It’s the last month of the year and 2019 still promises us some lovely titles before the year finally closes.
It’s the holiday season, time to snuggle up with a good book and a cup of tea or coffee so check out my Top 10 picks to look out for this December. There is something for everyone. Romance, mystery, historical fiction, fantasy……….
1. Children Of Virtue and Vengeance (Legacy of Orisha #2) by Tomi Adeyemi
Published: December 3rd, 2019 by Henry Holt & Co.
Genre: Fantasy/Young Adult
Blurb: After battling the impossible, Zélie and Amari have finally succeeded in bringing magic back to the land of Orïsha. But the ritual was more powerful than they could’ve imagined, reigniting the powers of not only the maji, but of nobles with magic ancestry, too.
Now, Zélie struggles to unite the maji in an Orïsha where the enemy is just as powerful as they are. But when the monarchy and military unite to keep control of Orïsha, Zélie must fight to secure Amari’s right to the throne and protect the new maji from the monarchy’s wrath.
With civil war looming on the horizon, Zélie finds herself at a breaking point: she must discover a way to bring the kingdom together or watch as Orïsha tears itself apart.
2. The Voyage Of saints by Marvin Abe
Expected Publication Date: December 12th, 2019 by Masobe Books
Genre: Fiction (Historical)
Blurb: Michael Ajose was convinced by an unforgettable dream that his life’s course could only be charted by a mysterious woman’s love. So, he decided to find her, and marry her. He was 12 years old. This is the story of how he found her – Lami. How he loved her – like an addiction. And how she loved him – like an anchor for his soul. Painted in cinematic recollections and a part-epistolary style, this is the story of their love – starting from the pre-military era of Nigeria’s history, spanning governments, and continents. And as they struggle to steer their ship through life’s dangerous waters and against all forces determined to keep them apart, this is the story of their fate.
3. Regretting You by Colleen Hoover
Published: December 10th, 2019 by Montlake
Genre: Fiction (Romance)
Blurb: Morgan Grant and her sixteen-year-old daughter, Clara, would like nothing more than to be nothing alike.
Morgan is determined to prevent her daughter from making the same mistakes she did. By getting pregnant and married way too young, Morgan put her own dreams on hold. Clara doesn’t want to follow in her mother’s footsteps. Her predictable mother doesn’t have a spontaneous bone in her body.
With warring personalities and conflicting goals, Morgan and Clara find it increasingly difficult to coexist. The only person who can bring peace to the household is Chris—Morgan’s husband, Clara’s father, and the family anchor. But that peace is shattered when Chris is involved in a tragic and questionable accident. The heartbreaking and long-lasting consequences will reach far beyond just Morgan and Clara.
While struggling to rebuild everything that crashed around them, Morgan finds comfort in the last person she expects to, and Clara turns to the one boy she’s been forbidden to see. With each passing day, new secrets, resentment, and misunderstandings make mother and daughter fall further apart. So far apart, it might be impossible for them to ever fall back together.
From #1 New York Times bestselling author of It Ends with Us comes a poignant novel about family, first love, grief, and betrayal that will touch the hearts of both mothers and daughters.
4. If You tell by Greg Olsen
Published: December 1st, 2019 by Thomas and Mercer
Genre: Non Fiction (True Crime)
Blurb: After more than a decade, when sisters Nikki, Sami, and Tori Knotek hear the word mom, it claws like an eagle’s talons, triggering memories that have been their secret since childhood. Until now.
For years, behind the closed doors of their farmhouse in Raymond, Washington, their sadistic mother, Shelly, subjected her girls to unimaginable abuse, degradation, torture, and psychic terrors. Through it all, Nikki, Sami, and Tori developed a defiant bond that made them far less vulnerable than Shelly imagined. Even as others were drawn into their mother’s dark and perverse web, the sisters found the strength and courage to escape an escalating nightmare that culminated in multiple murders.
Harrowing and heartrending, If You Tell is a survivor’s story of absolute evil—and the freedom and justice that Nikki, Sami, and Tori risked their lives to fight for. Sisters forever, victims no more, they found a light in the darkness that made them the resilient women they are today—loving, loved, and moving on.
5. The Wives by Tarryn Fisher
Expected Publication Date: December 30th, 2019 by Graydon House
Blurb: You’ve never met the other wives. None of you know each other, and because of this unconventional arrangement, you can see your husband only one day a week. But you love him so much you don’t care. Or at least that’s what you’ve told yourself.
