If you read to learn about the lives of others and you enjoy reading about other cultures, then we have some new recommendations for you today. We’ve picked a book through several genres, and the only one each has in common is that the book is portrayed through Muslim characters, portraying the Islamic life alongside the book’s central themes.
Whether secular or religious, Islam is as much a way of life and culture as it is a religion and if you’re interested in learning about that life then we have 5 unputdownable novels about Muslim life today.
A Map of Home – Randa Jarrar
A Map of Home is a novel about growing up in a dysfunctional but loving household during the First Iraq War. The frank discussions of sex and masturbation are enough to make you realise we’re not so different after all.
Alif the Unseen – G. Willow Wilson
If you’re a fan of fantasy then Alif the Unseen is groundbreaking and fantastic! A security state drawn into a world of Islamic metaphysics and fantasy where Djinn share the consciousness of the Wi-fi network.
My Name is Red – Orhan Pamuk
If you love a good murder mystery then you may well enjoy Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk’s My Name is Red. Set among the miniaturists of Ottoman Turkey and it’s a fantastic testament to the Islamic art tradition.
Minaret – Leila Aboulela
Minaret is the story of a young, secular Sudanese woman who moves from the party life of Khartoum to London. It portrays an interesting view into the internal world of an orthodox Muslim as well as tackling themes of classism.
Moth Smoke – Mohsin Hamid
If you loved The Naked Lunch, then Moth Smoke is one for the TBR. From the author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Moth Smoke is about the fall of a drug-addicted, middle class banker who loses his job at the height of the 1988 nuclear tests and lays bare many of the seedier aspects of secular Pakistani society.
When we read, I think what we learn most are our similarities, not our differences and in each of these books you’re likely to find your own life reflected back in parts, wherever you are and from whatever religion.