Book Review: Begum and Dastaan by Tarana Husain Khan

Book Review Time

Begum and Dastaan by Tarana Husain Khan

Loved it , Totally recommend it. Thanks to the Author for writing this. You got me home through this book, the roads , monuments, and paths of my childhood, stories I grew up with, the language,food. Everything made me so nostalgic of Rampur I grew up in.

Book plot:
It’s a historical fiction based on life of a Nawab Shams of Royal Estate of Sherpur( names changed here) in India who was notorious for his debauchery, he was kidnapping young, beautiful girls and even married women and putting them in his Harem forcibly.
One such unlucky women was Feroza who was strong, defiant, determined and gave Nawab some tough time.
There is also a parallel story of Dantangoi ( story telling) ongoing by Kallan Dantango which is a fantasy story inspired by real life events at that time and a contemporary timeline story of Ameera who is great granddaughter of Feroza .

The scene setting , description , narration is on point, very well researched.

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Book Review Time:The other side of life by Nazhah Khwaja

Plot: The story is set in Pakistan’s Punjab Province .Farishtey a young girl is main protagonist and story teller of the book. She is a strong woman who finds herself in middle of her life’s unthinkable pit of nightmares. She is a daughter of a wealthy businessman man who deals in real estate but who is also a narcissist,misogynist husband and an abusive father. She still has to discover more of his ugly truths. There is budding romance in the novel between Farishtey and Faizan . Ali her brother is great character in book which I love. Love the character of her mother too who she keeps remembering in flashbacks.

Trigger warning: There is sexual abuse , physical abuse and rape.

The story is strong, gripping .I couldn’t put it down until I finished the book. Yes it was intense, dark in few parts, hopeful , romantic in other parts . Emotional rollercoaster, no less than a movie. I love how author has described misogyny and harmful effects of patriarchy through her main character. It was like reading my own thoughts.
Makes a very good read , Congratulations to the Author , doing a great job, this being her debut novel.

Book Review the other side of life by Nazhah Khwaja

Book Review Time: Its past midnight somwhere by Jamal e Fatima.

It is debut collection of Beautiful soulful poems by Jamal e Fatima along with Beautiful sketches by Hira Noor.
The poems are based on poet’s journey of pain, loss, healing , finding identity and joy .
The title is so poetic , I loved it and so is the 2nd poem in Book , one of my favorites that I have attached.

Once I started reading the book , I could only stop at the last line of last poem, devouring and feeling each poem.
There are like 90- 100 poems in the book .

I have purely enjoyed reading it.

Book Review Time: Show up by Na’ima B Roberts.

Show up is a motivational book and I would say its transformational.It gives you rules to live your life better, more mindfully and with purpose.
How do we Show up in life on a day to day basis as a Hero ?
The book cover says it’s for muslim women , I think that’s because it mentions Hadiths and Sunnah so its easy to follow the context if you are Muslim but I would say its for everyone of any faith. The essence of all faiths is same for me.
Naima shares her own life and journey with readers and I didn’t know the strong lady I always saw in Niqab on news or posts had to deal with so much in her past. The story started with her husband of 20 years passing away suddenly and leaving her with their four children behind. Her youngest daughter was two then ,and she also finds herself as a CEO of her husband’s company overnight.
Her story is really inspirational how she handled and dealt with it and showed up in all the testing times .

Totally recommend this book!

Book Review: Breathe by Tumkeen

It’s a collection of Beautiful soulful poems and reflections by the author during covid lockdown period. Each and every poem is so poignant, Well written, relatable and asking you to pause and reflect upon it and your life. The writer takes you along in her journey of thoughts , introspections, spiritual evaluations, emotions and learnings. This is definitely a book to be digested poem by poem, line by line.
It was hard for me to choose one for my posts, but this poem ‘Keep’ is close to my heart, keeps me going.
I absolutely recommend this book !

Breathe by Tumkeen
Book Review and Poem Recital

Book Review Time : The Beauty of your face by Sahar Mustafah

I finished the book last week, its really hard to put this book down once you start reading it, it  is totally engrossing and capturing your attention. It had made me cry , sad, few times angry too and smile .

Plot :
Afaf is American woman born to  Palestinian parents , she is a principal of Nurideen Girls High School in Tempest Illinois. There is an attack in school by an alt right extremist and story moves in flashbacks between this scene and her past.
Afaf’s parents had to emigrate from Palestine  to US during an ongoing war situation in the country only to find a life of struggle in US.
The family could never come out of the trauma  when their eldest teenager daughter runs away from home, life was never the same again  for Afaf and  her brother as kids and her parents as a family together .
Despite of all the hardships, struggles and a disturbed childhood Afaf found her Peace in Islam,  friendships and belongingness  in the local mosque and it’s community.

My opinion about the book:

The good part of the book is it doesn’t load all the information related to Islam or muslims in one fold, it opens up slowly and slowly revealing what each phrase or act means to Muslim or in Islam. The segregation between culture and Islam was done beautifully.

