a broad term that covers many different aspects, to ensure I’m reading across the whole spectrum I will choose an area to focus on each week. This week I will be talking about books featuring Muslim protagonists (and they’re all #ownvoices too!)
A B O O K I H A V E R E A D
A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS BY KHALED HOSSEINI
Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them—in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul—they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation.
This is basically my favourite standalone book. Everyone always talks about The Kite Runner, but what about this incredible story? It’s actually been such a long time since I read it and given how often I praise it I think I ought to re-read it soon. Like Hosseini’s other novels, it’s also set in Afghanistan and it’s dually narrated by two women whose paths eventually cross but probably not in the way that you think.
A B O O K O N M Y T B R
GOD SMITES AND OTHER MUSLIM GIRL PROBLEMS BY ISHARA DEEN
Craving a taste of teenage life, Asiya Haque defies her parents to go for a walk (really, it was just a walk!) in the woods with Michael, her kind-of-friend/crush/the guy with the sweetest smile she’s ever seen. Her tiny transgression goes completely off track when they stumble on a dead body. Michael covers for Asiya, then goes missing himself.
Despite what the police say, Asiya is almost sure Michael is innocent. But how will she, the sheltered girl with the strictest parents ever, prove anything? With Michael gone, a rabid police officer in desperate need of some sensitivity training, and the murderer out there, how much will Asiya risk to do what she believes is right?
This was published quite recently and I’ve only read positive reviews from other Muslim readers which obviously led to me looking it up on Goodreads and adding it to my TBR because how hilarious does it sound? I also recently learnt that the protagonist is Bangladeshi. But honestly, I’m mostly drawn to the fact that it’s a murder mystery. Muslim girls can solve murders too!
A B O O K R E L E A S I N G S O O N
SAINTS AND MISFITS BY S. K. ALI
How much can you tell about a person just by looking at them?
Janna Yusuf knows a lot of people can’t figure out what to make of her…an Arab Indian-American hijabi teenager who is a Flannery O’Connor obsessed book nerd, aspiring photographer, and sometime graphic novelist is not exactly easy to put into a box.
And Janna suddenly finds herself caring what people think. Or at least what a certain boy named Jeremy thinks. Not that she would ever date him—Muslim girls don’t date. Or they shouldn’t date. Or won’t? Janna is still working all this out.
While her heart might be leading her in one direction, her mind is spinning in others. She is trying to decide what kind of person she wants to be, and what it means to be a saint, a misfit, or a monster. Except she knows a monster…one who happens to be parading around as a saint…Will she be the one to call him out on it? What will people in her tightknit Muslim community think of her then?
Can we firstly appreciate how beautiful the cover is? I’m really excited for this one. I don’t know why (maybe because I follow the author on Twitter and I think she’s awesome) but I really can’t wait to read it. The synopsis doesn’t give much away plot wise but everything else pretty much draws me in.