AA’s Top 20 Book List
(Disclaimer: Not in any particular order, and might change in the near future as I read more / age / become curious in other things!)
Company of One, Paul Jarvis
I’ve been a regular reader of Paul Jarvis’s weekly newsletter and have always admired how he remain authentic when running his online business. This book was particularly inspiring for me as I’ve always believed that going big is not the only way for a company to succeed, so reading this was re-affirming and re-assuring on so many levels.
The Study Quran, Seyyed Hossein Nasr
I highly recommend this book as it’s extremely useful for a non-Arabic native speaker to understand the Quran. This book was recommended to me by a good friend (who’s a revert) as she used this same book to refer to when she was studying the Introduction course to Islam in Oxford.
Big Little Steps, Mathilde Loujayne
This beautiful book is such a light and easy to book to read! The writer is a French lady who reverted to Islam and this book shares her journey of embracing the religion with personal guides on how she found balance between being a modern day woman while living a God-conscious life.
Quiet, Susan Cain
This book changed my mind about the power of introverts. Being married to one, I was drawn towards this book and Cain didn’t disappoint. Highly, highly recommend it and it made me appreciate how everyone plays a very distinct role in this world, and that everyone is necessary.
Hearts Turn, Michael Sugich
This book gripped my heart and taught me that it’s never too late to turn the tables around. In Sugich’s own words, this book is “about how malleable the human heart can be and how wrongdoing, remorse, need, and yearning intersect with Divine Compassion, Forgiveness and Guidance.” If you are interested in the concept of “Tawba”, this is a must read for you.
Silence, Erling Kagge
Oooooh, this one was such a thought-provoking book to read. It brought so much calmness in me when I had it in my hands, and it even tempted me to want to go to the ends of this world and live on my own with nothing but my thoughts and God accompanying me. Every time I need to slow down, I’ll pick this book up again and find solace in between it’s pages.
What I Know For Sure, Oprah Winfrey
Who doesn’t love Oprah! This book was not only beautiful (page trimmings in gold, anybody?) but it’s the kind of book you’d bring to a beach vacation - just the right amount of inspiration and life’s truth, without the “heaviness”.
Purification of the Heart, Hamza Yusuf
This book changed my life. It was the first book that I picked up when I was re-learning the Deen and to this very day, I’d still go over the the pages to seek the spiritual cures for my very flawed and diseased heart. 100% recommended!
Essentialism, Greg McKeown
I bought this book first as an ebook for my kindle but loved it so much that I bought the hard copy. McKeown taught me about the power of minimalism before Marie Kondo came into the picture. Super, super inspiring and so incredibly informative that it made me re-think about a lot of things that I thought I “need” in life.
Have You Eaten Grandma, Gyles Brandreth
This book is hilariously written, which is a feat because it focuses on one of the driest topics out there: the importance of correct punctuation, grammar and good English! I enjoyed it to pieces though, and would have loved to have Brandreth as my primary school English teacher! Classes would have been so fun!
This Is All I Have To Say, Swapan Seth
I fell in love with this book at the airport bookstore in Mumbai as I was waiting for my flight to Agra. Read the book so fast coz it was so good, and was so smitten by it that I contacted both the author and the publisher to get permission to import the books to Singapore so that I can distribute it myself! What happened next blew me away: the author himself came down to do a private book reading for my friends and I, we sold 300 copies of the book, and I’m still gushing about it to everyone who asks me for a book recommendation!
If The Oceans Were Ink, Carla Power
This book was recommended to me by a very good friend of mine whom I love and respect a lot so her recommendation had weight for me. Thankfully, it didn’t disappoint. Power’s retelling of her journey to learning about the Quran as a western woman is so humbling, riveting, and incredibly vulnerable, that it made me to continue flipping the pages. This book also highlighted the unlikely friendship between her and Sheikh Nadwi and through this I learned that although there may be some differences between Eastern and Western thought, we are actually not as different as we think.
Humanity Before Religosity, Habib Ali al-Jifri
This book is a collection of articles written by Habib Ali al-Jifri and touches various topics and issues faced by Muslims during this present time. There are numerous wisdoms and gems found in between the pages of this book, insights that made me put the book down to do my own personal reflection. Highly recommend it!
Where Epics Fail, Yahia Labadidi
I hesitated to get this book because when I was browsing through, it appears to be a book with a collection of over 800 aphorisms, and aphorisms are usually concise, short sentences, or one-liners. But I’m glad I followed my gut and got this book anyway because even within those short sentences, Labadidi served wisdom after wisdom!
When You Hear Hoofbeats Think of a Zebra,
A good book for me, is a book that has beautiful or unique storytelling, and this book has both! Friedlander has the ability to convey some very timeless gems in the most entertaining and hilarious way possible! Also, if you can’t tell from the title (I can’t!), it’s a book on Sufism! Highly recommend this!
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, Haruki Murakami
Everyone knows Murakami through his fictional writings, but my favourite Murakami book is his own personal memoir where he shares about how running has changed his life. I’m not a runner, at all, but this book is more than just about running. I don’t want to spoil it for you, so get it for yourself and be pleasantly surprised!
In The Company of Women, Grace Bonney
Secret: I bought this book as a gift for my friend but totally had to read it because it was suchhh a gorgeous coffee-table book! I’ve always been passionate about anything women-related, so to read interviews after interviews on inspiring, creative women totally made my heart tingle. At the end of this book, you’ll realise that every woman is strong, creative, subtle and dynamic all at once! Made me feel grateful to be born as one!
Chasing Slow, Erin Loechner
Loechner has been a writer / blogger that I’ve been following for years and have always loved the way she weaved her words together. Her approach to life is also one that I admire, and her very first book did not disappoint! So beautifully written and designed, it’s the kind of book that makes you feel you have a cooler older sister to watch your back and give you life advices whenever you need it.
The 40 Rules of Love, Elif Shafak
I rarely read fiction but this one is such a delight! I enjoyed it so much I read it in 2 days, and it’s not just about “love-love”, but so. much. more! Get it!
Knowledge of the Hereafter, Al-Ghazali
I had to put this book down many times, and cry. Please read this book. It will put perspective back into your life, I guarantee it.