October 24, 2015

TBR Book Tag!

I got tagged to put up a "To-Be-Read" post by Darkowaa of the beautiful and inspiring blog, African Book Addict. Here are my responses to the TBR questions. Enjoy!

1. How do you keep track of your TBR pile?
I have a post-it widget on my computer that I use for everything. There's a post-it with my To-Do list of everything academic and then there's a post-it with my TBR list for my blog. I'm constantly moving around the titles, adding to the list, and changing my book review choices for any particular month. It's always there when I turn on my computer. I like it a lot. It helps me keep track of everything I need to do.

2. Is your TBR mostly print or e-book?
It's 99% print. I only read e-books when I have to. E-books are actually really convenient but I prefer print. I think I always will.

3. How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?
I buy the books I'm interested in reading and I keep them on my bookshelf. Selecting what book to read next from my bookshelf is random a lot of the time. Book covers are very enticing so I could reach for a book on my shelf based on that. Sometimes it's based on the number of pages because I have a fixed window of free time between semesters. Sometimes I select a book based on who the author is.

4. A book that has been on your TBR the longest?
Right now it would be between Tolulope Popoola's Nothing Comes Close and Eghosa Imasuen's To Saint Patrick. I'll get to them one day I promise. 

5. A book you recently added to your TBR?
Darkowaa posted today because she got tagged. I read her post and ordered Baking in Kigali by Gaile Parkin AND Kabu Kabu by Nnedi Okoroafor on Amazon before settling down to pen this post. Good job Darkowaa :).  

6. A book on your TBR strictly because of its beautiful cover?
I like the cover of Alain Mabanckou's Tomorrow I'll Be Twenty a lot and so I bought it. It's not the only reason I bought it but it's one of the main reasons. Again I saw it featured on the African Book Addict blog soo... Good job Darkowaa! My money go soon finish. 

7. A book on your TBR that you never plan on reading?
I wouldn't say I "never plan on reading" but I know deep inside that it would have to be the only unread book on my shelf before there's even the slightest chance that I will read it. I won't mention the book title. 

8. An unpublished book on your TBR that you're excited for?
Right now it's The Longings of Jende Jonga by Imbolo Mbue (I'm aware the title has changed but whatever). It's the book whose movie rights were sold for seven figures. I can't wait. I wasn't aware that Teju Cole had a new book coming out until I read Darkowaa's post so I'm excited about that. I hope I can finish Open City before the new release. It has been on my TBR for a while.

9. A book on your TBR that everyone recommends to you?
White Teeth by Zadie Smith and The Famished Road by Ben Okri have been recommended to me since forever. I need to finally read them. I've booked them for 2016. 

10. A book on your TBR that everyone has read but you?
The Famished Road by Ben Okri. 

11. A book on your TBR that you're dying to read?
The Longings of Jende Jonga

12. How many books are in your Goodreads TBR shelf?
I use Shelfari more often than I use Goodreads and I have the Shelfari bookshelf widget on my blog. My Goodreads TBR shelf has 6 books. 

October 07, 2015

Bitter Leaf by Chioma Okereke | Book Review

Bitter Leaf is set in Mannobe a small regressive village located somewhere in Africa. We meet Jericho as she returns to Mannobe under the cover of darkness. She has lived in the city for a long time and is finally pulled back home to Mannobe by the guilt induced by her mother's letter. Babylon is a gifted musician and local sex object who's more interested in bedding numerous village women than furthering his career. He's smitten by Jericho but her heart belongs to her boyfriend back in the city. While Babylon courts Jericho's affection, Magdalene, a dutiful village girl who has never felt anything close to the consuming love she has for Babylon, tries desperately to keep his attention. This is an engaging tale of love, pain and lust with lots of interesting characters.

The book title paired with the author's Igbo name made me expect a Nigerian tale but Bitter Leaf isn't Nigerian. It comes across as a story set in some other African country when you take in the way the characters talk and the snippets of a local language I can't identify. I found Okereke's descriptions of lust and the convoluted feelings of sexual attraction humorous and very enjoyable. I'm impressed by her narrative style and attention to detail in the 409 pages of this novel. I assume I'm late to the party considering that this novel was published in 2010 but the more I read Bitter Leaf, the more I wondered why I haven't seen Chioma Okereke's name floated around more often on the various lists of contemporary Nigerian authors. We need to applaud the verve and skill that Chioma Okereke greatly displays in this beautiful debut. Kudos to Chioma Okereke.

[Image via Amazon]