Sunday, 5 November 2017

Review: Say You're One of Them

Author: Uwem Akpan

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Genre: Fiction/Short Story

Year Published: 2008

Number of Pages: 258

Date Read: 14/07/2017

SUMMARY
Each story in this jubilantly acclaimed collection pays testament to the wisdom and resilience of children, even in the face of the most agonizing circumstances.

A family living in a makeshift shanty in urban Kenya scurries to find gifts of any kind for the impending Christmas holiday. A Rwandan girl relates her family's struggles to maintain a facade of normalcy amid unspeakable acts. A young brother and sister cope with their uncle's attempt to sell them into slavery. Aboard a bus filled with refugees—a microcosm of today's Africa—a Muslim boy summons his faith to bear a treacherous ride across Nigeria. Through the eyes of childhood friends the emotional toll of religious conflict in Ethiopia becomes viscerally clear.

Uwem Akpan's debut signals the arrival of a breathtakingly talented writer who gives a matter-of-fact reality to the most extreme circumstances in stories that are nothing short of transcendent.
 

MY THOUGHTS 
Rating anthologies can be such a taxing thing, because more often than not, I find myself torn as to whether to award the collection five stars based on the brilliance of one particular story, or awarding it less as a result of  a story not quite as enthralling as the preceding ones. So I end up rating the collection by the number of stories I enjoyed out of the lot.

This book contains five stories set in five different African countries. My favourite stories were My Parents' Bedroom (Rwanada), Fattening for Gabon (Benin), and Luxurious Hearses (Nigeria). 
I didn't quite like the fact that in some stories, it felt like there was no flow of thought and the story's plot was moving at a slow pace, only to end so abruptly, leaving me confused and frustrated.  

However, I did like how the author included a mixture of languages, even though I didn't understand a word of them. I commend the author for not sticking to familiar territory and branching out to write about the tragedies faced by children in different parts of this continent we think we are so familiar with. It honestly left me pitiful for those people who have had to face the harsh realities of tribal wars, religious wars, poverty, and human trafficking at such young ages. Although it's a highly depressing read, I recommend it . You can purchase it here on Amazon. 

Thank you for reading!
P.S: Check out my Favourite Quotes page for new quotes xx





Friday, 20 October 2017

REVIEW: SIXTY PERCENT OF A TRUE STORY

Author: Osisiye Tafa

Year of Publication: 2015

Genre: Biographical / Fiction

Number of Pages: 270

My Rating: 3 Stars

Date Read: 14/04/2016





SUMMARY

Sixty Percent of a True Story’ is a window into the different realities of three undergraduates.

Osisiye arrives the University of Lagos on a windy morning with dreams of high grades but must explore the fleshpots of the city, freedom of the campus and spiritual diversity of the bustling city of Lagos, Nigeria. Will he find a balance soon enough and will his dalliances with drugs, women and new friends be his undoing?
The story moves on to Korede, a depressive introvert. He takes one through the vagaries of growing up as ‘different’ in a society that sees things in black and white and does not forgive men who do not act as men.

Chris is a staple in Nigeria’s urban lore, the internet fraudster. Through his eyes, we understand the various motivations for this career choice and explore the process that births such deception.
The story weaves through three Nigerian states, a university, a presidential campaign, the fleshpots of Lagos and startling personal choices to an unpredictable end. (Sourced from www.goodreads.com )

MY THOUGHTS
I read this book back in 2016. I couldn't bring myself to write a review then, because I simply had nothing to say. I remember thinking to myself 'so this is what you were disturbing yourself for'. I'm not trying to say that it was a horrible book or I regret reading it . I'm saying that I expected it to be a blow-my-mind, knock-my-socks-off kind of book. I blame those damn instagram reviews . Lol note to self: not every review on instagram is worth listening to.

The author was honest, fluid, and I admire writers who unapologetically pen down their experiences. I appreciated his incorporation of Yoruba words and slangs, because most writers try to westernize their characters even though they aren't western to begin with .

The book was full of humour, although I didn't agree with everything he wrote, but I'm simply airing my views. I found some sentences a tad bit irritating. I didn't fancy most of the chapters on Korede . I definitely need to give it a second read to get a fresh perspective.

In conclusion, I got tired of reading it. At some point I left it on my side table until I was in the right frame of mind to continue. Now the question is: would I recommend this book? Maybe. Is it worth buying ?No. Borrow it from a library close to you. 

One good thing I took away from this book was this quote :

 "If nature is music, would you provide the rhythm to my life's dance?" 

Note to reader: Don't take my reviews too seriously. We are all humans, with different opinions and interests. You might read this and give it 5 stars. Just bear in mind that reviews are subjective. 

