G.L.i.B

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G.L.i.B-bed: Persuasion
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G.L.i.B-bed: Reading plan: More of Maya Angelou’s Autobiographies
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G.L.i.B-bed: Evil in the house
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G.L.i.B -bed: There’s nothing funny about war
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G.L.i.B – bed: The Islamist
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G.L.i.B-bed: The house my father built
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G.L.i.B-bed: A thousand splendid suns
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G.L.i.B – bed: Fine Boys
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G.L.i.B-bed: A week with Chuma Nwokolo Jnr
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G.L.i.B – bed: My kind of book

G.L.i.B-bed: Persuasion

This would be the first of James Borg’s works to feature in my reading list. And I had no expectations about it. Just a blank expression on my mind as I began to leaf through the red – covered volume. Time and again, British authors reiterate my conviction of my preference for their writing technique (and choice of words) over any of their other counterparts. Reading content created by a Briton elevates and educates me. I’m also left with a feeling of my time well – spent, my mind more exposed, my diction improved and increased, and my writing duly challenged. Strange though. Like most people around the world, I grew up under the weighted influence of American entertainment – cartoons, books, films, speech. And after almost four decades of conscious (and sometimes, unconscious) orientation, the British writers still hold taut my heartstrings to their style of penmanship. James Borg’s Persuasion is, like its title signals, all about the art of influencing people over to your point of view. Divided into 10 chapters, it delves into such topics geared towards making an influence of the reader – being a good listener, keeping attention, body language, good recall, telephone telepathy, negotiating[…]

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G.L.i.B-bed: Reading plan: More of Maya Angelou’s Autobiographies

There was a pervading feeling of déjà vu as I thumbed my way through I know Why the Caged Bird sings. It all became clear at the end; this was one of seven autobiographies, and I had just finished the third in the series. Interestingly, I wasn’t aware of this and Maya Angelou’s writing occupies a top spot in my ranking of phenomenal writing. How odd. No need extoling one of America’s (and indeed the world’s) greatest writers. More than enough has been said (and written) about her extraordinary penmanship that inspires, elevates, informs and celebrates. Instead of adding my ink and voice , I’d rather embark on a collection of her works to heartily digest (and constantly use them as terms of reference) and, hopefully, reflect such skill in my style and learning path.

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G.L.i.B-bed: Evil in the house

They say it’s when you become a parent, you realize your parents were right all along. As a mum, I’d rather be tagged paranoid than sorry when it concerns my children. Paranoia can be tamed; regret live with you for all time, and, sometimes, has unseen, far-reaching consequences. Now, I understand my mum’s obviously worried expressions, her statements about some male relatives and her caution when dealing with them. Family is not off limits when it comes to abuse of any kind – domestic, sexual or otherwise. After all, na who know man na im dey kill am. Yeside Kilanko’s novel reminds the reader how much closer to home evil can be lurking, and how, sometimes, unwittingly, unintentionally, we aid it ourselves through the entrance of extended family members into our lives. And it is one of the parents’ essential duty to shield their offspring from such familial devils. Without giving away necessary spoilers of the plot of this book which elicited contrasting emotions as I flipped over the pages, it would be difficult and constricting to write effectively about it. But I’d say this; the recent trend of women speaking up and out about all forms of abuse must[…]

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G.L.i.B – bed: The Islamist

With the rise of terrorism, ISIS and Boko Haram right here in our backyard, the choice to read this book was a no – brainer. With a subtitle like Why I joined radical Islam in Britain, what I saw and why I left, did I need any other compelling reason to dive into it head first? Nothing to lose and everything to gain. Though published exactly a decade ago, its contents are just as potent and relevant today (if not more) as they were at the time of release. And who better equipped to reveal the workings and process of radical Islam than a former ardent, active member of the group? Incredibly detailed and, often times, disquieting, the author chronicles his religious, educational and social choices spanning a period of ten years (from mid – teenage years to his early/mid – twenties). In so doing, he lays bare the inner, systematic indoctrination into Islamic extremism of young, impressionable minds; effectively using the foolproof strategy: Teach a child the way he should go and when he grows up, he would not depart from it.  The outcome of which have manifested in present day ISIS’ rampage, global terrorism and our very own[…]

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G.L.i.B-bed: The house my father built

