Homegoing

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Read 01/04/2017-07/04/2017

Rating: 3 stars

Read for the Reader’s Room March Madness Challenge

Yaa Gyasi’s debut novel is an ambitious one. It charts the lives of two half-sisters from Ghana who have very different experiences of slavery. The book sets off in the 18th century and follows the descendants of each sister to see how slavery impacted on African women depending on the form their slavery took. Continue reading

We Should All Be Feminists

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Read 26/02/2017

Rating: 4 stars

This is an essay in book form, a modified version of a TED talk given by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in 2012. It’s less than 50 pages long, but it packs a punch.

The event at which Adichie was speaking in 2012 aimed to challenge and inspire Africans and friends of Africa to think differently. In Nigerian culture, Adichie’s culture, being a strong independent woman is frowned upon. In her talk, Adichie identifies the different ways in which women are kept down in Nigerian society. I recognised some of those ways in my own culture, despite the fact that women were supposedly emancipated a century ago in Britain. Continue reading

Who Fears Death

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Read 19/08/2016-21/08/2016

Rating: 4 stars

I read about this book on The Reader’s Room and instantly wanted to read it. I had to reserve it through the union catalogue for libraries in the Greater Manchester area. I learned from this experience that Trafford Libraries are better at managing their stock than Manchester City Libraries when I had an email to say the book was ready for me to pick up only for the library to have lost it. (This has happened a second time, so not an isolated incident. Get your act together Manchester.)

After a second attempt to reserve it, the book eventually came in a few weeks ago. I devoured it over a couple of days. It was every bit as good as I was expecting it to be. Continue reading

Half of a Yellow Sun

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Read 06/05/2016-13/05/2016

Rating: 5 stars

Read for the Reader’s Room March Madness challenge

‘You must never behave as if your life belongs to a man. Do you hear me?’ Aunty Ifeka said. ‘Your life belongs to you and you alone, soso gi.’

Aunty Ifeka says this to her niece Olanna about her boyfriend, halfway through the book. She could easily have been saying it about Nigeria.

I didn’t know what to expect from Half of a Yellow Sun. I came to it completely blind, based on people talking about how good Adichie is as a writer, how she is influenced by Achebe. I read nothing about what the book is about. All I knew was that Adachie is Nigerian and this book was about Nigeria in the 1960s. Continue reading

The Fishermen

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Read 28/02/2016-06/03/2016

Rating: 3 stars

Initially, this was difficult to get into. An alien culture to me, a different way of thinking, traditions and social norms that differ greatly from my own. I couldn’t get a fix on the characters, felt at a remove from them, an observer uninvolved in their lives. Continue reading

Burger’s Daughter

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Read 21/02/2016-28/02/2016

Rating: 5 stars

LibraryThing review

I don’t know how to describe how I feel about this book. It’s beautiful. I feel almost as though I’m in love with it. It’s not the book that I was expecting. I thought it was going to be deeply political in the way protest novels usually are, and it is deeply political but not as a protest. It is political about the self. It rejects as central the political situation of the time and country of its setting, and instead places it in the background, incidental to the story of Rosa Burger’s self.

 I feel challenged by it but also strangely comforted. I’m comforted by its pace and challenged by the inequalities hinted at as Rosa moves through her life.

Continue reading