KHAMSA’s bookshelf for this month.

Have you ever read a book that stayed with you long after the last page? A story that burrowed deep, leaving its mark on your heart and mind? If you crave that kind of raw and unforgettable reading experience, then settle in, bookworms, because KHAMSA has curated a special list just for you!

These five novels aren’t afraid to delve into the complexities of human emotions, the harsh realities of our world, and the resilience of the human spirit. We’ve ventured beyond the familiar to bring you stories that will transport you, challenge you, and leave you forever changed. So, find a comfy spot under the sun and grab one of these KHAMSA reading recommendations.

١. ‘Les Misérables’ by Victor Hugo

Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables transports you to revolutionary France, where the lives of an ex-convict yearning for redemption (Jean Valjean), an orphaned girl seeking love (Cosette), and a passionate young revolutionary (Marius) become entangled. Set against a backdrop of social unrest and echoing with cries for change, Hugo explores profound themes of justice, love, and the unwavering human spirit. Will Jean Valjean find his redemption? Can love blossom amidst poverty and oppression?

Prepare to be swept away by this timeless tale that reminds us, even in the darkest nights, the sun will rise.

٢. ‘The Forty Rules of Love’ (قواعد العشق الأربعون) by Elif Shafak

Forget the usual love stories; Elif Shafak’s The Forty Rules of Love is an adventure that breaks the mould. It is the story of a bored housewife named Ella who stumbles upon a hidden manuscript. This isn’t just any old document – it unlocks the passionate love story of Rumi, a legendary poet, and Shams of Tabriz, his spiritual guide, from centuries past.

As Ella dives deeper, the lines between past and present blur. She begins a journey not just through the dusty pages of history, but also within herself. Prepare to discover the secrets of Sufism, a mystical path to love, and explore the powerful idea that love is a continuous exploration, not a final prize. Shafak’s powerful words will leave you pondering the true meaning of love and the transformative power it holds.

٣. ‘My First and Only Love’ by Sahar Khalifeh

Source @goodreads

If you’re interested in historical, stories of strong women, and exploring the complexities of love and identity, My First and Only Love is definitely worth reading. It is a powerful novel that explores themes of love, loss, identity, and the Palestinian struggle for nationhood.

This book by Sahar Khalifeh is a story set in Palestine, following Nidal’s return to her hometown Nablus after years away. Her visit stirs up memories of her first love, Rabie. As Nidal reflects on her family’s history of displacement and political turmoil, Sahars paints a picture of love, loss, and identity. Through Nidal’s journey and Khalifeh’s evocative storytelling, readers are drawn into a world where personal and national struggles intertwine. With its accessible language and heartfelt exploration of resilience, this novel offers a glimpse into the complexities of love and the fight for freedom.

٤. ‘The Kite Runner’ by Khaled Hosseini

In the critically-acclaimed Kite Runner, readers are transported into the heart of Afghanistan, where the bonds of childhood friendship between Amir and Hassan are tested amidst the backdrop of a nation in turmoil. As the winds of change sweep through the country, their relationship is strained by betrayal and redemption becomes a distant hope.

This story isn’t just about how messed up things can get. It’s also about finding a way to make things right, to forgive, and maybe even become a better person. This unique tale, will grab your heart and hold on tight. It’ll make you think about what friendship really means and how far you’d go for a true friend. Hosseini’s masterful narrative delves into themes of remorse, loyalty, and the quest for redemption, painting a portrait of a nation and its people grappling with the consequences of their choices.

٥. ‘A Gentle Reminder’ by Bianca Sparacino

Source @goodreads

This book offers a warm hug in the form of self-care advice and gentle encouragement. It’s a reminder to be kind to yourself and appreciate the little things. Sparacino delivers a gentle reminder to embrace the beauty of life’s imperfections. This collection of essays and poetry serves as hope, urging readers to find solace in vulnerability and to cherish the moments that make life meaningful.

Leen is a writer, designer and creative director, holding a fashion design degree from ESMOD. She is currently pursuing an MBA in fashion management, specializing in luxury, in Paris. Living in various Western and Eastern locales, Leen writes on fashion, culture, and lifestyle at KHAMSA as she interns in the editorial department.