...so it continues, my short reviews (very short) of the books that I have read recently (and by recently, I mean in the last 3 months). And as always, it's all a 'mishy mashy' mix of different genres & even languages. Yes, I sneaked in a 'foreign language' book, foreign as in 'German' because in as much as I live in Germany, I mostly read English books & my Blog is still written in English.
'An American Marriage' is based on a young black American couple who due to a sudden turn of events, find their 'normal' lives completely turned upside down on a trip that they are on. This book highlights the issues of racism, the prison system in America, marriage & relationships. There's a lot of pain in it, accumulated pain that the black community have carried with them all through their exstence. I loved & enjoyed listening to it.
'Salz auf unsere Haut' which translates to 'Salt on our skin' is also about a young French couple living in a seaside French Town (hence the title 'salt-sea'). They are deeply in love but have what I refer to as a 'struggle love' (a love relationship that is passionate but also painful & full of sacrifices). I found the relationship so emotionally exhausting & in my heart I was just wishing that nobody should ever go through all that, but I am somehow of a 'coward' when it comes to 'heart matters' (am always looking for exits). The story is impressive & I loved the voice of the Audiobook reader (Eva Mattes) who is one of my favorite German actresses. It took me some time to finish it because of the 'foreign language', I needed more time to visualize the scenes in my head. My favourite part was when they made a trip to America & in some motel room ended up listening to the song 'Georgia On My Mind' by 'Ray Charles' which is undoubtedly one of my favourite songs.
'If you want to make God laugh' is set in post Apartheid South Africa, just after the release of Nelson Mandela from prison. It follows the life of a young black South African woman who ends up pregnant after being raped & how her life intertwines with 2 white South African women. It touches on HIV/AIDS, racism in South Africa, same sex relationships & the stigma attached to it back in the early 90's, a situation which unfortunately hasn't seen much improvement.
'The Stationery Shop' is set in Iran, back in the 1970's I believe (I apologize if I have the years mixed up) & is a story about young love during a power struggle, not only politically but also in the family. I have to admit that I do not know much about Iran, apart from the little I hear in the news which is very biased. Reading this book painted a different & beautiful picture of the country & its people even if it was based on a few decades ago. Its food & culture, view on the education of women & also the westernization of the country & its citizens through contact with America, there is so so much about Iran that I never knew about.
Is there anyone who has not read 'Atomic Habits'? Well, am not in that category anymore. Can I recommend it? Yes. Is it 'life altering' as many claim it to be? In my opinion, not really. I mean, it is beautifully written & the tips given are very realistsic, but I felt like there wasn't much in there that I didn't already know. But I am not really big on 'Self Help' books so my review should be viewed as a bit biased.
'Tiny beautiful things. Advice on love & life from Dear Sugar' is a beautiful compilation of letters & replies on an online advice column. This book made me smile & almost cry because of how raw & heartfelt the stories were. Maybe because they were real letters written by real people & the I felt like I could relate with most of the issues raised in them. I really loved reading it.
'The death of Vivek Oji' is a different kind of love story because it's a tragedy set it Nigeria & the main character is a young man exploring his sexuality in a very conservative African society. And while reading it, I felt like the story was a bit 'far fetched' which in reality just goes a long way in showing how 'confined' I am in my views as an African when it comes to matters of sexuality.
'Beloved' is 'heavy' which for me means that it is an severely emotional book. I mean, any book that touches on slavery is 'heavy' & is there a better story teller than 'Toni Morrison'? This is my first time reading any of her works (fully) though I have read some excerpts from her books during a 'Creative writing class' that I attended some time back. Reading this really established her to me as the amazing writer that she was & am looking forward to getting acquinted with more of her work.
'The last black Unicorn' is funny & a light read, especially after the previously mentioned book. I laughed a lot while listening to, Tiffany Haddish is a comedian so naturally, her autobiography had to be hilarious too. Am not sure just how true some of her stories her but nevertheless, they made me laugh.
'Under the Udala Trees' is another love story set in Nigeria which also touches on same sex relationships. I love how African Authors & especially women authors are writing more about such relationships which have existed since time immemorial but have always been hidden & shunned upon by the society. What is even annoying is the fact that this shame was brought upon by the colonialists & 'their religion'.
'Love in Color' is a compilation of love stories, based on myths told in different communities around the world. It was a nice read & I really loved the way the author used her imagination to 're-write' the stories without them losing their originality.
'Professional Troublemaker, the fearfighter manual' is the second book by Luvie Ajayi that I am reading. And just like the previous one, it just is what it says in its title, a manual for us as human beings as we navigate this emotionally 'toxic' world where you sometimes feel like all you do all day is fight. Fight for your rights, fight for air to breathe, fight to be seen & not only be looked at, fight for love, fight for loved ones & with loved ones. Everyone needs this manual in order to make it out there.
'Barefoot in Germany' is the only physical book that I have read recently & I have to admit that the only reason I read it is because I wanted to take part in an online 'Book reading' session organized by 'Ossara Verein'. And I felt like I needed to have read the book before taking part in the session. I unfortunately did not enjoy the book. You can tell that it's the author's first book & in as much as I pride myself in supporting black authors, especially female black authors, this was disappointing. The story was very predictable & the plot was simple, too simple for my taste.
'The Gilded Ones' is one book that I have to admit that I bought just because I loved the cover. It is a fiction based book, a genre that I never go for, but I was not disappointed. It is about a girl who is shunned by her family & community because of her physical attributes which down the line turn out to to be what saves her life & the lives of many. And you have to admit that potraying a black woman as a heroine is something that we scarcely read about & is a beautiful change from the 'suffering narrative' that is often told.
'F*k your Diet & the things my thighs tell me' is another Autobiography by a female black comedian which is fun but also very informative, especially in the areas of our food consumption & the history behind it. Like did you know that Cereals were 'created' by a member of the 'Seventh Day Adventist' Church with some really weird motive behind it? And just reading about the American government's involvement (which in often cases is negative) in the decision-making of what type of food its citizens take was a omplete eye-opener.
'Get good with Money' is a financial manual whose aim is to educate in the simplest way how to go about building your financial literacy. This book is amazing & I learnt so much from it, because of how every single detail was well broken down. Now, this is a book that I feel like I should be gifting all my girlfriends, maybe I will...
'The Sun is also a Star' is another love story based on a chance meeting between a young black woman & an equally young South Korean man living in America. It touches on a lot of issues like, Immigration policies in America, emotional wellbeing, decisions on career choices by children of immigrants & of course interracial relationships & the stigma that still sorrounds it.
'Open Water' is another 'heavy' book written by a black author based in the UK & it touches on racism, Police brutality, black love, knife-violence, mental health & how all these factors affect the lives of children of immigrants, especially those whose parents are of african origin.
'We want our bodies back' is a compilation of poems touching on racism, Polie brutality, feminism, body confidence & body shaming. I think this is the 2nd compilation of poems that am reading, ever in my life & i was nicely surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I can still hear her words in my head, ''We want our bodies back, We want our bodies back, We want our bodies back...''.
So, that's what I've been reading, the thoughts & issues that have been swirling in my head & basically what has been keping me going these last couple of months. What have you been reading? I'd love to hear back from you? And thank you to everyone who has reached out to me, especially those asking when my next Blog is coming back. You guys keep me & this Blog going...THANK YOU!