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  • Photo Credit: Pixabay

  • Photo Credit: Pixabay

  • Photo Credit: Pixabay

  • Photo Credit: Pixabay

Monday, 23 October 2017

Book Review - How To Be A Nigerian by Peter Enahoro

(Hand Model: Me)

This book was given to me by my amazing fellow book worm and crochetier cousin, Adeola Ogunsusi, who swore that it was life- and laughter-giving, and I totally agree with her. She was also right when she said that the author's sense of humour is out of this world, it truly is.

Credit: Adeola Ogunsusi (@contrary_jane on IG)

The book is a very short read as it took me about 75 minutes to complete. The book although written in 1966 by Peter Enahoro, gives a true reflection about Nigerians and the Nigerian society which doesn't seem to have changed much. Each chapter of the book contains facts about who a Nigerian truly is through instances such as the noise we make both in person and through objects such as loud speakers and generators, the way we greet one another, our courtesy in entertaining guests, how we try to make peace after a fight, and even in the way our intellectuals write in the newspapers, except today, I think newspaper should be replaced with social media and blogs.

One of the chapters I was most fascinated by was titled Etiquette. In this chapter, the author talked about how Nigerians choose to invite (or not) their host to sit at the table to have a meal with them. Sometimes, the meal may not be enough to go around, but the host is too embarrassed to keep eating while the guest just sits and wait. So, the host performs the Nigerian type of courtesy. In his words:

"Good breeding demands that he proffers an invitation. But... 
YOU ARE NOT INVITED
If your host says:
(a) We are just wahing our fingers.
(b) Will you have something to eat?
(c) Have you recently fed?
(d) Join us, altough I doubt if you will take this broth.
(e) You meet us in peace."

He goes on to tell when a guest is invited to partake in the meal:

"YOU ARE INVITED 
If your host says
(a) Please sit with us and let us give praise to God.
(b) Your steps have guided you right.
(c) Your prayers are answered."

This and many other portions of the book got in me in stitches.

I would recommend to both Nigerians and Foreigners alike, and I'll give it 4.8 out of 5. This is therefore book 37 of 52 for 2017.

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts?
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Monday, 16 October 2017

Book Review: Just a Coincidence by P.F. Ford

Photo Credit: pfford.co.uk

There are some books you read and you ask yourself questions like: What was the author thinking? Why did he start or end the book this way? What goes on in the mind of the author from day to day? Why are the characters this way? Why does the author write like this? These and more were questions I had in mind when I was reading this book.

The book is the second in a crime series novel (read review of the first here), and is about the murder of two sisters and the daughter of one of them. I got a free copy of this book from the author, and the image below perfectly describes my feeling after I read the first.
Photo credit: Bookish Buzz on Facebook

To be honest, although I liked the story, I didn't enjoy the author’s writing style and I'll give some examples.

Example 1:
Slater had not been best pleased when Murray had passed the case on to him.
"But, Boss", he had protested. "This isn't me. I want something I can get my teeth into."
"That would probably be a very effective way of stopping a flasher," growled Murray, returning to his paperwork. "But I'm sure it wouldn't meet the approval of the health and safety people."

Now, while the last statement was an amazing joke (you should read the book to understand the joke), the first part where Slater was protesting and the author broke the sentence into two just to tell that he was protesting sounded a bit off to me. In my opinion, that part felt like a line from a story book meant for children, and that was how I pictured the protest to be honest. (Am I too harsh with this review?).

Another Example:
"I mean queue, as in 'wait your bloody turn, I'm next'," said a big-mouthed man without taking his eyes from the action within the car. "I've had to wait over a week to have a go with Blonde Bobby because of this friggin' police investigation closing the car park, so you can just sod off and wait your turn."

Like I wrote earlier, breaking up a sentence to indicate an action seemed a bit off.

The book ends with the reader getting to piece together who killed who from the entire storyline which is not bad.

This is book 36 of 52 and I'll rate it 3 out of 5 stars. Average rating on Goodreads: 4.2/5.
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Book Review: Easy Motion Tourist by Leye Adenle

Photo Credit: Amazon.co.uk

I totally loved reading this book until I realised the book was almost getting to the end and the 'supposed main investigation' was never going to happen. 
Photo credit: Bookish Buzz on Facebook

I was so upset about this, I had to rant on Instagram and Facebook.

