G.L.i.B

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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
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G.L.i.B – bed: In less than 24hours
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G.L.i.B-bed: Men are from Mars, women are from Venus.
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G.L.i.B – bed: Longthroat Memoirs
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G.L.i.B – bed: In search of pleasure and balance
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G.L.i.B – bed: The Undead

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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G.L.i.B – bed: In less than 24hours

Before launching into the reason for this post, here’s something I’d like to give recognition to – Smooth FM 98.1 Radio Station, Lagos, Nigeria. I listen to it every week day at 7.30am for its new and the analysts who dissect them. On Saturdays at 10am, I’m back there again for the hour – long book review program. It features African books and authors, promoting literature from the vast continent. To review any of the selected book could be the author, the publisher or guest(s) who are bookaholics and have read it. As a book person myself, this program is right up my alley and sets the tone for my weekend. I discovered it, by chance, some time last year, and have been a faithful fan since. Enjoying the reviews and brief glimpses into different books, increasing my knowledge of African writing and the authors responsible for its growing emergence and global recognition, while adding, weekly, to my reading list. In fact, the shift to reading more fiction this year (& more African authors too) was influenced by the program. Easy Motion Tourist by Leye Adenle, the novel I finished in less than 24 hours two days ago, had the[…]

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G.L.i.B-bed: Men are from Mars, women are from Venus.

In the early 2000s, a book with this post’s title was quite popular amongst the single ladies within the organization I worked. The thrust of its contents was expounding on the differences between the genders, how both are wired differently by nature and proffering ways to live with these variances in the relationships we forge with the opposite sex – as friends, partners, lovers, parents, siblings, etc. Understanding the woman’s need to talk (she actually has an estimated number of words to speak daily!) and the man’s immediate tendency to solve any problem once she starts (putting his solution/thinking cap on). The man’s nature to deal with one problem at a time and the woman’s effortless, multi – tasking makeup. The man’s sense of direction (or lack thereof if you consider his resolute refusal to ask for directions in unfamiliar surroundings) and the woman’s inability to read a map (especially one she’s holding upside down!). It made for an interesting, humorous and revealing read. So much so that like New York, I read it twice. And promptly forgot about it thereafter. Until last month in a bookstore and browsing its offerings from shelf to shelf, I spied a book with[…]

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G.L.i.B – bed: Longthroat Memoirs

234next.com, the online newspaper which ceased to exist in 2011, will always have a special place in my heart. Here are the two reasons why: It published one of my article’s in its Sunday Elan Edition (not my first though, but this reached a bigger audience. Elan’s in print form, and the article also appeared online), and, most noteworthy, it gave me more access to Yemisi Aribisala’s way with words. Men of God as Superstars was an article by her in Farafina Magazine. My first introduction to this writer and her unique style. I read that article over and again. Then 234next.com came along. With its variety of writers among whom was…who did I see? Were my eyes playing tricks on me? It was Yemisi Aribisala allright. Writing about food, using the most unexpected, hunger-inducing terms to describe a condiment, relate a Nigerian swallow type and generally stir, furiously, the appetite in me while attempting to meet my timelines on a bright workday morning. She had me devouring, drooling and salivating over her scribblings and her content. And for one whose interest in food and its preparations bordered on necessity at the time, I looked forward to her weekly posts[…]

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G.L.i.B – bed: In search of pleasure and balance

Among a stack of books (memoirs, novels, etc) a friend lent to me in 2014 was Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestseller- turned- movie. For the better part of April and May, I have been slowly thumping through its pages. Funny, I hadn’t realized the film was adapted from a book until I clapped eyes on it. Thankfully, I’m yet to see the film; it certainly would have soiled the reading experience for me as I’d rather glean a story from a book than its audio – visual version which would, most definitely, not capture every thought, essence of the entire written word. Last month, when I began leafing through it, I grudgingly did so. I must admit this. All the time it had been staring gloomily at me from the bookshelf, I cheerfully favoured other titles over it. Until it became my last and only resort, having devoured all the others it had come along with. Reluctantly, slowly, like a dreaded punishment, I opened its pages and asked myself only one page after: Why hadn’t I read this book before now? Divided into three sections – each depicting her travel events and knowledge in the different ‘I’ city she chose in search[…]

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G.L.i.B – bed: The Undead

Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to read The Lazarus Effect immediately after The Carnivorous City. The cover art did me in. That hand, in the shadows, rising out from the ground was too much of a temptation. I wanted to know what was behind it. What was the novel all about? How was the biblical story of Lazarus woven into its plot? So I grabbed the book. I also couldn’t help but glean the similarities of both books cover arts – the same use of colour and shades to interpret the titles, the fact that they shared the same publisher… It was my first modern South Africa – based book, post-apartheid. Mine Boy, back in literature study days, did well to introduce my younger self to a glimpse of the South African way of life during the apartheid. Who can forget the ‘Free Mandela’ songs or the ‘Black President’ ones? My then innocent mind read for the pleasure of it; apartheid and white supremacy were concepts I didn’t quite grasp completely. I’m older and wiser with more exposure to the then black South African plight (I was well aware of the official end of apartheid in the ‘90s,[…]

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