Once I put down my copy of “Americanah” by Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie I didn’t waste anytime reaching for her other best seller now turnOnce I put down my copy of “Americanah” by Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie I didn’t waste anytime reaching for her other best seller now turned into a movie “Half of a Yellow Sun”. I expected nothing less of a novel than Americanah and I was happy, a few days of nesting and not putting the novel down later, to find that Half of a Yellow Sun had exceeded my expectations.
Half of a Yellow Sun is set in the sixties, right after the independence of Nigeria and just before a part of Nigeria had become the Republic of Biafra, something I’ve never known or heard of before. You start the story by following the arrival of a houseboy, Ugwu, in the house of a revolutionary university professor who welcomes the young kid and treats him in the best way possible, even enrolling him in school so he could continue his education. The revolutionary professor is soon joined by his lover Olannah and soon together they will face the ups and downs, the pains and grief, brought on by a heart wrenching civil war in Nigeria.
The novel is gripping, you are amused by Ugwu’s introduction into the new world and moved by his loyalty and dedication, even though at one point I actually started to loathe him. You are touched by Olannah and Odinegbo’s love and want them to have their happily ever after so badly, I personally had a soft spot for the poet who would recite his poetry every night, but you will have to read the novel to know what I mean, and be warned that if you do you will find yourself laughing out loud at one moment then tearing at your hair and crying your eyes out at another, specifically at page 149.
Reading Half of a Yellow Sun is like watching a news broadcast of war, you are left with this deep sense of helplessness, you wonder how is it that history seems to teach us nothing and keeps repeating itself, the ugly wars and vicious inhumane acts, all over again. Why do humans keep fighting wars? This novel could very well describe the current state of the world, nothing has changed much I’m afraid. In any case, do pickup Half a Yellow Sun and you will be introduced to an entire new world, yet not so different humans.
P.S. Don’t bother with the movie, I rented it as soon as I put down the book and it was neither good nor that good of an adaptation, almost the entire ending of the book wasn’t there!...more
After spending sometime on my shelf gathering dust and only after a friend all the way from the USA emailed me out of the blue gushing about the bookAfter spending sometime on my shelf gathering dust and only after a friend all the way from the USA emailed me out of the blue gushing about the book did I get up and start reading it and once finished I had to say it was a delightful read. I enjoyed the book very much, the writer’s style is witty and flows smoothly throughout the pages. After the first chapter you’ll find yourself gripped by the world you are sunk into, for it provided quite an insight about a part of the world that, until I read the book, was inaccessible to me. Whatever I thought Nigeria- or Africa in general- was like, it is no longer the case. I’m also amused, and sometimes alarmed, by the similarities between the Kuwaiti and Nigerian society of Kuwait and Nigeria. For example when a hip Nigerian magazine portraying talentless fashion designers on its hit the spot home. The same happened when I woke up yesterday morning to no electricity which both pissed me off and cracked me up a bit. I fear for the day we would all be housing electricity generators, building a little room next to the house for them like wealthy Nigerians do.
However, I have to say that I both like and despise the main character, ifemelu, a girl who seemingly Karma had forgotten about while struggling to build a life in America only to be hit by the issue of race, prompting her to start her very own blog about the subject. Ifemelu’s childhood sweetheart is Obinze who couldn’t make it to the USA and life tears them apart then brings them back together in Nigeria when they both move back. Americanah is both a love story and the story of how immigrant people who yearn for a better life abroad keep hustling until they are no longer recognisable to their very own selves.
What I really am bothered about is the amount of characters introduced in the novel. Endless faces, endless names, many of which serve little purpose. Because they were too many characters introduced throughout the story and most of their names names aren’t familiar, your head tends to swim trying to remember whose who and who did what and why they were here, they were just too many of them their characters didn’t get to develop much.
Would I recommend Americanah? Totally! It is worth the read and once I put it down I proceeded on to the second book by Adichie in my possession, half of a yellow sun.
