April Bloom, Book Cases and Music

Okay, cheers of the new month. Since the last update for March, between you and I, I have not finished reading James Marlon’s ‘The Brief History of Seven Killings’. It has not been easy, keeping my day job which I have had no break from everyday since March. I am now on Page 150. Please clap for me jare. Sure, I am still reading it.

I found and joined The Port Harcourt Book Club. It has been very exciting. The book club had been existing under my nose for a while and I never knew. As usual, I stumbled upon its existence on twitter. They read a book every month and meet for the book discussion and some kind of review every last Sunday of that month by 4pm at a venue of choice in Port Harcourt. For the month of April, they, or should I say we are reading ‘Love is Power or Something Like That‘ by A. Igoni Barrett, the book is available at Bookville Bookshop, Mummy B road, Port Harcourt. It is an open book club, so if you are in Port Harcourt or passing by you can join. Find them on twitter, @ThePHCBookClub

Between March and now, I have knocked down two books, and both are short stories collections. The one for The Port Harcourt Book Club, ‘Love is Power or Something Like That’ by A. Igoni Barrett, a Port Harcourt boy himself and ‘Smithereens of Death’ by Olubunmi Familoni an Ibadan base writer. I am unto the third book, ‘We Need New Names‘ by NoViolet Bulawayo, the 2014 Etisalat Prize for fiction winner. It is a good progress on my reading habit if you ask me. And of course, their reviews are coming right up, maybe this month too.

Next on the blog should be my short review of Elnathan John’s ‘Born On A Tuesday‘. I have managed to finish the last two chapters which the pity that flushed me up for Ahmed did not allow me to read. Watch this space.

THE OTHER THINGS…

Nigeria in suffering from fuel scarcity. I know it is no news. But guys, it is not easy, the money I have spent on fueling my car since this brouhaha started is already double my monthly usual and mounting. It is not funny anymore.  I just hope that this week shall be the end of it, if not maybe what happened in 199somthing will happen again.

Among other things, I love music and of all kinds, so far it sounds good to me and fits my mood per time. There is this beautiful Nigeria  female sensation Aramide. She sings Afro Soul, and I came across her last year. She has a new music video out for her single Love Me, in which she featured Adekunle Gold, another Afro Soul sensation I will say.

Aramide-Adekunle-Gold-New-Video-Bella-Naija-7-600x400

A shot from the video – Aramide & Adekule Gold                     Courtesy : BellaNija

I love the feel of the song, its mixture of Yourba and English Lyrics, the flush of the African feel in the instrumentals and the lush video shoot and quality. It has been on replay on my music player for a while. Enjoy the new video here.

Catch you later guys.

 

 

African Literature is More – Oluwaseyi G. Abidoye

FROM reading my first African Literature piece to now, I have subconsciously developed the love for any writing that comes out of Africa, especially Nigeria.

Thinking about this, I have for some time now, devoted my free time to being a connoisseur of African Literature. African Stories, Poetry and Art move me. From the novel genre to short stories and flash fiction, I feel a part of me in every story.

So I have tried to collect the experiences and feelings that I have with reading these stories from back in time and reading them now. I have seen that at each point, a particular story speaks in essence of time and understanding to the reader.

africa

What I read as meaning and contexts to Things Fall Apart, for example, when I was younger is not what I read as meaning to it now that I am older and more learned than I used to be. The reading experience gets better with time and understanding. So are the discourses that Things Fall Apart generates from 1958 till date, they have become more, and seen in new perspectives.

I want to believe that this particular experience is happening to writing in Africa. African Literature has grown from its early stage as it was to something more phenomenon. It has gone beyond stories, protests, definition and its struggles for recognition and documentation both in written and oral form to become a platform that takes these earlier stages of development as tools for projection, not as form, type or definition

African Literature is now a platform that is open to different voices, across genres. Africans alike, writers, artistes, painters, photographers, spoken word performers (in oral) have all taken to this platform to display, discourse, present and churn out issues, that as much as peculiar they are to Africa, have positioned Africa in a global discourse and recognition.

Not that African Literature is assuming a new role in this ‘platform’ nomenclature or form, it has only become grandiose. It is bigger. African Writers are now all over the place, Publishing African Writers now is big business, writing is more, readers are more, dissemination is more, so is the discourse, so is the aesthetics and literariness.

Beyond the traditional and formal single view or perspective of discourses in African Literature about the social commentaries, there is more attention to the level of aesthetics and the literary characteristics that African Literature now presents. African Literature is now finding inter-textual relations and cross continental juxtapositions both in style, structures and the level content development. Detailed attention is now being placed on canonizing African Literature not only in the social and political contexts but on style, structures, beauty and deployments as works of art.

So, African Literature has evolved, It is not just stories of cultural, political, anthropological documentation of Africa anymore, it has become more, defining its writers also, their styles, their experiences and their capabilities to deliver all these in beautiful stories that span time and holds relevance for discourses on equal grounds in global Literature discourse anywhere anytime. African Literature has come to stay.

Books For March and The Others That Amuse Me – Oluwaseyi G. Abidoye

First I apologize for the lateness on publishing the reviews of the books I read in February. My day job became a big baby that needed more tending than what the sunlight does for the earth. I was crushed in between writing, reading and working, since the later pays the bills for now, it took the larger part of me.

