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Suicide, An anthology and Alice Walker: Books I Read In September

Good Morning, Afternoon or Evening, depending on when you read this, Buff Reader! I’m hoping your weekend went well? Well, i’ve busied myself this weekend with ranting on Twitter about Donald Trump and discovering the beautiful African Music of Late Miriam Makeba. I am tired.

On a lighter note, i have decided to do a sort of a wrap up on September because i realized that there were so many amazing books i read in September that i am yet to share here. I had reservations at first, due to the dates of publication but i decided to share anyway.

thirteen-reasons-why13 REASONS WHY by Jay Asher

Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Year Publication: 2007

Download book here

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This book truly changed me. I was reluctant to read it at first, as it fell into my library accidentally. As soon as i began reading it, i realized i was going to love it.

The plot basically follows a teenage boy, Clay Jensen, who receives a box of tapes from his dead classmate, Hannah Baker, giving reasons for why she killed herself. We follow the string of emotions and decisions he has to make as he listens to the heart-wrenching tapes. Continue reading


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New Book Release: A Conspiracy Of Ravens

Finally, the long awaited novel, A Conspiracy of Ravens, from prolific writer Othuke Ominiabohs is out!

You remember Othuke right?

He’s the author of the captivating Odufa: A lover’s tale that i reviewed earlier this year. I have been anticipating this novel since i saw the release date, and true to his word, it was released on the 17th of September in Abuja. The book has had two unveilings already, at the Thought Pyramid Art Gallery in Abuja and at Terrakulture in Lagos.

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In “A Conspiracy of Ravens”, the author raises suspicion about the ongoing crisis in the Niger Delta, Boko Haram in the North East and IPOBs clamour for autonomy in the East, hinting at the possibility of a conspiracy that comes all the way down from the Civil War years.

A conspiracy of Ravens is a thriller that digs into the unrest in the Niger Delta and draws a connection between it and the Boko Haram insurgency and the Nigerian civil war. It is the story of Tari, a Niger Delta militant commander and his battle to fight a war he believes in, and that of Alex Randa, a DSS operative tasked with the assignment of stopping him.

Tunde Leye (Author of The Guardians of the Seal) and Elnathan John (Author of Born On a Tuesday) are part of the few who have recommended the book.

Some book reviewers in persons of Buchi Onyeagbule, Alkasim Abullkadiri, Chioma and Dr. Lizzy Ben Iheanacho had a lot of positive feedback on the work. The reviewers in their assessment of the book all agreed the book came up at the right time and opens a new conversation of rethinking thriller genre in the Nigerian literary space.

Even though i haven’t gotten my copy yet, i expect that when i do it will be a wonderful read. Expect my review!

To purchase the book, click here to locate a bookstore around you. For those readers in Kampala, click here. You can also order the book from  and . Also available on Amazon and iTunes.

A super Nigerian thriller- J.J. Omojuwa (on A conspiracy of Ravens)

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Binti, Jeyifous and Afro-Futurism.

binti

Book Title: Binti

Author: Nnedi Okorafor

Genre: Afro-Futurism, Sci-fi (Definitely not fantasy).

Pages: 55 more or less.

Synopsis: Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs. Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti’s stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach.
If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself – but first she has to make it there, alive.

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What is Afro-futurism?

I don’t know either… but i think Nnedi Okorafor has an incredibly good idea. 
Continue reading


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Book Review: Born On A Tuesday- Elnathan John

boat coverAuthor: Elnathan John

Pages: 261

Purchase: You can buy the paperback on amazon, abebooks, barnes and noble, half, book depository, indigo, etc.

you can also order the book from Konga

Or purchase it from any bookshop near you. Click here for my list of bookshops.