To be frank I’ve only picked up this book when I knew it was the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction 2014. I don’t usually enjoy crime and mysterTo be frank I’ve only picked up this book when I knew it was the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction 2014. I don’t usually enjoy crime and mystery and when I read the description on the back, with the word “underworld crime scene”, I almost put it back into the shelf but I had to see what made that novel Pulitzer Prize worthy.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
The story is sprawled across 800+ pages, the novel is quite thick but it didn’t matter for the writing is so delicious, it literally is! Leafing through the pages, hungrily gobbling up the words and sentences, is like opening a box of decadent chocolate truffles and promising yourself that this piece is the only piece and before you know it the box is empty and you are floating in a cloud of cocoa-dusted euphoria! The plot doesn’t stall, or pause, or drag on. From page your you are plunged back into young Theo’s life and journeying up through his catastrophic years filled with unfortunate twists and turns until the moment that leads you back to his predicament on the first page. You feel for Theo, you want to reach into him and hold him tight and tell him that everything will be OK when he was a lost young teenager. You want to meet his bubbly character of a mother, see for yourself how someone can be that unique and attractive. You want to shake some sense into him and tell him off when he becomes rowdy and acts up, you want to sit in the kitchen with Hobie -who is my favourite character ever- and have tea while discussing life. When you are fast forwarded in time line of the story, well I don’t know what to think. I’m truly disappointed in Theo but I am making up excuses for him all the time, the boy didn’t have it easy growing up and having Boris as a companion didn’t help things either.
I don't understand the "too many details" reviews by other readers though. Personally, I think if you’ve read Harry Potter books over and over again then I suppose any amount of details will be minuscule in comparison although the last chapter I could have done without, it just went on and on like it was summarising he entire novel.
Disputed amount of details and underworld crime scene or not, this novel is one of the finest I’ve come across in a long time and I can totally see why it was a Pulitzer Prize winner! The Goldfinch is one of those books where you either are pulled in or kept out and if you are one of the lucky ones who gets pulled in, then you are in for a treat most of the way....more
For a while now I’ve been reading and hearing a lot of really raving review about The Fault in our Stars. When I saw the trailer for the movie based oFor a while now I’ve been reading and hearing a lot of really raving review about The Fault in our Stars. When I saw the trailer for the movie based on the book and knew it was coming out to the theatres last Thursday I knew the timing would be perfect if I could finish it on the very same day the movie came out so if I’m all hung up on it I wouldn’t have to wait long.
If you read the back cover you would know what the book is about: a teenage girl with terminal cancer who comes upon a friend that changes her life. You’d expect a lot of tears and heartache as you read the pages, and it would be the perfect read if you have a heavy feeling in your heart that you want to relive with tears, but for some unfathomable reason I didn’t cry at all, not one tear! Its not that the book is not sad, you know from the cover it is sad and there will be a death between the pages. Its just so honest, and heartbreakingly desperate, that somehow stops the tears from coming, at least in my case and I’m a notorious basket case. I can tell you that the book made me laugh, and laugh out loud, but despite what feeling it evokes in the reader, the overall story is good and well written with really big words even though I felt the last few chapters did drag on a bit, perhaps for the sake of suspense. However, in the end of the day you understand why the book was in the young adult section of the bookstore. I believe the hype surrounding it is partially because the readers are young girls and teenagers who would be shattered to pieces reading the pages, the teenagers of the nation are crying their eyes dry over Hazel and Gus and OMG-ing to everyone who would listen. Ah, to be sweet sixteen again!
Anyways, in conclusion the book is not bad at all but as I said, a bit overrated and I’ve read better. Expect a few laughs and even a few more tears plus a deep feeling of hopeless despair but its quite predictable, and also painful especially if you’ve been complaining about the things going wrong in your life and morphing into a drama queen/king, the suffering between the pages will put things back in perspective for you for sure. ...more
Cecelia Ahern’s latest novel, How To Fall in Love, was one I couldn’t put down until I finished it. It starts with a bit of a mystery, when ChristineCecelia Ahern’s latest novel, How To Fall in Love, was one I couldn’t put down until I finished it. It starts with a bit of a mystery, when Christine is found next to a man who just committed suicide in a run down building. Not too long after, Christine finds herself on a bridge next to a man who is about to jump and in a bid to stop him, she strikes up a deal with him to give her two weeks to help him try and fall back in love with life.