P.S: Check out my favourite quotes page xx

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Review: The Enemy Within

Author: Steve Jacobs

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Genre: Fiction/Literature

Year of Publication: 1995

Date Read:16/08/2017

Number of Pages:185

ISBN: 9780435909987

SUMMARY
A black man, brutalised by apartheid, murders his wife. His fate is in the hands of a young Jewish lawyer, Jeremy Spielman. As Jeremy prepares to defend his client, he discovers uncomfortable facts about his own life: the racism of his girlfriend, the injustice of the legal system and his own weakness in the face of his country's enemies.



MY THOUGHTS
The Enemy Within  is one of numerous books, which are part of the African Writers Series (AWS). If you don't know what the African Writers Series is, click here to educate yourself :) This book was really quick and easy to read, yet it carried so much depth in it's pages. This is a quality that all the AWS books I've read all possess and for this reason, I hope to read all the books in the series- all 200+ of them.

I caught a glimpse of how horrible the apartheid in South Africa was just by reading this book. It honestly amazes me how people can despise a whole class of people simply because of the colour of their skin- It baffles me, honestly. And I guess that was why I disliked Elmarie. I sympathized with her on some occasions, but disliked her for the majority of the book. She is the prime example of what a flawed perception of others can do to a person.
From Jeremy's character, I could somewhat determine the author's views on apartheid and racism.

I disliked the fact that Jeremy  had to quell his racial views because of Elmarie and I believe that when two people don't share the same views it can jeopardize any relationship, whether romantic or platonic. I hoped that the author would write more on the accussed, Themba, but I guess he intended for Jeremy to have the spotlight.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, especially with all the racial tension rising in the world at the moment. I look forward to reading more books on apartheid, because this book ignited  a desire in me that I need to satisfy . I highly recommend this book. You can purchase it at the bookshop in Terra Kulture or here.

Thank you for reading!
P.S: Check out my favourite quotes page xx


African Literature > Generic Literature

I believe as Africans, we ought to embrace every aspect of our culture, down to the littlest things. We, as Africans, tend to disregard anything that is affiliated with Africa and this has generated stereotypes that define us till this day.
African Literature to me is a form of art that deserves all the laud and appraisal it is currently not receiving.
Below is a list of reasons why African lit will forever have a special place in my heart.

  1. It is very relatable . 
  2. It depicts Africa as the giant it is and it blots out the false perception the rest of the world has about Africa.
  3. It is unconventional 
This post was inspired by Chimamanda Adichie's interview with The Atlantic, which I came across a few months ago on Brittle Paper . The award winning author's interview talks about stereotypes and what makes them problematic. The interview was designed as an animation and she did the voice-over. It was so brilliant. It's like she took the words right out of my mouth and she has such an awesome sense of humour! I swear I can listen to her voice 24/7.
If you'd like to watch the animation, you can check it out here .

PS: Check out my favourite quotes page xx

THE LIEBSTER AWARD



This post is going to be a bit of a chatty one. I was nominated for this award by my lovely friend Demilade of Coco-Bella Blog . Do check out her blog. She discusses everything from beauty to books. I really appreciate the nomination, Demss <3

Below are the rules of the award, so if you're nominated by the end of this post then you can use this as a guide for your post :)

Now on to the questions I was asked :

Why did you start blogging?
I actually began blogging, because I was inspired by the same person who nominated me for this award- lol coincidence, right? After reading her blog back in SS2 (year 11), I was inspired to create a virtual platform were I could share my thoughts on the books I read and my other findings. Although I'm not as consistent as I like to be, I'm definitely grateful for Demilade's influence.

Biggest lesson blogging has taught you?
1.Everyone's blog is different, don't compare yourself to them. 
2. Success doesn't come overnight, it takes hard-work and consistency .

What are some principles you live by?
1.Don't shrink yourself to accommodate anyone's ego.
2.Put in a lot of effort into what you love and leave the rest to God.

What are some of your best self-care practices?
Being grateful in every situation, keeping track of my accomplishments, reading tons and tons of books, and treating myself to little presents.

A book you recommend everyone to read?
Hmm this is a tough one. Off the top, I'd recommend Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. It's such a reassuring read, in the sense that it shows that God loves us despite our horrible past and He is able to forgive and love us unconditionally. It's one of my favourite books of all time.

Your favourite comfort food and why?
This is another tough one, because i'm such a foodie. I'd have to say Milo cereal with aloooottttttt of milk (if you know you know lol), because one can never go wrong with Milo cereal. It never fails to turn my frown upside down **inserts mischievous emoji**

One thing you wish you could tell your younger self?
Stop comparing yourself to others. You are unique, fearfully and wonderfully made.