Synopsis: In far northwestern Nigeria, Dantala lives among a gang of street boys who sleep under a kuka tree. During the election, the boys are paid by the Small Party to cause trouble. When their attempt to burn down the opposition’s local headquarters ends in disaster, Dantala must run for his life, leaving his best friend behind. He makes his way to a mosque that provides him with food, shelter, and guidance. With his quick aptitude and modest nature, Dantala becomes a favored apprentice to the mosque’s sheikh. Before long, he is faced with a terrible conflict of loyalties, as one of the sheikh’s closest advisors begins to raise his own radical movement. When bloodshed erupts in the city around him, Dantala must decide what kind of Muslim—and what kind of man—he wants to be. Told in Dantala’s naïve, searching voice, this astonishing debut explores the ways in which young men are seduced by religious fundamentalism and violence.- Goodreads

My Review:
One word: Brilliant!
I should end this review with that alone. LOL

Born on a tuesday is centered around Dantala, whose name literally means to be Born On A Tuesday and is told on a backdrop of Sokoto; places such as Bayan Layi, Dogon Icce and main Sokoto itself. It sheds a numbing light on Northern Nigeria and the Islamic religion.
The book has five parts, each part pregnant with its own story.

Dantala, later Ahmad, starts out as an Almajiri (Quranic student) but quickly falls with the bad boys in Bayan Layi. After some political uproar, he escapes and ends up in the mosque of a Shiekh who takes care of him.
He tells of the world around him in a voice that makes you not only see what he sees but also, feel what he feels.
We see Dantala go through emotions as he sees and experiences events he doesn’t really understand: murder, sexuality, Religious sects, jihadist exteremism, love, and prison.
We see him as he grows in the ranks and is eventually a malam who calls out prayers (He seemed to enjoy this the most).
Because of the raw voice the story is told in, you realize, a bit too late, that you’re willing to forgive many things that you wouldn’t accept normally.
I noticed that the writer used a lot of Arabic and Hausa words and did not explain the meaning; i had to understand from context. I actually had fun marking down the words and questioning my friend about it later. It seemed the writer wanted to be as real as possible, being that Dantala’s narration (thoughts) are in the languages he knows and understands.
While reading the book, i also noticed that the tone used in the first chapter, Bayan Layi, was actually different from the rest of the chapters. I don’t know if the writer was trying to signify/emphasize Dantala’s growth or if it was, in fact, a construct error. I, for one, loved the first chapter.
The thing i appreciated the most was that, the writer included pages of “Dantala’s words” where he actually wrote down english words he encountered and wrote narratives with them as contextual examples. These pages were written in a different font from the rest of the book and there were cancellations that were meant to indicate that Dantala was indeed an “English Learner”.
As usual, my favorite character was Jibril who barely allowed me feel his pain. I could tell that he, like many other characters, had suffered a lot but he always seemed so jovial and optimistic that i didn’t know whether to pity him or be happy for him.
My worst character is Shuaibu because, in my opinion, he embodied the stereotypic Muslim husband. Many people would expect that it would be Malam Abdul- Nur but i feel that his character is very interesting and strategically placed (because he was a convert).
This is not a happily ever after story, neither is it a love story. I actually found it hard trying to classify it into a genre.

From what i observed, the writer tried to shed light on: young lives in the North, Islamic sects, Mujahedeen (loosely translated as Islamic military), Politics from the standpoint of the oppressed and Religious opinions.

A lot of people run away from books like this – i used to – but it’s not the conventional type, i bet you. This book left me thirsty for knowledge and i was shocked by how little i really know.
Good fiction writing is, to me, how best you can make your readers see your fiction as possible truth.The writer is not a muslim and i think he crushed this point. You can tell the amount of research that went into this.
Note to Elnathan John: I absolutely enjoyed your book and tweeted about it when i was on page six! Bayan Layi literally blew my mind, LOL. I really can’t wait for that Book signing!

I hope you enjoyed my review, be sure to tell me what you think 😉
I love hearing from you guys, so if you have questions or something you think i missed, drop a witty comment!

Note: For those my puff puffs that aren’t ardent readers, you could still read this book because it is not lengthy and honestly, you’d be captivated. If you’re the one-page-every-day type, you might even upgrade to four pages LOL.


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Book Review: Odufa- Othuke Ominiabohs

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Author: Othuke Ominiabohs (Ohmston Weth)

Pages: 394

Purchase: You can buy the ebook online at dookshop.com (also on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple ibooks, etc)

Order the paperback from Konga.com

You can also get the paperback at major bookshops or malls near. Click here to see my list of bookshops!

