Reading Outdoors

Basically my book waka. Read updates on book fairs, literary festivals and events that I attend and reviews of bookstores.

Bookstore Review: Alaroro Books

Alaroro Books is an online bookstore on Instagram. They sell used and new books, classics, bestsellers and newly released books of Nigerian, US, UK authors in Nigeria. Their page is filled with consistent updates of pictures of delightful book flat lays and stacks. On their #throwbackthursday  feed I saw Wayward Men and laughed at the book cover picture. Its 80s fashion highlights ie. the mom jeans, floral crop top, fat, long neckties are recycled into today’s fashion. Curiosity and the novel’s title made me purchase it for my short break read.

Placing the order for Wayward Men was easy. Alaroro Books was prompt, effectively communicated with me and understanding. The next day the parcel was delivered to Ikorodu by friendly Temi of The Book Peddler.

Although, I had issues with my bank Alaroro Books was patient. For me to sort it out and transfer the book price and delivery fee (within Lagos)of N1,000 to their account. I liked the experience, Victor’s warmth and brown wrapping paper.

 

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Book ‘n’ Gauge 03.12.17

Book ‘n’ Gauge served a sensational mix of all genres of literature, music, art and talk at Herbert Macaulay Library, Yaba Lagos.

The monthly literary event is presented by Roving Heights Online Bookstore (visit their website) and supported by Gtbank You Read Initiative. You know I don’t recommend if it isn’t stellar. Read my review of Roving Heights Online Bookstore here..RH Bookstore review Sunday afternoons in my house are spent eating rice, taking a nap or lounging in white lingerie with a novel. However, on 3rd January I wore my expectations, orange lipsick and a simple nose ring to read outdoors. I unavoidably arrived an hour late. The conservations had already begun. Ayobami Adebayo and Lola Shoneyin talked about the crushing burden placed on women to procreate, cultural narratives about childlessness, unpopularised infertility of men. The vivacious Comperè in her flowing fuchsia pink dress and her locs bangs announced a spoken word performance.

The slender poet sat and read from her phone a tale of scouting the Cuban art market to find her first painting to purchase. She had wanted a representation of a sensual black woman but had gotten an artwork of Osun that her imagination had to repaint. Before the reading commenced I purchased the Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives from a lady holding copies and a POS machine for N2,500. I got a paper bag and bookmark. This made the Ijebu-Igbo woman in me giddy. The previous day I had popped by Glendora Bookshop to check their new books. Resisting the temptation I didn’t purchase their N3,950 copy. Ayomide was my only friend that came along. He purchased both books.

After the performance, Lola Shoneyin, author of The Ssecret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives, read about a mischievous sabotage of the family aso ebi by Iya Femi. The author’s animated reading drew out laughter from all of us. There was a soulful musical performance by Nana Aisha. Her moving voice sang a story of a pregnant woman’s feelings. Ayobami Adebayo read from Stay With Me. The scene where the new wife moved into Yejide’s house exclaiming it was her husband’s house too!

There were two more captivating spoken word performances by the aforementioned poet and instafamous poet Eva Johnson. The former poet waxed on about Dirt, a free verse about life, the earth, nature, women’s efforts, nurturing and time. Eva Johnson performed a compelling introduction and tale of An Average Girl. This performance reminded us to be concerned about others, listen to the sexually abused, bring perpetrators off unreachable pedestals. It made everyone feel the shock, fear, pain and numbness of the average girl who was continuously raped by her father and Uncle Moses.

Questions were asked by the audience that had had phones, camera up in the air streaming live and capturing the magical moments. Both authors advised aspiring writers to read, get comfortable with rejection, get a patient but efficient agent, write out their voice and style and avoid influences from published works while writing. Small chops and glasses of Chapman passed from trays to distracted but grateful hands. While a little #boyboss offered a glass bowl of chocolates to everyone but me.

There were exciting auctions. First, a book auction. It was an intriguing experience as the book whose bid started at N2,500 was sold at N20,000. Interestingly persons who bid only had to pay their bid prices. The book was bought from the oldest bookstore in the world at Portugal. It tells a story of a fictional town where no one is able to die after the New Year. During the event an artist had been drawing an artwork inspired by the event. It had been the first action I noticed when my flustered self had walked in late. I missed this auction because I stepped out to talk with Tobi Eyinade, Roving Heights face, it was great to see this face. She presented the book and artwork to the highest bidders.

Book signings and photographs followed the auctions. I had engaging, fun, thought provoking and encouraging conversations with the literary heavyweights. Being as I wasn’t with my already signed Stay With Me. I introduced myself to Ayobami Adebayo and we discussed the importance of being independent, getting comfortable with loneliness and enjoying solitude. We agreed these three underrated ideals help you and your relationships become healthier. I expressed my love for the novel and she expressed her love of my book photograph of Stay With Me. See the picture and my review of the novel here..  What I Am Reading: STAY WITH ME.

“Are you Feyi?” she asked. I stopped my story surprised and affirmed. She excitedly began telling me how she previously signed my copy months ago.  I simply got the Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives signed with love by the founder of Ake Arts and Literature Festival, Lola Shoenyin. I took pictures with her and Tobi Eyinade. Thanks to Ayomide for taking the pictures as my battery was low. I discussed with other interesting people upon conclusion of the event. Amongst which was Faith Moyosore, Creative Director of African Writers. Ayomide and I got ice cream from the ColdStone Creamery at St. Agnes junction up the road from the library. We excitedly showed each other our signed books. Then discussed the event, our evening plans, not too flavorful pink iced cream. Book ‘n’ Gauge was his first attended literary event and it mesmerized him.

