Books, Pop Culture

5 life-changing reads you cannot miss this summer

The books that change who you are, the ones you won't find everywhere.

Her Name Is Kaur by Meeta Kaur 


Cover of Her Name is Kaur by Meeta Kaur.

This book is an anthology of stories written by Sikh-American women. Although these stories do have a Sikh religious element to them, they are extremely relatable for minority women of all religions. With contributors who have emigrated all the way from Malaysia to the USA and younger women born in the States, these stories have the ability to inspire people from all walks of life. Some stories belong to women who are established professionals building a family while others document the struggles of adjusting to college life and surviving heartbreak. After reading a story about a girl who grew up in the Deep South without a South Asian community, I was in tears. I never thought I would meet anyone else who went through the same childhood as me. In these female writers, you will be able to find peace, courage, and familiarity. These stories remind you that you are not alone.

milk and honey by Rupi Kaur 

Cover of Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur.

“my heart aches for sisters more than anything

it aches for women helping women

like flowers ache for spring” –rupi kaur

This is Rupi Kaur’s first publication, a book of poetry and prose split into four sections: hurting, loving, breaking, and healing. milk and honey is the #1 bestseller in poetry by women on Amazon. With sketches made by the author herself to accompany the poems, Kaur sends messages of loving yourself and serving humanity selflessly. If you are looking for beautiful feminist poems this is the book for you.

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri 

Cover of Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

This collection of short stories was written by Jhumpa Lahiri and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2000. Interpreter of Maladies follows different South Asian immigrants facing different dilemmas in each story. Lahiri is a great story-teller who builds up suspense and drenches the reader in vivid detail. Her stories explore the grief and sadness that comes with the loss of a firstborn, an eccentric newly-wedded bride who has trouble adjusting to life with her partner, and the guilt a young woman faces when cheating with a married man. Each story in Interpreter of Maladies will truly invoke your emotions.

salt. by Nayyirah Waheed

Cover of Salt by Nayyirah Waheed.

“I don’t pay attention to the

world Ending.

It has ended for me

many Times

and began again in the morning.” –nayyirah waheed

salt. is a collection of poems by the talented nayyirah waheed. She writes about the life of an immigrant, hope, and self-empowerment. These poems made my heart ache with longing for more, poem after poem. Possessing a similar style to Rupi Kaur, those who enjoy milk and honey would also definitely enjoy salt.


Love, InshAllah: The Secret Love Lives of Muslim American Women edited by Nura Maznavi & Ayesha Mattu 

Cover of Love Insh Allah by Nura Maznavi & Ayesha Mattu

Given to me by my Nepali religions professor, this is a book I want to read again and again. The first time I read it, I devoured it within two days. Love, InshAllah is a book comprised of personal love stories from Muslim-American women.

Each story is unique and left me aching with either grief or with a new invigorated hope of finding love in the future. Some stories are about following the prescribed path of arranged marriage with a suitor picked out by parents, but some women describe the adrenaline of sneaking out to meet boys or driving hours on end to chase a crush. These stories of marriage, divorce, and betrayal will leave you in awe of the strength and love these Muslim women are capable of and the stories they have carried hidden in their hearts.