Month: August 2017

Amethyst’s Book Lust

                  I.

I’ll be dropping the names of books that make the bookie in me salivate with lust.

Amethyst’s Book Lust, is a book list I have compiled from various months Purchase Lists, Literature Prize Lists, online literary magazine reviews and my journal entries. It’s my personal list of African contemporary reads anyone should lust after. These books are from various genres, forms and plot timelines which weave rich stories from the lives of colorful Africans on and off the continent. With their intriguing titles and in no particular order:

1. The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotosho. This novel captures South African’s changing racial relations since 1950s through two feuding elderly female neighbors. It’s available on Goodreads and Roving Heights Books.

2. Your Father Walks Like A Crab by Tolu Akinyemi is a poetry collection for people who do not like poetry. It’s available on Okadabooks, Roving Heights Books and Amazon.

3. Like A Mule Bringing Icrecream to the Sun by Sarah Ladipo Manyika. A wondrous tale of the effects of aging on eccentric yet sophisticated Dr Morayo Da Silva. It’s available on Cassava Republic, Roving Heights Books and Goodreads.

4. On Black Sister’s Street by Chika Unigwe. “is a probing and unsettling exploration of the many factors that lead African women into prostitution in Europe, and it pulls no punches about the sordid nature of the job.”- Bernadine Evaristo, Independent.Co.Uk. It’s available on Amazon, Roving Heights Books and Goodreads.

5. We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo. The highly acclaimed coming of age novel of Zimbabwean lead character, Darling who leaves for America. It’s available on Goodreads and Amazon.

6. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. “An unflinching portrayal of the slave trade explores it’s impact down generations, from 18th century West Africa to modern day US.”-Diana Evans, The Guardian. It’s available on Konga, Amazon, eBay, theguardianbookshop and Roving Heights Books.

7. Known and Strange Things by Teju Cole. This is a critically acclaimed collection of essays on art, literature, photography and politics. It’s available on http://www.faber.co.uk and Amazon.

8. Chronic School Hater by Ngozi Ilondu is a humorous but practical book on redefining learning in Nigeria sold exclusively on Okadabooks.

9. Aro’mo Leegun (Harbinger of Bone Pains) by Muideen Owolabi Bakare is an educative memoir of a warrior’s guide to living with sickle cell disease.

10. The Girl Who Can and Other Stories is a collection of short stories by irrepressible Ghanian author Ama Ata Aidoo. I love short stories and collections give me plenty of them. Roving Heights and buyreadlove.com have the book on sale.

Thank me and the authors after your climaxes.

 

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STAY WITH ME

Was it only my friends and I who chanted Sam Smith’s stay with me chorus when they saw this book?

Ayobami Adebayo’s moving romance has some sparing truthful quotes about love:

“If the burden is too your much and stays too long, even love bends, cracks, comes close to breaking and sometimes does break. But even when it’s in a thousand pieces around your feet, that doesn’t mean it’s no longer love.”

and..

“Besides, what would be left of love without truth stretched beyond it’s limits, without those better versions of ourselves that we present as the only ones that exist?”

After reading lauding reviews, captivating interviews of the author and visual feasting on three paperback designs of the novel. I longed to read about the Nigerian marriage assailed by infertility, family interference, infidelity, loneliness and sickle cell disease. I was curious about the characters their feelings, their love and how adultery, polygamy would hinder their love. Would this love and struggle to have a child bring them closer or heal their loneliness? The struggle did not.

Ayobami Adebayo’s profound tale of Yejide and Akin Ajayi’s marriage will stay with you. With its engaging themes of love, desperation, loss, infidelity, family interference, loneliness and insecurity. It is geographically set, in Ilesa, Osun state, Jos, Plateau state and Lagos state in Nigeria during the 80s and 2008. The narrative is told by the main characters, Yejide the motherless heroine and Akin the secret hiding hero. It bounces in between the present 2008 where Yejide goes to Akin’s father’s burial ceremony and the 80s tale of their marriage and it’s tribulations.

It was an emotional read during my weekend. The story showed the beauty and unbearable pressure of Yoruba culture on the couple. Stay With Me takes you to the traditional Yoruba setting of family and marriage. By sharing similar tales you’ve heard your neighbors live. The raw, hurt, hopeful, despair filled, angry yet hesitant tone of the novel follows it’s plot. There were two revelations in the book that had me agreeing with Jennifer Makumini, author of Kintu that Ayobami is an astounding story teller.

“Rotimi”

“Rotimi- stay with me”

This was the name given to Yejide and Akin’s third child. The source of the title of the blook was revealed well into the book. Earlier I had assumed it came  from Yejide’s alarming need for Akin and his love for her, in hopes it would dispell their loneliness.  Later my guess was her desperate, heart breaking struggle to have Sesan, the second child not die from sickle cell disease. I was mistaken. Unlike the first two children who died. Rotimi, Timi stayed.

This book taught me not to assume. Revelations of truths about the paternity, source of title and also Yejide’s fatal assumption all had me screaming twice. It also drew me to think about sickle cell disease a lot more. Weeks prior to this I watched Wanawana Udobang’s Warriors short films on YouTube interviewing adults living with sickle cell in Nigeria. These are films worth watching. A person who has a child does not own the world. Don’t attach your worth as a human to relationships or children.  I love this heart wrenching romance novel. It was worth the read.

The author holds BA and MA degrees in Literature in English. Ayobami is a recipient of fellowships and residencies. She also autgraphed the book for me. An almost lover had her do that across seas, how romantic. She writes my sweet name beautifully.

Brief Thought: There is a popular Nigerian saying that a woman who can’t have a child is a man. What is a man who can’t impregnate a woman?

Image source: amethystShotX