Reading is transformation

Meaning in Fiction

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Booksellers' Desk

Salaam Dear Reader,

There has been a welcome uptick in quality fiction writing by Muslim authors in the last few years, and I think this is something to be lauded. No one else can tell our stories for us. And as readers, we have better access to the polychromatic global Muslim experience — from Turkish villages, to Ugandan shanty towns, from Sufi parables to futuristic inter-galactic federations (with Muslims!).

I recently wrote a reflection after reading Onjali Q. Rauf’s The Boy at the Back of the Class, and it occured to me that stories are important because they reveal a slice of life we have not considered. Moreover, reading is the gateway through which questions of value are teased out, internalised, articulated, and clarified.

As Maryanne Wolf said in her Reading in the Age of Distraction webinar at the Singapore National Library Board, reading is our personal moral laboratory. Seen in this light, reading is much more than mere literacy: it is a cultural accomplishment through which meaning is gained.

Booksellers' Desk

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