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  • Photo Credit: Pixabay

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  • Photo Credit: Pixabay

Friday, 16 February 2018

Book Review: Everyday is for the Thief by Teju Cole

 Book 9 of 26 in Readathon with OA

Book Title: Everyday is for the Thief

Author: Teju Cole

Never judge a book by it's cover. When I picked up this title, I wrongly assumed a thief was or set of thieves were going to be caught but I was so wrong. However, I think the author used the title metaphorically in the sense that there are so many issues that steal normalcy away in the Nigerian society. Some of these issues include bribery and corruption, poor electricity, decaying infrastructure, armed robbery, thuggery, over zealousness in religious matters at the expense of common sense.

Each chapter in this book was dedicated to these issues as the narrator told stories that covered this issue.

What I loved most about the book: Dissecting issues on the Nigerian society as a way to make the reader think deeply and dissuade the reader from accepting the prevalent mediocrity we find living with us. My take home from this book was that mediocrity is a thief, the biggest thief we find in Nigeria. For it's mediocrity that makes us accept the substandard as a way of life.

Rating: 3.9/5

Blurb
A young Nigerian writer living in New York City returns to Lagos in search of a subject-and himself.
Visiting Lagos after many years away, Teju Cole's unnamed narrator rediscovers his hometown as both a foreigner and a local. A young writer uncertain of what he wants to say, the man moves through tableaus of life in one of the most dynamic cities in the world: he hears the muezzin's call to prayer in the early morning light, and listens to John Coltrane during the late afternoon heat. He witnesses teenagers diligently perpetrating e-mail frauds from internet cafes, longs after a woman reading Michael Ondaatje on a public bus, and visits the impoverished National Museum. Along the way, he reconnects with old school friends and his family, who force him to ask himself profound questions of personal and national history. Over long, wandering days, the narrator compares present-day Lagos to the Lagos of his memory, and in doing so reveals changes that have taken place in himself.

Copies available for sale

Blurb credit: Goodreads.com
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Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Book Review: What it Means When a Man Falls from the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah


 Book 8 of 26 in Readathon with OA

Book Title: What it Means When a Man Falls from the Sky
Author: Lesley Nneka Arimah

The book is a collection of thirteen short stories. These stories centred around family ties and covered different topics such as broken relationships, death, trauma, abuse, societal expectations etc.

The chapter I was most captivated by is the chapter titled Wild. This chapter tells the story of a teenage girl named Ada who was raised outside Nigeria but when she became a little rebellious, her mum sent her to Nigeria to spend some time with her Aunty so Ada could straighten out a little. While in Nigeria, Ada met her Dad's ex, Grace Ogige at a function. Grace Ogige is the typical Nigerian Aunt who knows how to point out the flaws in others and use it against them. Grace attempts to do this to Chinyere, Ada's cousin who is a single mum, but Ada stands up to her. In the end, Grace wins, Chinyere gets angry and leaves Ada stranded at the party, and Grace asks to take Ada home. By the end of the story, Ada and Chinyere might just have become friends but that is hard to tell because the book does not say so.

No chapter in the book ends conclusively. This way, the reader is left to imagine the end which is mind-blowing.

Likes: I like the way all the chapters ended.

Dislikes: What I didn't like about the book is that the chapter which makes the book title tells a futuristic story. The chapter somewhat predicts what will happen in the year 2030. As I don't like futuristic books, that chapter was quite cumbersome for me to read.

Lesley's tone of writing is very brilliant. She can discuss different themes in fascinating ways and that made the book a lovely read.

Rating: 4/5

Favourite Quote: This is what you get for asking a godling to do the work of a god.

Blurb:
A dazzlingly accomplished debut collection explores the ties that bind parents and children, husbands and wives, lovers and friends to one another and to the places they call home.

In “Who Will Greet You at Home,” a National Magazine Award finalist for The New Yorker, A woman desperate for a child weaves one out of hair, with unsettling results. In “Wild,” a disastrous night out shifts a teenager and her Nigerian cousin onto uneasy common ground. In "The Future Looks Good," three generations of women are haunted by the ghosts of war, while in "Light," a father struggles to protect and empower the daughter he loves. And in the title story, in a world ravaged by flood and riven by class, experts have discovered how to "fix the equation of a person" - with rippling, unforeseen repercussions.

Evocative, playful, subversive, and incredibly human, What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky heralds the arrival of a prodigious talent with a remarkable career ahead of her.

Copies available for sale

Blurb credit: Goodreads.com
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Sunday, 11 February 2018

Book Review: Woman at Point Zero by Nawal El Saadawi

Photo Credit: Book Cover

 Book 7 of 26 in Readathon with OA

Book Title: Woman at Point Zero

Author: Nawal El Saadawi

There are some books you read and no matter how short it takes you longer than necessary to finish, not because it’s boring but because one has to take a pause to think deeply about certain portions before one resumes reading, this is one of them.

I liked the storyline of the book and as one who has some firsthand experience of societal patriarchy, some of the events which happened to Firdaus, the main character, are very relatable.

The story centers around Firdaus who was forced into prostitution and eventually murder. The story takes us through Firdaus narrating her experiences in various stages of her life first with female genital mutilation, then sexual assault in the hands of her uncle and childhood playmate, her mum’s physical abuse in the hands of her father, the death of her parents, then the events which eventually lead up to her prostituting herself first through a pimp then on her own.

