Showing posts from March, 2012

NEW PUBLICATION: Chapters of Me: Deep Thoughts vol.1 by Ben Hinson

Ben Hinson New title from Musings Press - Chapters of Me:Deep Thoughts vol.1 by Ben Hinson. Ben Hinson is a once-in-a-lifetime find. The Ghanaian native has lived in Ghana, Nigeria, England, and numerous locations within the United States. He captures his growth and observations on life in beautiful free verse and poetry in his first collection, Chapters of Me: Deep Thoughts vol.1.  From his time as a cadet in a military academy in Pennsylvania, to living on the mean streets of Detroit Michigan with gang members, working overnight shifts as a laborer in warehouses, writing and directing theatrical performances, to eventually working as a manager and advisor for some of the top names in real-estate performance analytics and advertising in New York City, Ben Hinson has amassed a vast wealth of experience, which he channels effectively into this new collection. Each piece in the book highlights a unique theme, and is written in a raw and honest style, while at the same time being

Quotes for Friday from Jimmy Carter's Our Endangered Values

Powerful lobbyists, both inside and outside government, have distorted an admirable American belief in free enterprise into the right of extremely rich citizens to accumulate and retain more and more wealth and pass all of it to descendants. [3] Nowadays, the Washington scene is completely different, with almost every issue decided on a strictly partisan basis. Probing public debate on key legislative decisions is almost a thing of the past. Basic agreements are made between lobbyists and legislative leaders, often within closed party caucuses where rigid discipline is paramount. [8]  This deterioration in harmony, cooperation, and collegiality in Congress is, at least in part, a result of the rise of fundamentalist tendencies and their religious and political impact. [8] ... A country will have authority and influence because of moral factors, not its military strength; because it can be humble not blatant and arrogant; because our people and our country want to serve oth

149. Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis by Jimmy Carter

Most often people who have spoken against America's foreign policies have been described as anti-America. People who have gone ahead to question certain decisions such as why corporate tax has always been lower and quick to be reduced than income tax and who have suggested that a certain cabal is ruling America have been described as Conspiracy Theorists, which currently tantamount to speaking gibberish or simply, insanity. And for those of us non-Americans, especially Africans who raise such issues, our own compatriots, fascinated by the dazzle of power, or perhaps more appropriately by the suit-and-tie of American leadership and their zeal to live in the beautiful country and so would betray everything they are, would tell you, 'you are a fool'. I don't know what I expected to find when I picked this book. I never though an American president would criticise his own country's policies, a country he has led before. I thought that criticisms meant being '

148. SHORT STORY MONDAY: Mr Oliver by Mamle Kabu

Mamle Kabu's Mr. Oliver  is a story about the relationship that exists between the rich and the poor and the fake camaraderie shared among the rich and high-society folks, who keep up appearances to please their fellow glitterati and the socialite.   Written in the first person singular, Alex's wife tells of how things aren't going well between her and her nouveau-riche husband. Oliver is the mason working on the extension of their house and belongs to the early wealthy folks whose third generation children are languishing in poverty. Like most artisans he knows that the Alex's wife is 'soft' when it comes to money; hence, even though he had been provided with all the necessary materials required to complete his job, he went to her for the money-equivalent of a bag of cement. Alex's wife, fascinated by Oliver's eyes, was surprised how such a man could also be an alcoholic and wonders what actually happened to him, especially their branch of the fa

147. Birds of Our Land by Virginia W. Dike

Virginia W. Dike's Birds of Our Land  (Cassava Republic Press, 2010 (first pub., 1986); 40) is an illustrative and colourful book on birds found in Nigeria and by extension, perhaps, across West Africa. This carefully written book provides insights into the habitat, habit, identification, and nature of several birds including the Plantain Eater, Parrot, Kite, Sunbird, Egret, Finch, Guinea Fowl, Crow, Coucal, Owl, Pipit, Mannikin, Whydah, Thrush, Kingfish, Roller and more. The book is directed towards young children, probably between the ages of five and fifteen; however, adults could learn a lot from if for how many of us know the birds we have been seeing by name. However, through the clear picturesque illustration by Robin Gowen one is able to identify several of these known birds by name and description. The book opens with a definition of a bird accompanied by a well-labelled illustration. Following from there is a brief description of the birds, systematically, with eac

