Ramadan Mubarak | Mechanics' Institute

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Ramadan Mubarak

April is National Arab American Heritage Month (NAAHM) and also the beginning of Ramadan in 2021. Expand your literary horizons while learning more about Islamic culture with our introductory fiction list by Muslim authors. 

To browse our shelves, call 415-393-0101 and reserve your library visit on Monday, Wednesday or Friday or request titles from our catalog and pick up library materials through our "To Go" contactless service

The Almond by Nedjma - An autobiographical novel chronicles the sexual awakening of a Muslim woman as it follows the protagonist from a stifling Algerian household to Tangiers, where she explores personal identity and sexuality, free of the constraints of her upbringing. 

American Dervish by Ayad Akhtar - A well-written, strongly plotted narrative about family conflict and teen angst. Akhtar's moving exploration of the understanding and serenity Islam imparts in a troubled boy will resonate. 

The Good Muslim by Tahmima Anam - Set in the 1970s and 1980s, two siblings struggle to find common ground in their relationship despite their increasingly different religious views. 

Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie - A haunting story of two families caught between love and country and loyalty versus desire. Shamsie's 2017 novel is powerful and timely. 

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini - A debut novel set in Afghanistan that follows the final days of its monarchy to the rise of the Taliban regime. Hosseini's powerful novel about the friendship between two boys from very different backgrounds was a New York Times bestseller and won the American Library Association's 2004 Alex Award, an honor given to titles with a special appeal to young adults. The 2004 novel was adapted into a graphic novel in 2011 and a film in 2007.

The Last Night of a Damned Soul by Slimane Benaissa - Born into a Muslim American family in the Bay Area, Raouf never strongly identified with his Muslim heritage. But his father's untimely death throws Raouf into a spiritual crisis, who falls under the influence of a Palestinian co-worker. 

My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk - Set in Istanbul in the late 1500s--a period of time that saw the Ottoman Empire at its height but increasingly challenged by Western traditions, a murder investigation offers a provacative look at the nature of art in Islamic society. 

The Patience Stone: sang-e saboor by Atiq Rahimi - A retelling of the Persian folklore story Syngue Sabour, a magical black stone that absorbs the plight of those who confide in it. Rahimi's spare novel follows the story of a married couple in which the husband is gravely injured during a skirmish under the Taliban regime. A story that opens a portal into the lives of women in Afghanistan. 

Sweet Dates in Basra by Jessica Jiji - After two Iraqi families, one Jewish and one Muslim, break through a wall in the 1930s to accommodate a shared water pipe, a Jewish boy falls in love with an Arab girl, whose mother is determined to preserve her daughter's honor in a land where the loss of it can be punishable by death.

Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal - There is no shortage of fiction based on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and Kamal's retelling is set in modern-day Pakistan. Alys Binat has sworn never to marry -- until an encounter with Mr. Darsee at a wedding makes her reconsider. An enjoyable and substantial read. 

The Writing on My Forehead by Nafisa Haji - Muslim-American Saira Qadar rejected the constricting notions of family, duty, and obligation, choosing instead to become a journalist. But when tragedy strikes five years later, Saira finds comfort in the stories of her grandparents, a beloved aunt, and her parents. She discovers that choice is not always our own, and that faith is not just an intellectual preference. 


Posted on Apr. 19, 2021 by Celeste Steward