book blogger · reading · Recommendations · Retellings · Reviews

Monthly Wrap Up: May 2020

This month – or last month since I’m writing this in June – I prioritised reading books by Muslim authors due to Ramadan and I took part in my first readathon, which was the Ramadan Readathon run by Nadia aka Headscarves & Hardbacks. I really enjoyed taking part in the readathon and more consciously picking up books by Muslim authors and seeing the diversity and range of genres and stories was awesome. I also read a couple of other books which weren’t part of the readathon to break it up, as I’m more a mood reader than a set TBR person so those will be included too.

I also want to talk about Black Lives Matter and the protests which have been taking place for the past couple of weeks stemming from the murder of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis. While this tragic event is what sparked an outcry and these current protests, this isn’t an isolated event and instances of police brutality and systemic racism occur day in and day out and have done so for years. It’s up to all of us, especially NBPOC and white folk to stand up against these injustices every time they happen and stand with the Black community, not just now but always. This could mean donating, signing petitions, supporting Black owned businesses or within this specific community – reading books by Black authors and supporting Black creators.

I think it’s also very important to note that while we may want to express how we feel, it’s vital that we amplify Black voices and experiences, instead of centring ourselves. Listening with empathy, as well as making effort to educate ourselves without putting any burdens on our Black friends and peers is pivotal. There are so many resources out there and it’s up to us as allies to actually seek these out and put the work in. I commit myself to doing this and I hope anyone reading this will join me in that.

While I’ve been more actively supporting on Twitter and in my day to day life, I think it’s important to use my platform here as well, to also share links to petitions and organisation which need help. I encourage you to do what you can to educate yourselves, support those in need through donating and signing petitions and commit to making change. Let’s not make this a fleeting thing, but let us all continue to show our support in whatever ways we can and make it a lasting, permanent change. All links to organisations you can support and petitions will be at the end of this post.

Here’s all the books I managed to read in May:

  • Love from A to Z by S.K. Ali
  • I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi
  • An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
  • Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan
  • A Torch Against The Night by Sabaa Tahir
  • The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf
  • Loveboat Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen
  • A House without Windows by Nadia Hashimi
  • Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa
  • Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali
  • The Blue between Sky and Water by Susan Abulhawa
  • The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant
  • They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera
  • The Things I Would Tell You by Sabrina Mahfouz
  • Kartography by Kamila Shamsie
  • Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron
  • Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
  • One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi

May Reviews & Posts:

Monthly Wrap Up: April 2020

Love from A to Z by S.K. Ali

I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi

The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali

Descendant of the Crane by Joan He

Forest of Souls by Lori M. Lee

Announcement: Q&A with a Blogger series

My top picks:

Love from A to Z by S.K. Ali – This book was super cute, unapologetically Muslim and also touched upon deeper issues Muslims face navigating their everyday lives in the western world. I loved how relatable and touching this book was and how every single Muslim character feels real and not like a caricature or stereotype in any way. This is the type of Muslim book we need more of.

Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa – This is a book which my friend Jia loves and had been encouraging all her followers to read for so long, I knew it would be good but I wasn’t prepared for just how much this book would affect me emotionally. I have few books which I read and can’t write a review for and this is one of them, not because I disliked it, but because I loved it so much and a review simply wouldn’t be able to do it justice. The book follows a Palestinian family across many years and it’s such a devastating but beautiful story and a must read.

Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron – I literally read this in a day or so, it was super addictive, refreshing and a creative retelling of Cinderella with Black main characters and a fuck the patriarchy message which I’m so here for. I’m looking forward to whatever Kalynn Bayron writes next and if it was another retelling then trust me, I’d definitely be reading.

ARC’s of the month:

The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant

In the violent urban jungle of an alternate 1828 Paris, the French Revolution has failed and the city is divided between merciless royalty and nine underworld criminal guilds, known as the Court of Miracles.

Eponine (Nina) Thénardier is a talented cat burglar and member of the Thieves Guild. Nina’s life is midnight robberies, avoiding her father’s fists, and watching over her naïve adopted sister, Cosette (Ettie). When Ettie attracts the eye of the Tiger–the ruthless lord of the Guild of Flesh–Nina is caught in a desperate race to keep the younger girl safe.

Her vow takes her from the city’s dark underbelly to the glittering court of Louis XVII. And it also forces Nina to make a terrible choice–protect Ettie and set off a brutal war between the guilds, or forever lose her sister to the Tiger

Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron

It’s 200 years since Cinderella found her prince, but the fairytale is over.

Sophia knows the story though, off by heart. Because every girl has to recite it daily, from when she’s tiny until the night she’s sent to the royal ball for choosing. And every girl knows that she has only one chance. For the lives of those not chosen by a man at the ball are forfeited.

But Sophia doesn’t want to be chosen – she’s in love with her best friend, and hates the idea of being traded like cattle. And when Sophia’s night at the ball goes horribly wrong, she must run for her life. Alone and terrified, she finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s tomb. And there she meets someone who will show her that she has the power to remake her world.

Organisations you can support + donate to:

Black Visions Collective

Innocence Project

Communities United Against Police Brutality

No New Jails NYC

Know Your Rights Camp

Committee to Protect Journalists

Petitions you can sign:

Justice for Belly Mujinga

Julius Jones – Stop the state of Oklahoma from executing an innocent man

Willie Simmons has served 38 years for a $9 robbery

Police Accountability Act of 2020

Justice for Breonna Taylor

Justice for David McAtee

Justice for Shukri Abdi

I hope you guys donate to these organisations if you can and sign as many petitions and show your support in any way you can to the Black community at this moment and well into the future. There are a lot more petitions out there as well as places to donate so I implore you to do some research, a simple twitter search or google will direct you to others. It’s all of our responsibilities to use our voice, and whatever platforms we have so I hope we can all do this together and make a real, lasting change which will better the lives of so many people right now as well as the generations to come.

Until next time,

Rumaanah x

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