18 June 2018

'children of blood and bone' and other books

i loved the movie black panther. H might have actually enjoyed it more than me, saying that it was 'much more than the other captain america films'. and it was; not only was the all black cast long due, but the characters were good and real, and the plot was more than superhero action. 

i was hence excited to read children of blood and bone, for various reasons -black characters, magic, a new series to look forward to! and the novel did not disappoint. i absolutely loved all of it! in fact, i was surprised that i had not heard of it until z told me she was reading it.. i hope the next novel in the series will not be too long a wait, and i am also excited to watch the movies!!

following that, i read imbolo mbue's behold the dreamers, also a good read. 

i just finished we never asked for wings, which was a lighter read. being a mom, it was interesting to read about a mother who initially let her own mom take care of her kids, and then see her journey towards becoming a real parent. it was also sobering to read about those who live at the edge or even outside the 'system', which is something mbue's novel focuses on as well. 

kristin hannah's 'the great alone' is my next read, and hopefully it will turn out to be just as awesome as my last few novels :)

happy ramadan

as usual, this post comes late. i almost didn't write it, but i wanted to record what a lovely month we all had, so here goes.

eid was a few days ago, and the month leading up to it was one of the most spiritual and productive ramadans i have had in a lonnng time! first off, i sent the twins to sit with H in the men's section, so i was no longer relegated to the kids' area, and could actually pray namaz in the masjid. we would go early enough for me to pray quran, listen to the bayan and pray all the namaz! and i could do all this in PEACE, without shushing the kids, or refereeing them, or dragging them back to my masallah; pure bliss!

the hafiz who had come this year was awesome. he was young and passionate and driven, and he drove everyone else into doing things we had long forgotten/given up. not only did the twins continue their hifz over their summer vacation, but i did my own hifz, and H attended a workshop on proper quran recitation, alhumdolillah.

amazingly, none of us got sick this time, so we were all on track for fasting and going to masjid. alhumdolillah!

the twins sat quietly with H, listened to whatever was going on around them, had fun pre and post dinner with their friends. i also enjoyed having friends to sit with for dinner. even my MIL was happy sitting on a chair this year.

may next ramadan be just as peaceful and blessed, inshallah!

26 April 2018

preschool graduation

at five, the twins have now officially finished with preschool, and will start grade one in june! wow. how time flies. when i think of them starting playgroup, so many milestones ago, they seem so grown up now.

attending their preschool graduation was fun. all the kids were so happy to wear their tiny caps and gowns, waving their rolled up certificates!

the twins have learnt and grown a lot, especially this past year. i am particularly happy with a's progress; he has become so much more confident and open since being separated from his twin. i hope their next school year is just as rewarding and fun for them, inshallah!

reading challenge

for the past few years, i have been using goodreads to record my reading activity. i have also been taking the goodreads reading challenge of reading a certain number of books annually. 

today i came across this different kind of reading challenge, which totally piqued my interest. several years ago i had decided to read only books by authors of color, to broaden my horizons, as well as do my tiny bit in supporting their work. that was definitely a good experience, and i think this reading challenge of choosing particular books will also be fun and interesting. i haven't decided yet which prompts i will choose, but here are some that i like:

-a book set in a country that fascinates you
-a book published the year you graduated
-a book by two authors
-a book set at sea
-a book with alliteration in the title

for more prompts, and a group to join, visit popsugar.

05 April 2018

still me

i have just finished reading two lovely books, which makes me so happy. not just that the books were good, but that i was able to read two books in a row, that were just what i wanted to read. in fact, this is probably what makes the experience even sweeter; it is not always easy to find the perfect book to read for a particular moment!

first i read 'the one in a million boy' by monica wood, and i totally wondered why i had never heard of it before, or seen it on any goodreads/amazon recommendation lists! i loved reading about the boy, who is not named throughout the novel, as well as the 104-year-old woman he was helping. it reminded me a lot of britt-marie was here (without backman's humour). these days i find myself enjoying reading about old people.. (enough said).

immediately afterwards i started reading still me by jojo moyes, the third in the louisa clark series. i enjoyed it far more than after you, which i found a little sad and wallowing. me before you is still the best, but perhaps that is simply because it was the introduction of louisa and will, two fascinating characters. aside from the novel itself, i like the name: still me. the themes of immigrants, of not belonging, of always being torn between different homes, identities and cultures, fluctuating between different selves; these are all aspects that i have felt pretty much most of the past decade, in varying degrees. most recently, i have lamented to friends that my kids will never know the me that they knew, the me of cairo, the me of ahrc. for the twins, i am just mumma, which is an identity built recently, and devoid of so much of my past lives..

their response, and louisa's in 'still me', reminds me that i will always be 'me', made up of many different facets. and that i can be whichever me i want!

15 March 2018

twins' first school picnic and my ferrero rocher shake

the twins went on their first school picnic/outing yesterday, and they had a ball, alhumdolillah. they were excited and looking forward to it for days, and they were up instantly yesterday morning, all ready to go (if only they would wake up like that everyday). it was their first time to be out without us for most of the day, but i am sure they hardly noticed. m said he had a great 'adventure' :) may they continue to find adventure in all of life's moments. 

a left his water bottle somewhere, and he came and told me that 'please pray i get it back'. i love the fact that he thought of prayer. i encourage them to give thanks for their day before they sleep.. i will try tweaking this now by getting them to find one specific thing they are thankful for each night..

their day-long outing meant that i was able to have a leisurely and scrumptious lunch (the highlight being a super rich ferrero rocher shake- i am still drooling!) with two lovely friends; alhumdolillah! it was a lovely time, and will most likely be my highlight of the month :)

goodbye, vitamin

i finished reading rachel khong's goodbye, vitamin. it was nice, a light, short read. the writing style was very stream-of-consciousness, which was a refreshing difference from the usual beginning-middle-end novels. also, i was particularly heartened to read about a 30-something character who is as clueless as a 20-something. she does not have a marriage, home, career and two kids. as someone who is forever bemused that i am no longer 23, and constantly wondering what i have accomplished in my twenties and thirties, it was nice to read about someone smart and good, but who doesn't have life all figured out and wrapped up in shiny paper.