Tag Archives: Nigeria

Sunday Reads

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Sunday Reads

Recipes

Sunday Reads

  1. How to read more books this year. I am definitely taking it to heart by reducing my junk TV viewing and making sure I always have a book as I go about various chores.
  2. A reading list on Kenya in case you are interested.
  3. If a story moves you, act on it!
  4. This article on insecurity made me stop and think. Really hard!
  5. Somali nicknames are hilarious 🙂
  6. So many white tears in this article. I see that they have only a given demographic of foreign spouses married to South Africans.
  7. Also, this IS cultural expropriation.
  8. More on how couples deal with finances.
  9. I didn’t know there were Nigerian Jews in Johannesburg. Today’s fact!!
  10. What does it mean to be a boy or girl? National Geographic asks 9/10 year old kids.
  11. Stealing from one of the comments, “This is by far the best article I’ve read regarding LBGT and the gospel.”
  12. Chocolate cake and another vegetarian pasta recipe.

Sunday Reads

  1. This article on that tragic election.
  2. This lady trying to make sense of that election (1,000 comments but good).
  3. An education on the for-profit education sector in Kenya and Uganda.
  4. Extra-judicial killings in Kenya. HEARTBREAK!!
  5. Undertaking a life audit/ preparing for your 2017 New Years’ Resolutions.
  6. Why it is important for adults to give back in their community.
  7. I am definitely a sampler. I used to be a compartmentalizer before I got married and had to force diverse groups of friends to meet 😦
  8. Simple items that you can turn into a gift by framing them.
  9. Yummy vegetarian meals.
  10. Debunking the myth of a biological clock.
  11. Who are the middle class in Nigeria? PS: This is not a direct economic answer.
 

Sunday Reads

Afternoon me

Some lovely reads this week as you can see below.

  1. Goodbye Downton Abbey
  2. A Vietnamese coffee cake
  3. Cooking with cauliflower. Ten recipes.
  4. … specifically this cauliflower risotto. YUM!!
  5. Go big or go home in relation to Nigerian Weddings. Thank God we did not have that pressure way back when …
  6. Restoring the world’s oldest library.
  7. This broke my heart this week. Teenagers who kill in order to become famous or get a following. JUST SAD!!
  8. I am really keen for Fuller House. Nostalgia, much?
  9. Again, why women friendships are the bomb diggity!

Historically, friendships between women provided them with attention, affection and an outlet for intellectual or political exchange in eras when marriage, still chiefly a fiscal and social necessity, wasn’t an institution from which many could be sure of gleaning sexual or companionate pleasure.
For many women, friends are our primary partners through life; they are the ones who move us into new homes, out of bad relationships, through births and illnesses. Even for women who do marry, this is true at the beginning of our adult lives, and at the end — after divorce or the death of a spouse.

Enjoy and have a lovely Sunday.

xoxo

The Centre Cannot Hold

I recently had occasion to read Things Fall Apart. I thought it would be quite overrated because how can it be that every single person would read this book and fall head over heels with it. BUT, I must say, it delivered on just about every aspect. It was an easy read, well written, timelss and very much classical. I loved it and would happily recommend it to anyone (like me) that hadn’t read it!

Things Fall Apart tells two intertwining stories, both centering on Okonkwo, a “strong man” of an Ibo village in Nigeria. The first, a powerful fable of the immemorial conflict between the individual and society, traces Okonkwo’s fall from grace with the tribal world. The second, as modern as the first is ancient, concerns the clash of cultures and the destruction of Okonkwo’s world with the arrival of aggressive European missionaries. These perfectly harmonized twin dramas are informed by an awareness capable of encompassing at once the life of nature, human history, and the mysterious compulsions of the soul. Source

My overall thoughts?

