Book Review: Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

So when you have a spirited toddler, it can be challenging to sit down and read. This is why Audible is my friend. Yay for audiobooks, which I can listen to in the car!

I’ve always been a huge fantasy fan. My favourite book when I was 12 was Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce.  Here’s a list of some of my fantasy favourites, in no particular order:

  • Margaret Atwood – The Blind Assassin, The Handmaid’s Tale, MaddAdam
  • Ursula Le Guin – Tales of Earthsea
  • N.K. Jemisin – Stone Sky trilogy
  • J.RR. Tolkien – Lord of the Rings trilogy
  • Phillip Pullman – His Dark Materials trilogy

The one annoying thing though, is the lack of diversity in all of the fantasy books I know and love. Except for Le Guin’s, of course. So! This is why it’s been wonderful reading more local Malaysian work – plenty of diversity to spice things up.

I really enjoyed the audiobook version of Sorcerer to the Crown. It’s a refreshingly different fantasy story by a talented Malaysian author, Zen Cho. The two main protagonists are people of colour, which is already a big plus. She weaves a hilarious tale of magical hijinks set in England, against a backdrop of racism, sexism, and all the fun things I love to see deconstructed. Lots of witty banter!

It does take some time to build up to the action, so you’ll need to be patient. Totally worth it though, so hang in there and enjoy the story. Here’s more info on the book from Zen Cho’s website.

Next book review – N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth series.

 

On motherhood and writing

So….it’s been a while. Much has happened. In short, motherhood is decimating, on so many levels, especially with a spirited toddler.  Please don’t tell me, “Wait til she becomes a teenager!” I will strangle you with my mind.

My pre-motherhood writing practice: Daily, disciplined, at my desk, mug of tea, nature sounds playing in the background.

Current writing practice: WHAT PRACTICE!? WHAT DESK?

Haha. I kid you. I do have a desk. I’m just not there as much as I’d like to be. Right now, I take what I get. Much like a starving person and scraps of food. Motherhood has shown me how much of an introvert I really am, and how much writing helps me surface for much-needed air.

I loved these articles:

  1. Freelancing with a Family: How to Balance Your Work and Your Kids
  2. Yes, It Is Possible to Write a Novel With Small Children Hanging On You
  3. Making Time to Write When You Have Young Children: Mission Impossible?

This post really resonates with me: After Page One: Claiming Space. So beautiful and so real. There is no perfect writing room for me, either – but I make do what with I have.

My daughter spurs my creativity, as much as I need to work around her. I write this as my toddler woke up from sleep. My husband brought her down to have breakfast. She’s in a good mood this morning, so that buys me approximately 10-20 minutes, before she starts calling for me once my husband leaves for work. Go, Raidah, go!

If you’re a writing parent, especially a writing mum, I’d love to hear your thoughts. How do you find time and energy to write? What helps? What doesn’t help? How do you balance forgiving yourself for not writing as much as you’d like, alongside celebrating your small victories?

Some blog ideas I’m playing with, as I resurrect my blog from the abyss of mothering a toddler:

  • Book review on N.K. Jemisin’s incredible Broken Earth trilogy.
  • Book review on Zen Cho’s Sorcerer To the Crown.
  • Reflections on reading my poetry at my sister’s chapbook launch.
  • I finally submitted my poetry manuscript to the wonderful Ethos Books!

I’m open to suggestions. Leave a comment and share your thoughts 🙂

@SalaamReads offers diversity, peace and hope

Salaam Reads, an imprint of Simon and Schuster, welcomes manuscripts about Muslim children and young adults. Folks, start writing!

Check out their upcoming publications: Amina’s Voice and Yo Soy Muslim!

@SalaamReads, thank you for giving a voice to the many, many Muslim stories out there, just waiting to be heard ❤

I’m so excited about the diversity, peace and hope that these books offer. I grew up with Enid Blyton and other books that had characters who looked nothing like me. Now that I have a daughter, I see the importance of her reading books with more relatable characters and themes.

Speaking of which, my daughter loves “My Father’s Farm” and “My Mother’s Kitchen” – gorgeous Malaysian picturebooks filled with native joy, written by Emila Yusof. It’s so cool to see beautifully illustrated Malaysian flora and fauna.

When I point to Dina, the main character in the storybooks, and ask my daughter who that is, she grins, points to herself and says, “Taskeen!” ❤

February 2017

….already? RIS is around the corner! My todder is almost 20 months. SubhanAllah. Time flies.

I love these reads:

  1. Surviving as an Introverted Mother
  2. 5 Strategies to Help Introvert Parents Maintain Their Sanit

One really amazing piece of advice by Anse Tamara Gray: recharge during the hour before Fajr, and the hour after. Now that is a goal worth aspiring to! That’s only really possible if I sleep early.

Pre-baby: Ah, how I love the long, uninterrupted hours of night! I can write lyrical prose and poetry and [insert whatever else that used to happen]

Post-baby: Must. Sleep. Zzzzz

Note: I work for the SeekersHub Question and Answer service. If you have a question for me, please direct it through this form, and not through my personal email or Facebook. All questions are kept strictly confidential, and are left anonymous when we post it up. Thank you!

#Fightwithlight Campaign

Before December 31st, check out SeekersHub Global’s #FightWithLight campaign.

SeekersHub is doing an incredible job providing free access and support to seekers of knowledge worldwide. I work for their Answers service, an incredibly  relevant and critical interface between real life problems and authentic scholarship.

Your donations help to keep this service, and many others, going. Make this your small, consistent good deed. Donate today!

حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الْعَزِيزِ بْنُ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ، حَدَّثَنَا سُلَيْمَانُ، عَنْ مُوسَى بْنِ عُقْبَةَ، عَنْ أَبِي سَلَمَةَ بْنِ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ، عَنْ عَائِشَةَ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ سَدِّدُوا وَقَارِبُوا، وَاعْلَمُوا أَنْ لَنْ يُدْخِلَ أَحَدَكُمْ عَمَلُهُ الْجَنَّةَ، وَأَنَّ أَحَبَّ الأَعْمَالِ أَدْوَمُهَا إِلَى اللَّهِ، وَإِنْ قَلَّ ‏

Narrated `Aisha: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately and know that your deeds will not make you enter Paradise, and that the most beloved deed to Allah is the most regular and constant even if it were little.”[Bukhari]

 

SeekersHub Ramadan Podcast and lesson sets!

How is your Ramadan going? Alhamduliah for these first ten days of Allah’s Mercy. Drinking soaked chia seeds after iftar and during suhoor has really helped me. Try it out and see 🙂

Check out these fantastic downloadable lesson sets at SeekersHub. Please share widely!

Planning For Success: Steps To Raising Righteous Muslim Children with Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Zakat: Everything You Need To Know On The 3rd Pillar of Islam

Getting Married, with Ustadha Shireen Ahmed and Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

The Higher Aims of Fasting with Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Stories of the Prophets of Allah with Shaykh Ahmad Saad

Understanding the Hadith: “Religion is Sincere Concern” with Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

The Divine Opening: Surah al-Fatiha Explained with Shaykh Yahya Rhodus

You can play these while at home, in the car, or wherever else suits you. May Allah reward the SeekersHub team for putting these together.

SeekersHub’s daily Ramadan Podcast has also been so inspiring and beneficial. For a sample, click on Allah’s Mercy Over His Wrath: What Does It Mean For Us? by Shaykh Muhammad Adeyinka Mendes.