Diversity Spotlight Thursday #10


Diversity Spotlight Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by the wonderful Aimal @ Bookshelves and Paperbacks. Every week, you come up with one book in each of three different categories: a diverse book you have read and enjoyed, a diverse book on your TBR, and one that has not yet been released.

My theme for this one is stories from the Middle East in times of turmoil (my themes are self created just so I can focus on a certain genre of diverse books).



22521951“A Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hosseini

Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them-in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul-they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation. With heart-wrenching power and suspense, Hosseini shows how a woman’s love for her family can move her to shocking and heroic acts of self-sacrifice, and that in the end it is love, or even the memory of love, that is often the key to survival. A stunning accomplishment, A Thousand Splendid Suns is a haunting, heartbreaking, compelling story of an unforgiving time, an unlikely friendship, and an indestructible love.

Goodreads Link | Amazon | Barnes and Nobles

This is a heart-breaking book. Reading about these three women, who are so different yet so strong in their own ways. It’s a beautifully crafted story of brutality and suffering as well as strength and hope.



22521951“Guapa” by Saleem Haddad

Set over the course of twenty-four hours, Guapa follows Rasa, a gay man living in an unnamed Arab country, as he tries to carve out a life for himself in the midst of political and social upheaval. Rasa spends his days translating for Western journalists and pining for the nights when he can sneak his lover, Taymour, into his room. One night Rasa’s grandmother—the woman who raised him—catches them in bed together. The following day Rasa is consumed by the search for his best friend Maj, a fiery activist and drag queen star of the underground bar, Guapa, who has been arrested by the police. Ashamed to go home and face his grandmother, and reeling from the potential loss of the three most important people in his life, Rasa roams the city’s slums and prisons, the lavish weddings of the country’s elite, and the bars where outcasts and intellectuals drink to a long-lost revolution. Each new encounter leads him closer to confronting his own identity, as he revisits his childhood and probes the secrets that haunt his family. As Rasa confronts the simultaneous collapse of political hope and his closest personal relationships, he is forced to discover the roots of his alienation and try to re-emerge into a society that may never accept him.

Goodreads Link | Amazon | Barnes and Nobles

This isn’t a very known book, I had never heard of it until recently. It’s hard to find decent LGBT+ books set in the Middle East so I think this could be a hidden gem.



22521951“Exit West” by Mohsin Hamid

In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet—sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors—doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through. 

Exit West follows these characters as they emerge into an alien and uncertain future, struggling to hold on to each other, to their past, to the very sense of who they are. Profoundly intimate and powerfully inventive, it tells an unforgettable story of love, loyalty, and courage that is both completely of our time and for all time.

Release Date: March 7th, 2017
Goodreads Link | Amazon | Barnes and Nobles

I’m so glad so many refugee stories are coming out now – both fiction and non-fiction. I’m really excited for this one. So far, the reviews have all been praising it.


Are any of these on your TBR? Have you read any good books set in the Middle East?

10 thoughts on “Diversity Spotlight Thursday #10

  1. I really like that you choose specific themes – I guess that way you can make sure you cover all sorts of diversity! Guapa and Exit West are both on my TBR, because I really don’t read enough Middle Eastern fiction.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Choosing themes does give me a focus so I’m not jumping from genre to genre when talking about these books. Me neither! I’ve read very few novels set in the Middle East and I plan to change that.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve read 2 of these! A Thousand Splendid Suns was, of course, incredible. One of my favorite books ever. Guapa was good, but perhaps my expectations were a little high. I didn’t like that it was set in an unnamed Arab country, which prevented me from being able to related to the setting and characters fully. Others didn’t seem to have that problem, though. Hope you like it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A Thousand Splendid Suns is one of my favorites too! Khaled Hosseini has a way with words and his stories are always memorable. I can see why the country being unnamed would bother people though, that assumes that all Arab countries are the same which they certainly aren’t. And the Middle Eastern setting is why I wanted to read it in the first place. I hope I like the story enough to where the setting won’t bother me too much.


  3. I have A Thousand Splendid Suns and The Kite Runner but I have yet to read. I recommend my boss the first one and she said it’s really heart breaking. She cried a lot. Did you rated 5 stars?

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s