December 27, 2018

My Year in Books! | Incessant Scribble 2018

Isn't it crazy that there's only 4 days left in the year 2018?! This has been an incredible year and I'm grateful for all of my experiences. Let's talk about boookssss!!! Last year I began the tradition of looking back at all the books I read during the year so let's dive in once again using lists. Here we go!

Books I READ in 2018!
5) Speak No Evil by Uzodinma Iweala [Didn't Review]
6) We Are Taking Only What We Need by Stephanie Powell Watts [Didn't Review]
7) No One Is Coming to Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts [Didn't Review]
8) Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris [Didn't Review]
9) We the Animals by Justin Torres [Didn't Review]
10) Radiance by Emanuel Xavier [Poetry] [Didn't Review]
11) Madness by Sam Sax [Poetry] [Didn't Review]
12) A Boy's Own Story by Edmund White [Didn't Review]
13) The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead [Didn't Review]
14) Island of Happiness by Onyeka Nwelue [Didn't Review]
15) Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile [Didn't Review]
16) Born a Crime by Trevor Noah [Didn't Review]
17) The Women of Brewster Place by Gloria Naylor [Didn't Review]
18) Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx [Didn't Review]
19) Becoming by Michelle Obama [Didn't Review]

Books I ABANDONED in 2018!
1) Sadness Is a White Bird by Moriel Rothman-Zecher
2) The Granta Book of the African Short Story edited by Helon Habila 
3) The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne 
4) The Girls by Emma Cline
5) How Are You Going to Save Yourself by JM Holmes
6) Men on Strike: Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream - and         Why It Matters by Helen Smith, PhD
7) Brother  by David Chariandy
8) Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
9) Redemption Song and Other Stories: The Caine Prize for African Writing 2018
10) What I Know For Sure by Oprah Winfrey
11) Granta 139: Best of Young American Novelists edited by Sigrid Rausing
12) Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs
13) The Darkest Child by Delores Phillips
14) An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
15) The Complete Poetry by Maya Angelou
16) The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde
18) Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
19) Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
20) What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons
21) Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
22) The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson
23) A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines
24) Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

Last year I read fourteen books and only abandoned eight. In 2018 I abandoned a lot of books. In 2017 I resolved that I would read more diversely (= not be solely focused on African book titles as I tend to do for this blog) and I also resolved that I would drop any book that I couldn't sustain interest in. I'm glad that I stuck to those resolutions. Here are a few words about the books I read but did not review on Incessant Scribble. 

Speak No Evil by Uzodinma Iweala was disappointing. It's about a Nigerian-American boy who's struggling with his sexuality. Initially I wondered why this smart, privileged, athletic, Harvard-bound boy who lives in the freaking United States of America, the Land of the FREE, was acting timid and unsteady like a fawn. I found it irritating. It wasn't until the huge confrontation with his parents that I realized I hadn't factored in how much power his super successful Mom and Dad have over the trajectory of his young life and the possible consequences he'll face if he refuses to succumb to their demands. Speak No Evil is disappointing because rather than deeply explore being a black, gay Nigerian boy in America, Iweala veers off tangent and skids over to cover Black Lives Matter issues. I just... I just feel like Iweala should have been more focused. Speak No Evil could have been a pillar for Nigerian LGBT everywhere now it's just a tiny stone in the BLM movement. Oh well... Moving on... 

We're Only Taking What We Need and No One Is Coming to Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts are great reads! I'm a new fan of Stephanie Powell Watts. I was first attracted to We're Only TAking What We Need because of its title and its magnificent book cover art. After I read a sample on Amazon, I bought both books. No regrets. You should read them. 

Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris is deep and funny and memorable. I loved it a lot. It centers on employees at an office that's slowly downsizing and it chronicles the laughs, the panic and the horrors of this downward spiral. You should read it. 

We the Animals by Justin Torres is tender and beautiful. A band of three brothers are growing up wild because they lack parental supervision. With their young eyes they observe everything around them including their parents toxic relationship. One of the brothers, our protagonist, is gay and it's through his eyes that we view their world. After I was done I went hunting for Justin Torres on YouTube. I also tried to watch the movie adaptation about three days ago but I stopped mid-film because I wasn't digging it. We the Animals triggered me to go hunt for more gay literature. You should read this.

Radiance by Emanuel Xavier is a book of gay poetry. I first heard about Emanuel Xavier in 2016 via the literary blog "Read Diverse Books". One of his poems had caught my attention back then so I ordered it this year off Amazon, devoured it then went on to YouTube to watch clips of him. You should read it. 

