Salaam Dear Reader,
The past year has been a wonderful one and we are thankful for every single day. In our newly refurbished premises, Wardah hosted a record number of author and book club events, including read-aloud sessions for the little ones. We also curated and featured book collections for Ramadan, for the Mawlid, for poetry, and installed a display for New York University Press's Library of Arabic Literature on the second floor. We're also happy with our gorgeous anniversary canvas tote that was produced for us by re-wrap, a sustainable social enterprise in India. But we are happiest when we see readers absorbed in books.
Readers are absorbed in books in two ways. Firstly readers lose themselves among the shelves. This is the primary function of bookshops: to provide a veritable garden of unhurried rumination. For the book-lover, the experience of browsing in a state suspended between curiosity and receptivity is an unparalleled one. If you have not experienced it, come to Wardah (or any library or bookshop for that matter) with no other agenda but to browse without aim, purpose, or even purchase intention, for at least an hour, sans phone interruption, obviously. By the way, the scroll through social media on our phones may resemble a browse, but in contrast to browsing in a bookshop, it is frenetic, manic, and distracted. While flicking up social media feeds and doom-scrolling news sites bring dispersal and take us far from any original thought, browsing among the physical presence of books focusses attention and helps us find the path to our own thought.
The second way we see readers absorbed is when they select a book, and either read where they stand, or retire to an available chair, reading in stillness. In our culture of hustle and hurry, to be still is morally repugnant because it is deemed idle. Bookshops stand against this misapprehension because bookshops celebrate stillness and the slow, soft time spent in the company of books, that repository of the best of civilisation.
And with that, we turn to what our booksellers have chosen to be the best of the year 2022.
We hope that you have had a wonderful year of unhurried reading and stillness. The secret gift of reading is time. And Allah knows best.
The Booksellers of Wardah Books
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