April Wrap-Up – Books, Lilo & Stitch, The Sims & Ramadan

Look at me, finally dragging myself to open my laptop and write this wrap-up and feeling overwhelmed because I’ve kept a whole record of everything on my notes app, most of which are far too heavy to be featured in a wrap-up. I always end up having to remove a whole lot from my wrap-up posts, sadly, and I just know I have so much more to say, so I’ll leave it all for a separate post. So, here’s my regular April Wrap-Up featuring books, TV & Film, and a mental health check-in.

What I’ve Been Reading

  • The Path to Perfection by Ashraf Ali Thanwi, Muhammad Masihullah Khan: So far, though this is a spiritual read, it contains a lot of grounding self-help advice that makes it accessible to a variety of readers. I’m taking my time with this because I think it’s especially important that I reflect on what I’m learning.
  • Love from A to Z by S. K. Ali: this was recommended to me by Suziey, and I’m really enjoying it so far. Once again, I’m taking my time with reading this because who knows how long it’ll be before I relate to a character like Zayneb. Though, I wouldn’t mind being a little like Ayaan, our top-notch receipt-collector.
  • Mind Platter by Najwa Zebian: I really wanted to like this, and, no doubt, there are some truly outstanding pieces, but it definitely could be cut for length because there is really no need to recycle 50 variations of the same advice. I had to DNF at around 60%-75%. There was one piece that was a slap in the face, especially for anyone who’s a victim of abuse or a survivor of abuse because it shifts the blame onto the victims. When I say I was furiously tapping my screen in caps on my notes app…  but I think it’s also very much possible that Najwa Zebian, a victim of narcissistic abuse like myself, is taking refuge in a narrative that allows her to gain control as opposed to understanding that this isn’t necessarily the case or desires of other victims. There’s much to be said about the “grow out of your victim mindset” because it isn’t concerned with either restorative or transformative justice. Rating: ★★★
  • Nineteen by Makenzie Campbell: the first two-thirds of this poetry collection didn’t connect with me, but I can see this working a lot better if you’re in your teens – quite rightly, I mean, it’s titled Nineteen after all. Please take my rating with a pinch of salt or even feel free to completely disregard it because I’m not sure whether I reserve the right to give a rating in this case: ★★★
  • Aphrodite Made Me Do It by Trista Mateer: Oh, gosh, a whirlwind of emotions. I strongly related to Trista Mateer’s emotional journey through her poetry. I have much more to say about this, so I will be doing a full review of this one day. Rating: ★★★★
  • Normal People by Sally Rooney: It’s simply not possible to sum up my feelings about this book so briefly, but, for now, I’ll say that it’s a heavy, heavy book. I’ll be writing a full review on this one day. Rating: ★★★★

March Posts

  • Book Review: Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin: a modern Muslim retelling of Pride and Prejudice with one of the most unintentionally charming heroes you’ll come across. Plus, Lydia gets her due in Hafsa and we even get our own book version of Kokila Modi. Long live Star Plus!
  • Book Review: It’s Not About the Burqa: Not only did I feel seen and heard, but this book was so powerful it made me change my entire twitter bio. It had me thinking a lot about representation in books and whether it’s actually meaningful. As well as this, it taught me to recognise that my personality and individual identity isn’t tied to my race. So, no more Muslim/POC blogger, more on what I’ve achieved, created and what I’m passionate about on my twitter bio. I’m going to reread this sometime in the future because ‘It’s Not About the Burqa’ will always be timeless.

Yep, other than my March Wrap-Up, I only wrote two posts. I’m bursting with ideas, my notes app is FULL, I just need to get started.

Posts I’ve Loved Reading

  • the orang-utan librarian shared her ‘Lonely Hearts for Literary Characters where she writes dating ads for fictional characters. Granted this was a while ago, but I am catching up… still. I loved this, it was hilarious and a much-needed read for right now.
  • Yeah, Another Blogger talked about how his ‘favourite colour was once yellow, but now it’s blue’, and I’ve always thought the psychology of favourite colours to be fascinating. Though I maintain that my favourite colour is yellow.

What I’ve Been Watching

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Lilo and Stitch: Can you believe that I’ve never watched this before? For what reason did I not watch Lilo and Stitch?! I’m baffled at myself. Shocked. Disappointed. Who even am I? I loved this film. I loved Lilo, Stitch (“Stitch. My name Stitch.” – favourite line!), Nani, and every other character. This film did not need to make me cry so much. At the heart of it, it’s about loving someone, flaws and all, and not giving up on people in their moments of pain, grief and anguish, and that misbehaviour can come from a place of hurt. Lilo is so wonderfully weird and caring and so empathetic. I can’t believe that it took some utterly bizarre and callous person bashing a grieving 6-year-old character to finally watch Lilo and Stitch. If you’re not on Twitter, that whole tweet, bashing Lilo and calling her a brat, went viral and took the internet by storm. Yep, that happened. Anyway, should I watch the sequels?