Life made her tough and she even found pride in being a prostitute. She saw herself better than other women around her because she wasn’t bound to any man either by marriage, employment or any form of relationship. She saw herself as a free woman and treated herself so but her experiences in life made her hate men.

The event which made her life go down the drain was so painful. A man had forced himself to become her pimp but she didn’t like it and she eventually killed him. After this, she was imprisoned with a death sentence hanging over her. Even though she had the option of appealing this sentence, she chose not to because according to her, ‘If I go out once again to the life which is yours I will never stop killing. So what is the use of my sending an appeal to the President to be pardoned?’ At the point, I was so heartbroken đŸ˜­ and shortly after she was taken away by the prison wardens.

Photo Credit: Goodreads.com

Reading a story like this without getting heartbroken is so difficult. Sometimes I wish I could wrestle the characters out of their state of mind but unfortunately, I can’t. This story underscores the tough experiences a lot of women go through due to poverty, wrong interpretation of religious beliefs, patriarchy, and the urge to control another person’s life or freedom.

Favourite quote: “...during life, it is our wants, our hopes, our fears that enslave us”. 

I’ll rate it 4.7/5
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Thursday, 8 February 2018

Book Review: How Laziness saved my Life by Okechukwu Ofili

Photo Credit: Okadabooks App
 Book 6 of 26 in Readathon with OA

Book Title: How Laziness Saved my Life (Part 1)

Author: Okechukwu Ofili

Ah, this book, where do I even begin?

I got a free copy of the first part of this book from the OkadaBooks app. Although short and easy to read, I don't recommend devouring it in one sitting. It's a book you should read, stop, meditate, then come back to read and when you eventually finish it, be sure to practice what you have read.

Each chapter of the book has a quirky yet catching title. It starts with a story from a personal experience and then goes on to relate it to realities in life and the world of business. The chapter I loved the most was 'What Drug Dealers Can Teach Us About Social Media'. In this chapter, Okechukwu points out that drug dealers are never crack consumers themselves because of the associated addiction to it. According to him. 'The reason is ADDICTION! If the crack dealers got addicted to the product they sold, they would be more interested in consuming it as opposed to selling it. And when a product like crack is consumed by its own seller in an addictive mode, chancers are they would smoke the crack lords out of business!'. From this illustration, he goes on to point out that it is so easy to get addicted to and carried away by social media but in doing so, we are consuming the products of other users without advertising or putting up our own products. This addiction to the use of social media could hamper our own business and personal growth.

Other chapters in this book are similar to this as the author introduces different business concepts, then goes ahead to show how we can be better at them as individuals and business owners. Some of these concepts include: customer services, employee-employer relations, time management, productivity, and efficiency amongst others.

I'll recommend it to Business owners looking for a quick but detailed read on how to take small steps to improve their workplace.

Favourite quote:  If you as an employer have a poor process in place at your organization or institution, there is a large probability that your employers and customers will be dissatisfied and frustrated. 

Rating: 5/5
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Monday, 5 February 2018

Book Review: The Hunger Games By Suzanne Collins

Photo Credit: Me
 Book 5 of 26 in Readathon with OA

Book Title: The Hunger Games

Author: Suzanne Collins

I was gifted the 3 books in this set by a darling friend shortly after my Master's Graduation in 2014 (can I call it a graduation gift then?). Before this, I had read the book as part of a book club I joined while in Uni and even watched the movie adaptation but I couldn't bring myself to read it the second time and I felt guilty about it.
Photo Credit: Sarahfairbairn.com

After giving myself what I considered sufficient time between the period of my first reading and the next time I planned to read it (aka 3 years), I decided to pick the book up again. Although it was easier for me to read this time as I was able to imagine the characters better, I have to say that reading the book is way better than watching the movie

Photo Credit: amreading.com

Favourite quote:  May the odds be ever in your favour

The book is based on a fictional post-apocalyptic city of Panem which consists of the Capitol and 12 Districts. The Capitol is where the elites and all the luxuries exist while the citizens of the other districts are subjected to a life of poverty, hopelessness and bondage. Asides using hunger and food rationing to keep tabs on all their citizens, the Capitol also uses peacekeepers (somewhat like the police), and the Hunger Games. The Hunger Games is a reality show where two tributes are selected from each district, kept in an arena and out-survive each other basically through hunger and by killing each other. These tributes are usually between the ages of twelve to eighteen.

In the first series of the book, it's time for the 74th Hunger Games, Prim Everdeen and Peeta Mellark are selected as tributes to represent District 12 but Katniss Everdeen steps in to volunteer on behalf of her sister. While at the arena, Peeta plays the role of a lover boy to Katniss much to her annoyance. Katniss on the other hand is forced to kill some of the other tributes as a means to protect herself. Towards the end of the game, the rules are changed to allow two tributes from the same District win instead of one. This forces Katniss to seek out Peeta and become an ally to him. When she finds him, he is badly wounded and she nurtures him back to health while protecting and providing for both of them, and playing the role of a lover girl, which she is not really open to. By the end of the Games, they both survive but not without defying the authorities of the Gamemakers.

Recommended for Teenagers and Young Adults.

Rating: 4/5

Blurb: Winning will make you famous, losing means death. In a dark vision of the near future, twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a live TV show called the Hunger Games. There is only one rule: kill or be killed.

When sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen steps forward to take her sister's place in the games, she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.

Blurb credit: Back cover of  the Book
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