Instagram rant

At this point I'm totally clueless about what to write as I don't yet have the closure I want about the story. So, I'll just put the book blurb below:
Guy Collins, a British hack, is hunting for an election story in Lagos. A decision to check out a local bar in Victoria Island turns out badly-a mutilated female body is discarded close by and Collins is picked up as a suspect.
In the murk of a hot, groaning, and bloody police station cell, Collins fears the worst. But then Amaka, a sassy guardian angel of Lagos working girls, talks the police chief around. She assumes Collins is a BBC journo who can broadcast details of the city's witchcraft and body parts trade that she's on a one-woman mission to stop.
With Easy Motion Tourist's astonishing cast, Tarantino has landed in Lagos. This page-turning debut crime novel pulses with the rhythm of Nigeria's mega-city, reeks of its open drains and sparkles like the champagne quaffed in its upmarket districts.

I'll rate it 3 out of 5 (just because I'm still upset about the way it ended), and it is book 35 of 52. 

By the way, this book was a gift from 2016 Christmas which means I’ve become a book hoarder!

Average rating on Goodreads: 3.8/5.
Photo Credit: amazon.co.uk
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Book Review: I Know why the Caged Bird sings by Maya Angelou

Although I know a thing or two about Maya Angelou, I've never read any of her books (does this make me a bad book geek?). I read this book because it was our September book of the month in my book club, and it is therefore book 34 of 52 for 2017.

In my opinion, the book is a somewhat comical glimpse into the life of Maya Angelou's childhood. In the book, she talked about what it was like growing up in Stamps, Arkansas with her brother, grandmother, uncle, and other black folk. She also talked about what it was like growing up as a black kid during the time of segregation in America. Here's an excerpt:

“In Stamps the segregation was so complete that most Black children didn’t really, absolutely know what whites looked like. Other than that they were different, to be dreaded, and in that dread was included the hostility of the powerless against the powerful, the poor against the rich, the worker against the worked for and the ragged against the well dressed. I remember never believing that whites were really real….”

Some parts of the book also included how pious her paternal grandmother and most black folks were. There was a part of the book where her grandmother whooped her for saying 'by the way' because Jesus is 'The Way' and by saying 'by the way', she had called the Lord's name in vain (what?).  Her dramatic descriptions of some religious activities which took place in her community as well as the thoughts of individuals around her about God and religion gave me some interesting views about religion then and now.

The saddest part of this book for me was when she got raped at age 8 by her mother's boyfriend, I was so distraught, as I kept wondering how she coped. She stopped talking after that incident and didn’t start talking again until a few years after. I liked that her mother was a very open-minded and free-spirited woman who allowed her children grow up without being caged by societal pressures and expectations. The book ended with Maya getting pregnant out of sexual curiosity, at that point I rolled my eyes and asked, 'What is wrong with you?'. I loved reading this book and was thoroughly entertained through my reading journey.

I'll rate the book 4.4 out of 5. Average rating on Goodreads: 4.2/5.

Photo Credit: amazon.com
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Book Review: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair”.

I got a free copy of this book and some other classics from iBooks. When I first started reading this book, it was a bit complex as my reading brain found it quite challenging to visualize some portions of the book, so I did an online search for the junior edition. Luckily, I found a free copy which was in form of a comic book. I read this version in less than 30 minutes, then went back to the original version, this time my reading brain began to pick up, the characters formed easily in my head and I could complete the book.

The book which is a story about the French revolution was set in France and England and it tells the story of a former prisoner and his son-in-law during this period. The prisoner was a Doctor who was imprisoned because he reported to the relevant authorities some bad things a man and his brother had done against a peasant family. He was eventually released from prison after about 15 years, he finally met his daughter for the first time, she got married to the son of one of those evil brothers from his past (he had no idea), this son-in-law was saved from prison and death sentence twice. I can't even begin to summarise what happened as it is a bit complex with a lot of weaving in and out of stories. Although it was not a love story, it ends with a man sacrificing his life for another (like Jesus).

I found the book (un)intensely dramatic and not so straight-forward to read, but reading the book made me understand some reasons behind the French revolution better. Since I mainly read books with stories for pure entertainment, I’ll definitely read more classics in future as I have a better view about them, some of which are: they teach history, they help one understand nations, tribe etc and why people are the way they are.

My biggest lesson from this book is this: People have always been oppressed by the ruling class (or aristocrats) but when they get tired they eventually there is the the possibility of chaos and anarchy.

I'll rate the book 3.8 out of 5, and it is book 33 of 52 for this year although I’m not sure if I’ll get to number 52 anymore this year.

Goodreads average ranking: 3.8/5

Photo credit: Wikidownload.com
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