But one day, while you’re doing laundry, you find a scrap of paper in his pocket—an appointment reminder for a woman named Hannah, and you just know it’s another of the wives.
You thought you were fine with your arrangement, but you can’t help yourself: you track her down, and, under false pretenses, you strike up a friendship. Hannah has no idea who you really are. Then, Hannah starts showing up to your coffee dates with telltale bruises, and you realize she’s being abused by her husband. Who, of course, is also your husband. But you’ve never known him to be violent, ever.
Who exactly is your husband, and how far would you go to find the truth? Would you risk your own life? And who is his mysterious third wife?
6. Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid
Expected Publication Date: December 31st, 2019 by G. P. Putnam’s Sons
Blurb: Alix Chamberlain is a woman who gets what she wants and has made a living showing other women how to do the same. A mother to two small girls, she started out as a blogger and has quickly built herself into a confidence-driven brand. So she is shocked when her babysitter, Emira Tucker, is confronted while watching the Chamberlains’ toddler one night. Seeing a young black woman out late with a white child, a security guard at their local high-end supermarket accuses Emira of kidnapping two-year-old Briar. A small crowd gathers, a bystander films everything, and Emira is furious and humiliated. Alix resolves to make it right.
But Emira herself is aimless, broke, and wary of Alix’s desire to help. At twenty-five, she is about to lose her health insurance and has no idea what to do with her life. When the video of Emira unearths someone from Alix’s past, both women find themselves on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know about themselves, and each other.
With empathy and piercing social commentary, Such a Fun Age explores the stickiness of transactional relationships, what it means to make someone “family,” the complicated reality of being a grown up, and the consequences of doing the right thing for the wrong reason.
7. The Moonshiners Daughter by Donna Everhart
Expected Publication Date: December 31st, 2019 by Kensington Publishing Corporation
Genre: Historical Fiction
Blurb: Generations of Sassers have made moonshine in the Brushy Mountains of Wilkes County, North Carolina. Their history is recorded in a leather-bound journal that belongs to Jessie Sasser’s daddy, but Jessie wants no part of it. As far as she’s concerned, moonshine caused her mother’s death a dozen years ago.
Her father refuses to speak about her mama, or about the day she died. But Jessie has a gnawing hunger for the truth–one that compels her to seek comfort in food. Yet all her self-destructive behavior seems to do is feed what her school’s gruff but compassionate nurse describes as the “monster” inside Jessie.
Resenting her father’s insistence that moonshining runs in her veins, Jessie makes a plan to destroy the stills, using their neighbors as scapegoats. Instead, her scheme escalates an old rivalry and reveals long-held grudges. As she endeavors to right wrongs old and new, Jessie’s loyalties will bring her to unexpected revelations about her family, her strengths–and a legacy that may provide her with the answers she has been longing for.
8. Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn
Expected Publication Date: December 31st, 2019 by Kensington Publishing Corporation
Genre: Fiction (Romance)
Blurb: In this warm and witty romance from acclaimed author Kate Clayborn, one little word puts one woman’s business—and her heart—in jeopardy . . .
Meg Mackworth’s hand-lettering skill has made her famous as the Planner of Park Slope, designing beautiful custom journals for New York City’s elite. She has another skill too: reading signs that other people miss. Like the time she sat across from Reid Sutherland and his gorgeous fiancée, and knew their upcoming marriage was doomed to fail. Weaving a secret word into their wedding program was a little unprofessional, but she was sure no one else would spot it. She hadn’t counted on sharp-eyed, pattern-obsessed Reid . . .
A year later, Reid has tracked Meg down to find out—before he leaves New York for good—how she knew that his meticulously planned future was about to implode. But with a looming deadline, a fractured friendship, and a bad case of creative block, Meg doesn’t have time for Reid’s questions—unless he can help her find her missing inspiration. As they gradually open up to each other about their lives, work, and regrets, both try to ignore the fact that their unlikely connection is growing deeper. But the signs are there—irresistible, indisputable, urging Meg to heed the messages Reid is sending her, before it’s too late . . .
