Friday, 13 May 2016


Yup. My second year of university is officially over. I submitted my last piece of coursework on Sunday 8th May, and it was a pretty anticlimactic end to a rather dramatic, and hectic 8 months. Academically, second year was definitely difficult. Though I managed to stay on top of my reading list (most of the time) the essays REALLY kicked my butt. My grades are all over the place right now, but I still have hope of securing myself a first next year! Nothing wrong with dreaming right....

My first year of university changed me so much as a person, and this year was about consolidating that change, seeking more knowledge, and growing into the person I want to be. I also met new, and incredible people who filled my days with so much joy and laughter. Their softness, kindness, generosity, and humility is inspiring <3

I read MANY books in the past 8 months (to be expected when you study literature), and discovered some of my absolute favourite books and authors thanks to the brilliant modules I had the chance to study. I also had to read some not-so-great books BUT though I personally wasn't a huge fan I don't think I could rate any of them with anything less than 3/5 just because of the important themes they might represent or because they were well written in general.

Anyway. In no particular order:

The Best Books/Authors, September 2015 - May 2016: 

1) James Baldwin. You might have come across my review of Baldwin's Go Tell It On The Mountain, which I posted way back in September. Right now, Baldwin is at the top of my favourite author's of all time list. I don't think I'll ever NOT be mesmerised by his magical words. He was a wizard. You can't fight me on this.

2) Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga. Thank you thank you thank you Queen Mary (the university... not the monarch) for providing me with postcolonial and African literature. This is now one of my favourite books of all time. It's beautifully written and portrays the complexity, and horrifically damaging effects of imperialism and colonisation brilliantly.

3) FRANTZ FANON. Only capitals can express how I feel about this man, and the incredible literary work he contributed to our world. I don't think anyone has been able to break down the causes and effects of colonialism with such poetic emotion as Fanon did. I genuinely believe The Wretched of the Earth should be taught in schools. In fact, it's a real shame that the horrors of European imperialism are hidden from mainstream education. If all aspects of history aren't taught, how can we possibly begin to understand the world we live in today?

4) Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie. I was thrilled to see a Pakistani author on the curriculum for postcolonial and global literatures this year, and was even happier when I read the novel because it is absolutely brilliant. With subtle poignance, Shamsie removes Western readers from their comfort zone and forces them to confront the painful reality of the world they live in. Burnt Shadows begins with the US bombing of Nagasaki, and ends around the time of post 9/11 America. Shamsie doesn't allow her readers to prioritise one tragedy over another, but takes great care to show the suffering of everyone, especially the neglected. Love this book so much. I've heard great things about her novel Kartography and will definitely be reading that too! As a woman of Pakistani heritage myself, Shamsie is a source of inspiration <3

5) White Teeth by Zadie Smith. A very impressive, colourful, witty, and outright hilarious novel that encompasses so much diversity and confronts vital contemporary issues. Smith's refreshing character's and fantastic dialogue absolutely hooked me in.

To be honest, the list could go on. But these are my absolute unquestionable favourites :D

Have you guys read anything on this list? Any of them capture your interest? And good luck to those of you who still have exams/coursework! I'm rooting for you <3 

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