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Good Reads

Good Reads; The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives by Titilola Alexandrah

6. The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives by Titilola Alexandrah Shoneyin

“A grunt escaped from the woman lying next to him. He glanced sideways and saw that his leg had stapled Iya Tope, his second wife, to the bed. He observed the jerky rise and fall of her bosom but he didn’t move to ease her discomfort. His thoughts returned to Bolanle and his stomach tightened again. Then and there, he decided to pay Teacher a visit. He would get there at sunrise so Teacher would know it was no ordinary stopover.”

Bolanle, his college educated wife arrives in his household and strife stirs up when she offers to teach the other wives to read. Unbeknownst to the older wives and Baba Segi, she holds in her mind a secret that would expose the lies that plague their home.

For Baba Segi, a collection of wives and a brood to call his own is the ultimate show of his wealth, and he will stop at nothing to make sure his fourth wife, Bolanle bears him children.

This book weaves so beautifully the voices of all the four wives and Baba Segi. It brings out the aspects of life that bring women together; the protectiveness of a mother and of ourselves, the lengths we go to, to find healing and the choices that define us.

It is a colorfully written book that seeks to unite in the end.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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Good Reads

Good Reads; The River and the Source by Margaret A Ogola

“A home without daughters is like a spring without a source.” 

5. The River and the Source by Margaret A Ogola

This book is an ode to four generations of strong, stunning African women. It follows their journey navigating through culture, ethnicity, History, HIV/AIDS and the ever changing socio-economic and political world.

The story starts with Akoko, set in the rich Luo tradition of Kenya and describes her determination, resilience and clarity of vision. This trickles down to her kin and throughout the story.

The River and the source portrays the innate resilience, dynamism and flamboyance of an African woman. It is a beautiful story that will make you cry and laugh.

It made my heart swell and I hope it does the same for you.

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Good Reads

Good Reads; Stay with me by Ayòbámi Adébáyò

“His hand gripped mine with pain-induced strength that crushed my knuckles together. I welcomed the pain in my hand, aware that it was only a tip of what he was feeling. I hoped that by holding me, he could transfuse his agony into my body and be free from it.” Stay With Me,  Ayòbámi Adébáyò.

Motherhood, marriage, boundless male egos, the lies we tell, and the ones we believe, are some of the themes addressed in this book.

4. Stay with me by  Ayòbámi Adébáyò

The Protagonist in  Ayòbámi Adébáyò’s debut novel discovers, after a long struggle, and bearing the stigma of not having children, that two of them suffer from sickle cell disease. We see her bear their pain, anxious of the next trip to the hospital. While she carries the blame, the patriarchy is immune yet again in an African household. We experience the power of superstition and the hilariously displayed hold it still has on some of us.

This book speaks to love, and the things it can and cannot do. Is it still love, if it crashes, breaks and falls in little pieces?

The dialogue in this book is clever and entertaining. It will grip you. Ayòbámi gives a voice to both the husband and wife.

You can devour this book, all of it, on a Sunday afternoon, but it will leave you with plenty to ponder on for a long time.

I hope you love it as much as I do.

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Good Reads

Good Reads; Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Ifemelu is a girl you want to love and smack at the same time, but still deeply resonate with. That is the thing about Chimamanda; she describes the complexity of a woman while so gracefully elevating those toned down aspects of ourselves.

3. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Americanah is a book you want to read before moving to America, but that you still need to read before moving to anywhere in the world. It is timeless and universal especially to the African woman.

I love how colorism is addressed in this book, how so many stereotypes are poked at; how life is rosy but with such big thorns in the Americas. I love the politics of it all and the voice Chimamanda gives to African immigrants.

If you have not read this book, you need to.

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Good Reads

Good Reads; The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay

Nothing can beat the determination to be your truest self; and that is the Power of One.

2. The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay

This book is set in apartheid South Africa. This book shines a light on racism, on mine workers’ plight and on seeking out the very best of you in a racial pandemic ( like the one we are in right now) from the eyes of a young boy.

You will learn about plants indigenous to Africa, tribal superstition, prejudices, about putting your thoughts before your feelings and investing in yourself. All the while, braving and living through revolutionary times as these.

It is written with a love-filled hand, and Bryce Courtenay delivers his lesson with eloquence and objectivity.

I love timeless novels and this is a classic novel of South Africa.

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Good Reads

Good Reads; Beloved by Toni Morrison

Susan Sontag once wrote, a writer is someone who pays attention to the world. I agree.

Writers tell us about history. They narrate it from so many points of view, we beg them to tell us more. Writers are co-creators, re-creators and sheer gods.

If you want to educate yourself on a few social issues, here are a few of my favorites from phenomenal (and I will be using this word a lot) writers.

Today I will focus on race, racial discrimination and blackness.

  1. Beloved by Toni Morrison
“Not a house in the country ain’t packed to its rafters with some dead Negro’s grief.” Beloved, by Toni Morrison

When I read “Beloved” by Toni Morrison, there was a resounding question; What are you willing to do for freedom?

Inspired by the life of a runaway slave, Beloved explores the pain of a mother losing her children to slavery and the lengths they were and are willing to go to protect them from the pain and suffering caused by it.

Toni Morrison, God rest her soul, writes with such soul, insight and grace. Her work is both timeless and historic.

This is a good time to pick this book up if you want a life altering look into slavery and systemic racism in America.

Every word in this book plunges deep into my spirit. Here is an excerpt:

“What’d be the point?” asked Baby Suggs. “Not a house in the country ain’t packed to its rafters with some dead Negro’s grief. We lucky this ghost is a baby. My husband’s spirit was to come back in here? or yours? Don’t talk to me. You lucky. You got three left. Three pulling at your skirts and just one raising hell from the other side. Be thankful, why don’t you? I had eight. Every one of them gone away from me. Four taken, four chased, and all, I expect, worrying somebody’s house into evil.” Baby Suggs rubbed her eyebrows. “My firstborn. All I can remember of her is how she loved the burned bottom of bread. Can you beat that? Eight children and that’s all I remember.”

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.