9. A Madness of Sunshine by Nalini Singh
Published: December 3rd, 2019 by Berkeley
Genre: Fiction (Mystery)
Blurb: Anahera Rawiri left New Zealand at twenty-one, fleeing small-town poverty and the ghosts of her childhood with no plans to look back. But eight years later, she returns, seeking familiarity as respite from the shattered remains of her new life. And despite the changes brought on by a bump in tourism–the shiny new welcome sign at the town line and a decidedly less shiny new police presence–Golden Cove appears much as it ever was: a small settlement on the savage West Coast of the South Island, populated by all the remembered faces and set against a backdrop of lush greenery, jagged cliffs, and crashing waves.
Detective Will Gallagher knows all about ghosts; his own chased him out of a promising career in Christchurch, landing him as the sole cop in a quaint town where his most pressing concerns are petty theft and the occasional drunk. When Golden Cove resident Miri Hinewai goes out for a run and fails to return, Will finds himself heading up a missing person’s search that rapidly escalates into an official investigation after this case is connected with similar ones from the past. As an outsider, Will begins to rely on Anahera’s knowledge of the area and its residents to help him delve into Golden Cove’s secrets, and to determine whether it shelters something far more dangerous than just an unforgiving landscape.
10. The Story Of a Goat by Perumal Murugan
Published: December 10th, 2019 by Grove Press, black Cat
Blurb: As he did in the award-winning One Part Woman, in his newest novel, The Story of a Goat, Perumal Murugan explores a side of India that is rarely considered in the West: the rural lives of the country’s farming community. He paints a bucolic yet sometimes menacing portrait, showing movingly how danger and deception can threaten the lives of the weakest through the story of a helpless young animal lost in a world it naively misunderstands.s the novel opens, a farmer in Tamil Nadu is watching the sun set over his village one quiet evening when a mysterious stranger, a giant man who seems more than human, appears on the horizon. He offers the farmer a black goat kid who is the runt of the litter, surely too frail to survive. The farmer and his wife take care of the young she-goat, whom they name Poonachi, and soon the little goat is bounding with joy and growing at a rate they think miraculous for such a small animal. Intoxicating passages from the goat’s perspective offer a bawdy and earthy view of what it means to be an animal and a refreshing portrayal of the natural world. But Poonachi’s life is not destined to be a rural idyll–dangers can lurk around every corner, and may sometimes come from surprising places, including a government that is supposed to protect the weak and needy. Is this little goat too humble a creature to survive such a hostile world?
With allegorical resonance for contemporary society and examining hierarchies of caste and color, The Story of the Goat is a provocative but heartwarming fable from a world-class storyteller who is finally achieving recognition outside his home country.
All titles are available on www.amazon.com
“Listen my child, we do not abandon the business of living life just because of what people will say about us” Yejide Kilanko in Daughter Who walk This Path
I have had this book on my TBR for quite a while and for some weird reason, I never got around to reading it. There has been a lot of rave about it especially since it was shortlisted for the NLNG prize so I finally decided to dive into it.
This is a coming of age story about young Morayo who lives happily with her parents and sister until Tayo (Bros T) comes to live with them. At first, things seem normal and then Morayo is raped by Bros T and threatened not to tell anyone unless he would do the same to her younger sister. The abuse continues until Morayo is bold enough to tell her parents who send Tayo back to his mother but after that Morayo’s relationship with her parents take a different turn which leaves her feeling alone in the world and misunderstood. The story follows Morayo’s journey through life, trying to deal with the trauma the sexual abuse has caused her and even though she finds a friend and comforter in her aunt Morenike who is also a victim of sexual abuse, she still has to fight her demons on her own.
Sexual abuse is a very serious issue that has affected one too many young children (boys and girls) of which most are unknown to the parents. The effects of this abuse is boundless in the lives of those that have gone through this terrible ordeal and I am happy that we are beginning to talk about it in this generation. I am also glad that there is now a relatively large awareness around the topic and it is imperative that we educate our young children early enough about sexual abuse and make effort as parents, wards and care givers to protect them as much as we can.
Back to the book! I didn’t enjoy this book as I had expected. This doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good read, I just didn’t enjoy it as anticipated. Despite the powerful theme and issues, I struggled with the story telling as I found it drift off and on course in certain parts of the book. I found the build up to the main event in the story too long a wait and I also felt that there were gaps in the story that didn’t explain certain events or reasons why the protagonists made the decisions she took later in her life. There were times I had to skim read through some pages because it didn’t really add any value to the plot.