I have said my thanks to everyone who helped make it a delightful experience. I loved reading outdoors with Book ‘n’ Gauge. I’d recommend you attend the next event. Want to see more pictures? I’ll share the photo album on my Instagram below.

Glossary

Osun– A Yoruba female goddess who wears a yellow flowing gown.

Aso Ebi– native attire worn by members of a family and their guests for a wedding, burial, party and other ceremonies in Nigeria.

Image source: mrayooluwaseun

Amethyst meets Comic Republic

I believe folklore tales about African mythical gods, spirit beings and fables form an important part of African Literature. Comic Republic add a contemporary twist to these legends in their African Comics. A while back I reviewed their Hero Kekere comic. Ever since I have been a fan. You can read their comics free on their site; http://www.thecomicrepublic.com.

Due to prior engagements I decided I wasn’t going to attend the University of Lagos AfroCarribean Carnival. Then I saw pictures of the Comic Republic team and their stand at the carnival. A miniature lightbulb blinked on in my kinky haired hair.

After rescheduling, I drove two hours from Ojo to Yaba in Lagos, Nigeria. A large African Heroes truck caught my attention as my feet walked into the Sports Centre of the university. I was warmly greeted by the team. Vibrant Cassandra introduced me to the colorful comics on display. I met Avonome in her glossy sultriness.

Eru was sold for N2,000 when my excited self choose it. Eru is an abbreviation of the Yoruba word Iberu. Iberu means fear. Eru traces Eru Kukoyi the villain protagonist and dual personality of a Psychiatrist who is a force of retribution.

The Comic Republic team made the their attractive tent warm on that rainy Friday afternoon. Max Ezeogu, the creator also autographed my copy. Samuel was kind enough to take a picture of Max and I. Other members of the team were pleasant as we discussed the influence of folklore and African myths on their creations. The history of Nigerain comics was not ignored by our discussion. Did you know the infamous Nigerian Super Strikers comic was sold to a South African company? It took the popular Nigerian comic 14 years to get on international screen ie, Disney. As a kid I always picked up a recent copy with a meat pie at Mr.Biggs. We continued geeking out on creativeness.

Armed with a lemon umbrella, Eru and grin stretched pink lips Amethyst had met Comic Republic team. I spent my self care Saturday eating Isi ewu, chocolates and cheese cream, red velvet cake slice while reading Eru.

Follow me on instagram to see what that looked like. How did you spend your weekend?

Glossary

Isi ewu: is a delicious traditional Igbo meal made with goat head.

Image Source: amethyst saw

BOOKSTORE REVIEW: Roving Heights Books

It all started with Ayobami Adedayo’s Stay With Me. A hurried search might I add. I wanted to buy the book but remembered Glendora Bookshop didn’t have it last time I visited it’s Ikeja shop. After a chat with an Instagram African Literature books flat lay photographer. I got referred to Roving Heights Books. Dumping skepticism at the foot of curiosity I searched Roving Heights’ Instagram page.

Roving Heights also RH Books is an online bookstore for all books fit to read. They are based in Nigeria. I liked three things about buying Love Does Not Win Elections for my Cuteness from them.

Love Does Not Win Elections by Ayisha Osori had a captivating synopsis which reminded me of my dear friend fondly called Cuteness. Very few female politicans in top Nigerian political positions write books about their experiences. With the Nigerian political landscape based on nepotism which favours male candidates. Ayisha Osori’s run for House of Representatives and it’s disappointments birthed this compelling book. Cuteness would be in Lagos two days after I sent a direct message to RH Books and he wanted the book. A lover of politics himself, he wanted to read Ayisha’s story. My quest for Stay With Me halted as I began an order.

“Why don’t you buy books online?” Is a question no one really asked me. I love walking into a bookshop, climbing tall, dark wooden shelves with my eyes and caressing multiple print textured books. Ignoring the higher level of excited anticipation of an online order. I liked these three things about this online bookstore.

Roving Heights has prompt service delivery. A lot of online businesses lack this. Most times it’s feels like the business went to use the bathroom while you are negotiating the logistics of your order. After my inquisitive direct message they shared the book price and payment medium. They also collected my name, phone number and address. The book cost N3,800. A reasonable price as African Literature books cost between a range of N1,000 to N5,000. You can pay through whatever means into their given bank account. I did just that immediately. The delivery fee I paid to get the book the next day was N1,000. They stated if I waited till Friday to get the package it would cost N750. Impressively I’d never transacted that quickly with an Instagram business account before.  RH Books prompt service didn’t end with placing my order. I got my book delivered before noon the next day! I was elated.

Packaging is everything!  is a popular millennia saying. Roving Heights have that all brightly presented. I loved the bright coquelicot illustrated paper bag the book was placed in. Peek at the image above to see this eye catching red-orange gem. Tucked in between the leaves of the novel was a custom RH Books bookmark. Next to reading while eating is my love for bookmarks. I even collect clothing tags as bookmarks. Check my Instagram page to see some. I didn’t expect a bookmark.

Lastly, their Bookstagram page is all hearts and likes. They do sell a variety of books. Prose, poetry, memoirs from authors based on the African continent and beyond. In other words Roving Heights online bookstore is the one stop store for contemporary African literature reads. Their book photography and testimonials are beautiful and real. They interact with their over two thousand followers.  The fact that my purchase supports a steadfast company and the economy is pleasurable. #buynigerian

This weekend try a new way of doing something you normally do. You might have as much fun as I did. If you do, comment below to let me know.

Image Source: amethystShotX