In my quest to build my own personal library,  one of my new year’s resolutions is to branch off into different genres of books. A few of these genres are mostly consisting of fiction, ranging from dragon-lore, sci-fi voyages and having dystopian survival guides. Also making themselves a space on my shelves are several humanitarian war stories, of which one author had been responsible in my latest interest of Muslim writers.

Lately, I’ve been trying to get into more fiction written by Muslim writers. As a self-diagnosed  self-described, book worm and story enthusiast, these in my opinion are a list of Must-Read Books from Muslim qriters. (Don’t worry, it’s completely spoiler free!)

  1. When Michael Met Mina by Randa Abdel-Fattah

Opening up the list, would be this beautiful book. A brave tale on acceptance and communication, the story confronts a multitude of stereotypes and misconceptions right on the nose. In this time and age of distrust, and sadly a lot of “Us Vs Them” arguments being thrown around, When Michael Met Mina was a wonderful book to read.

Despite its winded passionate dialogue constantly consisting of monologues against racism and prejudice being a slight turn-down, the book is certainly born in a time that needs it. With a strong passionate female protagonist, a misunderstood heart of gold boy on a path of redemption and a whole bout of good-will harmonious living lessons? It’s no wonder, why I was enraptured to continue from beginning to end.

2. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Khaled Hosseini isn’t a stranger to my shelves. Over the years, I’ve accumulated his books, with the ‘Kite Runner‘ being my first. With a definite flair for depicting tales of strife and humanity prevailing realistically, I have to say, I am quite a fan of his. As I can’t very well just present all of his works in the list, I told myself to specifically talk about one of his works. With ‘Kite Runner’ and ‘And The Mountains Echoed’ coming to a close run, I’ve opted to single out A Thousand Splendid Suns.

The reason for this would be that, this tale was focused on a female-female friendship between two wives of an abusive man. All that, and it’s happening during the turmoil and difficulties during the Afghani civil war. That and throw in the wrong treatment of the Taliban being featured in the novel, and you have an instant draw-in factor.  It’s a strong empowering story, that really does make me empowered as a female (read: my feminist side was switched on and swelled with pride.

3. She Wore Red Sneakers by Naima B. Robert

I was strolling past a local book store, when I saw the book cover. In an instant, I was drawn to it (hands up, if this has ever happened to you).  Reading the blurb made me so sure that I wanted this book on my shelf. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough money to do the purchase (books are super expensive in my neck of the woods), but I did get my hands on the e-book.

Featuring a conservative romance between a young Muslim boy and Muslimah girl, it’s a definite breath of fresh air. Premiering a more traditional sense of relationships, this is one of the sweetest and adorable coming-of-age tales that shares a glimpse to a different form of courtship. A definite recommendation for every book shelf, even a non-Muslim one, if just to get into a different perspective.

4. The Girl In The Tangerine Scarf by Mohja Kahf

Presenting an insider’s view of Islam, the Girl in the Tangerine Scarf is another wonderful coming-of-age novel in the form of an immigrant story, that reflects a wonderful message to a world that seems hell-bent on holding to its close-minded values of culture and racial prejudice.

Khadra, the main protagonist of the novel, undergoes several periods of reflections, painful growth and can be seen shedding layers of her old self and going out of her comfort zone. All this whilst remaining a devout Muslim woman, and keeping an open mind and being less ritual bound. This book is a definite casual glimpse to one of the environments that American Muslims grow up in.