Morenike was my favorite character as she depicts someone who was able to confront her situation and turn her life around. I acknowledge that the fact she had a supporting mother and grand mother who stood by her throughout her ordeal helped a great deal in her healing process which many people lack. However, she still made the conscious decision to go back to school after having a child for a rapist and eventually become the successful teacher she always wanted to be. Another character I liked was Eniayo, Morayo’s younger sister. I loved her bubbly nature and free spirit. In the case of the protagonist, I felt the author didn’t do justice to her character and I wish it was better developed to understand her better and empathize with some of her choices.
Overall, It was a good story with an important theme but it didn’t hold me.
Rating: 3 Stars
Published: Published in 2014 by Kachifo Farafina
Purchase @ www.amazon.com/DWWTP
The Author: Yejide Kilanko is a writer of novels, short stories, and a poet. Kilanko’s debut novel, Daughters Who Walk This Path (2012), a Canadian national bestseller, was longlisted for the inaugural Etisalat Prize and the 2016 Nigeria Literature Prize.
Her work includes a novella, Chasing Butterflies (2015) and a children’s picture book, There Is An Elephant In My Wardrobe (2018). Her short fiction is included in the anthology, New Orleans Review 2017: The African Literary Hustle.
Kilanko lives in Ontario, Canada, where she also practices as a therapist in children’s mental health.
I recently read “The Curse Of Happiness” by the author and I immediately fell in love with her story telling skills and writing style (check out my review on this book by clicking on “Book Reviews” on the Homepage Menu). I became curious as usual about the author and her inspiration for her book so I contacted her to request for an online interview. I was lucky enough to get through to her and was thrilled when she accepted my request to this interview.
Edify Yakusak is a Lawyer. She is Bajju from Southern Kaduna, Kaduna State, Nigeria. She spends most of her time writing stories and screenplays. Her first book. After They Left, was adjudged as one on the top 10 fiction books in 2016 by the Channels Book Club.
Edify Yakusak has given us some insight into her life as a writer by answering 10 questions.
1. What were the early influences on your writing and how do they manifest in your work.
Edify: I grew up reading books from my Dad’s library: The Left Behind series, Frank Peretti and a whole lot of Christian fiction. I also had elder relatives who had a lot of romance and thriller novels. An author who I believe has influenced my writing was Jackie Collins. I thought her books were bold, fierce and unapologetic, it made me want write stories that were unafraid and unashamed.
2. What is the biggest surprise you experienced after becoming a writer?
Edify: I don’t know if this is a surprise or even a big one at that but there’s still a bias against African writers by Nigerians. Often, I’ve heard someone say, “I don’t like Nigerian books.” Then I’d ask, “Which one have you read recently?” And they won’t be able to answer, or they’d say “I only like the old ones written by the likes of Cyprian Ekwensi, Chinua Achebe or those published under African Writer Series.”
3. What tactics do you have when writing? (For example: outline or just write)
Edify: I always write an outline for everything I write. I hardly ever write as it comes. Before I write every story I brood over it. I get a lot of story ideas, but the ones I put to paper are the ones that refuse to leave my head. So I write an outline, then write the entire story on paper, before I type it on the computer.
4. Which do you prefer? Pen or type writer or computer? Music or silence?
Edify: Pen then computer. What I listen too depends on what I am writing. Music sometimes acts like some sort of score that hangs over my thoughts and writing. When I’m writing a really sad scene, I listen to some sad core and it helps my process.
5. What books have fortified you as a writer?
Edify: The Joys of Motherhood by Buchi Emecheta, Waiting for an Angel by Helon Habila. Books I read authored by Jackie Collins
6. What genre do you consider your books? Have you considered writing in another genre?
Edify: I try not to categorize my books or my writing. I mean others can do it, but I don’t. I feel like if I do that, I’d put myself in a box. I want to write different stories that cut across all genres. I want to be guided by the story and stay true to it and not be restricted by writing within a genre.
7. Have you written any other books that are not published?
Edify: Yes. Still don’t know what I am going to do with them. Lol
8. What is something memorable you have heard from your readers/fans?
Edify: Sometime in 2017, an older family friend, who worked with an NGO in Maiduguri who had read my first book, “After They Left” told me she met a woman that who dug her husband’s grave with her bare hands and buried him after he had been killed by Boko Haram, similar to what a character in my book had done. I think about that a lot.