Quotes for Friday from Brian Chikwava's Harare North

Truth is like snake because it is slippery when it move and make people flee in all directions whenever it slither into crowds, but Sekai don't know. [8] Your house is like your head, she say to sheself, you have to keep sweeping it clean if you want to stay sane. [14] You always know more than you believe in but always choose what you believe in over what you know because what you know can be so big that sometimes it is useless weapon, you cannot wield it proper and, when you try, it can get your head out of gear and stop you focusing. [43] Money is like termite. The more desire you have to catch it, the more you scare it down into its hole. You don't try to catch it by its head, but let it crawl out of the hole first. [68] The past always give you the tools to handle the present. Add small bit of crooked touch to what you do and everyone soon get startled into silence and start paying proper attention and respect to you. Every jackal boy know that style; drop

146. Harare North by Brian Chikwava

Title: Harare North Author: Brian Chikwava Genre: Fiction Publishers: Jonathan Cape Pages: 230 Year: 2009 Country: Zimbabwe The narrative in Harare North  is unique; it dealt away with the entire grammatical caboodle that burdens the writer when using a character who is not versed in the English syntax because it is not his first language; or even if it were, because he has adopted and adapted it to suit his daily needs. Brian Chikwava's protagonist is not burdened with the flowery, indulging, and literary complications of the English language; he has given the layman's English as it is spoken and understood by the majority of non-English speaking folks whose formal education was cut short before they could imbibe the whole grammatical rules. In this way, Chikwava has created a character who is not only believable in his actions but also in his speech and thought. Perhaps this is the closest, and the boldest, one has come to delineating between the two levels

145. SHORT STORY MONDAY: A Life in Full by Jude Dibia

Jude Dibia's story A Life in full , the eponym of the anthology, is one that plague many a household in this part of the world where children are valued above all else, so that one can have all the properties in this world, acquire all the knowledge that one can possibly acquire and still be considered useless, or having lived a life in full, if one does not have at least a child.  Victor has completed his university degree, has a good job, and lives comfortably in his Lagos home. However, Victor's entrenched stand on marriage has created (or is creating) a chasm between him and his mother. Mabel, Victor's mother, don't seem to understand why a man like Victor, with all the things one needs to live a comfortable life, will refuse to marry. When Victor complained of sickness and his mother went to visit him and stayed to cook for him and keep the house tidy, two things became clear: Victor wouldn't allow his mother to talk to him about marriage issues with him

NEW PUBLICATION: Birds of Our Land

SYNOPSIS When the author moved to Nigeria in the early 1970s with her young family, she discovered that Nigeria has so many fascinated birds that she wanted to share with her children and other children.  But she couldn’t find books on Nigerian or West African birds.  Instead, the bookshops had lots of books about birds from the United States and Britain.  This gave birth to  Birds of Our Land* , a child’s guide to West African birds with the aim of introducing children to some of the many fascinating birds around them. It explains the basic features of birds and key things to note in observing them and is accompanied by beautiful paintings by illustrator Robin Gowen of 25 birds representing the major species in the region. Most of these are birds that children are likely to come across in most parts of West Africa, while a few are less familiar but amazing in some way. Through its rich, poetic descriptions  Birds of Our Land  offers children a gateway to the natural world by