I loved how the  struggles  of muslims in different layers is highlighted.
For example : What it means
if you are Muslim in America.
If you are a Muslim and Arab ,
If you are Muslim , Arab,  Palestinian.
If you are Muslim, Arab, Palestinian and a  woman .
If you are Muslim, Arab, Palestinian,  a  woman and a Hijabi .
Each word adds a layer of  complexity of struggle and micro and macro aggressions faced  in everyday life by these people.

I totally recommend .

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#saharmustafah#thebeautyofyourface#englishbooks #diversebooks #diverseauthorsbookreview

BOOK REVIEW: Its not about the Burqa edited by Mariam Khan.

It’s a non fiction , list of 17 essays on varied topics of what it is like being a muslim woman in UK but each worth reading.

When the voices are about Muslim Women, their choice of clothes are discussed on National TV without a proper representation , the book came as a response to take a stand and speak up about themselves rather than being spoken of or about and yes their issue is definitely not the burqa.

I took my time to read the book and have enjoyed reading it few essays per day .There wasnt a dull moment in the whole book.

Some of the essays I really loved were on topic of depression in muslims , divorced muslim women , issues arising due to unregistered muslim marriages and being a feminist muslim wearing a Hijab.

The book clearly speaks of othering, racism, marginalization, misrepresentation, falsifications , public harassments , fabrication of lies by media to get TRPs and feeding the news hungry vultures.

I was shocked to see the extent of hate mails, comments , trolling, condemnation received by muslim women authors, writers, journalists and leaders when they write or speak up for themselves and the effect of all that on those individuals. The hate mails and death threats were from both muslim extremists and white supremacists.

Anything non white , non conformist in speech, or even in dress up is unacceptable in general public. The white savior syndrome and its harmful effects on all Intersectional women all the while dealing with patriarchal mindsets within their own communities itself .
So much to know and learn from this book .
I highly recommend .

Book Review: My past is a foreign country by Zeba Talkhani

* Book Review time *

My past is a foreign country by Zeba Talkhani .

Absolutely loved it and recommend it .

I have got my bunch of ordered books on Tuesday and I thought to start with it first because it’s almost 200 pages and it will be quick to finish.
It didn’t matter what size is the book but what’s inside, it’s a powerful read and since I picked it up I couldn’t put it down until my eyes were no longer agreeing to stay open .
Book plot :
It’s a past memoir of author born in India but spent most of her life outside her home country . She spent her childhood and teenage in Saudi Arabia. she has stayed in India , Germany and UK for studies and work .
Each of these journeys has shaped her life and her thoughts to be the feminist she identify herself to be in today’s world.
The memoirs also revolves around the issue of her early hair loss which started at an age of 12, her worried parents , her distant relationship with her mother , the insensitive remarks of people around her and how it all took a toll on her in the beginning.
I think it was all very traumatizing. The book also highlights the problems arising due to deep rooted patriarchy in muslim societies living in India, South Asian community living in Saudi Arabia and in UK.
Zeba did her best to not influence the reader with her side of the story, it was narrated very unbiased and brutally honest.
Loved it how she found peace within herself and the confidence to move forward in life and achieve her dreams and goals . Her technique of radical self care is worth practicing.
The book is also close to home , being an Indian Muslim woman trying to break open the patriarchal doors myself I found it very relatable.
It even opened some old wounds.

Book Review : Three Daughters of Eve by Elif Shafak

Plot: The story is set in Instanbul and Peri Nazbantoglu is an intelligent beautiful girl who is confused about life, God and religion.The book revolves around the agnostic gap/confusions that lie between atheism and religious absolutism. The differences were present starting from her home where her father is a liberal non practicing muslim who question every religious act and sometimes mock them too and her mother a religious person and she a confused / agnostic with leaning towards her father’s way of thinking , basically her family symbolic to present day Turkey. She gets a scholarship to Oxford where she meets the other two protagonists Shirin and Mona, one an atheist and another a practicing Hijab wearing devout Muslim and all three became friends . In the words of Author : the trio as the sinner, the Believer and the Confused hence the title three daughters of Eve. The story revolves around the Professor Azur who conducts Seminars on God.

What I like : excellent writing style
connected dots and plots .
lot of great quotes.

What I didn’t like: The story is set in the past and oscillating from a present dinner scene where it begins and ends too and that part was boring in my opinion. The other protagonists Shirin and Mona on whom the title of book suggests, weren’t given much space in book either .It was the story of Peri majorly .

Book Review: Expendable By Sahar Abdulaziz

Love the book ! One of the best one so far from Sahar Abdulaziz.
REVIEW: How much should one try to keep up the relationship or is it best to walk away from an abusive marriage or Relationship? Sums the summary of book. The story is about Bella a young girl caught in such a marriage which revolves around a narcissist person ,her husband Logan who is a perpetual liar and womanizer. Bella wants to do everything to keep up this marriage which landed up her in a psychological department of hospital when she tried to commit suicide. What call Bella takes now for saving her life is totally in her hands ! I will not kill the suspense of this book by telling you the complete story. I love the character of Prim and Ike too ,Bella’s friends who helped her out. The book also raises awareness for mental health and how important it is to take care of it and of people fighting with it. After reading the book i could decode the meaning of guitar on cover , the butterflies and expendable of course 🙂 They all have reason to be there.

My Rating for the Book: 4 stars.