9. Do consider yourself to be a successful writer? If so, why? If not, what would make you successful?
Edify: Yes. A while back, just before the release of my first book, I was anxious about how well I’ve done and if the book will be well received. Most times writers measure their success or otherwise based on two things: the number of copies sold and whether people have nice things to say about the book or not.
I didn’t want that to be my yardstick for measuring literary success. Selling a ton of books is great, but it’s much more than having a good book, there are other factors to consider like; location, marketing, distributing structures, financial situations and a whole lot. Especially in Nigeria where the literary infrastructure is still developing. I also realized writing is a solitary vocation, and since it is bringing something out of nothing, or creating or transforming something that wasn’t there, there is that propensity to see every critique or take on your writing as an attack on the writer. I thought this was unhealthy. I needed to be able hear/read things people say about my work and not consider them as an attack on my person or creativity.
So I sat down and wrote what a writer would look like to me and for me it is; the amount of time and discipline I have dedicated to my writing, it is whether I have done my very possible best for the story with what was available to me at that time, it is whether I stay true to the stories and characters, it is whether I have stayed true to myself. I have done all these so yes again, I am a successful writer.
10. Tell us something about yourself not many people know about?
Edify: Emmmm. I’m a good dancer?
Thank you Edify Yakusak for granting this interview.
I wish you the best in your journey as a writer and story teller.
*I received a copy of “The Voyage of Saints” from Masobe Books in exchange for an honest review.
I really enjoyed reading this book, I was particularly excited when I got to know that it was based on a true story as I am a great lover of historical fiction. It was always a welcome distraction to look forward to after a busy day. “The Voyage Of Saints” is well paced, engaging and many times It felt like I was watching a combination of a thriller and a romantic movie. This page turner turned out to be a heart wrenching emotional roller coaster ride and I loved every moment of it.
Michael has big dreams to sail on a big ship and travel the world. Despite all the road blocks thrown his way, he still finds himself on the path to be a sailor with his eyes on the ultimate prize to be Captain of a ship some day. It is on this journey fate brings beautiful Lami his way. Their love is one that is hard to believe still exists but yet believable as they go through life’s difficulties and challenges especially from external forces. Lami becomes Michael’s pillar and strength, she literally maps out how he would navigate towards achieving his goals and she ensures that he gets to the peak even at her own detriment. Michael on the other hand, is enchanted by her love for him and would do everything to please her so he marries her despite his family’s objections and it seems like this is happily ever after but as they say, even good things come to an end and life happens to this inseparable duo.
I found the characters in this book well developed and authentic especially the two main characters. My favorite character was Lami. I found her lovely, strong and selfless. Her love for Michael one of a kind and her optimism infectious. I had to pause many times and wonder on how large a heart she had and the length she was willing to go for the love of her life. She was really a saint. I also admired Michael’s zeal and tenacity although his stubbornness sometimes infuriated me.
I enjoyed the way the story built up from the beginning with its little twists and the plot was well thought out. I particularly loved the part of the book that just had letters Lami and Michael wrote each other at the times they were apart. It was very romantic and expressive of their love and commitment to their marriage and dreams for each other. Their love many times seemed extremely intense like when two people are infatuated with each other at the beginning of a relationship but this one stood the test of time as it was tried so many times and in so many ways for years on end and it’s foundation was not moved. Being a lover of music, especially old school types, I connected with Lami and Micheal as they played music by Gregory Abbott and the likes. It added more life to the story and fueled my imagination of how things were between them.
The parts of the story I didn’t like were the times they visited native doctors and seers. Even if this did not affect the story or plot, I was frustrated at the characters as they went from one herbalist to another and I got tired of the cycle of events. I wished they had better counsel to seek God’s face in prayer. Unfortunately it was their reality at the time and it seemed like they had no choice.
One key lesson I have learnt from this story is that we have no control over what the future will throw at us. We can have the best plans, dreams and aspirations, we can work hard to achieve them, but we can never know what will happen at the end. Therefore, we can only pray for God’s will in our lives and trust him totally, believing that He only gives us what is best for us even when we may not understand our circumstances.
Overall, it was an interesting read and I wish I got a happy ending but it is what it is. I recommend it to everyone but I advise you to hold your tissue close.
