Books

Swallowed Moans

Friday

Staring into beautiful, slender, oval face we’d talked about anal sex as a gay person. I’d explained how the gripping pleasure makes it a worthwhile adventure. My opinions may have debunked myths of spontaneous poo, torn butts and disgusting homophobia. After all attraction and the desire for intimacy aren’t gendered phenomenon. His listening face agreed with a nod.  As the swing rocked back and forth I’d asked how did I begin talking all that? I think back to Friday morning when I’d been so sure of my weekend plans. The buzz of spoken Yoruba, microphone announcements by calm Matrons and bustle of quick, slow feet over the neat floors of General hospital was mixed with the breezy sun illuminating the green, pink and blue dotted shrubs around. That’s until I’d carefully climbed up and down three storeys of wheel chair ramp for a stamp at the Admin Office in the glassy, looming, Maternity Building.  The light blue, pale yellow highlighted skies darkened to grey changing my plans to hop buses to Ikeja for a pick-up. Tomorrow, I promised in text messages to my mother and baby mama.

Sunday

A few minutes to 5pm I wasn’t navigating winding, port-hole dotted Lagos roads in a cab enroute to Victoria Island. I sat on plastic chair at one of my favorite peppersoup joints. Merry Men movie ticket safely zipped away at the side of my nude handbag. I said a quiet thank you as a tall bottle of orange juice and a short tumbler were dropped in front of my opened novel on the plastic table. Melodic chatter in Igbo from a table of elderly men at my right was like Jazz. Occasionally my focus was interrupted by zooming cars, danfos and trucks speeding towards Igando. Yet again I lived an unexpected variation of Sunday. My eyes scan the pages of ‘explain love’ as my right fingers guide a orange tumbler to my red glossed lips. I’d admit I enjoyed the peaceful evening while Blythe, Cecillie, Jacques dealt with the catastrophic highlight of Luc’s art exhibition. How could it be Bryony who tells on Fred! Her accidental, harmless joke breaks Jacques’s heart and jaw. Like a joke I’d told an hour ago. Laughing As They Chased Us has offered me a very foreign glimpse into the daily lives of three couples living in South of France. An engaging debut novel by Sarah Jackman. I’d made a joke about stripping out of my hang-out clothes to settle back in bed with its captivating characters. A joke a handsome man didn’t appreciate. He lost his excitement and I understood him canceling our meet-up. I’d been distracted while he clearly stated these words to me. I didn’t look away from the tiny black words running across the pages. Where is Jacques? My eyes kept asking the narrator. I didn’t dwell on my caller’s upset tone. On a prior call I’d laughed as he called me out on my teasing threat, ‘Of course I wanted to see him’. ‘No, I don’t usually threaten people’. ‘Hello, hello?’ ‘Yes, threats are rude. I’m waiting’. I found that call intriguing, admirable but unusual. Many men hardly have a personally developed sense of self. Imagine how I felt when I finished that chapter then realize I wouldn’t watch the sunset with him. Cab apps are infuriating. They and my gasket-less car made me upset this week. Mid week when we’d planned to see I didn’t have cash. I’d declined the hang-out on that basis. He offered to cover tfare so plans stayed on track. But Fridays are my bank account’s faithful lover. I made a call to my partner. My unnerved voice explained he didn’t have to worry about late night traffic. I walked out of the spacious compound, kimono billowing in the wind, to catch my own sunset.