Quotes for Friday from W. Somerset Maugham's Theatre

I know that you can act me off the stage, but we get on together like a house on fire, and when you do go into management I think we'd make a pretty good team. [32] I don't care. I'd rather marry him and be a failure than be a success and married to somebody else. [40] A woman attracts men by her charm and hold them by their vices ... [113] Only a woman knows what a woman can do. [134] No, they don't, they mean pain and anguish, shame, ecstasy, heaven and hell; they mean the sense of living more intensely, and unutterable boredom; they mean freedom and slavery; they mean peace and unrest. [149] Oh, my dear, life is so short and love is so transitory. The tragedy of life is that sometimes we get what we want. [193] The bitterness of life is not death, the bitterness of life is that love dies. [196] It's our weakness, not our strength, that endears us to those who love us. [217] If one stripped you of your exhibitionism, if one took yo

144. Theatre by W. Somerset Maugham

Theatre  (Vintage, 1937; 242): Julia Lambert is a famous actress. She and her husband, Michael Gosselyn - also an actor and manager, had been together ever since they met at an acting academy. Julia was attracted by Michael's beauty and genteelness and was determined to become married to him at all cost. So much was she in love with Michael, who was rather dumb and blind to her schemes, that she was prepared to marry him and become a failed actress. However, Michael's dumbness was a resolve not to have any amorous relationship with any of the actresses he works with. To him it was purely work and nothing more. With persistent schemes and open demonstration of her love, the two finally married and worked their way into the heart of London's theatre enthusiasts. So even though Michael was not a great actor, only drawn to his audience by his exceptional beauty, he was able to get the best out of Julia, for there was nothing he knew not about acting. Things were rosy, beau

143. SHORT STORY MONDAY: Soul Safari by Alnoor Amlani

Soul Safari  by Alnoor Amlani, published in the Caine Prize 2010 anthology, is a story about a well-planned but botched marriage proposal between former high-school lovers, Adam and Zara. Adam has carefully planned a Safari trip for his long time high-school who had just a terrible break-up with his boyfriend that required the police to literally uproot him from her apartment. Adam seemed not to have taken the psychological consequences of such a horrible incident into consideration when planning for this romantic adventure. Upon reaching the place the relationship between the two went sour when Adam openly expressed his love for Zara. Zara on her part let it known to him that she loves him too, but only as a sister would love a brother. This statement broke the last string that held them together. Red with jealous and almost annoyed with anyone who dared hold a conversation with Zara that kept him out, the relationship was descending farther and farther into an irremediable sta

Quotes for Friday from Toni Morrison's Sula

After five years of a sad and disgruntled marriage Boy-Boy took off. During the time they were together he was very much preoccupied with other women and not home much. He did whatever he could that he liked, and he liked womanizing best, drinking second, and abusing Eva third. When he left in November, Eva had $1.65, five eggs, three beats and no idea of what or how to feel. [32] Hannah's friendships with women were, of course, seldom and short-lived, and they newly married couples whom her mother took in soon learned what a hazard she was. She could break up a marriage before it had even become one - she would make love to the new groom and wash his wife's dishes all in an afternoon. [44] A hill wind was blowing dust and empty Camels wrappers about their ankles. It pushed their dresses into the creases of their behinds, then lifted hems to peek at their cotton underwear. [49] Every passerby, every motorcar, every alteration in stance caught their intention and wa

142. Sula by Toni Morrison

In Sula  (Plume, 1973; 174) Morrison continued her brilliant portrayal of the sad history of African Americans in a manner she alone could handle. Morrison's mind is different and the circumference of what is possible is wider than any other, except perhaps writers of science fiction and paranormal. And this is what makes Morrison a unique writer; for she sets her unique happenings in the midst of ordinary people and write of it (or them) as if it were normal everyday affair. In Song of Solomon  it was about Macon Milkman Dead following the 'wing-trails' of his ancestors who were deemed to have flown back to Africa to escape slavery (which is rooted in history). It was also about a Pilate, the woman who was born without a navel and who walked extremely great distances and did things that ordinary people cannot and would not be able to do. In Beloved it was about Sethe and her love for her children even after they escaped treachery and torture from Teacher. It is also abou