The prevailing view around the world is that our world is an awful place and that it is getting worse each passing day. The premise of this book is that while the world is bad, that there is steady progress in almost every imaginable index. In summary, it is getting better.
This impressive sixth novel of the current Booker prize winner Bernadine Evaristo is a family tale of secrets, deception and new beginnings. At the centre of it all is the 74-year-old dandy, Barrington (Barry) Jedidiah Walker, and the crux of the book is his secret love relationship with Morris his childhood friend.
In recent times I have often wondered how certain items evolved into their current status in the food chain. Items like beef, bread and even beer. What aided their popularity, production and even by-products? The more beef I eat, the more curious I am of how this ubiquitous food item has shaped the world and altered culinary tastes. This curiosity led me to BEEF; The Untold Story of How Milk Meat and Muscle shaped the World.
This was a quick read and that is down to how well written The Ones with Purpose is. The prose is simple, the grammar is clean and uncomplicated. However, the themes that the book covers are anything but simple and uncomplicated. Anele, the protagonist, explores her family dynamics using Fikile’s (her elder sister) demise through breast cancer as a fulcrum. Fikile’s illness and subsequent death is the backdrop with which Anele explores her family and its failings.
This book was one of the 3 books in my 2019 reading list that were not read last year. Luckily, it got picked again this year and I decided to start the year with it.
As my folks in the village were saying Afa gbara aka la, my friends in faraway Greece were hugging each other with shouts of eftihismeno to neo etos. In every corner of the globe, it is a new year. The old is gone and the new is here, in some sort or the order. Best wishes are in order.
Weeks back, I had to rearrange my bookshelf and add a couple of annexes to the existing shelves. Seeing the number of books that needed to be shelved, my daughter compelled me to make a commitment to not buy any new book in 2020.
After agonizing for weeks over which books to pick out for my 2020 reading list, I settled on these. The picks were mostly random. I just tried to balance the number of fiction, non-fiction, memoir, football and faith-based books that I chose. The only deliberate choices were Disgrace and What Dementia Teaches Us About Love. I need to reread the former in preparation for reading Lacuna next year 🙈. The latter is a necessary read in view of a current family issue. The number of books chosen was completely random and as always, there were unchosen books I wish I had chosen. Hopefully, there is always another year ahead.
A happy new year and happy reading too !!
Alan Mabanckou has made a name for himself for his quirky but exceptional novels and Black Bazaar is no exception. On the surface, it is a dizzying combo of humour and linguistic effervescence that amounts to little more than the ramblings of a fashion-crazed Congolese migrant who is obsessed with female backsides and spends most of his time at Jips, the Afro-Cuban bar in Les Halles. When he is not drinking at Jips, he is struggling to ignore his racist neighbour called Mr Hippocratic who niggles him at every turn.
There are critics who say that irrespective of her highly impressive writing skills, that Buchi Emecheta’s works are thinly disguised polemics of pain and suffering of females. The validity of this argument is not relevant as long as the issues raised in her books are real, relevant and even prevalent in our world. The Family is a typical Buch Emecheta work and the protagonist is pummelled by the pains and evils of life for no other reason but simply for being a female.