National Book Awards Review: Colson Whitehead, Underground Railroad

The National Book Awards Longlist is in! And well, yes, Colson Whitehead's Underground Railroad. Going down as one of my Black Lives Matter novels, by me, this book is recommended for your reading! My review on Instagram:

I love being home! I love completing a book! Finally! Amidst all my project work chaos, completed Colson Whitehead! 😀 Well, I loved this one too. Another read that shows just exactly how #BlackLivesMatter and how we built, made, created #America as it stands! Another read that documents the harsh trans-atlantic slave trade! A thriller! Yes, despite it being about slavery, a thriller-element is included when our lead character escapes her master to freedom. But she doesn't exactly get freedom, does she? The most painful form of slavery is always the one with phantom shackles, the one that enslaves the mind and slowly seeks to cripple the body! It doesn't help that through all the small jobs she finds, experimentation made on blacks to reduce fertility because of the fear of revolution against the "white" race, the ruthless gunning down of blacks by "law enforcement officers", there's a slave-catcher on her tail! Brilliant! Except I do have one problem: the writing; done, done, done-before! I wanted an original style to meet this amazing storyline. Yet, this is a book you should pick up if you're in the mood for a bit of slavery fiction with thriller elements! Yup, enjoy! 😀 Oh, plus, the food, nothing like a welcome home meal (waakye with rice, see waakye recipe in previous posts) ... made by my own hands with the mum eating most of it! 😒 #colsonwhitehead #undergroundrailroad #fiction #bibliophile #foodporn #meals #recipe #foodstagram #foodie #bookstagram #African #slavery #thriller #Oprah #bookish #bookporn
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Manbooker Review: Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh

OK, honestly, I was thrown when Eileen made the short-list. It wasn't disappointing, it was highly suspenseful, but I found the ending forced and highly anti-climaxed. Still, the writing was good, the anal imagery pervading the writing was unusual and interesting. Here's my review on Instagram, 'followed by my congratulations for making the short-list' photo:

Would it make Tomorrow's MANBOOKER shortlist? 😐 Well, Eileen was something else. Eileen the book takes patience to read, the narrative is slow. A short story of a few two hundred pages that focuses on one single event: her escape from her small-town. 😕 While I thought an amazing work was done on character development of Eileen, her drunkard father who emotionally abuses her, the prison guard she's romanticized and loves from afar, the woman, Rebecca, who eventually leads her to her escape, the characters are not exactly likable. All very quirky like the lead Eileen. This is a very strange book with lots of unsettling (bordering on disgusting) imagery. I wished the narrative was fast. The writing was good enough and its main character detestable enough to keep me reading. 😈 Photo Info: #AfricaThroughABook, it's rumoured that in Ghana you could get designer shades for as little as ten cedis, that's a $3. But if you hold a good bargain, you could get two that price. 👓 #Eileen #Manbooker #bookstagram #ottesamofegh #bookish #bookporn #bookworm #bibliophile #bookish #literary #fiction #sunglasses #Africa #trade #manbookerprize
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Book Review: Between The World and Me by TaNehisi Coates

As part of my off-the-track reading, I was gifted this book by an amazing friend to probably teach me a lesson. A lesson which I learnt with a wince! This book has made me begin compiling a BlackLivesMatter list which I'll host up for you all to check out. And now my review for this book on Instagram:

"This is your country, this is your world, this is your body, and you must find some way to live within the all of it." 😞 I believe @ttchume gifted me with this book because she wanted me to learn the harsh realities of the America I'd romanticized and that the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter is really a thing. 😱 Well, it worked. I read this book with a wince! Between the World and Me is an amazing account of racism in America and the degeneration of the word 'Black' in Western societies. To be "Black", is to be preyed, victimized and made to look like the villain. To be Black is to live in fear of your life, to live in the deep trenches of injustice no amount of freedom could haul you out. I've never really been emotional about a book on racism this much. A moving tale told from the point of view of a father making his little boy conscious to all the evils inflicted on his race by the "whites". Evils which till this day continue to persist. I haven't teared up enough. I think I'm going to comfort eat from my piggy-bank savings—the one labelled "Welcome To New York" 😭 #betweentheworldandme #tanehisicoates #racism #bookstagram #nonfiction #literary #bibliophile #injustice #black #bookporn #currentread #
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Manbooker Review: The Sellout by Paul Beatty

When the Manbooker shortlist, came out, I was unsurprised to see The Sellout on the list, although it was one of two books I'd read from the longlist. So, yes, I believed it would make the short-list because of its unusual style. And yes, I believe you should all read it. Here's my post about it on instagram.

