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An Eclectic Shelf: Celebrating Genre Diversity

By Melis Anik and Laura Hasson

Welcome back! This week we speak with Melis and explore her 'international shelf' focusing on her love for a range of genres. In this article Melis introduces us to three books she believes should be on YOUR shelves:

Introduce yourself to us

Hi, I'm Melis and I’m a twenty-something writer, proud feminist and founder of the WordPress blog and magazine Writing Her Way. Whilst studying MSc Publishing in Edinburgh, I was fortunate enough to meet some of the most inspiring young women, all of whom I now consider to be some of my closest friends. Thus began the first issue of the WHW Magazine. Now, as I begin my journey as a publishing professional, I want to further establish my blog as the newest female empowerment movement on the block. It is on the WHW platform and beyond, that I hope to inspire more people to share their stories, creating a community that is far greater than myself.

Why mix genres?

After my initial obsession with The Hunger Games and all things YA dystopian, I naturally started to gravitate towards any book that interested me, regardless of the genre. Since that shift occurred, I’ve really delved into non-fiction, reading books that help me navigate this awkward grey area called your twenties. Overall, though, I think the following books are a good representation of my desire to read anything and everything that captures my attention in the moment, as well as the beauty in enjoying a compulsory A-Level curriculum read.

How do you pick a book?

Sometimes, I feel like the right book just finds me. In reality, I think it has a lot to do with social media. When the first lockdown happened in Spring 2020, I turned to online sources instead of browsing bookshops for my latest read. Now, almost a year later, I do not seem to have a reason to turn back. I have never been one to rely on reviews, but if you’ve got a snappy Instagram story about your latest read then I’m going to really take note of that.

Nice to [virtually] meet you Melis. Let's explore your 'International Shelf':

Book 1: Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter by Adeline Yen Mah

An emotional memoir and coming-of-age story. Growing up in an affluent family in 1940s China, Adeline is deemed bad luck after her mother dies giving birth to her. In this moving tale, she not only depicts her painful childhood, but also her courage to rise above it all. Seemingly inspired by the fictional fairytale and namesake, Cinderella, her story is far from fairy godmothers and pumpkin rides. A non-fiction book with great depth, this is the kind of book that I read as a teen and yet still continue to recommend now.

Book 2: A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

Despite already being known as a New York Times bestselling author, Mafi really blew me away with this #OwnVoices story set in post-9/11 America. Read in one twenty-four-hour period, A Very Large Expanse of Sea follows sixteen-year-old Shirin, a Muslim girl forced to deal with the political aftermath of the 11 September attacks. A contemporary story about racism, first love and breakdancing, Mafi crafts a narrative that stems far from the boundaries of fiction.

Book 3: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

I first came across The Kite Runner in my A-Level English Literature class. Several years have passed since then and still, this book is one of the few that I cannot seem to forget. A story of friendship and betrayal, redemption and sacrifice, this book follows Hassan’s life from Afghanistan to America as he navigates the traumatic upheaval from his homeland. A book of so many layers and hidden narratives, The Kite Runner is an emotional and important story that I believe everyone should take time to read.

Thanks Melis for sharing your marvellous international shelf, from your exploration of China's complex world, to the powerful story of Shirin (which I am going straight to the bookshop to buy) and the vital, emotive tale of The Kite Runner.

You can follow Melis and her WHW magazine journey on Twitter and Instagram. Join us next week when we explore another shelf. Happy reading everyone!


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