Rating: 4 Stars
Expected Publication Date: December 14th, 2019 by Masobe Books
Genre: Fiction (Historical)
Purchase @ www.masobebooks.com
The Author: Marvin Abe is an experienced Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the Maritime and Oil and Gas industries, which has earned him wide industry acclaim and recognition in the areas he has served. He has an MBA in shipping and logistics from Middlesex University, London, UK and a post graduate diploma in Maritime Operations and Management from City University, London, UK. The Voyage Of Saints is his first book.
I have always been an advocate of reading fiction whether you are young or old. It has always been a pleasurable pastime and a means to escape the real world since I was a young child. I have also learnt so much about people, places, personalities, food, etc. from reading fiction which has made learning easier and more enjoyable.
A lot of people see reading fiction as a waste of time and this stems from the notion that there are no benefits when you read fiction. They have been raised to see reading from an academic point of view where you are rewarded for reading. This is why you find most adults reading more non-fiction titles as they expect to learn one new concept or the other from them and don’t feel they would get the same rewards from reading fiction.
Unknown to most, fiction has quite a number of benefits that may even outweigh reading non-fiction and academic books. Research has shown that reading fiction plays an important role in our lives and wellbeing and here are 5 facts that may change your mind.
2. Empathy and Emotional Intelligence: Reading fiction allows you to feel and live another person’s life, therefore it increases your empathy and your ability to place yourself in someone else’s shoes. Research has shown that people who read fiction performed better on tests measuring empathy, social perception and emotional intelligence. These are skills that come handy when you are trying to read someone’s body language or gauge what they might be thinking. This has been attributed to the fact that literary fiction often leaves more to the imagination, encouraging readers to make inferences about characters and be sensitive to emotional nuance and complexity.
3. Reduce Stress:
4. Expands Knowledge and Vocabulary: Fiction expands your mind and vocabulary as it enlightens, educates, entertains and inspires you on new things, people, places, cultures, ideologies and belief systems. You will usually encounter unfamiliar words which will cause you to stop and find out what it means which adds a new word to your vocabulary. The most interesting part of this is that it make learning enjoyable as it does not come with the pressures that academic learning brings. Reading also improves your writing skills as most good writers are usually voracious readers of fiction. Reading fiction will also help to improve your conversational skills as you will encounter a lot of this in fictional stories.
5. Pleasure: A Survey of 1,500 adults in the UK revealed that 76% of them said that reading fiction improves their lives and helps to make them feel good. This is the foremost reason why I read. It relaxes me and helps me escape from what is going on around me. This helps me to be calm and happy.
I encourage both young and old people alike to inculcate the habit of reading fiction and have the pleasure of all the benefits that it brings. My advise for those who are new to reading fiction will be:
I hope this will encourage you all to read more fiction titles in the future.Good luck!
“I can’t believe I have lived my life for thirty years distracted by arrogant thoughts, subdued by things that do not matter, so much so that my existential dread has had to be activated by a maniac kidnapping me and feeding me fat. I think of all the times I was happy and profound guilt portends over me. I can’t believe I was so peaceful, calm and had the nerve to ask You for silly things. Just last week, I was thinking about how I needed to change my car. See how disgustingly happy I was. Look at me now…….Look at me now……” – Edify Yakusak in The Curse of Happiness
This book is surely a box full of pleasant surprises. I must confess the cover doesn’t do it justice and based on that I had mentally relegated it to the back of the long queue of books on my TBR but by a stroke of luck I picked it up and I was hooked.
“The Curse Of Happiness” is a collection of 8 short stories which mostly depict the ‘dark’ side of things when ordinary people are faced with challenging circumstances.
From the first story, “Baby, Blue, Joy” which is about a woman who has been waiting for years to have a baby and after she is blessed with her bundle of joy, struggles with postpartum depression, to the last one, “What Is Mine, Is Yours” where a man who mostly works offshore, graciously allows his cousin who has accommodation issues to live in his house especially when he is hardly around. He returns home to find that he is a stranger and a suspected burglar in his own home. The author cleverly tells these realistic but unsettling tales about how and where everyday people tend to find themselves (physically, mentally and socially) when faced with trauma, illness, pain, fear and fate. I would describe her writing as vivid, shocking but fluid and I am already a fan.
My favorites are “Baby, Blue, Joy”, “A Little Kindness” , “Spinning In Circles”, “A Cold Star” and “What Is Mine , Is Yours”. All the stories are dark and in some cases quite scary to me. Naturally, it should be hard for me to say that I loved them but I did. I was pulled into this whirlwind of emotions that I can not fully explain, keeping me at the edge of my bed and making me let out screams that made my husband give concerned looks in my direction. My heart broke many times but I still had the nerve to continue reading on until I got to the last page.