"You stupid overmedicated bitch. If you don't back that fucking jalopy out of my space, I swear to God, I'm going to punch you in your anti-ageing-cold-cream face and permanently reverse five hundred years of white privilege and five hundred thousand dollars of plastic surgery!" 😂 OMG! To have a father like that! 👆 This book is all kinds of crazy! In fact, if there's a word to describe this book, it would be bat-shit-crazy! 😀 A satire that would stay forever in the hallmarks of Black American Literature, and I even envision this becoming a classic studied by schools on post-racism literature! I loved, loved it so much, I found myself deducing what all those absurd situations represented in real-life and what structures the writer was criticizing. There are two ways you could read this book: the first and ugliest is laughing only to the humorous bits and its highly absurd scenes, closing it and not taking any lessons because you just thought it was a funny book. The second and best way, is to consider this a literary masterpiece—because that's what it is, as you ask yourself the reason the main character is pressing for the cause of segregation when some of America's best memories are not from that era, or the existence of Hominy, the self-imposed slave who expects the main character to whip him, who only is afraid of abolitionists. 😯 5 stars and highly recommend! ⭐ @ns510reads that guy in the background is dressed up as Hominy, so I immediately took this pic. 😉 @ttchume I listened to your convo with Nana about slavery and racism in America, and I know you'd love this! 😁 #thesellout #funny #hilarious #satire #literary #blacklivesmatter #paulbeatty #bookstagram #bookporn #bookish #manbooker2016 #Africa #Accra #slavery #racism #sharp.
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Killer Review: A Different Class by Joanne Harris

The King of DNFing thrillers because they are unoriginal is back! And in these times of the influx of Domestic/Psychological Thrillers, where you could read a hundred titles and still feel like you read one with a twitch here and a twitch there in the overall plot, THIS IS THE THRILLER YOU NEED TO READ! 😄 I'm all for discovering underrated books! And trust me, this a book that would get you saying 'Urethra, urethra, I've found the one book that has helped me gain mastery over my bladder!" 😜 I never intended to pick this book to read early! I just picked it because I was running for @brunchoverbooks (over @teabaagh) and it matched with what I was wearing (—you know, for us bookworms, a wrong book can nail your outfit in the coffin even more than a wrong purse!). 😝 Anyway, 'how's this thriller like, and why's it so special?' you'd ask. (Well, my answer wouldn't be 'You just have to read it and see', sadly). How many of us are Potter fans? (I mean, Harry Potter fans. You'd be surprised I'm African and have shockingly never set eyes on a potter before! Till recently, I believed pot was planted!) Imagine Professor Snape starring as lead in a thriller. His voice in first-person narrating a thriller to you. Yes, you're imagining now! That's exactly how this book's lead is! He's a sixty-year old latin master in a boy's school who has no clue what an email is, until, a new Head who happened to be one of his own boys takes over the reins, and decides to usher a school built on Old Guard traditions into the new age. The whole thriller part of this summary is: the new Head is dark, and he's back, to make someone pay for all the wrongs done to him as a student! GO GET THIS! GO GET THIS! IT'S HARRY POTTER WITHOUT THE PARONUM SPELL! (Oh, plus, she's the author of Chocolat, which became a movie starring Johnny Depp! So you can imagine how impeccable the writing would be) 😘 #thriller #bookstagram #differentclass #joanneHarris #bookish #bookporn #currentlyreading #malemodel #sipnswap #accra #teabaa #osu #smile #gorgeous #black #menwhoread #readingissexy #happysunday #goodmorning
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Book Review: Death by Water by Kenzaburo Oe

"I've noticed young women nowadays don't appear to have any regrets about anything, or any awareness of the possibility that their present actions might be sowing the seeds for future regrets. That's perfectly natural, of course, since they probably haven't had time to do anything they regret. They seem to feel completely fine about everything." 😤

This book! Literary in every sense of the word. Throw in haikus, past civil wars, military coups, a writer going back in time to write the "drowning novel" chronicling the life and 'death by water' of his father. Nobel Literature Prize Winners write with this ease! You're comfortable in their craft, and you're in no mood to finish early. The introduction to lots of traditional symbols of Japanese culture was insightful. And so are all the characters, though they are mostly developed in—wait for it—DIALOGUES! This book is a dialogue book, sometimes from start to finish of a scene. And all action, the plot actually happens in the dialogue. I do hope to read more from Kenzaburo Oe! 😊