There is no doubt that more books were read this year by people who love them. Finally having the ability to say that they’re going to stay in, for bookworms it was the year where they did what they love most. One of our favourite Pakistani accounts for the best book finds is The Writing Room run by Mariam Tareen. She lists her favourite books of the year, ones that should not be missed by book enthusiasts everywhere.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Between the World and Me is written as a letter by Ta-Nehisi Coates to his teenage son. Coates’s prose is charged with emotion, fear, honesty, and poise as he attempts to share with his son what he knows about being a black man in America. His love for his son jumps up from every page, but also fear on his behalf. Coates does not wish to protect or shield his young son from hard truths about the world they live in and the responsibilities that come with discovering them. 

The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay

The Far Field – a sharp, nuanced, and engrossing novel – shows us the uncomfortable distance between the comfort of the privileged and the lives of the oppressed. 


The Shapeless Unease by Samantha Harvey

A short, luminous and inventive examination of novelist Samantha Harvey’s year-long struggle with insomnia – the “blankness and blackness; the yawning expanse of a night awake.”

Daughters of the Sun by Ira Mukhoty

What a fantastic book! A parallel history of 200 years of Mughal rule that has been tragically absent from our history books: that of the women of the Empire.

We Need New Stories by Nesrine Malik

Award-winning Guardian journalist Nesrine Malik was born in Sudan and moved to the UK in 2013. The book reads less like journalism and more like a history/social science study, which I loved (but it’s also why it took me a while to read it). With the sharpness of a surgeon, she dissects each of the toxic myths of our time with clinical precision to expose the truth.

Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter

It’s about loss and grief and “moving on”, about how a grief-stricken father and his two boys mourn the unbearable loss of their mother, and the crow who comes to help them. “I won’t leave you until you don’t need me any more.”

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

It tells the story of a man remembering events from when he was a 7 year old boy. It explores childhood and memory, the darkest moments from our childhoods, the ones that still feel warm and others that still hurt, the ones that left scars, both visible and invisible. But it’s very convincingly disguised as a children’s book.

Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall

If you consider yourself a feminist, read this book. It’s addressed to white feminists in America but is essential reading for all of us.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book rounds off my Neil Gaiman hat-trick this October. I loved this book. I found myself wishing I had read it sooner. I think if I had read it as a kid, it would have made my childhood better in some way, and I would have remembered it in a way you can only remember things you read as a child.

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

The novel centres on a family of Ghanian immigrants in America. It’s a novel about Big Themes like addiction, faith, family, science, immigration, and racism, but it doesn’t feel like Gyasi set down a checklist of themes to write about (as it sometimes does in many “novels of our time”.)

This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett

I’ve loved Ann Patchett’s writing for a long time and really enjoyed reading this essay collection about writing and life, especially the essay “The Getaway Car: A Practical Memoir about Writing and Life”, where she writes about the distance between having an idea for a novel in your head a and trying to get it onto the page.

99 Nights in Logar by Jamil Jan Kochai

“99 Nights in Logar” is Jamil Jan Kochai’s debut novel, and it is a unique book. I’ve never read a book in English where non-English words were not italicized. Toshaks, pakols, dusmals. Sadaqah. Rakah. Astaghfirullah. They’re written without hinting at foreignness. Pashto, Arabic and English are not foreign in the mind of the narrator, and that’s all that matters. There is an entire chapter towards the end of the novel in untranslated Pashto.

Less by Andrew Sean Greer

The book, written in crisp, vivid, screenplay-prose, is about running away from your problems.