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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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Binti, Jeyifous and Afro-Futurism.

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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!