By Sarah Schroeder
Your long search for Ramadan and summer readings is over! Finding a good book for the hot summer can be a difficult and time-consuming process. We’re at the brink of the long Qatari summer with the end of Ramadan and the school year. Time will move much slower and, as our thirst for refreshing summer drinks must be quenched, so must our thirst for a captivating read. Books have a way of taking us somewhere else – away from work, everyday chores, and the heat. So whether we find ourselves at home in Qatar, visiting our families in different countries, or traveling to an unknown summer destination, books accompany us for entertainment and stimulation.
Have you found your wordy travel buddy for this summer yet? If not, ILQ’s got you covered! We’ve gathered a list of books of bestsellers, top 2017 reads, classics, lifestyle, and educational books for our fellow bookworms. Because it’s the last week of Ramadan and the beginning of Eid Al Fitr soon, we also included fascinating books on Islam and Islamic Feminism. These books will certainly intrigue our Muslim and non-Muslim readers alike!
1. Milk and Honey
By Rupi Kaur (2015)
Milk and Honey contains a collection of poetry and prose about survival. The number one New York Times bestseller is divided into four chapters, each serving a different purpose and focusing on different pain. Rather than being gloomy, this book takes you on a journey though low and bitter times in life while showing you the sweetness that can be found in them. There is some sweetness in the darkest moments. It’s for you to discover it!
2. The Handmaid’s Tale
By Margaret Atwood (1985)
The Handmaid’s Tale has it all: power, gender, and religious politics. The dystopian novel, set in near-future New England explores the issues and themes of women in subjugation, and how they gain independence and individualism. Readers interested in classic literature, politics, and contemporary women’s literature will enjoy this book. Also – be sure to check out its new television adaptation on Hulu starring Elisabeth Moss!
3. “Believing Women” in Islam: Unreading Patriarchal Interpretations of the Qur’an
By Asma Barlas (2002)
“Believing Women” in Islam by Asma Barlas (2002) deals with some very crucial contemporary issues, such as the misconceptions about the oppression of women through Islam. Each chapter of this book develops an enhanced or new understanding of the Qur’an’s teachings. Asma Barlas shows how the Qur’an can be interpreted as fundamentally egalitarian and anti-patriarchal. Unreading this patriarchy and inequality is important and liberating!
4. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry
By Neil de Grasse Tysons (2017)
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry is one of Amazon’s 10 most-read books of 2017. And for good reason! Questions we ask about space, time, and the universe are answered in this guide by an acclaimed astrophysicist. Neil de Grasse Tyson explains the cosmos to those of us that don’t have a lot of time. The witty and easy-to-read book can be read on a coffee break or before going to sleep.
5. The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living
By Meik Wiking (2017)
We all have to sort through our lives at times, getting rid of long-accumulated clutter, re-organizing, and finding a new inspiration. If this is on your agenda this summer, you might want to read The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking. This guide on the Danish philosophy of comfort, togetherness, and well-being is another New York Times bestseller and worth the read. It explains why Danes are the happiest people in the world, and how to embrace Hygge (pronounced ‘hoo-ga’).
6. Life is an Open Secret: Ramadan Special
By Zabrina A. Bakar (2009)
If your hunger of knowledge about Ramadan isn’t satisfied, Life is an Open Secret: Ramadan Special might be your best bet. The book contains 25 motivational stories, especially for the Holy Month of Ramadan. During the time of fasting, the stories in this book can serve as reminders to what Ramadan is truly about. This is a book that inspires, soothes, calms, and warms the heart.
7. Western Civilization through Muslim Eyes
By Sayyid M. Musavi Lari (2014)
For those wanting more on politics, have a look at Western Civilization through Muslim Eyes by Sayyid M. Musavi Lari. The Muslim scholar takes the reader through vital questions on Western politics, the role and position of Islam, and (mis)interpretations of Islam. This critical book aims to deliver the true message of Islam to the world and gives a Muslim account of Western civilization and relations.
8. Beren and Lúthien
By J.R.R. Tolkien (2017)
Lord of the Rings enthusiasts, stop scrolling! This fantasy novel is essential to The Silmarillion, the myths and legends of the First Age of the world. It’s a tale of Beren and Lúthien who fall in love. Lúthien is an immortal elf and Beren a mortal man. Their love is shadowed by Lúthien’s father’s disapproval and Beren is faced with an impossible task.
9. Faithfully Feminist: Feminist Jewish, Christian and Muslim Women on Why They Stay (2015)
Faithfully Feminist is a collective project by 15 Jewish, 15 Christian, and 15 Muslim women who speak about their feminist identities. The inclusive book featuring accounts by women of the Abrahamic religions offers insight into the gendered challenges of religious women, and how they remain faithful despite their feminist values. Believing women are often criticized and told they cannot be true feminists. If this is something you’re interested in, read these women’s answers to “why they stay”.
10. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness: A novel
By Arundhati Roy (2017)
The final book on this list will truly take you to a different place – to India! The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy was released earlier this month has already climbed to number one in Indian Literature on Amazon. The painful love story is one full of deep emotion, a journey through neighbourhoods, nature, mountains, and valleys of Old Delhi and Kashmir is one of peace and war. Characters are developed by love and hope in a world which broke them. This novel is perfect for those of us who can’t wait to get lost in a book!
Hopefully, there was a book on this list that caught your eye! At ILQ we can’t wait to read some of these books while in Qatar, on a city tour, at the beach, or in a familiar place in our home country. Travel can be as inexpensive as the price of a book! Can you smell it yet? Sea water, summer air, sunscreen, and the pages of a new book?
Let us know what you’ll be reading this summer in the comments below! Is it one of the books on this list? We’re curious to know! Also, give us a like and a share – you know it keeps us going!
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