I am still reading Marlon James’s The Brief History of Seven Killings, contrary to the title, the book is not brief, it is bulky, and I am yet to pass the 100th page. I find myself grappling with the language and that, is slowing down my reading process, also, the book requires a very retentive memory from the reader and that demands paying keen attention, so I put a page divider somewhere in the book. So ‘ama’ continue reading Marlon’s TBHOSK for the month of march.

About Okey Ndibe’s Foreign Gods, Inc. I really enjoyed the book, find my short review here.

Elnathan John’s Born on a Tuesday is an eye opener to me, as it should be for many. It recounts the story of Northern Nigeria in a manner which no one has attempted before. I can say the book is a handbook for understanding the typical life of an almajiri, their vulnerability, hopes and how they are neglected to sheer destiny, unguarded and weary. My review of it will come up in a few days from now.

THE OTHER THINGS

Rivers State of Nigeria is bubbling with political killings and threats of more killings among election campaign and other political activities. Indeed power has changed hands and like karma, what went around is about to come around. I am not reporting news, this is just a mental note to self, to be careful this weekend and mind my own steps, words and actions. The rerun election is coming up the 19th of March, 2016. I hope it will not be re-killings, re-ringings and re-contesting the results of the election.

I MADE A FRIEND

For the kind of job i do, making friends solely for business reasons is the only thing that comes to mind when the phrase ‘making friends’ is mentioned. Outside work, the friends I keep are my childhood friends, asides them, I have virtual friends too, on social media.  I guess everyone knows how that kind of friendship works, stalking, likes, tweets and re-tweets and the likes. nothing really personal. But this week, I made a formal attempt to turn one of my virtual friends into a buddy friends. Let us see how that works out.

MICROPOETRY

So, while surfing the web as usual, I stumbled on the term ‘micro-poetry’. It is a kind of poetry that favors short words and concise thoughts, I do not know how formal or acceptable this kind of poetry is yet, I am still reading up about it. But I can say that this poetry favors the lazy writer, who have problems with words and too many verbose expression. Micropoetry is spontaneous in formation and dissemination and it is being made popular by tweets and twitter’s 140 character attribute. So, I decided to try men hands at it, I formed two and here they are:

TINGLING EARS

My ears want to hear good news,

Only that the windy evil men do

Clouds the sound wave,

Still, I hear whispers of love and conquest.

BURNER

No, don’t touch me,

I am not fire, so you feel you can toy with me,

I am the ice that burns from the crown to the sole,

Tips and curves all round

I hope I tired, who will score me now. Chao!

On The Rebirth: My Reading and Writing – Oluwaseyi G. Abidoye

I love reading, give my books, drinks and a quiet room; you might not see me outside that room in days. I love writing too, and I have scattered pieces of my random writings in a few spaces on the internet. This year, I hope to put them all together on this blog for good. God help me.

The year 2015 was amazing for me. I took down two old blogs in the month of August and started being an onlooker in the Nigeria Literary scene; I started following the fiction writings of Nigeria authors and a few east and Southern Africa authors. I was doing this; having in mind how and what my new blog look like.

While watching the scenes from the shadows, I took a few bold steps to paddle my armature poetry in the corridors of few African literary blogs and got rejected at every attempt, the latest being in December 2015. I took all the rejections in good strides hoping they will someday become the testimonies of my better writings to come.

I particularly followed two literature festivals last year, The Lagos International Poetry Festival and the illustrious and epic Ake Book and Arts Festival. The former I planned to attend, but after many thoughts I backed down, I just felt I did not prepare enough. Not much planning, and so many things I needed to put in place failed, being a non spontaneous person, I postponed, hoping for a better event this year and already planning ahead.

As for The Ake Books and Arts Festival I did not attend too, I never planned to do because I would not have had the time due to my day job, but I followed it religiously on You Tube and Twitter. I found it interesting and very informing, inspiring too. I did not know much about the festival, only that Lola Shoneyin is the curator and I have had previous encounters with her poetry and fiction, I find them very good pieces. I stalked the event and I had my fill.

I very much hope I can attend the next episodes of these events (if my day job allows me, because due to an upgrade of status I am not entitled to any working leave this year, only two weeks off. Yes poor me) and write about them on this blog.

Chimamanda Adichie, Elnathan John, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, Chika Unigwe especially rocked my literary work last year, and many others like A. Igoni Barret, Chris Abani, Toni Kan, Dami Ajayi, Jumoke Verrisimo and so on, I cannot mention them all. Pa Ikhide, Brittle Paper, Wawa Book Review, Saraba Magazine’s chapbooks so many other interesting literary blogs warmed up my brain and fine tuned my reading experience. I had a wonderful experience reading these writers’ works and reading these blogs. Garcias!

As I said earlier, I was walking in the shadows. Now I am ready to come out. I hope for the love of it that I do not go back in. This blog will take no particular form; all I will do is read books from book clubs and write my little review, work on my collection of poetry and short stories and write about how they are coming up. Also I will write about events in African literary scenes with special attention to West Africa and Nigeria, likewise some bits of current affairs, commentary and opinion will feature on it. I hope the journey is smooth and consistent.

This month, I am re-reading the classic, Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart along with other members of the Wawa Book Club in preparation for a discussion on the 29th of January and I am also reading Arthur Golden’s Memoirs of a Geisha. I do not know why i am reading the latter yet asides that it came recommended, plus I think I need some dosage of Non-African writings.

So welcome all, to the rebirth of my random writing and reading. I hope we have a wonderful experience doing this together.