My least favorite was “The Visitation” because I couldn’t really relate to the story. However, it was still a good read.
As a mother, I was particularly moved by the first story which is about a woman with postpartum depression and the fact that in our society, people don’t recognize or acknowledge that most new mothers go through this phase. I am glad that the author has written about this (although this was extreme in my opinion) and can only hope that this would trigger conversations in this respect.
I loved this book. It was a good read and a quick one too. I love the author’s imagination and her portrayal of emotions and events. They all seemed so real and personal therefore, I highly recommend it to everyone but be prepared to hold your breath most of the way.
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Published: 2019 by Kurdan Publishing
Genre: Short Story Collection
Purchase from @rovingheights @thebookdealerng and @thebookmarket_ng on Instagram or Twitter
The Author: Edify Yakusak is a Lawyer. She is Bajju from Southern Kaduna, Kaduna State, Nigeria. She spends most of her time writing stories and screenplays. Her first book. After They Left, was adjudged as one on the top 10 fiction books in 2016 by the Channels Book Club.
Award winning author, Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani will be speaking about her new book “Buried Beneath The Baobab Tree” published in Nigeria by Masobebooks.
I will be moderating this event and formally invite you all to be there.
The details of the event are as follows:
Date: Sunday, November 17, 2019
Time: 4pm to 6pm
Venue: Cafe One by sterling, Lennox Mall, Admiralty Way, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos state, Nigeria.
Registration: Register for free via this link https://www.eventbrite.com/e/in-conversation-with-adaobi-tricia-nwaubani-tickets-80042955635
The Author: Adaobi Tricia Obinne Nwaubani (born in 1976) is a Nigerian novelist, humorist, essayist and journalist. Her debut novel, I Do Not Come to you by Chance, won the 2010 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book (Africa), a Betty Trask First Book award,and was named by the Washington Post as one of the Best Books of 2009. Nwaubani is the first contemporary African writer on the global stage to have got an international book deal while still living in her home country. Her Second Novel titled “Buried Beneath The Baobab Tree” has won the RAVEN award for excellence in Arts and Entertainment and the 2019 YALSA Best Fiction Award for Young adults.
Save The Date and see you there!
“Growing Caterpillar, “Tell me “, “he said”, What is this thing about time? Why is it better to be late than early? People are always saying, we must wait. What are they waiting for? “Well, “I said, feeling myself being led by Giovanni into deep and dangerous water, I guess people waiting order to make sure of what they feel”. – Keletso Mopai in Giovanni’s Room – If You Keep Digging.
This anthology of 15 short stories reflect the challenges of sexuality, traditional beliefs and family dynamics that affect the youths in South Africa.
The story of “Professor Banda Not Unique” is an issue that is currently being spoken about more openly and victims are finding the courage to speak out.
“Skinned” highlights the challenges albinos face in the society and it is a relief that someone is talking about this discrimination which is not often spoken about or discussed.
“Growing Caterpillars” and “Becoming a God” border around relationships and struggles of disclosure, acceptance and expectations by family, the concept of beauty and what tradition accepts.
“Letty”, “Blood of Filth” and “Madness” are stories that highlight the unspoken abuse in families, the power of forgiveness and open disclosure of silenced emotions.
“Fourteen” and “Becoming a God” are based on African spirituality and after life. This one, I didn’t quite enjoy although as Africans, these traditional beliefs are a reality in our communities.
It was interesting to see how the author connected some of the stories (Papa’s name and Monkeys), however, the book would have been a more enjoyable read if the author provided a glossary for all the Afrikaans words used in the book. This made it difficult for me to really connect with some of the stories. Also some of the titles did not capture the essence of the story told and this kept me guessing what the author was trying relay through these titles.
This book was a good read but will not make it on my top list. I understand that the stories are a reflection of current realities but I would have loved it if a ‘happy story’ was thrown into the sea of sad stories. In life there will always be challenges but there are also happy moments too. I wish some of those happy moments were captured here.
I recommend this book mostly to South Africans and people interested in their history and current challenges.
