Tag Archives: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Books on Letters between Friends

Image resultImage result for dear ijeawele

About So Long a Letter

About Dear Ijeawele

In March and April I read these two letters between female friends. Both of them touch of womanhood and issues of feminism which although books are written almost four decades apart, are still so relevant and applicable to the plight of women. All in all, they are both great books so I will talk about the common themes that struck a note with me.

  1. Maintain your identity that is separate from your role as a mother, a wife, a sister-in-law. Maintain that single identity and I would even venture to say, keep pursuing those interests you have and love to do.
  2. Make your partner a full partner. From Dear Ijeawele, this is quite obvious and self-explanatory. From So Long …. it’s not quite obvious but I like Aissatou (the friend)’s response when her husband married a second wife, she held him immediately accountable and  left the marriage. Many called her names and wished something else of her but she held him accountable and did what she had to do.
  3. Both authors talk about centering marriage in the right place as a nice to have/do but not the penultimate accomplishment. Marriage is neither good nor bad, but how we aspire to it could be.
  4. Both writers caution each other against assigning certain roles to male or female children and the assumptions we make or impute. The future is not one where boys (girls) can do certain things that girls (boys) cannot. Also the language that we use when we explain the roles and responsibilities to kids also matters a lot.

The entire letter is an ode to female friendship which I totally loved and would therefore recommend both books. You can easily get through both in a single sitting or weekend.

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Sunday Reads

“To all the little girls out there,
we will set fire to this world
that steals your childhoods
and stops you from being
everything you want to be,
and build you a better one from the ashes,
the kind of world that treasures you
for all your powerful capabilities.”

– Nikita Gill, Women’s March 2018

Recipes

Mini- December (Reading) Goal

So I recently had occasion to reflect on the past year and to start planning for 2018 and decided to close out the year by reading ten books until the end of coming February. SO here is my reading list (the ones struck off are already complete):

  1. Kintu – Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
  2. All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doer
  3. Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng
  4. Her Body and Other Parties – Carmen Maria Machado
  5. The Leavers – Lisa Ko
  6. Pachinko – Min Jin Lee
  7. A Column of Fire – Ken Follett
  8. Negroland: A Memoir – Margo Jefferson
  9. Dear Ijeawele or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  10. The Warmth of Other Suns – Isabel Wilkerson

Bonus

  1. Their Eyes were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurston
  2. Between the World and Me – Ta-Nehisi Coates
  3. The Gene: An Intimate History – Siddhartha Mukherjee
  4. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind – Yuval Harari
  5. Always Another Country: A Memoir of Exile and Home – Sisonke Msimang

Sunday Reads

 Recipes:

Belated: (Women-related) Sunday Reads

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I read some good books last year

Both of these books have a similar theme and I read them back to back which made me so angry. But, they are well written and I loved them equally and would happily recommend them.

I love both of these ladies and so it goes without saying that I would enjoy their writing.

I love Jhumpa Lahiri’s writing. It’s simply beautiful. I have to say that anytime I say I read short stories, it’s obvious that I love the author.

 African literature is doing SO WELL. SO WELL. Both of these books are so well written, you just have to go out and get them and savour them for yourself. Yum!!!

Sunday Reads on Africa

  1. I have read ten of these 50 must-read books by African female writers.
  2. Exclusive Books publish their first newsletter focused on African Lit. Great start.
  3. A South African church in pictures.
  4. Hot jams to get you ready for the week ahead!
  5. Beyonce’s style of feminism is not my own.” Chimamanda Adichie.
  6. I would venture a guess that most black women have this growing up with black hair story.
  7. On intersectionality. Yaa Gyasi’s essay on what it means to be Ghanaian in America.
  8. Pettinah Gappah’s recent short story.
  9. Love and Johannesburg. The couple reminds me of the Mr and I.
  10. 21 gifts for the creative black woman in your life.
  11. A guide to Africa’s dictators. Here and Here.
  12. Rachel Strohm highlights work by the team at Democracy in Africa in putting together a long reading list of articles on African issues by African scholars.
  13. This page showing Everyday Africa.
  14. But why is my leader like this? Not sure we need mandarin studies in Uganda just yet.

6: And she dropped another

I recently read Americanah, Chimamanda’s most recent offering.

Book coverchimamanda-bio

The back of the book states:

From the award-winning author of Half of a Yellow Sun, a dazzling new novel: a story of love and race centered around a young man and woman from Nigeria who face difficult choices and challenges in the countries they come to call home.

As teenagers in a Lagos secondary school, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. Their Nigeria is under military dictatorship, and people are leaving the country if they can. Ifemelu—beautiful, self-assured—departs for America to study. She suffers defeats and triumphs, finds and loses relationships and friendships, all the while feeling the weight of something she never thought of back home: race. Obinze—the quiet, thoughtful son of a professor—had hoped to join her, but post-9/11 America will not let him in, and he plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London.

Years later, Obinze is a wealthy man in a newly democratic Nigeria, while Ifemelu has achieved success as a writer of an eye-opening blog about race in America. But when Ifemelu returns to Nigeria, and she and Obinze reignite their shared passion—for their homeland and for each other—they will face the toughest decisions of their lives.

Fearless, gripping, at once darkly funny and tender, spanning three continents and numerous lives, Americanah is a richly told story set in today’s globalized world: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s most powerful and astonishing novel yet.

My thoughts?

(Spoiler Alert!!!!!)

  • Race  IS a big deal and we can’t be disingenuous and pretend otherwise.
  • I also didn’t know I was black until I came to South Africa five and a bit years back. Even now, there is a separateness and difference, I am not like the local Blacks, I just don’t have the same kind of heritage issues.
  • Loved how she highlighted the inter-racial differences talking about how a given Black character took the pains not to take an opinion because his family happened to be wealthier than the rest or how he was pro-Hilary and not pro-Obama. We are not a homogeneous nebulous cultural group, we are different.
  • I loved how she spoke of the run up to Obama’s victory. I totally identified with that, the fear that he might be shot dead at any point/ they would discover something awful about him that would force him to get disqualified and then his Pastor spoke and I thought, no!
  • Loved how she characterised the desperation that so many Africans have regarding moving abroad. Very palpable.
  • About natural hair? I rock it, you don’t! Moving along swiftly.
  • Saddened by the portrayal of Nigerian women and the fact that men appear to be firmly in control.
  • It was nice to see her talk of modern day Nigeria and the fact that people do hustle and we appreciate this better when we contrast Obinze in London versus Obinze in Lagos/Abuja. Big boy about town!
  • The apparent ending of the story further saddened me. Does Ifem take him back or not?
  • While the story is pretty much about Ifem and Obinze, there were a few hollow characters. Curtis? Blake?
  • Loved the names. So beautiful.
  • Curiously, I do wonder what the problem was with the girl that Ifem first baby-sat. Was she molested, a psychopath,what?
  • Dike, was another underdeveloped character, or maybe not, I am not sure. (Wondered how the name is pronounced as I read the book)

I loved this book but it made me immediately want to go back to Half of a Yellow Sun.