Posts tagged books

BOOK REVIEW– The remains of the day.

Hello-o.
I’ve had quite some people just glance through the blog and later ask me about reviews. Here is the link to all book reviews on the blog. Read and share. 💕💕
Title: The remains of the day.
Author: Kazuo Ishiguro
Pages: 168(e-book)
First Publisher/publication date: Faber and Faber limited London/ 1989
Blurb
In the summer of 1956, an ageing butler has embarked on a six-day motoring trip through the West Country. But his holiday is disturbed by the memories of his past service to late lord Darlington, and most of all by the painful recollections of his friendship with the housekeeper, Miss Kenton. For the first time in his life, Stevens is forced to wonder if all his actions were for the best after all. A sad and humorous love story, and a witty meditation on the democratic responsibilities of the ordinary man.
Review
Do you even know why I wanted to read this book? Kazuo Ishiguro won the 2017 Nobel prize for literature and that was the first time I was hearing of his name. He however appeared popular with other readers, I needed to get to the bottom of the matter. I developed the desire to read one of his books. And so when I got this one, you know it, it was a dream come true.
The remains of the day is a telling of a butler’s perspective. Yes, butler as in 1937, big fancy houses in England.
The main character, Stevens, is in his later years having worked all his life trying to be a great butler and learning valuable life lessons in the process.
His character flaw in spite of his many virtues is revealed in his inability to admit his feelings, even to himself.
We also given some great insight into lord Darlington’s life and the events rounding up the Second World War; And the delightful miss Kenton.
What I admire in Stevens is, he tries to adapt as the need arises along the line, in his professional tasks; just as he did on the issue of learning how to banter with his new American boss, Mr Farraday.
I suspect one reason why I favour this book is because it preaches, on a broad platform, good character. I mean can you fully be English and live in 1934, without having learnt the finesse of being a lady or a gentleman?
There’s core focus on humility. There’s also highlighting the beauty of integrity in each person’s work and how it upholds the system in the long run. I think this is a good read when you want something quite light yet not searching for something that would crack you up every five seconds.
I joyfully rate it 4 out of 5 stars.
It’s a win for this book that it hooked me and made me think I may have had a part in organizing banquets for important figures!
Excerpts

‘’ it is quite possible then, that my employer fully expects me to respond to his bantering in a like manner, and considers my failure to do so a form of negligence. This is, as I say, a matter which has given me much concern. But I must say this business of bantering is not a duty I feel I can ever discharge with enthusiasm. It is all very well, in these changing times, to adapt one’s work to take in duties not traditionally within ones realm; but bantering is of another dimension altogether. For one thing, how would one know for sure that at any given moment, a response of the bantering sort is truly what is expected? One need hardly dwell on the catastrophic possibility of uttering a bantering remark only to discover it wholly inappropriate.’’

Stevens is such a prim and proper English man that American jokes elude him inspite of his best efforts.

‘’we call this land of ours – great Britain,… just where and in what does it lie?…but if I were forced to hazard a guess, I would say that it is the very lack of obvious drama or spectacle that sets the beauty of our land apart. What is pertinent is the calmness of that beauty, its sense of restraint. It is as though the land knows of its own beauty, of its own greatness and feels no need to shout it. In comparison, the sorts of sight offered in such places as Africa and America, though undoubtedly very exciting, would, I am sure, strike the objective viewer as inferior on account of their unseemly demonstrativeness’’

😀😀 hard to deal with this guy.

’The purpose: for we were, as I say, an idealistic generation for whom the question was not simply one of how well one practices one’s skills, but to what end one did so; each of us harboured the desire to make our own small contributions to the creation of a better world, and saw that as professionals, the surest means of doing so would be to serve the great gentlemen of our times in whose hands civilization had been entrusted.’’

(If you want this book, I can e-mail it to you on the condition that when you’re through, you give your thoughts on here. Ey? And don’t be scared into thinking it’s some boring English book, its not.)
I hope you’re subscribed to the blog by email. If you’re not, please do so.
💜
Yours faithfully,
Debby.

BOOK REVIEW–And After Many Days

Title: And After Many Days
Author: Jowhor Ile
Publisher: Tim Duggan books
Review
The book traces the Utu family in PortHarcourt, Nigeria. The setting of the conflict period is 1995. It’s an interesting tale of children growing up in a privileged middle class family in Nigeria. The oldest son, seventeen year old Paul gets missing and we’re confronted with a personal loss and on a larger scale, political loss.
Political loss as evidenced by failure in virtually all sectors of the society. I think it’s despairing that the challenges faced back then in Nigeria, mostly as a result of political failure are all very much present in this day – even worse. The plot is rich and devastating. It however doesn’t hit you badly until the climax.
And after many days lends credence to the voice about the Niger Delta crisis in Nigeria; the development of the crisis and it’s impact (oil spills, gas flares, western oil companies arrival, the humiliating and harrowing experiences the military forces the members of the community through, the desecration of all indigenous land and even streams by the companies) – all from an insider’s point of view.
There’s also an exposure to the way the military government ran things at that time.
Jowhor is deserving of his award in the Etisalat prize for fiction in 2017. He is a delicate story-teller. This is his debut novel. The book employs a seamless technique of moving back and forth through time. The book has an intriguing and hooking opening, coupled with the author’s timeless and endearing way of describing events. It’s written in a third person omniscient perspective.
The characters are absolutely believeable and they draw the reader in. I think most Nigerians would relate with the upbringing of the Utus children. This book takes you back in time to your childhood.
One last credit: it had me checking the dictionary for the meaning of some words. What else can I ask for?
Excerpts

“You might be carrying a document instructing you to be sold and you won’t know it. Won’t read and can’t read would land you in the same place”

God forbid!” He spat out. He looked like the sort of man for whom all strong emotions came out looking like anger. Ajie couldn’t tell if he was angry that Paul was missing or angry with Paul for going missing or whether he was angry at all. Whichever way, it was clear his sympathy was with Ma “

“But whatever there was to know about desire and it’s cost was beyond Ajie then. He was at that time completely passionate and pure. He imagined himself, his brother, and his sister to be people who would shoot into the world and burn, fiery arrows set free by their parents from their home here at number 11. they would love greatly and do useful things. Bbi would become rich and important and build houses and hospital for the poor. Paul would simply change the world”

“When misfortune befalls you, people secretly blame you. Ajie noticed this. People can’t help it. They do it so they can believe it won’t happen to them. They haven’t done whatever it is you did to deserve this suffering.”

