Book Review: To Kill a Mockingbird (Part 1)


Almost halfway into this incredible classic, To Kill a Mockingbird, and I thought, I just must document my thoughts in this informal book review.

Firstly, I must say high school set books usually come with so much richness in knowledge and wisdom that many of us take for granted in our teen years. Fortunately for me “To Kill A Mockingbird” is one of those books that I did not have the privilege to dishonor growing up and as such, have gone back to this Classic at a much mature stage to appreciate it in totality, after gathering much wounds in adulthood to increase the appreciation haha!

From the minute I opened this book after purchasing it. There was something about it that silently whispered “let’s go back to the basics of humanity that are very much overlooked yet necessary”. Harper Lee (May her soul Rest In Peace) wrote a masterpiece. I have never read a book so deep and easy at the same time.

The perception I have of classics is that they are books written decades ago and hold a certain air of seriousness and morbidmess. Boy is this book funny! There are not many books that can get a serious message across and in the same sentence make you ball your eyes with laughter.

The innocence of Scout and Jem is one thing you will definitely fall in love with. Atticus and Calpurnia are the definition of a “Star Team” and Atticus’ conviction to his conscience is one thing I admire most as it teaches one that at the end of the day, despite how you believe people have wronged you and insulted you and taken you for granted, people are people who are just trying to live; and the more you let your peace reside in their presence the easier it is to help them heal.

So far, so flipping good 💯🔥.

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Book Review: Americanah (My thoughts so far)

So I have been the biggest fan of Chimamanda since we all first heard her speech in Beyonce’s music video “Flawless”.

However, being the fussy reader that I am, I have been putting off buying her books, despite the raving comments I heard. To be honest, when I think about why it took me so long, it wasn’t because I did not think she was a fantastic writer. I was just so intimidated (read: lazy) by the African names and context.

As an African blogger and avid reader from South Africa, my biggest fear was that I would pick up one of her books and just simply NOT RELATE. I thought I’d try and give Americanah a try and close it bitterly after trying to drill the character names into my head and relate to the storyline and the characters experiences. I was afraid I wasn’t going to be black or African enough to get it and the last thing I wanted was to read about the people of my land from a foreign context, I did not want to feel like and imposter. I was so terrified of just disliking liking it.

But alas! After an hour of research and debate in the bookstore I walked out (with a little reservation and confidence) on my new purchase and addition which was Americanah. Why was I never told Ifemelu was a blogger who had monitozed her blog!? People. I would have long been within this book if I knew this!

Needless to say, I cannot express how estatic I am to have one of Chimamanda’s pieces of literature on my bedside table. It is so surreal, and my love for her writing and storyline in the current book I am reading just make the novel that much dreamier. If I could compare Chimamanda’s writing style to food I’d say it smells like French vanilla and melts in your mouth like rich dark cocoa. Her storylines are extensive, and as deep as a freshly brewed pot of coffeee on a Monday morning. I’m in love! My second African author and I am simply in love!

I’m left with 1/3 of the book to go and I just cannot bring myself to finishing it. Do you have any recommendations of a book just as lovely, either written by her or other female African authors? Please swing your recommendations to me via the comments box 🙂

I cannot wait to share my final thoughts and my deconstructed version of a book review with you!

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5 things Americanah taught me about being African

When one gets their wisdom teeth removed, very many things can happen, one of these things, naturally as a bookworm, is having time to read. In between the moments of fatigue and pain I devoured the last few pages I had been savoring of Americanah and finally today I read the final page of an incredible journey found in a book.

As you may have read in my previous blog post (Americanah: My thoughts so far), I was initially apprehensive about reading African literature, but Chimamanda writes in such an incredible way that allows for “cop- outs” as I have alluded to before. She leaves the reader feeling included, catered for and understood in their thought process throughout the journey of reading the book irrespective of the readers background.

