Ilham or Inspire

My Top 5 Reads from 2018 – a challenge unaccomplished but a soul nourished

Are you on Goodreads? I am! And for 2018 I decided to set myself a challenge to read 40 books in the whole year. Yes, I totally agree, what was I thinking? I managed to read 17 books. That’s if you don’t include reading ‘Elmer’ 1.9 billion times followed by ‘My Dad’s Beard’ a gazillion times over. But that’s a story for another day. 

I’ve also read bits and parts of many other books, but because I didn’t finish them cover to cover, they didn’t go on my list – these mainly include Islamically themed books; tafsir, self improvement, parenting books. 

Anyways, from the 17 books that I did read, I realise that some of them were really very good. So here’s my Gilded Dunya’s Top Five Books for 2018! 

The Thing Around Your Neck – Chimamanda Adichie 

I discovered this intelligent and expressive author at the beginning of this year. I’ve been wanting to read her books for a few years now, and I now understand why her writing is admired by so many. 

Very few people can tell a story, pierce your heart with it, leave you with a feeling of wanting more and do all this effortlessly. She’s a story teller, and a very good one too. 

Short stories sometimes don’t have the ability to give its characters so much life, but in this book, all 12 stories are very brilliant stories in themselves – they are so short but yet captivating. They are sad yet so true that you realise that this is real life. This is what happens. Not everyone lives with hope, some people, many people actually, live, because they just do. 

This is the second book of hers that I read this year, and I know I’ll be reading more very soon. 

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman 

This was probably my most unexpected read. Do you have in between books – basically something you pick up when you’re waiting to read another book because you’ve finished something else which was emotionally demanding. I thought this book would be that easy read for me. I started with no prior knowledge of what it would be about and now I think Eleanor Oliphant will forever live in a small part of my heart. 

I loved it. I loved her. She made me laugh out loud and she made me want to hug her. This is a story about growth. As the story develops we find out more and more about Eleanor and see her making changes to herself and for herself. It was an uplifting read even on the backdrop of a very disturbing story. 

It’s a lovely book about kindness, trust, loneliness and the power to see yourself do better, feel better and want better. I highly recommend this book for all, it will be sad but you’ll smile too, and laugh loads. Sadness is part of life but Eleanor Oliphant tells it well. 

The Crowning Venture – Hafidha Saadia Mian 

When was the last time you felt an urgency to pick up your mus’haf and get lost in its words, meanings and greatness?! 

Every page in this book has made me want to do that! I had no idea how a book which tells stories of women memorising Quran can impact me so much. I signed up for an online Tajweed course soon after reading this and discovered a brand new love for the words of Allah. 

This is a book about a woman’s journey of memorising Quran and stories of other women who did the same. It’s super cute and full of gems, which I’ve marked throughout the book. 

This book left me with a positive impact, a happy-feeling kind of impact, an impact I pray that stays with me forever. This was a happy read for so many reasons. 

Born A Crime – Trevor Noah

I picked this book after so many friends recommended it. My ameer read it before me and he kept telling me parts of it. I found that really annoying to be honest – but since I encouraged (ok, maybe pushed him for the last decade or so) to start reading, I loved that he was enjoying the book. I know that feeling too well, when you read something and want to tell others about it. 

This book had to be on my top 5 – I loved it, learnt from it but most importantly it made me think. Noah took me into the world of apartheid in a way I needed to be taken. It was funny, witty, clever. Learn about apartheid and post apartheid life in this raw and real story telling – not only will you read it, you’ll want everyone around you to read it, because Noah teaches some very important life lessons using the most simplest of words by sharing his life with his readers. 

And what can I say about his mother. She is goals. A bit mental but she’s definitely upped my own parenting goals. So yes, read this if you haven’t already, but I’m sure you have, so join me in smiling whilst you remember how good this book really was. 

Muhammad – His Life Based on the Earliest Sources – Martin Lings 

And my top book for the year has to be about the best of creation. It was a long book to read, which I slowly devoured throughout the year and I’m planning to spend 2019 listening to the audio version of it. 

At the beginning of 2018, I set myself the challenge of reading/listening/learning at least one thing about the Prophet (saw) every day of the year. It was something I wrote about on my social media accounts. I felt it was important to make the seerah a real part of my life in order to be able to live like him. This book did a brilliant job of it. I enjoyed it so very much. It’s not the usual seerah style book, this was told like a story and not an academic account so even with the old style English, I was able to remain focused. 

It was highly recommended by others and I now recommend it to everyone I know. Know the Prophet to love the Prophet (saw). 

So that’s my Top Five for 2018, but because I’m Gilded Dunya, I’m going to add a number six to the top five (you know you were expecting it). Well, I just have to. 

The Quran – M A S Abdul Haleem 

Another book I completed cover to cover is the English translation of the Quran by Abdul Haleem. Now, this isn’t a book like the others I’ve listed but I HAD to include it because I’ve spent so much time with it. I read it in 2016 and then again in 2017 and then again in 2018. It’s one of the easiest and simplest Quran translations I have ever come across and find it fits perfectly into my daily Quran reading schedule. 

So as much I would recommend books to read, and without sounding too cliched as a Muslim woman, I’d like to add that no book is worth spending time with as much as the Quran. And what better way to do that than to find a translation that will help you along the way. 

So here you have it, books that I’ve read in the last 12 months, which in one way or another come forward with me, teaching me, being a part of me and by inspiring me. 

If you’re on Instagram, be sure to follow me, where I share what I read, love and sometimes fall head over heels for. You can search #GildedDunyaBookLove on there too.

Enjoy reading, people!! 

Umm Y²

*this blog post includes affiliate links.


4 thoughts on “My Top 5 Reads from 2018 – a challenge unaccomplished but a soul nourished”

  1. Assalamu alaikum sister, Jazakillah khairan.
    Your previous posts about “born a crime” &”Seerah of Muhammad (PBUH)_ Martin Lings” inspired me to read those books.
    Barakallahu feeki.

    Liked by 1 person

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