I like this book. I generously give it 5stars.
P.s for the those who’ve read the book: what do you think of Bendic and Ma’s parenting style?
Yours sincerely,
Debby.
So tell me, what do you think?

BOOK REVIEW–HOMEGOING

Title: HOMEGOING
Author: Yaa Gyasi
Publisher/publication date: Alfred A. Knopf/2016
ISBN: 9781101947142
Pages: 310 pages(my copy)
Blurb
Two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of cape coast castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousand s of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery.
One thread of Homegoing follows Effia’s descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization.
The other thread follows Esi and her grandchildren into America. From the plantations of the south to the civil war and the great migration, from the coal mines of Pratt city, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of a captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.

Review
Can I request that you go back to read the blurb again. Patiently this time. Word for word, in case you sped through. Thank you.
Homegoing is a heartrending read. It follows two sisters separated at birth and explores if either of them ever had much hope as the white man breathed down their necks. Each alternating chapter traces the two generations through the evolvement of slave trade and there is an aching cry for the enslaved and those involved in selling their own brothers to the white man. Each chapter reads like a short story of people whose lives are scarred by the actions of other humans like themselves. Its haunting because just when you get drawn into the characters and empathise with their plight, the story for that person’s generation just ceases.
In short, it traces the legacy of slave trade in people’s every day lives and is a perspective of racial history. Life during the tribal wars in 1700, the transatlantic slave trade, the effect or lack of effect of the fugitive slave act, and how oppression of the blacks by the white shifted from that of the body to that of the mind.
We read of the way a people’s mother tongue was whipped out of their mouths; five lashes for every one word of Twi their children would unwittingly speak. We’re enraged at how humans are shackled to owners by a piece of paper so declaring them; people who in their own rights, should have mattered.

you want to know what weakness is? Weakness is treating someone as though they belong to you. Strength is knowing that everyone belongs to themselves”
”but for the rest of her life Esi would see a smile on a white face and remember the one the soldier gave her before taking her to his quarters, how white men smiling just meant more evil was coming with the next wave”

I don’t know if a reader can read this and justify certain actions ever again in their lives.
For me, Esi’s story was particularly haunting as she saw part of the undoing of her own people by her hands, and didn’t know it for what it was, until it was completed.
Yaa Gyasi has this as her debut novel and I say its worthy of praise. Effort is clearly put in (I saw a quote where Gyasi said she wrote the most part of the book in a dark and dingy room in her house, giving off a dungeon vibe).Her language is the envy of other writers, and her story-telling skills seamless.
There is a family tree at the start of the book which is very important for when the reader begins to get winded keeping up with who’s who from each generation.
Some people lament at the way each character’s story ends just when the reader starts to fall in love. I suppose that this is a way of stating the obvious; evil would not give closure. Mothers are separated from their children, lovers are killed or sold and the reader wants closure?
For those who have read this book, these characters remain my favourite: Esi, Ness, Kojo, Majorie.
It’ll help if you already know one or two things about the American civil war, slave trade, racism. If you don’t, I suppose this book can be a background for further learning. I recommend this book for the preservation of history. I rate the book 4.5 stars out of 5.

Excerpts:
”It was one thing to research something, another thing entirely to have lived it.”

”When he was younger, his father told him that black people didn’t like water because they were brought over on slave ships. What did a black man want to swim for? The ocean floor was already littered with black men”

”Esi stared at her mother then, and it was as though she were seeing her for the first time. maame was not a whole woman. There were large swaths of her spirit missing, and no matter how much Esi loved her, they both knew in that moment that love could never return what maame had lost. And Esi knew too that her mother would die rather than run into the woods ever again, die before capture, die even if it meant in her dying that Esi would inherit that unspeakable sense of loss, learn what it meant to be un-whole”

”Ness would fall asleep to the images of men being thrown into the Atlantic ocean like anchors attached to nothing: no land, no people, no worth”

“The mud wall of the dungeon made all time equal. There was no sunlight. Darkness was day and night and everything in between. Sometimes there were so many bodies stacked into the women dungeon that they all had to lie, stomach down, so that women could be stacked on top of them”

” ‘don’t matter if you was or wasn’t. all they gotta do is say you was. That’s all they gotta do. You think cuz you all muscled up, you safe? Naw, dem white folks can’t stand the sight of you. Walkin’ round free as can be. Don’t nobody want to see a black man look like you walkin’ round proud as a peacock. Like you ain’t got a lick of fear in you… I’ma tell you, war may be over but it ain’t ended’

‘you have to understand, H. the day you called me another woman’s name, I thought ain’t I been through enough? Ain’t just about everything I ever had been taken away from me? My freedom. My family. My body. And now I cant even own my name? aint I deserve to be Ethe, to you at least if nobody else? My mama gave me that name herself. I spent six good years with her before they sold me to Louisiana to work them sugarcanes. All I had of her then was my name. that was all I had of myself too. And you wouldn’t even give me that’.”

”She wanted to explain that at home they had a different word for African-Americans, akata. The akata people were different from Ghanaians, too long gone from the mother continent to continue to call it the mother continent. She wanted to tell Mrs.Pinkston that she could feel herself being pulled away too, almost akata, too long gone from Ghana to be called a Ghanaian. But the look on Mrs. Pinkston’s face stopped her from explaining herself at all.”

So people, what do you think? Read this? Interested in doing so? Or do you have a comment about the slave trade? Or you just want to say hello? Comment people. Thank you!