Stepping out of the white tiled bathroom I could see the dumpsites in my mind. My brown eyes scan the vanity table for a green bottle of rosewater. My fingers and bottles began my night tie skincare routine.  After refilling the tumbler with orange liquid twice I looked past the top of my book. The skyline was marked by refuse dumps piled high opposite Marturion Cinemas. These piles looked like brown, multi-colored waves crashing against the blue, late afternoon, sky. The sunset was as beautiful as the cow tail chopped in small bits in the steamy bowl. Each bite of the succulent ponmo, tasty beef and swallow of spicy soup made me moan. I couldn’t help but think if the orange, peach and purple sky would look different at Fiki Marine. Clouds, skies and sunshine at Ojo are the most beautiful in Lagos. A crisp one thousand naira note passed to the hands of my short server five minutes to the start of my movie. In the end I learnt how disconcerting it can be speaking your truth. For both the relieved speaker and stunned listener. I’d ended a relationship because a partner had joked about beating me during a tussle. It’s odd that the elements of nature connived with my unsettled intuition to prevent me leaving Ojo this weekend. My thoughts concluded as I wrapped a dark silk scarf around my bantu-knots.

 

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Writing this Saturday away.

This Saturday morning, I spent some time completing my draft of BANTU KNOTS. I began writing it on my Whatsapp story yesterday afternoon. I noticed I’m faster writing something smaller that leads into a longer flash story these days.  Bantu Knots is an erotic thriller about Nkechi who investigates the suicide of her secret lover, Corper Lanre.

It’s delightful writing thriller the past day and two. That aside, I’m still drafting N70 Rides to Love, a romantic flash story. In it, love sneaks up on an okada rider and a woman who just moves into the neighborhood. Although, my writing is dragging along. Zaza is completely still on hold. Reading a good book does help inspire writing I’ve noticed. I’m 68 pages away from the end of Laughing As They Chased Us by Sarah Jackman. Its been a delightful read! I’m about picking up What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky by Leslie Nneka Arimah as my next read. Yay! My volunteer application to LIPFest was accepted. Now, I just have to go for training. I hope I’m not cash strapped this coming week so its easier.

To enjoy the Indomie Chicken Extravaganza add salt. Its spicy, chicken flavoured noodles with tiny bits of chicken and sausage slices but bland.

I remember drafting an open letter to Nigerian Movie Producers after watching several foreign book adaptations and Nigerian romantic comedies at Marturion Cinemas, Igando. Then I discovered I never published it. So here it is;

DEAR NIGERIAN FILM MAKERS,

Can you produce more adaptation of Nigerian literature books? Yes, the recent comedies, coming-of-age- films and chick flicks have been interesting. I really enjoyed watching Merry Men, The Real Yoruba Demons on Sunday. Don’t leave all the adaptations for foreign movie producers Gems. Not only classic Nigerian literature or modern classics deserve cinematic representation. Best-sellers, unique debuts and brave books that address life issues (like Sickle Cell Anaemia, Child Molestation, old age, culture, LGBTQI, etc) will make the cut. Its no longer enough watching theater plays of best-selling Nigerian books. 

Some books that’ll make great films are Independence and Like A Mule Bringing Ice cream to the Sun by Sarah Manyika, Born on a Tuesday by Elnathan John, The Last Days At Forcados High School by A.H Mohammed, Everything Good will Come by Sefi Atta, The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives by Lola Shoneyin, Daughters Who Walk This Path by Yejide Kilanko, Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo, Easy Motion Tourist by Leye Adenre, Oil on Water by Helon Habila and many others. Short Story collection and book trilogies or series can also be adapted into Tv or Online series. Kabu Kaby by Nnedi Okorafor, What it Means When a Man Falls from the Sky by Leslie Arimah, It Wasn’t Exactly Love, Whispering Trees by Abubakar Ibrahim and many more!

I and other Naija book lovers want to excitedly watch Nigerian book adaptation. Like we were about Crazy Rich Asians, The Hate U Give and others. Our reading squads and clubs want to buy tickets, take selfies with actors, grin at well represented plots, review and enjoy! This is a niche of movie making that isn’t fully exploited by Nigerian filmmakers. 

From a Gem in Lagos,

Amethyst.

I think I’ll go on a reading break before continuing writing. I’ve been at my Mum’s house at Ikorodu. It was fun celebrating her birthday together  on Thursday. She loved one of her gifts, The Parrot In My Head by Anuoluwapo Sotunde as much as she loved her surprise cake and wig.