Synopsis: When Anthony Mukoro discovers he cannot father a child, his whole world comes crashing. In the arms of a new crush, Odufa, a beautiful girl with a past, he finds the strength to face his fears and live again despite the whirlwind that threatens to devour the union. But nothing is as it seems as they plunge into the bowels of this serpentine romance which alters their lives forever. – synopsis from goodreads.com

Odufa

My Review:

I initially read Odufa years back when it was barely a series on yimucentral. I had read the prologue, then an episode, and knew that it was going to be major. One thing i have always loved about Ohmston’s work is his ability to describe every single detail and his unique adeptness at word play.

The criminals were still at large. The long arm of the law hung limply around the waist of the cold statue of justice, tugging at her wrapper so the bureaucrats can once again, rape her blind. – The coleman massacre by Ohmston Weth

Odufa is an African romance literature based on two Nigerians from different backgrounds. First of all, the book is in three parts: Friends, Lovers and Strangers. The first chapter begins with a somber mood where a doctor diagnoses the protagonist, Anthony, as being impotent. Like any man who discovers such a thing, Anthony is thrown into a dark and dangerous depression. That is until he meets a lady who is willing to do absolutely anything for him, Odufa. Odufa is a mystery to Anthony which just makes their affair much more sizzling and desirable to him. Theirs is a love that is volatile, deep and explosive; confusing and incredulous to anyone else but overwhelming to those that know how it feels.

I say this because some parts in the book had to be taken with a pinch of salt. I cannot say i have ever felt love like this, so, I could not understand how love could make two people do things that should drive them apart but ends up pulling them much closer. I read in a recent interview that reviewers complained that the book is chauvinistic, but let’s be realistic, that’s really how many relationships are. Lets put political correctness aside and appreciate that he was being real.
I found it difficult to handle Anthony’s abuse on Odufa and the fact that she kept coming back to take him in her arms. Then, out of the blue, Odufa began her own kind of abuse on Anthony and that honestly surprised me.

The story itself scared me; especially the very toxic and dangerous relationship between Anthony and Odufa. I don’t have much experience with relationships in Nigeria but I remember asking a few friends from my book club if this kind of relationship was actually possible. The narcissism between the two lead characters was shocking, their inconsistency in personality worried me (especially Odufa’s) and at a point I began to wonder if this was really a relationship or a dependency. Also Odufa has some sordid past which affected nearly every choice she made in this book, so I was quite surprised that the past was not mentioned. However the writer clarified that a sequel will delve into this. –Franklyne Ikediasor

Odufa was a strange character that i couldn’t actually decipher. I would like to know more about her side of the story; if she really is an opportunist as it played out to be and the reason for her sudden change of character. Her mother also intrigued me. I hope the coming sequels will reveal both of their intentions.

The writing was exquisite, as i expected, but i thought that some parts of the romance were a bit too cheesy for my taste. Writing an anthology of poems for her is romantic but seeing her as your light, sunshine, diamond and laughter after she bit off your thumb was just too much for me. I particularly liked the Strangers section of the book, which was weird because that was where everything came apart. Odufa unfolded herself to be Anthony’s nightmare and it was interesting to see that he still didn’t see some of the things we, the readers, were seeing. It made me wonder, at some point,  if Juju (charm) was involved.
Another issue i had was the fear that it was going to be unnecessarily prolonged. I wasn’t even at the middle and the two were already hopelessly in love, i began to question what would come next. In retrospect, the length was necessary.

I ached for Anthony towards the end, when his son was taken from him. No one should feel that type of pain especially someone who saw their child as a miracle. Anthony’s father told him to forget the child, which would be a typical advice in that situation, but i knew that the decision would be difficult.

The writer took us to so many places in the book: Kano, Portharcourt, Warri, Lagos and Abuja.  I think that he tried to shed light on: violence in relationships like we’ve hardly seen, the unfolding of events that misdiagnosis of patients could cause, misconceptions about hypertension and the drama that sometimes follows inter-tribal relationships.

My favorite character has to be Anthony’s mother who seemed like a very wise, well-to-do and archaic woman; she blew out proverbs like a dragon spits fire.

You don’t spend the evening where you do not intend to spend the night…

It is the fear of what tomorrow may bring… that makes the tortoise to carry his house with him wherever he goes.

Many reviewers have complained about the use of the word ‘Ablution’. I found it strange for them to just assume that the word referred to Muslim cleansing because even at the first place i noticed it, the context referred to ‘Bathing’. I should also point out that Muslims don’t really have a whole room dedicated to washing up and prayers (I don’t think).