Book review–Born A Crime

Happy new month precious people. This is the third of twelve chapters in your self-authored book on 2018. How’s it going?
Greetings from this side. We’re reviewing a book today. Don’t forget to share your thoughts at the end and share the post. 💕💕
Title: Born A Crime
Author: Trevor Noah
Publisher: Spigel and Grau (2016)
Pages: 252(my e-book copy)
Review

I dug into this book in the basic expectation that it would have a bit of humour as the viral hum said.
I took no time to research the author or think what the title could mean but by the time I saw the import of the title in the book, I decided that Trevor is intelligent.
Born A Crime is Trevor Noah’s first book. It is in fact, his memoir.
Trevor’s birth was evidence of his parents crime, unlike most other people whose birth are often evidence of their parent’s love.
I appreciate the use of imagery in the book. I was with him at nine years when his mum wrapped herself around the toddler and jumped with (/pushed) Trevor from a moving vehicle.
I was with him when he went looking for his father in great anxiety, at twenty four years and I was there when he got relieved his father wasn’t any different from how he’d known him to be in his teenage years.
This book explores the subject of apartheid and it walks you through it.
It reveals the strategy employed by the whites in pitting the locals against themselves, in order to rule them all.

Bitterness festered. For decades those feelings were held in check by a common enemy. Then apartheid fell, Mandela walked free, and black South Africa went to war with itself…”

You’re walked through the different streets in South Africa and you come to discover racism. You’re in the schools and you understand it starts from there. The troubles of racism; being black, white and coloured.
Other than the subject of Apartheid and Racism, this book also explores Motherhood, strongly.

“My mom thought having a child was going to be like having a partner, but every child is born the center of its own universe, incapable of understanding the world beyond its own wants and needs, and I was no different”

The unselfish love of a mother for her child and the question of reciprocal of such love:

“People say all the time that they’d do anything for the people they love. But would you really? Would you do anything? Would you give everything? I don’t know that a child knows that kind of selfless love. A mother, yes. A mother will clutch her children and jump from a moving car to keep them from harm. She will do it without thinking. But I don’t think the child knows how to do that, not instinctively. It’s something the child has to learn.”

This book is written as a tribute to Trevor’s mother- Nombuyiselo, who weathered every challenge beautifully. She was his pal (still is); spoke to him as an intelligent being, gave him a chance to explore, to be, to speak his mind, beat him and explained why .

Whenever the riots broke out, all our neighbors would wisely hole up behind closed doors. But not my mom. She’d head straight out, and as we’d inch our way past the blockades, she’d give the rioters this look. Let me pass. I’m not involved in this shit. She was unwavering in the face of danger. That always amazed me. It didn’t matter that there was a war on our doorstep. She had things to do, places to be. It was the same stubbornness that kept her going to church despite a broken-down car. There could be five hundred rioters with a blockade of burning tires on the main road out of Eden Park, and my mother would say, “Get dressed. I’ve got to go to work. You’ve got to go to school.” “But aren’t you afraid?” I’d say. “There’s only one of you and there’s so many of them. “Honey, I’m not alone,” she’d say. “I’ve got all of Heaven’s angels behind me.”.

There’s a lot to learn of the inner workings under apartheid regime and even though this is my own focus, you’d meet lots of people who’ve read this book and only remember it for its humour.
Some are fans of this book for the life tips it has to offer.
Basically, I’d quote the whole book because I’m here trying to advocate for basic knowledge of the relevant things; of which history always ranks high. However, I cannot quote the whole book.
I rate the book 4.5 out of 5 stars. It’s an easy read with underlying depth.
Excerpts

If we weren’t at school or work or church, we were out exploring. My mom’s attitude was “I chose you, kid. I brought you into this world, and I’m going to give you everything I never had.” She poured herself into me. She would find places for us to go where we didn’t have to spend money.
She refused to be bound by ridiculous ideas of what black people couldn’t or shouldn’t do.
world. My mom raised me as if there were no limitations on where I could go or what I could do. When I look back I realize she raised me like a white kid—not white culturally, but in the sense of believing that the world was my oyster, that I should speak up for myself, that my ideas and thoughts and decisions mattered
My mother showed me what was possible. The thing that always amazed me about her life was that no one showed her. No one chose her. She did it on her own. She found her way through sheer force of will.

We tell people to follow their dreams, but you can only dream of what you can imagine, and, depending on where you come from, your imagination can be quite limited.

The smallest thing could prompt her. I’d walk through the house on the way to my room and say, “Hey, Mom” without glancing up. She’d say, “No, Trevor! You look at me. You acknowledge me. Show me that I exist to you, because the way you treat me is the way you will treat your woman. Women like to be noticed. Come and acknowledge me and let me know that you see me. Don’t just see me when you need something.”

“I don’t regret anything I’ve ever done in life, any choice that I’ve made. But I’m consumed with regret for the things I didn’t do, the choices I didn’t make, the things I didn’t say. We spend so much time being afraid of failure, afraid of rejection. But regret is the thing we should fear most. Failure is an answer. Rejection is an answer. Regret is an eternal question you will never have the answer to.”

“Hustling is to work what surfing the Internet is to reading. If you add up how much you read in a year on the Internet—tweets, Facebook posts, lists—you’ve read the equivalent of a shit ton of books, but in fact you’ve read no books in a year. When I look back on it, that’s what hustling was. It’s maximal effort put into minimal gain. It’s a hamster wheel”

“The way my mother always explained it, the traditional man wants a woman to be subservient, but he never falls in love with subservient women. He’s attracted to independent women

In any society built on institutionalized racism, race-mixing doesn’t merely challenge the system as unjust, it reveals the system as unsustainable and incoherent. Race-mixing proves that races can mix—and in a lot of cases, want to mix. Because a mixed person embodies that rebuke to the logic of the system, race-mixing becomes a crime worse than treason.”

“…If you’re in an environment that is positive and progressive, you too will become that. I keep telling you to change your life, and you don’t”

“In the hood, gangsters were your friends and neighbors. You knew them. You talked to them on the corner, saw them at parties. They were a part of your world. You knew them from before they became gangsters. It wasn’t, “Hey, that’s a crack dealer.” It was, “Oh, little Jimmy’s selling crack now.” The weird thing about these gangsters was that they were all, at a glance, identical. They drove the same red sports car. They dated the same beautiful eighteen-year-old girls. It was strange. It was like they didn’t have personalities; they shared a personality. One could be the other, and the other could be the one. They’d each studied how to be that gangster”

Growing up in a home of abuse, you struggle with the notion that you can love a person you hate, or hate a person you love. It’s a strange feeling. You want to live in a world… where you either hate them or love them, but that’s not how people are.

