Monday, March 03, 2014

February in Review, Projections for March

I know my passion for blogging has declined (or is declining). I have blogged on only one of the nine books I have read this year and already we are in the third month of the year. This does not happen often. But it has. Though I truly do not know the cause, sometimes I feel I am wasting my time - tasking myself for nothing. I don't know if people truly read the posts and if it makes sense at all or if it makes an impact. Or if I am just shouting into cyberspace and only contributing to the zillions of GB of information created everyday. Or perhaps the ups-and-downs of 2014 is having its toll on me. 

The month has ended and, once again, I am doing okay with reading. I am reading fast but slow. Slow in the sense that I leave a lot of days between the completion of one book and the beginning of another, which used not to be the case. However, I read all the four books I projected to read in February. Even with this sluggishness, I surpassed my daily target of 50 pages a day but lost grounds on the 5 books a month I need to accomplish my reading goal for the year.  This is because the books were all moderately big (all less than 500 pages but more than 300). All the same, I will be taking things slowly until I feel the energy to blog again. On the whole, I read one non-fiction, and three novels; one African writer and three non-African writer; one female writer and three male writers.
  1. The Two Towers (Book 2 of the Lord of the Rings) by J.R.R. Tolkien. [352p] This book deals with the story of the members of the fellowship after Gandalf fell in the pits of Moria. It talks about the Ents; Pippin and Merry; Sam and Frodo; Legolas, Gimli and Aragon (of many names); Saruman and others. I have always admired the creative prowess of Tolkien, even though in his trilogy he was accused of racism;
  2. The Return of the King (Book 3 of the Lord of the Rings) by J.R.R. Tolkien. [440p] The third book is where everything culminates. It is about the great war and the destruction of the ring. If there is anything, I agree with Tolkien that the books were not lengthy enough. With what Tolkien created, he could have gone on and on and created more vile and violent scenes. He could have made Sauron perform some (mis)deeds.
  3. The Psychology of Nations by G.E. Partridge. [350p] This is an essay on the psychology of nations written in 1919 after the first world war and the formation of the League of Nations. In this book (ebook), Partridge analysed the psychology of nations from the point of view of war. He discussed the causes and effects of war from several angles. Can war be noble? Is it economic? Is it an expression of man's animalistic instinct? Are wars fought for territories? He also examined how to replace the patriotism that lead to war with education. In fact, his solution to solving the differences among nations lies in the mode and method of education. He advocated for a complete overhaul in the education system. I don't know if he was taken seriously but what I know is that we still need to take a look at some of his propositions. This is a brilliant book. I cannot say I understood everything Partridge proposed but he did a thorough work.
  4. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. [477p] I do not know what to call this book and as the author said in this very book, a novel is not suppose to be about one thing. So I will say, I like the part that dealt with race and not the part which dealt with love. The love story was not 'tight' for me and I have disliked the 'true love' kind of love stories. The likes where the partners roam the world - sometimes marry and still come back to it. No! It was Judith McNaught's Perfect and Daniel Steel's Lightning that did that to me. After reading those two books I stopped reading romance. I love the Deola-Wale relationship Sefi Atta's A Bit of Difference more than the Ifemelu-Obinze type. And there are a lot of similarities between the two books. For those who have not yet Sefi's book, I will beg you to try it. It is less than half the size of this but it covers a lot and has more dynamism. However, Adichie's insight into race, delivered through Ifemelu's blog, is superb. She writes flawlessly. I also like that she dropped a lot of books, authors, and contemporary music. She is one author I want to read entirely, whether I enjoy it or not.
I don't know what I will be reading in March. I have fewer books by Africans and I am not in the mood for the type of non-African books I have now. However, I am beginning How to Spell Naija in 100 Short Stories vol. 1 by one of my favourite - yet to disappoint - authors Chuma Nwokolo. If you are tired of the industrial hype and want something unique, refreshing, interesting, and yet biting, read Chuma.


  1. Hi Nana,
    first of all I would like to say that I rushed to number 4 when I saw Americanah LOL. The rest I ignored. One of the reasons I did so is because I have the book in an e-version together with Noviolet Bulawayo's latest novel. They are be the next book I will be reading soon after the one I have in hand.
    Also, bizarrely, I have not read anything from Sefi Atta, apart from her short story in African Love Stories that I remember not enjoying that much. All the same, A Bit od Difference has gone high in my TBR list.

    I LOL @She is one author I want to read entirely, whether I enjoy it or not. So, do I.

    I also look forward to reading Chuma Nwokolo's novels, he's unique.

    1. You should try Sefi again, especially this story.

  2. I'd say that you're doing very well just to have finally finished Tolkien's trilogy and having stuck with that goal. That takes some doing. Perhaps your passion for words is just temporarily diverted into reading more than writing? But, yes, it is hard to keep up a motivation when you don't feel that you are connecting with other readers often enough to warrant all the work that thoughtful posts require.

    The love story in Americanah did work for me. It didn't feel like the Steele kind of perfect-love novels (which I haven't read since high school, I hasten to add) to me. It felt too strained and tentative for me most of the time to fall into that category (I won't say more because I don't want to risk spoilers). But, at the same time, I have only heard things about Sefi Atta's novels that make me think that I would really like them, so I'm now doubly intrigued to see how they might compare in that respect.

    Hope you enjoy your reading March!

    1. Thanks for the comment.

      May be I am biased because I felt the two should not come back and also because of my view on divorce, especially when it is based on the reasons Obinze gave. It sounds stupid and easy for a man to say that when he has a clear sight on somebody else. If anything, shouldn't he have divorced her before Ifemelu's arrival in Nigeria? Dis Obinze look for Ifemelu - if that was true love - when he began visiting the US and could have afforded to stay as long as he wanted? For me such things are unreal.

    2. Nana abeg na.. pls do not be a spoiler nahhh!!! Haba.


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