Madness by Sam Sax is another book of poetry. It's okay. It doesn't compare to Emanuel Xavier's but I still like it. 

A Boy's Own Story by Edmund White is a well written account of a young gay boy growing up in the 90's. It's well written and I like it. 

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead deserves a standing ovation. Would you believe that I had bought this novel way back (because of Oprah), I perused it, found it uninteresting and then returned it to Amazon to get a refund? I found myself checking it out again this year and it's superb! It's amazing! You have to read this tale of African-American men and women who risk their lives as they make the journey to North America so they can live free. It also made me reflect on how this hard-fought freedom was won with the help of a lot of caucasians who opened their hearts and their doors and who stood up publicly against slavery, risking their own lives for all of us to get to this point in history. I don't see celebrations of those amazing individuals and I'd really love to see them celebrated. Amazon is making a TV show based on The Underground Railroad, helmed by the amazing Barry Jenkins. You have to read this. 

Island of Happiness by Onyeka Nwelue is a bold book that shines light on the lives of residents of Oguta in Imo State as they battle immoral desires and corrupt leaders who siphon payouts from petroleum multinationals. Onyeka Nwelue directed the movie adaptation of his novel and it premiered at the Newark International Film Festival this past September. I'm proud to have my name linked to the project as an Executive Producer. You should read it. 

Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile is different from a lot of things I've read. In this tale a young woman has been left a huge area of land by her father upon his death. Her inheritance comes with some difficult stipulations and we spend the novel seeing her battle herself, her family, her employees, sexism, racism and more. I can see why Oprah would adapt this novel into a TV show on her channel, OWN. You should read it. 

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah surprised me. It's another book I had investigated in the past and then given up on. I turned towards it again when I heard that Lupita Nyongo is slated to portray Trevor Noah's mom in a movie adaptation. This memoir is special. Trevor gives generously of himself and his incredible life and relationship with his mother. You have to read it. 

Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx is a tale we all know because of it's terrific movie adaptation. I was on the internet one day in the later half of this year and in the comment section someone mentioned that the short story Brokeback Mountain had somethings the movie did not so I ordered it off Amazon. It's exceptional and I love that the screen writers did not try to change the conversation or invent new dialogue. I give them major kudos for that. As can be expected some parts of the original story did not make the movie cut and you have to read it to understand how much of a bigger gift Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx is to mankind. You should read this. 

Becoming by Michelle Obama is my BOOK OF THE YEAR! I finished reading Becoming this past weekend. It's everything you wanted and more. Michelle gives and gives and gives. Her prose is stellar. Nothing I write here will do Becoming justice so order yourself a copy ASAP! You'll walk away from its pages blessed, tremendously inspired and in fervent awe of Michelle Obama. 

That's it for 2018! I'm not reading any book right now. I'm taking a few days off before diving into a collection of short stories by Chaithanya Sohan and Shaima Adin titled America Deconstructed. I'm also going to read The Day of the Orphan by Dr. Nat Tanoh. I'm counting down to when I finally get my hands on Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. I watched her interview on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday last month and that lit a fire in me so I followed it up by watching her Dartmouth Commencement Speech and other YouTube clips. I'm excited for Year of Yes! I've never been this interested in memoirs but the last few I read have been incredibly rewarding so I'm on the hunt for more!

As you've probably already noticed I did not review a lot of books this year. The plan was for me to enjoy books without the added stress of putting together a book review. It felt good and bad at the same time but it's a trend that I'll likely continue in 2019. I'm honored to still be on the Top 50 African Literature Blogs, Websites and Newsletters to Follow. It's a list compiled and maintained by the gracious Anuj Agarwal. There are a good number of blogs and sites on that list that I love so I hope you can check it out when you need to expand your reading.

New Year Resolutions for 2019
1) Read More Books! - I hope I can read at least 24 books next year. Two books for each month.

2) Be More Selective! - I ordered a lot of books this year without much thought. In 2019, instead of ordering any book that catches my eye, I'll just add them to my Amazon list. I'll only order one book at a time that way if it arrives and I find it lacking I can send it back and get my refund. You guys know books can be expensive lol. A lot of the books I abandoned this year had passed their return window on Amazon by the time I came to the conclusion that I wasn't interested in it so I lost money. They're all now at the Goodwill store near my house because I refuse to crowd my bookshelf with books I won't read.