That’s it. Any excerpt you particularly agree with or disagree with? Have you read this book? Are you interested? What are you currently reading? Let’s know your thoughts.

Love and Warmth,
Debby.

BOOK REVIEW– Smart Money Woman

Title: The Smart Money Woman
Author: Arese Ugwu
Publisher/publication date:
Matador, Troubador publishing ltd/ 2016.
Review
I didn’t know what to expect from this book, I only hoped in all sincerity that it wouldn’t bore me because at the time I picked it up, I had no patience for troublesome reads.
I had seen recommendations(not reviews) of it on the internet. My friend Chizaram gave me the e-book. If you’re interested, you can e-mail me.
It wasn’t a boring read in spite of discussing a bit of what is often considered the ‘professional stuff’ in finance. It takes the form of a light hearted fictional read. Considering the reader is aware the book isn’t for all purposes fictional, the lack of exceptional fictional narrative skills, is forgivable.
For me, it was an enlightening read.
The foreword was written by Nimi Akinkugbe, CEO BESTMAN GAMES, money matters with Nimi. She wrote:

”For many people, the subject of personal financial management can be somewhat daunting. The book presents the basic concepts of earning, budgeting, spending , borrowing, saving, investing as well as behavioural and emotional aspects of money In a personal way that makes it easy to personalize.”

This book isn’t vague about the ‘woman’ mentioned in it’s title, even though it is very well profitable to all sexes. It uses the story of a Nigerian woman, Zuri, to bring home the points.
After each chapter, there are highlighted lessons in which the concepts explored through story telling for that chapter, are discussed. Afterwards, there are exercises for the reader to carry out, for example, calculating your own net worth.
Zuri, a 28 year old senior manager at Richmond developments( a real estate firm), has good financial potentials as she earns a salary which the average Nigerian aims to earn. Regardless, Zuri discovers she is broke. This is a journey on how she climbs out of it.

”Broke means, if you lost your primary source of income today, you wouldn’t be able to maintain the lifestyle you have become accustomed to because you have no assets to rely on”

”Broke people think its about how much you earn and spend while rich people know it is about how much your are able to convert of your current earnings into an asset for the future.”

This book broaches the manner in which money is spent from the perspective of different individuals. We take a look at all four of Zuri’s closest friends together with their families and what financial strategies they employ.
It also broaches the subject of peer pressure(especially payment for aso ebi*); building an emergency fund; articulating what it is you exactly want your money to do for you in life; sacrificing comfort; having financially conscious friends with the same ideals who gear you on to financial accountability; setting boundaries in helping family relations; the impact of societal gossip; handling money fears, financial analysis; diligence at work; having a partner who understands financial success; the making of Wills in Nigeria(how it’s seen as a taboo); discussing family securities etc.
Furthermore, the role of employers and other mentors in the society is also considered; the benefit of organizational programs such as WIMBIZ (the largest and most substantial women organization that empowers working women in Nigeria).
Exploring this book, as is the same with other works of literature, you must be conscious of what you’re learning. Some other people can float through the whole experience and end up not realizing the gem of wealth in the book(perhaps just admiring Tsola).
Some of the points well scored in the book:

  • The average wealthy Nigerian has an ayeye** mentality. Upon the death of someone in the book, the family threw a big burial party despite the fact that the deceased’s will had been read and huge debts had been unraveled. Family finances must be discussed. Understand your spouse’s money personality. Is there life insurance? What are the responsibilities of each family member?
  • It teaches you that you should understand investment. Don’t just assume you’re cool because you’ve started investing. What are your investment goals and strategy? What is your risk profile? know the classes of investments that exist and very importantly, speak to an investment adviser or stockbroker.
  • As an entrepreneur, do you have financial records; balance sheet, cash flow, profit or loss statement’? or are you just shining teeth that ”hello I’m an entrepreneur”?
  • Everyone doesn’t have to be an entrepreneur.

”you know leveraging on your set skill to maximize your earning potential doesn’t have to mean starting your own business, right?”

  • What you can do to leverage your earning potential, is to maintain a habit of thinking outside the box and to have multiple streams of income. In essence, not necessarily following the herd mentality that comes from over glamorizing entrepreneurship, if that is not your thing.
  • Look beyond making money, seek to create value, to make an impact.

There’s some humour and general consideration of what it means to live in Nigeria.
I consider this book helpful in that the vibe it gives off is one of the author trying to help the reader. She goes ahead to critically explain even the downside to engaging an investment firm, what questions you should ask etc. She insists no one should dismiss your concerns. In essence, be the boss of your own money.
However, I am not wholly in support of the story’s plotline.
I rate it 4.5 out of 5 stars and I recommend it to anyone on a quest to learning on finances (and you should be!).
Excerpts:

She felt like she was no longer on a career ladder to nowhere…Zuri had discovered she was her own hero

The smart money woman has positioned herself for success. For her, improving her net worth is more important than improving her wardrobe.

”In sub-Saharan Africa, less than one percent are born into wealth, and under ten percent are born into middle class. In general, we are not taught in any formal framework, how to keep money or grow it- basic personal finance skills are difficult to learn. As a result, when a young adult starts earning more than they need to survive, they still end up living from paycheck to paycheck”

”What you deny or ignore, you delay; what you accept and face, you conquer”

”People associate the word budget with scarcity or a reduction in station in life. Therefore budget is a word they’ve come to resent. The truth is budget is something that tells you how to allocate your resources, and it should reflect what you value”

”Your network is your net worth”

”Soji and I never discussed about money without tension. At first, it was normal because that was how I grew up as well. My parents never really discussed money with us or with each other. But now with everything that is going on, I realise Its something we should have discussed even before we got married”

”The cardinal rule is when you invest; don’t invest in anything you do not understand.”