The book is sweet, funny, and just what you’d expect from Cecelia. There was no touch of Irish magic in the storyline like in previous Cecelia novels, which I’ve missed to be frank, yet this book is a bit different given that it deals with serious issues like depression, suicide, and trying to reach out and help people in despair. The seriousness of the issue, however, doesn’t mean the book is dark and depressing, quite the opposite. I’d totally recommend it and once you are done with a smile on your face -the ending was predictable though but I didn’t mind it one bit- you are left with a feeling that you want to read a little bit more. The book is a keeper for sure....more
Reading the very first pages of Dorothy Koomson's latest novel filled me with warmth, just like giving a long lost best friend a big bear hug!
I lovedReading the very first pages of Dorothy Koomson's latest novel filled me with warmth, just like giving a long lost best friend a big bear hug!
I loved the book, I couldn’t put it down, my heart went out to the widow of the murdered man and I could feel her grief. I felt her frustration with her teenage daughter’s situation and was amazed by how tolerant she was towards her. Perhaps a bit too tolerant, her constantly trying to talk to her daughter and only be rewarded with shrugs got on my nerves eventually, I wish her dilemma and sulking didn’t take up so much of the storyline, I actually wanted to reach inside the book to give her a piece of my mind and perhaps a well deserved shake!
However, I did feel that there were perhaps too many balls in the air in terms of characters and side-plots. There is the best friend, the neighbour who is an emotional vampire, the in-laws, the jerk boss, the teenage daughter, the school teacher, and the eccentric old aunt! In the midst of all these people, the person who murdered the husband and now stalking the family, felt a bit lost and I would have loved to know more about their story, their background, and what drove them to the point of no return. Also, with so many things going on at once, when the confrontation with the killer finally arrived it felt too short and abrupt. I expected a longer, more dangerously dramatic chapter.
The book has a happy-sh ending but its not really a happy ending if you look at the big picture, the husband is still gone and no matter what comes out of the story, he is still lost forever and is never coming back....more
I still recall the opening chapter of The Devil Wears Prada, where Andy the poor assistant to the fashion editor also sociopath Miranda Priestly was tI still recall the opening chapter of The Devil Wears Prada, where Andy the poor assistant to the fashion editor also sociopath Miranda Priestly was trying to drive Miranda’s Porsche while trying to smoke and figure out how to drive manual gear, ruining her suede Gucci pants. The Devil Wears Prada was an international bestseller and a novel that I really enjoyed reading. Therefore, to know that there is a sequel with the name “Revenge Wears Prada”, I was over the moon.
Sadly, not all sequels are created equal. From the very first pages I had a sunken feeling in my heart but I shrugged it off, hoping it would get better. Andy is about to get married, and she finds a note from her mother-in-law to her son urging him not to marry Andy. Then there is a lot of focus on the note and what it meant and what’s not, a fleeting sighting of Miranda by chance, then suddenly the note issue is resolved without much explanation.
The story was fast paced, too fast paced, and then progresses into babies and nappies and all the hoopla that goes hand in hand with giving birth to a child. Then, at last by the middle of the novel Andy goes to meet Miranda face to face, then there is another encounter, after which there is barely anything except a deep betrayal. The book is supposedly about Miranda Priestly’s revenge from Andy but there were no real defined revenge, or a final confrontation between Miranda & Andy considering how Andy quit her job in the first book, or barely even a Miranda!
If you are picking up this book thinking there will more glamours fashion, hilarious situations, and unbelievable Miranda moments that would make you want to reach inside the book and strangle her, then you’d be quite disappointed. If you want to keep up with Andy’s life ten years after quitting Miranda’s job and see the brief encounter of her path with Miranda’s with a handful of Miranda sightings and meetings, then do pick it up. It’s not a bad book, but it’s not what you’d except and in no way comparable to the Devil Wears Prada. Same characters yes, totally different read. It does pick up in both pace and interest by the middle of the novel, which makes me glad I decided to complete after all, but I wouldn’t necessarily want to pick it up again or wait for it to hit the movie theatre next to me....more
Have you ever read a book that captivated you, so strongly you didn’t want to put it down? When, if you were reading it, your eyes decided its time toHave you ever read a book that captivated you, so strongly you didn’t want to put it down? When, if you were reading it, your eyes decided its time to sleep you’d force them open so you could continue reading because you couldn’t bear not knowing what will happen next? Dan Brown’s latest novel, Inferno, is that kind of book.