Thank you for reading! Have a wonderful New Year! May 2019 bring you every thing you desire and more! 

December 03, 2018

The Caine Prize for African Writing 2018 Anthology

We're approaching the end of another year and so it's time for my annual review of the Caine Prize for African Writing Anthology. I've been reviewing the Caine Prize Anthology on this blog site since 2015! I find great pleasure and excitement in reading short stories from new voices and familiar voices every year. 

As always, I preordered my copy of this years anthology, Redemption Song and Other Stories,  off Amazon but I didn't get to reading it until November in advance of this month's book review blog post. I found Redemption Song and Other Stories disappointing. Right off the bat I found myself skipping stories either halfway through it or after a careful perusal because of an underwhelming opening paragraph or first page. I could not find any story in that collection that I could get through. In light of this I've decided to break tradition and skip this years review of the Caine Prize Anthology. I ended up donating my copy of Redemption Song and Other Stories to the GoodWill store near me because I've made a resolution to only keep books I've read and books I plan to read on my book shelf. I found it necessary to make that resolution because I had so many half finished books abandoned on my shelf causing clutter. I considered not discussing this but I think it's necessary. 

This does not change anything. I will always review the Caine Prize Anthology for as long as this blog is active. I'm already anticipating the literary treasures next year's Caine Prize Anthology will bring. Catch up on previous book reviews of this anthology! 

Osondu Awaraka
Incessant Scribble

[Image via Amazon]

October 27, 2018

FARAFINA Launched an E-Bookstore!

Kachifo Limited launched its new e-book store,, on October 20th, 2018. Now, you can buy and read on your devices your best-loved titles from any of their imprints: Farafina, Tuuti, Breeze and Kamsi.

To Start Reading on Farafinabooks
- Go to
- Click on Free Account on the top right corner of the site and fill in your details
- After completing the form, you'll receive an email containing your verification code
- Enter this verification code on the site
- Log in with your created account and start reading!

A total of 22 books, including Freshwater and What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky, are currently available on the store, and the list is constantly being updated. 

August 13, 2018

Book Release!!! | "Of Women and Frogs" by Bisi Adjapon

Farafina is set to publish debut novel, Of Women and Frogs, by Bisi Adjapon, in December 2018. Of Women and Frogs is a coming-of-age story of Esi, a feisty half-Nigerian girl growing up in post-colonial Ghana, with occasional visits to her maternal family in Lagos. When her curiousity about her body leads to punishment from her stepmother, Esi begins to question the hypocrisy of the adults around her who place restrictions on her just because she's a girl.

"The subject of sex and gender disparity has always fascinated me," Adjapon says. "But I didn't want a didactic book. I wanted to entertain and touch hearts. I wanted to write the kind of book I loved to read, a book featuring a woman who is intelligent, well-educated, funny, romantic and has a healthy libido."

Adjapon first published Of Women and Frogs as a short story in McSweeney's Quarterly Issue 38, before the novel itself was completed. Her writings have appeared in journals and newspapers including the Washington Times, Daily Graphic and Chicken Bones. As an International Affairs Specialist for the U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service, she won the Civil Rights Award for Human Relations, and a Strategic Objective Award for her work on the Norman Borlaug Capacity Building Fellows targeting women in developing countries.

She holds degrees in French and Spanish and has worked in several embassies, taught and managed projects in Costa Rica, Mexico, South Africa and Ghana. Until recently, she was a language instructor at the Diplomatic Language School in Virginia. Currently, she divides her time between Ghana and America. When not working, she plays tennis and loves to eat chocolate.

Praise for Of Women and Frogs: 
"This is a really wonderful story. [Bisi Adjapon] writes with incredible vividness and clarity. [Her] similes and attention to all of the sense are really extraordinary," Dave Eggers, publisher of McSweeney's Quaterly Concern and Pulitzer Prize winning author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, says of the forthcoming release.

"Esi is every girl, every woman, who is torn between doing her duty and staying true to herself. We're excited about this beautiful story of courage coming at a time when more women are standing up and speaking their truth." - Enajite Efemuaye, Managing Editor at Farafina.

Of Women and Frogs will be available in retail stores in Nigeria from December 1st, 2018!