Have you read my post on Finance and perspective? What is your view on managing finances? Have you read this book? Are you interested?
* aso ebi stands for the culture of sewing the same clothes for big events
**Ayeye is a Yoruba word meaning fanfare.
As always,
Love, Debby.

2018 Life Update (1)

Hello.
I try not to get too consumed in other blog plans, so as to leave out updates on my life.
Sometimes though, I do not know how to succesfully pass across all I’m going through. Sometimes, I do not even know how to blog. Do we ever really know how to do some things? Expertise may just be a hoax.
Reading: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. I’d heard good noise about this on the internet since it got published. I hope to review it someday.
Also, I’m re-reading Daughter of Destiny. It’s the only authorized biography of Kathryn Kuhlman. I told an old friend recently that I try to re-read that book every year. I vividly recall something I heard Bishop Oyedepo say in a message I listened to. He said he re-reads Kenneth .E. Hagin’s books every year because that is a huge part of his faith origin. Every year, the busy bishop Oyedepo, much older than I am, makes out time to re-read the same books and read others. Obviously what you focus on, shapens your life. If there is a book which marked a significant turning point in your life, you can make a yearly commitment to it. 
Thirdly, I’m on Living as a Christian by A.W Tozer. I love A.W Tozer’s style. He is that familiar uncle I never met. I don’t mind going over a chapter repeatedly.

Wanting: My own apartment. I like having my own space a little too much. I told my mum that someday, I’ll really love to have my house before I get married. A place where I can just customize. Preferably a minimalist setting, with lots of awe-inducing wall art.
Right now, I love my roommate but I get bothered about the issue of space. Isn’t it okay to just have my things the exact way I want them to be – unruffled?
When I do reflect, I think it just goes to show my personality and a weakness in that personality. Life is in sharing. People won’t always have the same priorities I have. Therefore, if I have to sweep four times a day because I do not like any dirt, well then, so be it. Sweep, and live out my current personal apartment-less life.
Wearing: New lipstick occasionally. Make-up is as much a mystery as it is a controversy in some circles. In some other circles, it’s just feminine, nothing attached.
Having: daily battles with my flesh. Sometimes, I will do every other thing but pray. Every other thing. No matter how many spiritual things you do, if you do not pray, you’re cheating yourself. When I say pray,I do not mean collective prayers but personal. 
At a group retreat recently, someone made mention of the reason why some people pray saying “the God of Babalola, the God of Adeboye“. Those ministers have personal spiritual ‘net-worth’. This isn’t about the communal anointing that occurs when we gather to pray. Rather, a personal spiritual weight harnessed in the place of prayer.
Eating: fruits of late, because something has to work atleast.  My plan was to prepare lots of food at this period and store them. I had plans to make soups but I can’t, because, erratic power supply. In other words, I’ve been missing my African dishes. *cue dramatic sigh of a Yoruba girl*
Missing: Family trips.
Hoping: For an audible subscription from a friend. Lol. Hoping for a Cassie Daves blog planner from a friend.
Listening: To nothing much of late. My phone isn’t reading my memory card currently so most of my songs have been out of reach. My favourite song of late is Reckless Love by Steffany Gretzinger. It’s a Bethel music song.
I also miss listening to audio bible.
Trying: to tie together this thing called adulting. Making decisions. Being taken seriously. Being looked up to. Working.

Encouraging you: to stick to one thing like a postal stamp, until you get there.
Well, that’s what I saw as a quote somewhere. Your life encourages people with the littlest of things sometimes. There is someone on instagram who encourages me with her huge love for dogs. Imagine that. She is just living her life, loving dogs, yet she inspires someone. It gets as simple as that. I’m here making sense of this blogging thing in the midst of a thousand and one confusions and then occasionally, someone tells me of how the blog is a blessing to them.
 I think doubt surely follows any good thing. In an article I read on Zadie Smith(a writer) today, in answering a question on any secret techniques to coping with self-doubt, she admitted that:

” In the end, you just have to write and doubt simultaneously”

Don’t bother about the doubt accompanying what you’re creating,  just do it. Stick to it, like a postal stamp, until you get there. I know you will get there.
That does it for the day. Thanks, see you next week.
Love, adulting, prayers,
Debby.
Can you relate to something I shared? How are you faring? Pray tell in the comment box.

26a–BOOK REVIEW

Long time no book review, eh?
I have this condition where my eyes feel so heavy, even when I’ve done nothing but sleep conveniently. I’ve Google searched (why not? this is 2017) and I’ve started praying.
Right now I could just close my eyes and refuse to write this post but then I’d be hard pressed to repeat a post on blogging and consistency.
26a. Can I start by saying I had reservations about reviewing this book. I know that a book review doesn’t mean total endorsement. I also know that appreciation of a book doesn’t mean acceptance of the author’s worldview and all of the book’s message.
However, not all readers know that. Hence my express disclaimer: I do not agree with some of the messages of this book but it piques my interest well enough and I’m willing to review it as a piece of art.
Title: 26a.
Author:Diana Evans.
Publisher/publication date: Vintage books/ 2006
ISBN:978-0-099-47904-8

I love the title. Simple. Enthralling. I first knew of this book when there was a book fair in my school in 2015. I’d gone to Trenchard hall where the book fair held, with my friend. At a certain stall, I picked this book up, glanced at it and snapped it. I didn’t have enough money to purchase it. I simply judged the book by its cover and was impressed (books still get judged by their cover. Forget that English idiom).
Twice, I started reading this book and twice, I dropped it. It was incomprehensible. A world of twin jargon involving Gladstone, hamster, beanbag.
In other words, the book demands your attention. You don’t go in casually. You ask, seek, knock.
The Hunters live in no 26a, Waifer avenue, Neasden. The mother is a Nigerian who constantly battles homesickness and puts cayenne pepper on her Yorkshire pudding. When depressed, she goes into the bathroom for hours, having mental conversation with her mother in an Edo village in Nigeria.
The father, Aubrey, works hard to satisfy the family and on certain nights, he changes character.
The children are older sister Bel, the twins; Georgia and Bessi, and baby sister Kemy who desperately longs to belong to the twins’ inner circle.
It’s a coming of age tale of the twins. 
The book deals with togetherness and separation. Togetherness of a family unit and separation of it. Togetherness of twins and separation.