The book ended up as a tragedy (seemed so from the prologue) when Anthony’s life seemed to him like it had lost meaning and direction. I very much loved the way Othuke ended it, the whole of chapter 51 felt like a poem to me; absolutely brilliant and well paced.

All in all, i will say that the book tenders to the least common denominator, because it isn’t a concept that is too complex or filled with a lot of big and incomprehensible grammar. It’s very relatable and different and this makes it a very good book. This is his debut novel which makes it even better. Also, if you love poems, you’ll definitely love this book and the anthology attached to the back.

I tried as much as possible to not be so biased in this review being that Othuke is one of my favorite writers (Yes, i will famz). I have known about him for almost two years and have read a whole lot of his stories. His brother has a crush on me so… special treatment (He’ll kill me for this LOL). I was ecstatic when i heard that Odufa will be turned into a trilogy.

There will be a book reading of Odufa by Othuke himself coupled with a movie screening “Pitter Patter Goes My Heart” on Thursday, 16th June 2016 at Thought Pyramid Art Centre, No 18, Libreville Crescent wuse II Abuja. Time is 7:00 pm.

Note to Othuke: You are a brilliant poet, it seems you’re the only one oblivious to this. If Odufa was really based on personal experiences then, I cannot wait to see you again because you have a truck load of questions to answer! 🙂

bear hugThanks for reading and hope you enjoyed it!


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Book Review: Flipped- Wendelin Van Draanen

Flipped_by_Wendelin_Van_DraanenPages: 148 (more or less)

Genre: Romance; Young adult

Download link: ugtorrent.com or gizul.wordpress.com

Order at Amazon: Amazon.com

Synopsis: Flipped is a romance told in two voices. The first time Juli Baker saw Bryce Loski, she flipped. The first time Bryce saw Juli, he ran. That’s pretty much the pattern for these two neighbors until the eighth grade, when, just as Juli is realizing Bryce isn’t as wonderful as she thought, Bryce is starting to see that Juli is pretty amazing. How these two teens manage to see beyond the surface of things and come together makes for a comic and poignant romance.- Goodreads.com

My Review: The first time I watched the movie Flipped in 2013, I positively and absolutely FLIPPPED. I couldn’t just wait to read the book, which I did just recently.

It’s a story about a young girl Julianna Baker and a boy who was walking around with her first kiss, Bryce Loski. The story is told by the both of them explaining a series of events from their point of view, such as their first meeting, her favorite tree and a lot of other things.

Juli, as she is popularly called, was the complete opposite of Bryce. According to their Town Paper, she was “a strong voice in an urban wilderness and a radiant beacon, shedding light on the need to curtail continued over-development of our once quaint and tranquil community”. I think she is just a lovely, outspoken young girl that you could never be bored being around. She seems like one of those old souls.

flipped movie

As for Bryce, I feel he is just like a lot of us were at that age, trying to find an identity. For goodness sakes he described Breasts as Female parabolas! Funniest thing ever. He always saw Juli as a nuisance right from the first day, but he never told her off and took whatever she offered (Yoruba demon behavior). He finds himself faced with decisions he has to make in order to be the person he wants to be.

Everything about the book is totally relatable. From Juli’s account of their meeting; when he held her hand (by mistake) she said: My heart stopped… For the first time in my life, I had that feeling. You know, like the world is moving all around you, all beneath you, all inside you and you’re floating… I almost got my first kiss that day. I’m sure of it.

Even the characters are relatable: Bryce’s cowardly and spiteful father who never sees the good in people, Bryce’s mother who realizes her mistake too late, Mrs. Stueby the elderly women in the neighborhood who had her nose in everyone’s business and a lot of them.

It’s a refreshing love story that is dipped in innocence and just makes you love every minute of it. The way Bryce, should I say, fell in love with Juli oh-so-slowly that confirmed the saying: you don’t know the value of what you have until you lose it.

My favorite quote in the book would have to be Bryce’s grandfather’s: Some of us get dipped in flat, some in satin, some in gloss… But every once in a while you find someone who’s iridescent and when you do, nothing will ever compare.