March 07, 2018

A Decade of Blogging | Incessant Scribble

19 Y.O. The night before I turned 20
Ten years ago in an internet cafe on the University of Nigeria, Nsukka campus I created this blog site and published my first blog post titled My Blogenesis. I was there that night with Onyeka Nwelue but he was at a different computer station because that night the cyber cafe was packed. I had needed convincing by my friends Eromo Egbejule and Nwelue (both of whom had blogs at the time) to begin blogging because my major worry was starting the blog and lapsing into irregularity. I was also secretly worried and nervous about putting myself out there and opening myself to scrutiny and criticism. That night I took a leap of faith because they gave me wings and here I am ten years later. Ten years. I was nineteen years old sitting in the cafe that night, 14 days away from turning twenty. I'm twenty-nine years old right now sitting in my apartment, trying to compose this post before heading out to work, 14 days away from that scary number THIRTY. 30 years old. Ohhh myyy gawdd. "What am I doing with my life?" is a question I've asked myself countless times in the past. It's a question that pops into my mind with increasing frequency as these few last days of my twenties flash by.

29 Y.O. This morning. 
I had long imagined that to celebrate this anniversary I would conjure up a thoughtful and lengthy blog post chronicling the last ten years of my life but when I woke up this morning I knew it wasn't going to happen lol. However, it's necessary that I point out the three years break I took from blogging. I started working on getting into pharmacy school the year I moved to America and by 2010 things were heating up. There was lots of stress and pressure as I combined school, secular work, and increased responsibilities at home for the first time in my life. No matter what I had on my plate I needed amazing grades to get into pharmacy school. I was scared of failure and did not want to be distracted so I abruptly restricted all access to this blog site. I locked it up and threw away the key. I have zero blog posts from August 2010 to March 2013, a span of about three years. My leisure reading dipped really low during that hiatus but I'm glad I kept reading. One of the books I always regret not blogging about is Brian Chikwava's Harare North. I wish I had shared how much I enjoyed that book. It wasn't until the end of my first year of pharmacy school that I returned to blogging as a way to deal with the stress of school. Chimamanda Adichie was about to release Americanah and the email from her Nigerian publishers requesting that I announce their release of her novel was the extra push I needed to get back to blogging. I haven't taken any breaks since then.

I had hoped that by today I would have reviewed at least 100 books on this blog site but 77 book reviews from 18 different African countries isn't too shabby. Incessant Scribble has been an incredible blessing in my life. The fact that I've done all of this single-handedly makes me so proud. So freaking proud. I need to thank Onyeka Nwelue & Eromo Egbejule for the love and these wings. I need to thank all my readers. I need to thank all my favorite bloggers who constantly inspire me to work harder at this. I need to thank everyone who visits this blog, subscribes to this blog, tweets, comments, shares and likes my blog posts. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you soo much. You encourage me in more ways that you know. The next decade of my life will undoubtedly bring a lot of change and I'm not yet certain about my plans for this platform that I've cultivated. Whatever I decide I'll keep you posted.

Much Love,

Dr. Osondu Nnamdi Awaraka

March 04, 2018

Going to Meet the Man by James Baldwin | Book Review

There are eight short stories in Going to Meet the Man. The first is The Rockpile, a tale of a small family and its abusive patriarch. In The Outing a young black adolescent boy bears the weight of a yet to be fully understood secret that makes him different from the other boys. In The Man Child Eric and his parents celebrate the birthday of his father's childhood friend, Jamie. Jamie, who just turned thirty-four, is "old" and has no wife, kids or property. The tension that bubbles beneath the surface during the birthday dinner doesn't forewarn us of the evil darkness that ends this tale. In Previous Conditions a struggling black actor is broke, alone and frustrated. In Sonny's Blues two brothers try hard to understand each other after the death of their mother. The African American singer in This Morning, This Evening, So Soon readies himself for a trip back home after years of being abroad. Come to the Wilderness is an engaging story of a woman reflecting on all the hurt she's holding on to and all of her choices. It has some of the best, most moving lines in this collection. The last story is the titular Going to Meet the Man which isn't at all the sexual rendezvous its name suggests. In this upsetting story a racist sheriff lies in bed reminiscing on a life changing public event he witnessed while perched atop his fathers' shoulders.