One thing you want to achieve before the year runs out?
Hit 10k views on my blog.

Dream holiday destination and why?
To spend my 21st birthday in Jerusalem, because I'd love to explore the same streets Jesus walked on, the synagogues He preached in, the Mount of Beatitudes where He preached His sermon in Matthew 6, swim in the dead sea and to have a personal feel of what Jesus saw during His years on earth.

What's your biggest pet peeve?
I have quite a long list loool, but I think it has to be when people send me corny romantic messages. Ughh I cringe every time I get messages like that.

What's your morning routine like?
When I wake up, I read my Bible, pray, take a shower, go through my skin-care routine, go through my social medias and get on with my day.

Thank you for reading and here are my questions and nominees:

1. Ezinne of The Bible Diary Bog
2. Motunrayo of Tales of My Youth
3. Phidelia of Phidelia Imiegha
4. Enny of  Nemss Next Door
5. Sade of In My Sunday Best
7. Anjola of The Bejewelled Bud
8. Mayowa of Mayowa Reads
9. Olivia of Livia With The Fro
10. Adeola of Christian & Chic

1. What type of books are you into?
2. If you were only allowed to read one book for the rest of your life, which would it be and why?
3. What's your favourite quote?
4. Who is your favourite author and why?
5. Who is your fictional literary crush and why?
6. What's your favourite thing about blogging?
7. Have you ever felt like calling it quits on your blog and why?
8. Hard copy books or e-books?
9. What's one thing you regret doing?
10. What's one thing you think society has taken advantage of and why?
11. Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

PS: Check out my favourite quotes page for new quotes xx

Friday, 28 July 2017

Review: Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions

Dear Ijeawele by Chimamanda Adichie
Sourced from www.pulse.ng

Feminism:  the advocacy of women's rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.

Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Date Read: 21/05/17

Year Published: 2017

Genre: Non-fiction/Essay






SUMMARY
Here are fifteen invaluable suggestions- compelling, direct, wryly funny, and perceptive- for how to empower a daughter to become a strong, independent woman. From teaching a young girl to read widely and recognize the role of language in reinforcing unhealthy social norms; encouraging her to choose a helicopter, and not only a doll, as a toy if she so desires; having open conversations with her about appearance, identity, and sexuality; criticizing cultural norms surrounding marriage; and debunking the myths that women are somehow biologically designed to be in the kitchen, and that men can "allow" women to have full careers, Dear Ijeawele goes right to the heart of sexual politics in the twenty-first century. It will start a new and urgently needed conversation about what it really means to be a woman today.

MY THOUGHTS
Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a die-hard Chimamanda fan! So when I caught wind of her new book, I was beyond excited. I couldn't wait to get my hands on it! Fortunately for me, I was able to purchase it here a few months later along with Bury Me Come Sunday Afternoon by Nike Campbell-Fatoki. (A review for it will be up soon)

I think we need to talk about how awesome Chimamanda is! She takes the most controversial of topics and turns it into something so profoundly relatable.
She's one of the only authors I know who passes a point across with humour and simplicity. A lot of what she said changed my perspective on life and left me shook. After reading certain paragraphs, I found myself screaming 'Yasssss Chimamanda, preach!' Lol. When I was through with the essay, I was so overwhelmed by her awesomeness that I had to re-watch her TEDx talk **inserts crying emoji**


Although I don't agree with everything she wrote, I definitely think that what she has written down in this manifesto is important and should be celebrated by everyone.  And I  hope that through this essay and We Should All Be Feminists, that the word Feminism will no longer be necessary, because the equality of the sexes will be inherent in our society.

Some excerpts from the essay

“The knowledge of cooking does not come pre-installed in a vagina.” 

“People will selectively use “tradition” to justify anything.” 


“Never speak of marriage as an achievement. Find ways to make clear to her that marriage is not an achievement, nor is it what she should aspire to. A marriage can be happy or unhappy, but it is not an achievement. We condition girls to aspire to marriage and we do not condition boys to aspire to marriage, and so there is already a terrible imbalance at the start. The girls will grow up to be women preoccupied with marriage. The boys will grow up to be men who are not preoccupied with marriage. The women marry those men. The relationship is automatically uneven because the institution matters more to one than the other.” 


“...parents unconsciously start very early to teach girls how to be, that baby girls are given less room and more rules and baby boys more room and fewer rules.” 


“Because you are a girl” is never a reason for anything. Ever.” 


Thank you for reading. P.S: Check out my favourite quotes page for new quotes xx