Also, there was a theory made by Juli’s father about the whole (of a picture, painting, scenery, etc) being greater than the sum of its parts. I never understood this when I watched the movie till the book. This is where Juli learns that people are so much more than blue dazzling eyes or a mountain full of hair. Bryce’s grandfather modifies this theory and said: It’s that way with people too… only with people it’s sometimes that the whole is less than the sum of the parts. I won’t explain it because I’m sure you’d love it when you read it.

You should read it; Goodreads describes it as a book for reluctant readers. Enjoy!

There’s also something in there about a sycamore tree. You’ll see.

16595636❤ ❤

You truly never forget your first love… but that one is story for another day.

If you’ve read it, or watched the movie and loved it, do leave a ❤ in the comment section! Kisses!

kissing_emoticons_by_bhanusrikanth-d6ucf2v

 


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Book Review: Me Before You- Jojo Moyes

me b youPages: 356

Genre: Romance

Download link: ineedebooks.com (Epub, Pdf and Mobi)

Synopsis: Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick…
Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that… And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.- Goodreads

I don’t usually like reading books people recommend but for months, I’ve been on a massive READING spree which involves reading anything I can set eyes on.

So, on Sunday evening, when a friend of mine messaged me and said, “Ada please read this book. The movie comes out this week.” I did.

The book began with a prologue describing an accident that left me a bit confused, because it seemed a bit rushed. Then the first sentence of the first chapter went like this: There are 158 footsteps between the bus stop and home, but it can stretch to 180 if you aren’t in a hurry, like maybe if you’re wearing platform shoes.

I was hooked immediately on the simple but alluring way it was written and it felt like a breath of fresh air. I dare you not to be hooked too.

me b4 u

Me before You is a British book, and you are bound to encounter the word, Bloke. In Naija, we use bloke to describe a delicious hunk of a man. This word kept reappearing till I figured that what I thought meant sexy, cool, masculine young man actually meant regular guy. Huge Let Down.

Enough of the talk-talk, for the main review:

The book is written in first person singular and we saw the world from the eyes of the main character, Louisa Clark. She is a girl from a poor home with no qualifications whatsoever who comes across a job opportunity at a huge house close to her parent’s home (where she lives at the ripe age of 27). She ends up working for a rich, rather depressed, quadriplegic (crippled) man, Will Traynor, who barely has any motion in his arms. Depressed and withdrawn, he was nasty to Louisa at first until her rude comments thawed his icy heart. She discovers his death wish (LOL) and took to the project of convincing him to live but I realized rather late that she was the one who did the living in the end (No pun intended). He ended up making see things from a different perspective and brought out a side of her she never knew existed. This explains the title ME BEFORE YOU, which could be loosely interpreted as ME BEFORE I MET YOU. Well, along the way they fell in love.
I also appreciated that Louisa had a boyfriend, the Running man, almost througout the book and that the writer didn’t make him commit some unforgivable act that would make Louisa end the relationship. In fact, I felt sorry for him when she ended things between them.

The writer, Jojo Moyes, did a bit of a switch of Point of View (POV) when she showed what Will’s mother, father and nurse were thinking (reminding me a bit of Wattpad novels, no judgement). I also noticed that everyone got to briefly tell their thoughts, except for Will himself which would have spoilt the suspense (and would have been extremely depressing, yeesh!).

Jojo Moyes did an amazing job at portraying the life of Louisa to the point where I had a mental map of the town and especially the small, chaotic Clark house. I kept biting my nails in suspense especially towards the end, struggling with my own morals on whether or not Will should go ahead with his plan to visit Dignitas (I checked, this is a real place in Switzerland where people go to commit suicide and also when they are trying NOT to commit suicide http://www.dignitas.ch/?lang=en ).

It was a touching love story with a deep moral; it would leave you with deep questions about the established morals in society. Are there situations when Suicide is right?
The romance was mild, but their moments will leave you with a mouthful of “awws” and “eh-yas”. There was a brief Q and A at the back of the book that I truly appreciated especially when I learnt that Will’s predicament was based on a true story.

Honestly, I enjoyed the book, a must read for anyone who loves reading heartfelt stories. I expect to enjoy the movie too (Comes out today June 3rd).

 

Now a teeny-weeny bear hug because you are simply amazing for reading this post.

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And for the Weekly Catch Up:

  • We’re in my birthday month.
  • june-14-ice-cream-june-preview
  • I made every green light on my way home from work.
  • My first Time: I attempted a children’s story… Not my best work.