Good Minds Suggest: Nadia Hashimi's Favorite Books About New BeginningsPosted by Goodreads on July 7, 2015
In 2014, Maryland pediatrician Nadia Hashimi launched a new career, publishing her debut novel with a splash. The Pearl That Broke Its Shell, which tells the story of a young girl in Kabul who dresses as a boy in order to attend school, drew praise from another Afghan American physician-writer, Khaled Hosseini, and was a 2014 Goodreads Choice Award nominee for Best Fiction. Hashimi's second novel, When the Moon Is Low, again focuses on the challenges of women in Afghanistan, following a widowed mother of three who flees Taliban rule and travels thousands of miles in the hope of joining her sister in London. They make it as far as Greece, where her teenage son goes missing in a crowded market. In honor of this gutsy fictional family of refugees, Hashimi shares five books about new beginnings.
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
"I learned about 5-alpha-reductase deficiency (otherwise known as 'penis at 12') in medical school and was utterly fascinated. Eugenides does a remarkable job crafting a twisted story of identity and family secrets around this disorder in a story about a child raised as a girl, only to discover the development of male anatomy as a teenager. Cal grapples with (deep breath!) a confusing childhood, an incestuous family tree, and a new gender identity. It's laced with history, science, and even Greek mythology—always a plus."
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
"In Angelou's lyrical autobiography, she shares the details of how she overcame a traumatic childhood plagued with racism, abandonment, and abuse. She tells of the powerful role literacy and books played in her redefining her destiny. This is an inspiring and empowering account of one woman's absolute refusal to give in."
Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis
"When a bookish intellectual sets off to work on an abandoned mine in Crete, he crosses paths with the inimitable Zorba, a man who is part philosopher and part minstrel. In a whirlwind of friendship and debauchery set in the most scenic of lands, Zorba teaches his young friend to appreciate life in a way he never before has. This novel makes me want to stomp my feet to the enchanting sounds of Zorba's santuri and grab life by the horns!"
We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates
"New beginnings can be rocky or just out of reach, as Oates shows in this epic tale of a family's demise after tragedy hits their family when a teenage daughter, Marianne, is raped. The Mulvaneys are forever changed by the assault and look for solace in revenge, alcohol, and new-age communities. They struggle to remain a family, though the road to healing is long and difficult. I'm a big fan of Oates, and this is one of my favorites that she's written."
An Untamed State by Roxane Gay (Goodreads Author)
"This is the harrowing account of a young woman's 13 days held captive by a gang of brutal young men in her home country of Haiti. Mireille survives only by forgetting everything she once was and allowing the men to trample her. When she's released, it is up to the most unlikely of persons, the mother-in-law who never thought much of her, to restore the trampled Mireille and let her see the possibility of love again. This is probably the toughest read on this list but well worth it."