“and this: Oneness in twoness in oneness- for ever. But how?”

This book touches on identity, culture and roots. Aubrey’s stay in Nigeria is horrible for him and Ida’s stay in England, horrible for her. It questions how far a person’s tradition goes with them

 “Ida had retreated back into her dressing gown as the Sekon Sun had faded. For her, home was not homeless; it was one place, one tree, one heat. She made herself a bubble and It was called Nigeria-without-Aubrey. Her children were allowed inside, Bel on her right, Kemy always on her lap where the lastborn never left, and the twins a little way off, in a bubble of their own. At dinner, Ida sometimes said “pass the salt” in Edo and Aubrey would stab something on his plate; or in the early mornings, she said, ‘at home now, they’re singing.’ She held Edo lessons in Bel’s room on Saturdays, because language was loyalty and Ida was not pleased when Aubrey told her to stop. ‘We’re in England now,’ he said ‘the girls don’t need Nigerian here. They’ll forget It soon enough’…”

It also touches on sexual assault and its reverberating effect; On peer pressure and the loss of innocence; On depression and its every fibre, even the thought of purchasing milk.
One thing that makes this book quite difficult at its end, is that it deals with loss. And no study on loss is ever easy. Loss, is never easy.
It’s reflective of the separation that comes to ties that were meant to bind forever.
Inspite of its solemn theme, lots of pages in the book are exhilarating. I was taken on a ride to Neasden. I understand “it’s good, eve”, “the Apple tree”, “Bessi’s best bed”, “mr hyde”.
I certainly won’t be able to share the good excerpts without revealing too much. We’ll make do with this:

“It was foreign to them, living like this, coming across each other in the playground the way others did, as if they were the same as them, the twinless ones. It felt to them like being halved and doubled at the same time.” 
“Neasden was easier. A little hilly place next to a river and a motorway with nodding trees and one stubby rows of shops. One bank, one library, one optician, one chemist, one chip-chop, one Chinese takeaway, pub, hairdresser, off-licence, cash ‘n’ carry, green grocer and two newsagents, a full stop at each end of Neasden lane”
“It could be the sound of the youngest screaming . Or it could be the sight of the oldest hurt, that makes a woman lose completely the order of things, the sense of past and future and what if, what would happen if.”

It’s a good piece of literature. Diana Evans has a sharp eye that I commend. All the details about Nigeria are credible.

“Very enjoyable, Evans writes with tremendous verve and dash. Her ear for dialogue is superb, and she has wit and sharp perception…a constantly readable book filled with likeable characters; a study of loss that has great heart and humour”
-Independent

I’ll love to have some discussion with someone who has read this book. I judge this to be art because it provokes something that was previously resting.
What are your thoughts? Are you interested in reading this? Have you read this? What can you judge from this review?

BOOK REVIEW–And the Shofar Blew

The first time I picked up this book to read, it was an e-book version. I dove into the first chapter, and when I had cause to put it down, I didn’t miss it.
When my baby sister decided to buy me a book as my birthday gift and we didn’t locate the title by Karen Kingsbury which she was determined to buy for me, we settled for this, after all its a Francine Rivers’ book (and I’m a Francine girl). I had no clue it was the same book I had started to read once.

New ride people, new ride.

Author: Francine Rivers
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Publisher/publication date: Tyndale house publishers inc/ 2003
Pages: 435 pages(my paperback copy)
ISBN: 978-0-8423-6583-3

Blurb
As Paul and those around him struggle to discern what it truly means to live out their faith, they must ultimately choose between their own will and God’s plan. The story of a dynamic young preacher, committed to building his church–but at what cost?
Paul Hudson seemed like the perfect pastor to lead Centerville Christian Church and Eunice was the perfect pastor’s wife. When Paul accepted the call to pastor the struggling church, he had no idea what to expect. But it didn’t take long for Paul to turn Centerville Christian Church around. Attendance is up, way up, and everything is going so well. If only his wife could see it that way. Still, he tries not to let her quiet presence distract him. But Eunice knows that something isn’t right and it hasn’t been for a long time… Eunice closed the bedroom door quietly and knelt beside her bed. I am drowning, God. I’ve never felt so alone. Who can I turn to but you, Lord? Where else does a pastor’s wife go for help when her marriage is failing and her life is out of control? Who can I trust with my anguish, Lord? Who but you? Grasping her pillow, she pressed it tightly to her mouth so that her sobs would not be heard.
 Related: Read a review of Francine River’s Redeeming love here

Review

The title didn’t suggest much to me as I began. I was focused on getting past the start of the book which I found rather boring.
This isn’t the best book I’ve read by Francine Rivers, literature wise. I appreciate this book in it’s Christian capacity. I appreciate the cogent lessons it draws out for a Christian and for the church at large. But as a piece of art, it didn’t hook me much. Not even the blurb!
Paul Hudson and his wife, Eunice appear as the cutest couple around. They have a son, Tim, and together they’re on fire for God.
A call comes to pastor a once-vibrant, now dying church in California- Centerville Christian Centre.
He shakes up the church with the zeal burning in him. One old elder tells his wife at home:

He’s trying to raise the dead”
Good” she sipped her decaf laced with cream and sugar. “You’re pleased, aren’t you?
“Yep.”
“What about the others?”
“He shook ’em up”.
“We all need a little shaking up now and then

Samuel chuckled. ” I don’t think it’s going to be a matter of now and then, Abby, but a matter of from now on

With the onset of more liberty in a church of his own, Paul’s fire soon needs encampment. He disregards those who brought him the invite to pastor, he gets zealous and dreams big.
His dreams are working. The church is growing.
But his relationship with his wife and son take a decline.
We encounter how the life of a pastor can radically affect the life of every other person.
We’re left to juxtapose the building God wants us to do to the church (his body) with the building we do to the church ( the structure).
Related: read a review of Francine River’s Atonment child here
Some of the major characters are Paul, Eunice, Stephen, David Hudson, Lois Hudson, Abby, Samuel.
Some of the central themes include: The vast impact of fatherhood on the lives of children; The balance of family life and the ministry call; Love gone sour; Hearing the voice of God.
We have a few beautiful sentences in the book:

Why don’t you gentlemen go out on the patio and enjoy the last bit of sunsine while I clean up the kitchen? Its hot enough in here without you two adding your steam.”
Samuel chuckled. “What do you say, Stephen? You think it’ll be cooler outside?”
Abby turned at the sink. ” you can always turn on the sprinklers.”
Samuel opened the screen door, inviting their guest to follow. “Never argue with a lady, Stephen. If you win, you just end up feeling guilty”. The younger man laughed as he pushed his chair up to the kitchen table”

“We all have besetting sins, Stephen. They’re the trouble that bring us to our knees and keeps us depending on the Lord for strength”

” he intended to woo her not just in the way he had in the early days of their courtship, with flowers and love letters, soft music and dimmed lights, but with the right decisions. Walking the walk, one step at a time. Keeping the faith with her, safeguarding their marriage”

She looked fragile and broken. “You know what hurts most, Euny? I can’t seem to hear the Lord’s voice anymore. It used to be so clear that it was like a trumpet call-like the shofar of ancient Israel. But I can’t hear him anymore. Not even the still, small voice. And I want that more than anything.” She took Eunice’s hand, her eyes filled with anguish. ” Don’t Let it happen to you, honey. Please don’t let it happen”.

The characters are credible and understandable although a lot of times, I was annoyed by the patience the majority of them demonstrated ( I cover my face in shame remorse).
My favourite character is Lois, Eunice’s step mother. My love for her grew in bounds when she had cause to go to a pub. All her responses were lit. She appeared bold and brazen for the gospel, she’d only become subdued by the man she was married to. I was glad she heeded God’s wake up call through Eunice to see what she’d been doing all along. I apologize for the little spoilers.
I highly recommend this book to Christians especially Christian leaders in any capacity.
This is also good for anyone who wants a perspective into what it takes to build a home and a church too. Of course, if you’re a fan of Rivers, you shouldn’t miss out on it!

What are your thoughts? Have you read this book before? Are you interested? Feedback!

Life and books!

​There is a place that gives me hope. That makes me certain that’s where I belong. Isn’t it time to reconsider some things? To write?” 

This was my thought which I penned down after re-reading purple hibiscus. I felt I was in the inner caucus of literally conscious people. Those who read, recognize and respect brilliant statements and plots. There are times I read genius pieces of work or simply a profound sentence and all I can wonder on is, if other people would understand what I just read to be exclusively brilliant. 
For some people, a story is a story. Shame. For some people, an overly dramatic dialogue is a story( all those episodes of ‘stories’ that run on whatsapp as broadcast messages). Ignorance ( I’m not disputing that those write-ups have their place in the world but a good story, fiction is a whole lot more than that). For some people, story is a waste of time. In response to that, I’ll hold my peace. Or perhaps answer you by saying, Jesus told stories.
Welfare.
I’ve been well. Pushing through the days with more knowledge. A few moments of precious and incomparable exclusiveness with God. Times of combing through books too. 
I recently completed Frank Peretti’s the visitation ( quite lengthy) and I’m reading 26A by Diana Evans, for fiction. 
In terms of Christian literature, I’m in between a million books. What I often do is read necessary chapters from them. My holiday has been cut short and that has destabilized my reading plans. These are the ones I’ve focused on however: I’ve read from E.M Bounds on Prayer (this is the combination of all seven books he has written on the subject matter of prayer). I’ve read from Phillip Yancey’s The Jesus I never knew ( I got propelled to return to this book after completing the visitation ). I’ve also been reading Watchman Nee’s secret to spiritual power .
I’m constantly reading articles from around the web.
I’m enjoying Afoma’s book’d series.
I recently got intrigued by Uche Okonkwo‘s simplicity in writing. 
By the way, I feel I should  pursue knowledge on the art of being an editor.
☺okay, this is a simple way of letting you know I’ve resumed blogging again. Exams got nothing on me. Before I say bye, I enjoyed this two quotes this week and I think you would too:

If Jesus had never lived we would not have been able to invent him                                 -Walter Wink
When i saw you, I fell in love and you smiled because you knew                                                                                                     -Aerigo Boito

Okay, have a wonderful week. Come back to read some more posts!
As always, love, 
Debby.

Book Review– NERVOUS CONDITIONS

Hiiii people! I’m back.
I hope you’re well. I’m not very familiar with writing expository blog posts so I’ve been extra patient with the one I’m working on which hopefully should be up by next week.
For now, it’s another book review.
I got this book as a birthday present from my friend, Chizaram, who blogs here. I judged the book by the cover and decided it should sit out on my bookshelf for a while. Ignorance.
Title: Nervous Conditions
Author: Tsitsi Dangaremgba
Publisher and publishing date: Ayebia Clark publishing Ltd UK 2004
1st published by the women’s press Ltd, UK. 1988
ISBN:978-0-9547023-3-5
I finally got around to reading it and I rejoice today, that I did. Let me just say this: there are a million good African writers out there.
I’ll start by saying this book is easy to identify with, from my perspective. I was mentally nodding as I read it. References to village life, relationship with extended family members in African countries, for instance, were absolutely familiar. It was a smooth sailing, no difficulties getting into the book. The setting of the book is in the 1970s and in Zimbabwe.
In this book, the protagonist, Tambudzai, in first person narrative addresses a person we do not know.
The language is clear and convincing. I partcularly love the author’s use of metaphor. I love the way she describes and evokes familiar feelings in the characters.
This story is about the struggles Tambudzai faces which her society classifies as being black, being poor, being illiterate, and being female.