Having now completed Americanah, and excitingly attracted some African bloggers to my post, I can certainly say for sure that this experience has taught me the following:

1. Africa as big and diverse as it is, shares a common thread of understanding amongst its people. We all share similar perspectives of what struggle, hope, triumph and success look like.

2. Show me an African who doesn’t like America or London and I will prove to your that person is not from Africa. There’s just something about these places man haha!

3. Interracial relationships… as diverse as the world has now become, society is still very backwards. I have so much to add to this section but for now I will just say this- Chimamanda laid it down in this book! I have never felt like anyone truly understood this dynamic as much as she did when she wrote about it in the Curt chapters. I felt like I was having a DMC with a bff who finally GETS IT.

4. Blesser/blessee life is everywhere and it’s universal. It’s not a black thing.

5. African stories and story writers are out of this world. It doesn’t matter which country you’re from in Africa, we all share similar narratives. There is no better place to gain inspiration from than from an African context. There is just something that hit home when I read this book, a feeling of reading something familiar, as much as it was fictional and influenced by a Nigerian context. I truly felt at home between its modern threads as a South African.

Americanah has been such a joy. One of the realest and most relatable books I’ve read this year. It felt more like a DMC session with a good friend than it felt like reading. At the same time that I was going through this journey with Ifemelu, I felt my own mind and soul detoxing and releasing all these memories and questions I had bottled and buried far within my soul.

Final Verdict: What a joy! I cannot wait to add another one of these gems in my collection!

*If you have any recommendations for female African authors I should look out for and the titles of their books, please swing them my way in the comments section!

Book Review: The Alchemist

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Paulo Coelho: The Alchemist

Unlike many of these new age uncultured people, I actually still prefer to purchase and collect books. There’s something about that new book smell that makes me feel more in touch with a writer’s story and effort. Weird? I don’t know… whatever. All you need to understand is that the kindle is the last thing you’d want to buy me because I wont use that thing.

After months of procrastination and also waiting for the hype of the book to die down, I finally decided  to purchase The Alchemist on the evening of the 19th of March 2016. A purchase that left me wondering why I was such a stubborn person in life. It also turned out that that I got invited to this invisible Paulo Coelho book club where I’d earn my Paulo stripes and become a living breathing sales and marketing tool for Paulo Coelho, but not just that, reformed people like me in this camp no longer just see a day as a day; an event as an event, or even time as just time. We are deep ok!? ok. Thanks Paulo Coelho, I’m now one of the few wise ones in life…

Phase 1

Reading the alchemist was like enthusiastically starting a journey to an unknown destination and getting desert sand blowing in your eyes continuously in the first hour but still being hopeful that the environment will settle. It made me wonder if the painful whirlwind of confusion would end and whether I would eventually understand what the hell was going on in this mans mind.

Phase 2

Neo_spoon
Image source: matrix.wikia.com “There is no spoon”

Reading The Alchemist was like expecting to find the solution to an equation that has taken you a lifetime to solve and then discovering that the solution has been embedded within the fibers of your being for eternity….

Reading the alchemist gave you the expectation that you had possibly, probably found that missing piece that would make you great, but upon discovery you realized that there was no missing piece to begin with.

Reading the alchemist, you thought that you would receive a mere fable that would take your imagination to faraway lands when upon reading you discovered that the message, the mere fable was God speaking to you, telling you to wake up and pay attention. A powerful message that resonated with your soul and fit the Bible of your life perfectly.

In conclusion

Uncompromising in his faith and belief, he inspired more than 65 million readers across the world, to believe in the greatness that lies within them.

I really commend Paulo Coelho as an artist for his magic, for never giving up on the voice of his heart, because from him, the rest of the world can draw strength and motivation to also dream. He wove spirituality in his message so well that it incepted an unknowing seed in unbelievers hearts who dared to touch this book and be inspired by the journey of a simple Spanish Shepard.

“You already have everything you need to fulfill your destiny”