The book is really good, laden with historical facts and clues as any other previous Dan Brown book. Inferno is almost as good as The Da Vinci Code. The ending of The Da Vinci Code is striking, the ending of inferno kind of stretches along plus inferno deals with real time crisis that can effect the planet rather than trying to life the veil of an old secret. In inferno, you the reader are as baffled about what’s going on as Robert Langdon since his amnesia prevents him from knowing what is going on and who to trust so together, you and Robert discover that things are not what they seem to be, or as Dante would put it ‘O you possessed of sturdy intellect, observe the teaching that is hidden here… beneath the viel of verses so obscure.’
The first time I saw Arnold Schwarzenegger was while watching Terminator with my father. When the terminator came ion the screen, my father pointed atThe first time I saw Arnold Schwarzenegger was while watching Terminator with my father. When the terminator came ion the screen, my father pointed at him and told me "This actor? This is the world's champion in bodybuilding". Of course, an athletic person going into movies is not that surprising, happens all the time with football and basketball players. An Austrian champion bodybuilder becoming a movie star then becoming the governor of the state of California in the USA, is worth reading about.
I loved the beginning of this book, how Arnold was born in a year of famine, how they lived in bare necessities, how he had strong parents who disciplined him yet a father who didn't believe in him. Defiance is very present in the first chapters of the book and throughout. How the little boy had a dream and he worked relentlessly to make it happen and worked harder whenever someone laughed his dream off or told him it cannot happen.
His commitment, his punctuality, defiance, determination, and steel will got him his many bodybuilding titles and helped put the bodybuilding on the map and got him to America and gave him his first business of bodybuilding videos, tips, and supplies mail order. Then the book talks about his American life and doesn't much talk about his relationship with women then you turn a page and find him talking about falling in love with a Kennedy and marrying her and having children.
The book, even though it talks about his family life after marriage, is still on the private side. You cannot sense much gooey emotions but you can definitely sense a strong will and determination to put a mark on this world and change it to the better. Then the book progresses into the movie parts of Arnold's life, which was fun to read, then the politics part. In the politics part we see a side of Arnold that is so private that he didn't inform his wife of his wanting to run for governor or the people of California until the last-minute. The man is like a machine that works silently with Austrian efficiency!
I, however, hated the part about Arnold's secret affair with the housekeeper that resulted in him fathering a son who'se as old as his youngest son from his wife. His, lets say, explanation is too casual and after a long book filled with details, its just not enough or that convincing.
Overall, the book is an inspiration for how to achieve what you want in life even if all the odds were against you. I can identify with that and I think I'm going to listen to Arnold's dream-to-reality transformation tips. After all, he made, didn't he? Defienetly going on my bookshelf and I would strongly recommend it. ...more
Out of the three hunger games book, this one was the most boring and my least favorite. Its all about war and fighting and resistance and blood beingOut of the three hunger games book, this one was the most boring and my least favorite. Its all about war and fighting and resistance and blood being spilled everywhere. I had to read it just so I'd know the ending but I felt like reading a war time novel which is something I'm not that interested in usually....more
I saw the movie in the cinema before I read the book, then I had the trilogy in my bookshelf waiting for the perfect moment to be read. The moment preI saw the movie in the cinema before I read the book, then I had the trilogy in my bookshelf waiting for the perfect moment to be read. The moment presented itself when The Hunger Games movie premier came on TV so I picked up the book and read it during commercials.
Turns out the movie was a good adaptation of the story. I like the book a lot, the writers imaginary world, the poverty, the despair, and Katniss's fierceness. But it was very bloody and gruesome and I kept thinking why is this a book for young adults again?...more