“And these days it was worse, with the poverty of blackness on one side and the weight of womanhood on the other. Aiwa! What will help you my child, is to learn to carry your burdens with strength”

She is confronted with the walls of expectation and limitation that have been set around her.
Her brother, Nhamo, is singled out for the honour of education at the missions by their uncle. He soon changes in behaviour and dislikes the homestead and returning when on holidays. Tambu on the other hand, loves her home and begins to develop a headache when her brother is around especially since her brother, much like her father believes education isn’t for women.
Tambu, inspite of the odds, decides she will go to school. Tambudzai isn’t a person made to sit at the kitchen obeying, when she has a dream of her own. She puts in extra determination and coupled with sheer luck gets the money to go to school for SUB A and SUB B.
Opportunity comes knocking through Babamukuru, her uncle, who sponsors her to study at the missions too.
Her arrival at the missions, exposes her to other realities of life, it challenges her worldview and she is tempted, as a result, to leave things in a knot and not see the end of it.
The main characters are Tambu, Nyasha, Maiguru, Babamukuru, Tambu’s father and mother and Lucia.
The characters are credible.
The female characters are potrayed to illustrate different possibilities.

” …my story is after all not about death, but about my escape and Lucia’s: about my mother’s nd Maiguru’s entrapment: and about Nyasha’s rebellion…”

The characters run into problems- lots of them. Tambu is conflicted with the differences between her confident and strong-willed personality at the homestead and her quick-to-please personality at the missions.

“Whereas in the years since I went back to school, I had let events pass me by as long as they did not interfere too deeply with my plans,  the way Nyasha responded to challenges reminded me of the intensity and determination with which I lived my early years. I became embarrassed over my acquired insipidity but I did not allow myself to agonize over it…”

“My vagueness and reverence for my uncle, what he was, what he had achieved, what he represented and therefore what he wanted had stunted the growth of my faculty of criticism, sapped the energy that in childhood I used to define my own position. I would not have been here if I had not been able to stand up to my own father, yet now I was unable to tell my uncle that his wedding was a farce…”

Nyasha on the other hand, faces the hurdles of challenging her father’s authority which is vastly worshipped by every other person. She faces the non-conformity of her mind to popular ideals. She also faces head on, the apparent yet subtle war against females by reason just of their being females.

“‘You know, Tambu,’ she began again painfully, ‘I guess he’s right, right to dislike me. It’s not his fault, it’s me. But I can’t help it. Really, I can’t. He makes me so angry. I can’t just shut up when he puts on his God act. I’m just not made that way. Why not? Why can’t I just take it like everybody else does? I ought to take it, but really, I can’t.'”

If I had to state my favourite character, it would be Maiguru, Nyasha’s mother. The themes of feminism and  colonialism are strong. Carole Boyce Davies has this to say:
Nervous Conditions brings to the politics of decolonization theory the energy of women’s rights. By now, a classic in African literature and black women’s literature, Nervous Conditions is a must for anyone wanting to understand voice, memory and coming of age for young black women in Africa”
I love this book.
I’ll recommend it to everyone for the purpose of getting a little more perspective.
I also want to share a quick excerpt of an interview with the author at the end of the book:
“INTERVIEWER:You are a generous author in that everyone in nervous conditions is given a chance to explain or to be explained. It seems there are no monsters in your book, only humans and so no clear moral ground. Why did you employ this strategy?
THE AUTHOR: I employ this strategy so that many different categories of people can find something to identify with in the book- also because the situation of the characters is very complex. One can hold a person responsible for reacting to a situation in a certain way, but the situation that exerted the pressure to behave in that way must also be adressed”. 
(I put the words in bold for emphasis sake)
I rate it 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Excerpts:

“… and thinking how dreadfully familiar that scene had been, with babmukuru condemning Nyasha to whoredom, making her a victim of her femaleness, just as I had felt victimized at home in the days when Nhamo went to school and I grew my maize. The victimization I saw was universal. It didn’t depend on poverty, on lack of education or on tradition. It didn’t depend on the things I thought it depended on. Men took it everywhere with them. Even heroes like babmukuru did it and that was the problem…but what I didn’t like was the way all the conflicts came back to this question of femaleness. Femaleness as opposed to and inferior to maleness”

 
 

“Their praise made me feel better. It made me feel good. My confidence returned…the idea made me feel so superior, so wholesome and earthy, like home-baked cornbread instead of the insubstantial loaves you bought in shops, that I helped to cook the sadza well”

 
 

‘I know’ she interrupted. ‘it’s not England anymore and I ought to adjust. But when you’ve seen different things, you want to be sure you’re adjusting to the right thing. You can’t go on all the time being whatever’s necessary. You’ve got to have some conviction, and I’m convinced I don’t want to be anybody’s underdog. It’s not right for anyone to be that. But once you get used to it, well, it just seems natural, you just carry on. And that’s the end of you. You’re trapped. They control everything you do’

 
 

” ‘Ma’chido,’ Babmukuru was saying pacifically, ‘these are not good words’
No, they are not‘ Maiguru retorted recklessly ‘but if they are not good things to be said, then neither are they good things to happen. But they are happening here in my home‘ “

 
 

” there was a pause during which Maiguru folded her arms and leaned back in the sofa. ‘ I don’t think‘, she began easily in her soft soothing voice, ‘ that Tambudzai will be corrupted by going to that school. Don’t you remember, when we went to South Africa everybody was saying that we, the women, were loose.’
Babmukuru winced at this explicitness. Maiguru continued ‘it wasn’t a question of association with this race or that race at that time. People were prejudiced against educated women. Prejudiced. That’s why they said we weren’t decent. That was in the fifties. Now we are into the seventies. I am disappointed that people still believe the same things. After all this time and when we have seen nothing to say it is true. I don’t know what people mean by a loose woman-sometimes she is someone who walks the streets, sometimes she is an educated woman, sometimes she is a successful man’s daughter or she is simply beautiful. Loose or decent, I don’t know. All I know is that if our daughter Tambudzai is not a decent person now, she will never be no matter where she goes to school. And if she is decent, then this convent should not change her. As for money, you have said yourself that she has a full scholarship. It is possible that you have other reasons why she should not go there. Babawa Chido, but these- the question of decency and the question of money- are the ones I have heard of and so these are the ones I have talked of’.
There was another pause during which Maiguru unfolded her arms amd clasped her hands in her lap.

 
Books, freedom,
Debby