After the unsated feeling left behind by Diary of a Dead Nigerian and Like a Mule bringing Ice Cream to the Sun, one would have thought I’d steer clear of small – sized novels. But neigh, the first read of this month, The House My Father Built by Adewale Maja – Pearce, fits perfectly into the little mould, and promptly leaving me with a sense of unfinifshedness (if there’s a word like that!) as the other two previous books did. Third time’s the charm, right? Perhaps I’m a sucker for short, well – written book. The pull to devour them always triumph over thick tomes with promises of more reading time. For me, it’s not how big; it’s how well – put together. And thirdly, (didn’t know I was counting), sadly, small novels tick all the right boxes for me. I am willing to risk the Oliver Twist’s feeling it would elicit when I turn the last page. No disappointment there. I was left wanting more after consuming the book in less than 48 hours. The landlord-tenant relationship in Nigeria is a rather unique one. At some point in time, the tenant could be mistaken for the owner of the[…]

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G.L.i.B-bed: A thousand splendid suns

This book gave me more mixed feelings than any other novel had in a long while. One minute there was hope in the horizon, light at the end of the dark passage; the very next, it came crashing down like a ton of bricks jarred by a mischievous toddler. It was no help that the location was Afghanistan and the lives of two women juxtaposed, highlighting their different upbringing, until the effects of war bring them together. More depressing was the Muslim customs laid out in the book – child brides, uneducated females, hijab-wearing invisible women, etc. A stunning display of the heights patriarchy can be taken to, leaving a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach each time I gleaned an inference or occurrence of any one of them. Nevertheless, I kept my eyes glued to the pages until the very last leaf; there was no stopping me on this rollercoaster of self – inflicted despair. Khaled Houseini’s depiction of his homeland and its practices, the Afghan war period and its dire consequences were reminiscent of Chimamanda Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun. (Ironically, both titles have the word sun in them. I wonder if the sun played[…]

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G.L.i.B – bed: Fine Boys

  The night I finished Eghosa Imasuen’s Fine Boys, I dreamt of the University of Benin, some familiar haunts of mine in Benin City, and friends whom I hung out with in my teenage years. It goes to show the depth of effect the book had on me. Even I didn’t realize it until after the dream. With the Warri- Benin axis as its central locations, Fine Boys can be likened to a coming – of – age story about its protagonist, Ewaen, and his band of friends. From his home life in Warri to his school living once admitted into the University. Nigerian universities are a jungle to live in while learning. Appalling but true. Fine Boys depicted the country’s higher institutions, using the University of Benin as a typical example, in all their unhealthy, and unpalatable glory. It also relieved the red sand city of Benin and my Alma Mata every time Ewaen went back to school. Ekosodin. Osasogie. I lived and made memories in these places. Medical Hostel, main café – a stone throw from each other. Hall one, Hall two and the car park separating both were once comforting, welcoming sights at a point in my[…]

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G.L.i.B-bed: A week with Chuma Nwokolo Jnr

There’s no art to find the mind’s construction in the face. Ironically, I hadn’t set my eyes on Chuma Nwokolo Jnr when I happened upon some scribblings of his on Facebook last year. Using photos taken from different activities (panel discussions, informal gatherings, etc) of the recently concluded Ake LitFest, he generated seemingly appropriate dialogue for each. Dialogue which resulted in hilarious, uncivilized, out-of-control guffaws. More than enough to google the creator and find out about him. Nothing prepares you for the unassuming, gentle-looking, friendly visage which confronts you in all his images. It is certainly not what you’d expect from one who has honed the comedic writing style to seamless perfection. His face gives nothing away; you never see it coming. The first book I read, Diary of a Dead Nigerian, is a short one. A short read. But one I’m certainly not wistful about. Divided into three parts – one for each protagonist – it is an amusing tale of three men, a father and his two sons. Chuma Nwokolo beautifully captures the events preceding their deaths and encompassing their lives as well. The choice of words, their actions and streams of consciousness set each character apart and[…]

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G.L.i.B – bed: My kind of book

Too few pages. An unexpected protagonist with memorable, sometimes , eye – brown raising quirks. She makes ageing a journey you wouldn’t want to avoid when the time comes. The story  – telling style from each character’s unique point of view is as enthralling as it is insightful. The author’s juxtaposition of different cultures and languages, and traversing the globe in the protagonist’s recollections makes this small novel packed to the rafters, and an easy favourite of mine. Her writing style, subtle wit and smattering of non-English terms combined to the appeal of the book for me. I thoroughly enjoyed every written word of it and wished it had extended for a 100 pages more. A delightful read.

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