Rating: 3 Stars
Published: May 1st, 2019 by Jacana Media
Genre: Short Story Collection
Purchase @ www.amazon.com/ifyoukeepdigging
The Author: Keletso Mopai is a South African storyteller whose work has been published in various highly regarded journals and listed for short story prizes. She majored in geology and chemistry, and has a Bachelor of Science honours degree in geology. ‘If You Keep Digging’ is her debut book.
Guest Contributor: Aisha Musa
Aisha is a devout Nigerian Muslim, Geoscientist and mother. She loves reading both fiction and non-fiction books in her spare time, going on field expeditions and interacting with like – minds. She is an emerging voice for women’s development and empowerment especially in third world countries and strives to be a dependable role model to career women and mothers alike. She lives in Lagos, Nigeria with her family.
“Good mothers know all about patience. They know about lugging the promise of a baby around for nine whole months, about the effort of pushing and puffing until a head pops; they know about being pinned to a spot, wincing as gums make contact with sore nipples; they know about keeping a vigil over a cot all night, praying that the doctor’s medicine will work; they know that even when patience seems to be at an end, more is required. Always more.” – Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani in I Do Not Come To You By Chance
I read IDNCTYBC when it was first published in 2009 and I rated it as one of my best reads ever. You can then imagine my excitement when I saw this new catchy cover. I just had to read it again!
IDNCTYBC is an highly engaging satirical and humorous story which focuses on the infamous internet email scams carried out by Nigerians popularly known as 419 amongst other themes. The protagonist Kingsley, is a young man who is a graduate of chemical engineering and is yet to be gainfully employed after two years out of university. Kingsley has been well brought up by his well educated, conservative but yet poor parents who have expectations that he will soon land a good job in an oil company and assist with the education of his younger siblings and their welfare. Bad times turn worse as he is jilted by the love of his life Ola who can’t wait anymore for him to be financially equipped to marry her and his father becomes critically ill. Their only hope is his uncle, Boniface a.k.a. “Cash daddy” who is a well known 419er but had lived with the family when he was younger. Cash daddy provides for their needs and offers kingsley a job and with no other choice left kingsley is sucked into a new world of email scams, fast cars, girls, money, trips abroad and lots more. The story is told from the eyes of Kingsley who comes off as a very funny and mischievous lad with his unapologetically Nigerian English that drives home his points. Some of my favorite quotes from him are:
“He often referred to the female gender in plural form, as if they did not exist except in batches.”
“There were many possible explanations for the atrocious traffic in Lagos—population explosion, insufficient mass transit, tokunbo vehicles going kaput, potholes in the roads, undisciplined drivers, random police checkpoints, and fuel queues. But in Cash Daddy’s opinion, the go-slow started whenever the devil and his wives were on their way to the market. I think he was right.”
As someone who likes to find humor even in the worst of situations, this book did justice in that department. Adaobi has successfully crafted a realistic tale that shows the activities carried out by 419ers while addressing other current issues prevalent in our country such as poverty, corruption in government, dilapidated social amenities and health facilities, and lots more. Dismissing stereotypes, this story also shows another angle contrary to the popular narrative that all 419ers are ruthless men who swindle “innocent” foreigners. It has painted a picture that shows that they are compassionate people who most often than not, take care of their families, friends and communities by paying school fees, funding businesses, building roads and amenities in their communities that the government should have otherwise provided and the foreigners as mostly greedy people who want to get rich quick without working hard.
My favorite character is “Cash Daddy” with his uncouth mannerisms, his colorful speech always laced with proverbs and his overblown opinion of himself. He was such an entertainer without meaning to be and a generous soul despite his fraudulent means. My favorite quote by him is:
“Relatives are the cause of hip disease”
This book is a must read! After this re-read, it still remains in my ‘best reads of all time’ list. I highly recommend this book for your enjoyment and amusement. So go out there, get a copy and have fun!
Rating: 4 Stars
Expected Publication Date: November 17th, 2019 by Masobe Books
Genre: Fiction (Satire)
Purchase @ www.masobebooks.com/IDNCTYBC
The Author: Adaobi Tricia Obinne Nwaubani (born in 1976) is a Nigerian novelist, humorist, essayist and journalist. Her debut novel, I Do Not Come to you by Chance, won the 2010 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book (Africa), a Betty Trask First Book award,and was named by the Washington Post as one of the Best Books of 2009. Nwaubani is the first contemporary African writer on the global stage to have got an international book deal while still living in her home country.