  • I loved that the story was told through a very flawed but relatable hero.I loved that he took the time to develop other supporting characters and they were not a hollow supporting cast.
  • I greatly appreciated the proverbs and had occasion to smile at the meaning behind some of them.
  • Based on my upbringing whereby I significantly identify with a Christian Culture, I found some of the content quite other-worldly and very steeped in what I would call Witchcraft what with all the ceremonies, the belief in ancestral worship and the blatant worship of idols. That made me very very uneasy.
  • Having said that, it was quite enlightening to see how things ran say Pre-Christianity as we know it . To see how the people ( past and present), their land and their “gods” were heavily intertwined.I believe that we are merely stewards of the earth and that to some extent we have abused it.
  • The last section of the book dealt with the early Missionaries and the Colonisers that came to Africa and I must say it made me so angry.I actually felt like my stomach would turn from the rage.
    • It bothered me so much that Christianity was so heavily intertwined with Western Culture. African culture was not perfect, ABSOLUTELY NOT! But it was unnecessary to introduce the faith within such a narrow slant. I wonder whether it makes White people uneasy how integrated Church is with predominantly their culture. Yes, I understand it is a generalisation as I have attended churches that are truly multicultural but they are often in the minority!
    • I doubt that we speak often enough of the brutality of the Colonial rule. Physically and emotionally, it dehumanised and destabilised people. Something I believe inexorably altered the application of the Rule of Law across most colonialised nations.
  • I loved the sense of Community that was described and in particular the description of one of Okonkwo’s neighbours daughters and how the village chipped in to make the day a success and memorable. This was particularly memorable in light of a conversation I had with friends earlier last week on whether they would go through with traditional negotiations or if they would skip it altogether. There is a communal part to marriage that one must experience -regardless of how tough or difficult it becomes.
  • As a modern woman some of the practices were a tad out of date for my liking and the one that is foremost in my mind is Polygamy. Just no.
  • The ending initially for me felt like a cope out but then as I reviewed it over and again in my mind, I could see how it would happen. Okonkwo had been broken down slowly and then increasingly over time. By the end, he was not himself.

Definitely, go out, read it and share and let me know your thoughts if you have already read it!

 

11. Sunday Reads

  1. The ethics of selling/ donating breast milk
  2. I don’t know that I would reconsider after all this time had passed. Not sure because for me time enhances or clarifies things! (NY Times)
  3. Because Nigerian Weddings are HUGE and here is proof.
  4. For the upcoming wedding season, what you actually need to get that bride!
  5. The morality of reporting on the dark net. I am quite curious but I do not think I would ever allow myself to wander to the dark side. Just not sure I would recover.
  6. Annual reviews for, ahem, your marriage? Yay or Nay? I am #teamyay. Here’s the actual Performance review (PDF)
  7. So well said. On the lessons that we can get from failure and how it’s only ever a lesson for the next things we go into. Read it and smiled/ bit down the tears I already had.
  8. I wanna try this vegan ice cream recipe. Yum!
  9. Or this pear and ginger sorbet.
  10. Or these pear cardamom muffins.
  11. Sources of protein for a vegan.
  12. Had dinner with a friend recently and we spoke at length about how (female) friendships tend to drift apart over time and how we both deal with that. Female friendships are beautiful, emotional, exciting and all of that but they do change over time and some people can adjust better than others but you never really know until it happens!

These days, I focus on finding ways to stay in touch with my family-friends, mainly by incorporating them in every aspect of my day – through texts and talks of plans for visits. Now, it’s a case of quality over quantity. We don’t sit around quite as much in our pajamas on Tuesday nights, so instead we talk more and plot and plan for future celebrations.

It is hard, though. Staying in touch with friends lies somewhere between the world of the constant marathon phone calls of a long distance relationship and the scheduled Sunday Skypes used with far away family. More often than not, in that between world, the plans have a tendency to fall apart.

And so you work harder at it because family-friends are worth it. They’re rare, hard to find, and must be clung to regardless of distance and time and change in circumstance.

And you know what? We may never come home to each other again, as Mindy said, but seeing each other on weekend visits brings me back to myself in a way that only family-friends can, and that’s more than I could ask for. 

On replay all week …

Not sure of the lyrics but its quite catchy

Book review: Open City–Teju Cole

I have finally gotten to review this book.

The back of the book cover describes the book thus

‘The past, if there is such a thing, is mostly empty space, great expanses of nothing, in which significant persons and events float. Nigeria was like that for me: mostly forgotten, except for those few things that I remembered with outsize intensity.’

Along the streets of Manhattan, a young Nigerian doctor doing his residency wanders aimlessly. The walks meet a need for Julius: they are a release from the tightly regulated mental environment of work, and they give him the opportunity to process his relationships, his recent breakup with his girlfriend, his present, his past. Though he is navigating the busy parts of town, the impression of countless faces does nothing to assuage his feelings of isolation. But it is not only a physical landscape he covers; Julius crisscrosses social territory as well, encountering people from different cultures and classes who will provide insight on his journey-which takes him to Brussels, to the Nigeria of his youth, and into the most unrecognizable facets of his own soul.