I love the first two stories because of its protagonist Johnnie who's lovable, confused and perilously close to his first heartbreak. The first two stories also brought back childhood memories of the pious persons I used to know. The Man Child story hurt and Come Out the Wilderness was sad. I interrupted my reading of Going to Meet the Man to search for the song Glory by Common & John Legend. I listened to it on iTunes, watched Yolanda Adams' mind-blowing cover on YouTube, then watched the Common/John Legend performance of the song at the Oscars before then returning to read the final three pages of the story. It's very important that African migrants continuously educate themselves on America's history. We need constant reminders that the freedoms we currently enjoy were fought for and paid for with human lives. This is a great short story collection. Fifteen months after I bought it off Amazon I finally read this book and I can proudly say I've read something by the revered James Baldwin. You should read this.
This is my fourth and final book pick for my literary celebration of Black History Month. READ my reviews of Gabrielle Union's We're Going to Need More Wine, Jesmyn Ward's Sing, Unburied, Sing, and Junot Diaz's Drown

February 27, 2018

Drown by Junot Diaz | Book Review

Junot Diaz's Drown is a collection of ten short stories. It begins with Ysrael, a tale of two brothers who set out to track down a local kid whose mauled face is perpetually hidden behind a mask. In Fiesta a family poses a united front at a party despite the patriarchs' dirty secret. I couldn't make sense of the third story Aurora soooo that's that. In Aguantando a mother and her two sons endure the lengthy absence of the man of the house. In the titular story Drown an ambitious kid returns back to his poor neighborhood from college. His return dredges up feelings of inferiority and shame in the protagonist because of the two brief moments they experimented sexually. In Boyfriend the protagonist is infatuated with the beautiful girl, way out of his league, who lives upstairs. Edison, New Jersey is centered around an experience two boys have while on the job. How to Date a Browngirl, Blackgirl, Whitegirl or Halfie is just like it sounds - an adolescent boy giving advice based on his limited repertoire of experiences. The story No Face takes us back to the mauled boy from the first short story. Negocios is the last short story and my favorite one of the entire collection. I like it because it finally addresses the constant absence of their dad who went away to America. It deals with the American Dream and the grand expectations of success and wealth that those of us from poorer nations carry with us as well as the realities of life in America.

I discovered Junot Diaz via two literary blogs I love. Read Diverse Books dedicated an entire month to celebrate, review and promote books by latin authors. Those series of blog posts by Naz Hernandez greatly inspired me to put in the work necessary for my current annual Black History Month literary celebration. Darkowaa's review of Junot's This Is How You Lose Her on her blog African Book Addict solidified my decision to give this author a shot. Drown is an underwhelming, unimpressive collection of short stories. There wasn't anything exciting in it for me. Junot's well celebrated though so I might give another one of his books a chance.
This is my third book pick for my literary celebration of Black History Month 2018. READ my review of Gabrielle Union's We're Going to Need More Wine and Jesmyn Ward's Sing, Unburied, Sing

February 20, 2018

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward | Book Review

The African American family at the center of Jesmyn Ward's Sing, Unburied, Sing is broken and hurt in many different ways. Pop, the family's patriarch, is burdened by a secret from his time in prison even as he tries to be present for his grandkids and his dying wife. She's stuck in the bedroom slowly surrendering to cancer that her grandson Jojo says has "...dried her up and hollowed her out the way the sun and the air do water oaks." Jojo's thirteen, mature for his age and saddled with responsibility of caring for his baby sister Kayla but he's still a child. His mom is scattered, a selfish, drug addict who's so blindly intoxicated by feelings for Michael that she numbs herself to everything that signals their incompatibility including the hurt his racist family has inflicted upon hers. She and Jojo take turns narrating Sing, Unburied, Sing, leading us on a journey through their world where the dead speak and the earth is alive.

I discovered the author Jesmyn Ward via a promotional email from Simon & Schuster which I unwittingly signed up for after purchasing Gabrielle Union's We're Going to Need More Wine. The book title and its cover art displayed in the email caught my attention so I did a little online research ordered this title and Salvage the Bones. Jesmyn displays an acute awareness of America's racial history, of small town life, the complexity of human existence. Her writing is lyrical and has an entrancing old school flavor. She's a great storyteller. I'm pleased with Sing, Unburied, Sing but not ecstatic about the tale itself. Regardless, Jesmyn Ward gives off the aura of an author destined for greater things and I'll undoubtedly be keeping up with her literary offerings.
This is my second book pick for my literary celebration of Black History Month 2018. Read the review of my first book pick, Gabrielle Union's We're Going to Need More Wine. Catch up on last year's selection HERE

