I first found Sumaiyya Reads’ beautiful Bookstagram account after I became friends with her brother, Faroukh from The Guy with the Book, who won the London Book Fair’s Bookstagrammer of the Year award. When he told me that his sister was also an avid reader I immediately checked out her account, and have been a big fan of both her Instagram and book blog ever since. Her fluffy cat Gatsby is a frequent accessory in her bookish uploads, and we shared a mutual love for the recent debut that was chosen by Sarah Jessica Parker as the lead title for her imprint, SYP for Hogarths, A Place For Us. From the book that she turns to for spiritual fulfilment, to the one that would help abate any lonliness, read on to find out which books Sumaiyya would take with her to the sandy shores of a desert island.
IQ84 by Haruki Murakami
The obligatory ‘still haven’t read tome’: move over War and Peace, because it’s actually IQ84 by Haruki Murakami, a massive book I haven’t read yet but really want to read. It’s quite sad because I love Murakami.
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
The favourite book of all time: I struggled to choose between Catcher in the Rye and The Secret History, but I’m going to have to pick Tartt’s immersive literary thriller over the jaded and cynical narrative of Houlden Caulfield. I love you, Colden, but I probably won’t have anyone around me to call them phony.
The Order of the Phoenix by J K Rowling
A book for my loneliness: being on a deserted island will throw moments at me where I feel alone and cut off from everyone else. What better character than the bespectacled and angsty Harry in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix? It’s also the longest book in the series so I’ll have a lot of Rowling’s magic to read and find comfort in.
The Martian by Andy Weir
For the laughs: I’m cheating a bit because this book fulfils the previous category as well: The Martian by Andy Weir. Mark Watney is alone on Mars, and his narrative is hilarious, witty, incredibly intelligent and resourceful in planning a survival escape. I’m going to need his vibes if I want to find a way out of that island, keeping in mind that I can’t swim.
A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza
For a reminder of family: I come from a tight-knit family, so I’d want a need a story that reminds me of this special bond. For this I’m picking the recent release A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza, it’s already a 2018 favourite.
The Holy Qur’an
For my spiritual fulfilment: You can tell I’m taking this list seriously because if this were to happen to me I would actually take a copy of The Holy Qur’an with English translation with me. I love reciting the Qur’an in Arabic, and the stories and lessons bring me the spiritual contentment that I need in my life. And also, what better book to remind me that everything in life is a test?
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