A haunting novel about national identity, race, liberty, loss, dislocation, and surrender, Teju Cole’s Open City seethes with intelligence. Written in a clear, rhythmic voice that lingers, this book is a mature, profound work by an important new author who has much to say about our world.

My thoughts?

Overall, I felt the book was pretentious, difficult (even impossible) to get into and as I read it, I thought how it’s possible for people to hype up something crappy into this larger than life thing. I will admit that as a result Open City was on my to-read list for almost three years before I finally bought it and wasted my time reading it.

In many parts I felt it to be unstructured, disjointed and almost like taking a bus that promises to go somewhere but never quite leaves the bus station! I honestly preferred the little story within a story and in those instances I could see the writers brilliance.

Discussed themes that were of interest to me include: the Jewish state, belonging/ identify, family dynamics, Nationhood and Migration as well as the power/benefits of solitude. But I feel like all this was overshadowed by the fact that he wanted to tell us about the different streets that Julius had walked on in New York and Belgium.

Final recommendation: Do not read the book. Avoid at all costs!

Sunday reads

  1. What would a similar experiment reveal for various African states?
  2. The benefits of being an ally to a working mom
  3. If you love beautiful pics and who doesn’t?
  4. If you ever wondered about the Porn industry in Japan. It’s a dog’s job but the article reveals so much of their society so do read.
  5. I actually thought that Pinterest was too cool for me. Good explanation of the changes.
  6. All I can do is wish these two a quick and speedy recovery, SMH!
  7. Cauliflower Barley Risotto
  8. Moroccan Carrot & Quinoa salad
  9. 20 beautiful pasta recipes
  10. For next time someone asks me about kids
  11. Babies in a Birkin Bag?? Yep! Seems its a thing!
  12. If you like weddings, or specifically, Nigerian Weddings that are a category in themself

Enjoy!

Book review: Happiness like water

Happiness like WaterChinelo Okparanta

As promised here are my thoughts on this book.

      • For some reason, it is ridiculously priced at Exclusive Books and that’s if you can get it. I ended up getting it from Amazon at half price.
      • A part of me wanted not to compare her to that other famous Nigerian Writer and I tried most of the time.
      • The stories are divided into two parts – stories in the first half are based in Nigeria and the latter in America.
      • The predominant themes to her stories are religion, migration or identity, family dynamics and unexpectedly lesbianism, which begs the question, how many lesbians are there in Nigeria? (This scares me because of the traffic that will be lead to this blog ala this.) But in light of the recent anti-homosexuality bills in Nigeria and Uganda, it does raise the question of how difficult it is to be gay/lesbian in Africa. Culture notwithstanding.
      • She writes very simply but poignantly. A lot of the time, I had such strong feelings after most stories. Which to me is not necessarily a bad thing because I have to react to my stories to truly enjoy them otherwise it’s just not worth it.
      • I loved “On Ohaeto Street” because the description of where they lived reminded me so much of the estate I grew up in back in Nairobi. Very beautiful intro to the book. As with any short story, I was left wondering whether they got back together again?
      • The second story very touching as the wife had to go through the VERY public and then an equally private shame. Interesting also that it had to be the wife with a problem conceiving and not the guy. Like no one ever considered it could be him.
      • I also loved “America”. Quite a lot. I felt of all of them, this had the most potential to be drawn out further but maybe if it was, it wouldn’t have that same feel to it. Possibly. But reading this story, I did ponder on the issue of brain drain and how it was/is to some extent today that you haven’t quite made it in Africauntil you have gone overseas and studied/lived/worked. You can be great BUT and that’s a huge BUT.
      • As an eternal foreigner “Shelter” made me so sad. To be in a bad way and stuck in a foreign country without help or family. Worst nightmare.
      • Tumours and Butterflies” almost made me wail like a sick kid. I was probably quite emotional on the day I read it but it gutted me. Parts of you feel sorry for the mom that she is a battered lady, then you wanna feel sorry for the dad because he has Cancer and then you see him treat his daughter like that and you wanna get in there and beat him up. I thank God I am not a battered wife but her decision to side with her husband over her daughter I cannot even contemplate!
      • The title of the book comes from the story “Grace”. I felt like this story dragged on unnecessarily. However, is Happiness always fleeting … “maybe it is all about being on the verge of joy and similar small moments.” To me happiness is fleeting and joy is perpetual.

I loved this book, which is rare because I cannot be paid enough to read short stories. But this one, I would certainly give a proud 4.5 out of 5.

Happy reading!!

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.