How’s your Saturday and weekend going?

 

Book Podcast Review: MisRead

“MisRead is a book podcast where we review books, discuss topics and provide social commentary on what’s happening today” is the description of this amazing book podcast. Its available on Soundcloud and iTunes. I came across it through The Gentle Women Book Club on Instagram.

Season 2 Ep1: Alexander Arthurs on “How to Love A Jamaican” and do Jamaicans agree. This short story collection review increased my interest in visiting Jamaica. Nigerian mothers are also overly protective. Here a child is always their child. I love living like the indigenes of a place I visit.
I also listened to Ep1: Junot Diaz Controversy, Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi. This made me frown, ponder and laugh. I feel Freshwater is fiction that captures Igbo mystic realism perfectly. Ogbanjes are spiritual human beings in Nigeria. I do agree that we should be accountable for our actions as adults. Regardless of our childhood traumas.

I love the hosts, Cassie and Jolene voices. How they both articulated their opinions was soothing. My sis who sat to watch me eat (my appetite flew away while working on my LL.B project) then stopped her music to listen to the podcast. Because I kept responding to the hosts. Lool. Plus I love the different black experiences they both bring to the podcast. I’m in Nigeria, a multi-ethnic gem. It isn’t everyday I listen to Jamaican goddesses who live in Canada. Well done with MisRead!

Can you give their Book Podcast a listen and let me know what you think?

*This review was originally published on my bookstagram.

 

HOW CAN I READ MORE BOOKS?

Its easy to wonder how people who read over 50-200 books in a year do it. I’m sharing my top tips on reading more books and those of other professional readers and book bloggers.

#1 Read many books at a time: Be a book prostitute! You can start three, two, four books at a time. Depending on what you’re comfortable with. This way you get to alternate when anyone gets boring or slow paced. This has been attested by book bloggers to help cure creative slumps or blocks. If you a professional reader, read your review copies in time and share your thoughts. Make sure you also alternate between books on your To-Be-Read and Did-Not-Finish lists

#2 Move. On. To. Another Book: It took me a while to come to terms with the fact that I won’t always finish a book. That isn’t a bad thing. Pick up another book. Yes, your DNF list might be growing but you can always go back instead of staying stuck.

#3  Include Books in Your Budget: Yep, you can read more books by buying them. Buy them from a reading app, online bookstores or conventional book vendors. Get books by planning to buy them, saving the money for their purchase and then paying. You can get free books from online giveaways or applying for a review copy.

#4 Have a Reading Goal: When this year started I shared my Reading Goals with you. It’s been immensely helpful having a reading goal drive my picks. I chose to read more poetry, works by other African writers and new genres. Others have a figure of reads they want to attain like 50 or 120 books a year. Let your goal be S.M.A.R.T and work towards it. Read this for tips on setting reading goals.

#5 Partake in a Reading Challenge: Reading Challenges gets a reader to read new genres, books within a specified period of time. It is usually exciting reading each participant thoughts on various books they pick for the challenge. The goal is to have fun charting new realities. While you participate share book pictures and your reviews on your social media.

#7 Set a Daily Reading Time: Even for academic, work, self improvement studying, setting a daily reading time is effective. Decide if you’ll 30, 2, 40 or 60 minutes within a day. Everyday read during that stipulated time you carved out. You can share the time across the day or read more than that time. Just read!

#8 Join a Book Club: This is helpful for a newbie or hobby readers. A book club offers picks to its members so you don’t have to go through the ‘what-do-I-read-next’ stage. It’s usually a community of supportive readers who share their thoughts on the chosen books. You get exposed to various cultural realities. Book club picks are always diverse even when they focus on specific genres.

Read how to improve your reading habit to help you read more books. You’d read more books before the year runs out using the tips above. All the best Gem!