Little Fires Everywhere: Is unbelievably addictive. I’m having to tear myself away from bingeing the whole series level addictive. It also means a lot to me and is making me feel all these dark and brooding thoughts because Elena is just… I have a lot to say, so I’m going to reserve my thoughts for another day. I’ve already spoken about how much I related to Izzy in my book review of Little Fires Everywhere, but I didn’t expect that, in the last year, how much more I would relate to her. Watch it. The direction, the themes, the acting … literally everyone acted their a**es off. It’s brilliant stuff.

Mental Health Check-In

I’ve been waking up feeling really angry. After reading Stephanie Foo’s explanations (she is a complex PTSD advocate), I’m learning to not be too hard on myself for feeling this way. It’s my fight mode being activated because of all the fear, uncertainty and panic arising as a result of the pandemic.

What works for me and my mental health is praying and observing acts of worship because, once I do, I feel so much more peaceful, and the transition is almost unbelievable. I go from an overemotional rebel to an all-loving princess (from Fi to Fe) like the good Muslimah I aspire to be. I become that aunty who’s all about her community. I go from Daenerys and Arya (my natural state) (and, also, understandable trauma responses) to Sansa Stark, basically.

At one point, I got so consumed with playing The Sims and I’ve finally pulled away from it. I’m still playing The Sims (Mobile), but no longer as obsessively. I need to show you my house on the Sims though because it is an absolute mess. Honestly, I’m prioritising practicality over design, but eventually, one day (hopefully), I’ll get to the stage where I don’t lay rugs, a speaker and a lamp on my porch. One day, indoor items will be placed, yes, indoors.

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I definitely need to tone down on my fried food intake. I love eating vegetarian food for iftar, baingoin (fried aubergine), dalibora (lentil fritters) and sana and kisuri (chickpea and, I guess, ghee mixed with something? I’m not too sure *shame*). I need to stop drinking coffee after midnight because I’m already taking medication so I can sleep because I have a lot of racing thoughts, and it’s not so much anxiety as it is thinking about a lot of random things and daydreaming, so coffee doesn’t help. I wouldn’t say it makes me hyper, but it makes me very alert, for sure. Basically, I overall need to be much less physically indulgent.  

And that concludes my partial wrap-up for April. Excuse me while I go and process that it’s actually May now. One great positive is that, like a lot of other bloggers, I’ve reached record stats for April… and I thought nothing could top March!


How was April for you? What were you reading and watching (and playing)? Do you have any self-help advice to share? What have you been doing this Ramadan? What did you blog about in April (feel free to share!)? Let me know in the comments!

Sophia Ismaa

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17 Comments

  1. Everyone seems to love Normal People, but I’m afraid that it’ll be too heavy for me to read right now… anyways, happy May!

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  2. Hi Sophia. You’ve written about a bunch of things here that I might check out. By the way, Aphrodite Made Me Do It is a hilarious title.

    If you want coffee after midnight, use decaf!

    Take care.

    Neil S.

    Like

  3. I really need to watch Little Fires Everywhere! I’m sure it’ll be super addicting… Also glad you liked Lilo and Stitch, it was my fav growing up. Stitch is so adorable! I vaguely remember loving the sequels when I was younger, they also made me cry a lot :”)

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    1. I have a terrible attention span, but little fires everywhere had me (weirdly) at the edge of my seat and took me on a rollercoaster. It’s truly a 10/10 show. I hope you get to watch it!

      I completely understand all the love L&S gets now. I should hopefully sometime this year get around to watching the sequels!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve been going back and forth whether to read normal people (which has been on my shelves forever) or just watch the show. Ugh. I can’t make up my mind about anything these days!

    Stitch is one of my favs. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

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    1. It’s a very very heavy book, but, I maintain, at the core of it, it is just as much a heartwarming story as it is heartbreaking. I hear the series is amazing, so you’ll be in good hands either way.

      Thanks! 🙂

      Like

  5. It’s been a long and strange month and yet you’ve covered so much ground. Don’t beat yourself up about feeling weird. Everything’s weird! 🙂

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  6. I cannot believe you have never watched Lilo and Stitch till now! But just before I continue because you just stated the movie. Is it just that, or the TV series as well?

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    1. I never used to be crazy about Disney, not even lion king because it’s so short! But Lilo and Stitch. I was wrong. Wait… there’s a tv series?!?! 😂😂😂😂 so much I don’t know!

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