Friday, 19 January 2018

REVIEW: THE WOMAN NEXT DOOR

Author: Yewande Omotoso


My Rating: 5 Stars


Genre: Fiction


Year Published: 2016


ISBN: 978-978-54604-2-1


Date Read: 18/01/2018






SUMMARY
Hortensia and Marion are next door neighbours in a charming, bougainvillea-laden Cape Town suburb. One is black, one white. Both are successful women with impressive careers behind them. Both have recently been widowed. Both are in their eighties. And both are sworn enemies, sharing hedge and hostility pruned with zeal.

But one day an unforeseen event forces the women together. Could long-held mutual loathing transform into friendship?

Love thy neighbour?
Easier said than done.

MY THOUGHTS
 The story is centered around Hortensia James and Marion Agostino; two women who appear different on the outside, but who have quite a number of startling similarities. The first thing, other than all the mini instagram reviews I read of this book, that drew me to it was the fact that the protagonists were elderly. I recall thinking to myself  'A book about old people? what an odd demographic to write about. What are the characters going to be like? slow? unappealing ? or just plain boring?' Looking back at 2016, I'm glad I added it to my wishlist. Who would have thought almost two years later I'd be rating it 5 stars lol.

I enjoyed reading every word in this books. The way the words made me feel like I was experiencing the characters emotions : pain, joy, envy, and even anger. WOW.  I found myself savouring every moment of each chapter.
Reading how the two women went through both the positive and negative seasons of their lives was such a humbling part of the book. The author had a wonderful way of taking her reader back in time, but still holding his/her attention. 

The book sort of reminds you that the aged have lived life to the fullest, they have regrets, still hold grudges, still feel ashamed and once upon a time, they were as young and naive as we are. The only thing I disliked about this book was the author's detailed architectural descriptions and landscapes, but asides that, the book was marvelous.

I have so much more to say about The Woman Next Door that I can't put into words, but one thing I can say is: You! Yes you, reading this review. You need to read this book. You need to feel what I'm feeling now. Reading this was definitely a good way to start 2018 :)

You can purchase this book here or here . 
Please also check out my Favourite Quotes page for new quotes xx

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

MY TOP BOOKS OF 2017


“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” 
― Dr. Seuss

2017 for isn't a year I'm especially proud of, because at the beginning of the year I planned to read a max of 52 books, but ended up reading only 9. I definitely failed at that lol. But with a new year comes new goals and opportunities, so this year I plan on reading a minimum of 24 books (making that at least 2 books a month). I believe it's an attainable goal and I pray that come 2019, I can proudly say that I read 24+ books in the previous year. To some people, 24 might seem like a small number but oh well **shrugs shoulders** 

In 2017, I read a total of 9 books and they are: Paper Towns by John Green (It isn't included in the picture above), A Cowrie of Hope by Binwell Sinyangwe, The Enemy Within by Steve Jacobs, Nine Lives by El Nukoya, Bury Me Come Sunday Afternoon by Nike Campbell-Fatoki, Teenagers Are People Too! by Joyce Meyer, In Dependence by Sarah Ladipo Manyika, Dear Ijeawele, Or A Feminist Manifesto In Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda .N. Adichie, and Say You're One Of Them by Uwem Akpan.

Now to the reason for the post; following is my list of my top 3 books of the year.

1. Dear Ijeawele by Chimamanda .N. Adichie -Read 21/05/2017  

As usual, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Adichie has a profound way of airing her views in the most eloquent of ways. Dear Ijeawele, like all her other books, made me think deeply about the world we live in and how flawed society really is. I await with eager anticipation for the books she will release in the future.






2. Teenagers Are People Too! by Joyce Meyer- Read 20/07/2017

Even though I couldn't post a review on this book by this wonderful woman of God, I can say that reading this book was definitely one of the highlights of my year. It's a book I wish I read when I was a lot younger, maybe during my early teens. 
I believe that if I had read this at about 14, I'd have made some decisions differently. Regardless, God had a reason for exposing me to it in my late teens.  I really look forward to reading more books like this in 2018 that'll help me grow spiritually.



3. The Enemy Within by Steve Jacobs- Read 16/08/2017

The Enemy Within was the first book I ever read that was set during the apartheid era in South Africa. Even though the book is primarily fiction, it still gave me a slight insight as to how terrible that era was for the blacks of South Africa. 
In the future, I plan to read more non-fiction books on apartheid and segregation in general.





MY 2018 TBR LIST
Here are a few books you guys should expect reviews for this year :
1. The White Woman on the Green Bicycle by Monique Roffey
2. Dew In The Morning by Shimmer Chinodya
3. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen 
4. The Opposite House by Helen Oyeyemi 
5. Never Look an American in the Eye by Okey Ndibe, etc

Thank you for finishing this rather lengthy post! And Happy New Year ! May 2018 bring you positive news only.

Please check out my favourite quotes page for new quotes xx

Sunday, 31 December 2017

REVIEW: A COWRIE OF HOPE

Author: Binwell Sinyangwe

My Rating: 3 Stars

Genre: Fiction/ Literature

Year Published: 2000

ISBN: 9780435912024

Number of Pages: 152

Date Read: 03/12/2017






SUMMARY

'These were the nineties,' reflects the narrator of A Cowrie of Hope, and for the young widow Nasula they are years of relentless economic hardship and privation. She dreams of a better life for her beautiful daughter, Sula, free from poverty and independent of marriage. But when Nasula finds herself unable to pay for Sula's education, her hopes seem to have been extinguished - until a friend advises her to go to Lusaka and sell her last sack of highly sought-after Mbala beans. Nasula makes the journey, but in the city she finds herself exposed to new, and predatory, dangers.

MY THOUGHTS

The author's writing style was pretty basic. The plot was kind of predictable, nothing mind-blowing, but pretty decent.

I especially loved how the story gave me Joys of Motherhood vibes. Nasula's drive reminded me so much of Nnu Ego. I mean the book definitely isn't in the league of books like the Joys of Motherhood, but regardless it does a good job of showing how deep and pure a mother's love for her child is.

Reading it was a breeze as the story wasn't too lengthy or complex. I took some excerpts from the book; you can check out my favourite quotes page for them. And because of this book, I look forward to reading more Zambian fiction.

Would I recommend this book? yes. It's quick and easy to read, I especially recommend it to anyone looking for a quick and emotional read . You can purchase your copy at the bookstore in Terra Kulture, Victoria Island.

P.S: Check out my favourite quotes page for new quotes :)





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