February 17, 2018

We're Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union | Book Review

It wasn't until January of 2017 that I paid attention to BET's TV series Being Mary Jane. My cousins were surfing Netflix for entertainment options while I read a novel on the living room couch that first week of January. I fell asleep while reading and when I woke up Gabrielle Union was on the screen looking gorgeous, bourgeois and pissed off. She was mad at an equally gorgeous man, the actor Omar Hardwick. They seemed to have been arguing then she reminded him that she had asked him to fix the pool lights a long time ago yet he still hadn't done it. She was looking at the dimly lit pool through the floor-to-ceiling windows of her gorgeous home. Omar Hardwick walks out, dives into the pool fully clothed then using powerful strokes he swims gracefully to the other end of the pool. He fixes the pool light, swims back towards the beautiful, no longer irate goddess, and emerges out of the pool completely soaked. His white shirt was now skintight and translucent, his mouth slightly agape so he could catch his breath. This hot muscular god was standing in front of this goddess wordlessly asking her if there was any other way she wanted him to prove that his love for her is real. I was wide awake now and completely sold on Being Mary Jane. Immediately I got the chance I binged all the episodes available on Netflix and then when the new season began later that year I watched it week after week. I discovered the song Mary Jane by Alanis Morissette via the show and I bought it on iTunes. I was confused and shocked at the season 4 cliffhanger finale and then disappointed to learn BET had chosen to end the series and would wrap up the storylines with a two hour movie. It was on Instagram that I saw Gabrielle's video announcing that she was now an author and that fans could get signed copies. I hurried to Simon & Schuster, followed the instructions and eventually got my "Signed First Edition" copy. In conclusion, I've loved Gabrielle Union since I first saw her in Bring It On.

We're Going to Need More Wine is a stellar collection of essays that spans over four decades of Gabrielle's life. She begins with her family's upward move from Omaha, Nebraska to Pleasanton, California and then dives right in with her early memory of a third-grade classmate calling her "N-word Nickie". She fearlessly covers topics like masturbation, virginity loss, teenage sex and abortion, rape, cheating, colorism in her life and in the black community at large etcetera. She opens up about feeling unpretty because of her skin color, her struggle with black hair, her negro nose, interracial relationships and all the frogs she kissed before getting to her Prince, Dwayne Wade. In the book she recommends the movie Splendor in the Grass starring Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty. It's a good one so find it and watch it. I was able to rent it on Amazon Video.

I enjoyed this book a lot. I also love its title too. It's one of those "I wish I had thought of that" kinda book titles. I can't tell you how many memoir galleys I've turned down or how many I've accepted and just been unable to get through. Memoirs seem to be a hit or miss. Sometimes they are stilted other times they're boring so I've sort of given up on them except when the spirit moves me to take a chance like it did with this book. We're Going to Need More Wine is so entertaining. Gabrielle is humorous, raw and honest in a way that I hope to be someday. I'm impressed and inspired. You should read this.
This is my first book pick for my literary celebration of Black History Month. Catch up on last year's selection HERE.

February 16, 2018

Black History Month 2018 Book Picks | Incessant Scribble

Another year = Another Black History Month = Another month of celebrating books by black authors! If this is your first time visiting this blog catch up on my inaugural bookish celebration of Black History Month HERE. I originally intended to have four book picks for every celebration of Black History Month but I almost didn't make it this year. In fact I'm not even in the clear yet until I finish my fourth book. Here are my book picks for February 2018:

1) We're Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union
2) Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
3) Drown by Junot Diaz
4) Going to Meet the Man by James Baldwin

I finished reading the first three books in January but I was too exhausted to put together any words decent enough to be tagged a book review. I even considered postponing my reading of Baldwin because I was eager to get started on We the Animals by Justin Torres (I finished it last week. It's awesome!) and Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris (I'm four pages deep). However, all the social media excitement about the Black Panther movie and Yara Shahidi's birthday post on Instagram about reading Baldwin books galvanized me and I'm going to try to finish my first ever Baldwin book within the next 12 days. Right now I need to go put together three book reviews. Stay Tuned. 

January 01, 2018

My Year in Books | Incessant Scribble 2017

If one meme could sum up my life in 2017 it would be the Kylie Jenner one where she talks about a year of realizing stuff. I literally realized so much stuff in the year 2017. Some of it was good and some of it was bad. I moved out of my parents house permanently in January to a city five hours away so I could work full time. It has been a lot of work but I'm really grateful for every experience and every blessing that came my way in 2017.

I had always imagined that after I'm done with grad school I would have a lot of time to read all the books I've ever wanted to read. My resolution for 2017 was to review at least two books every month and at the time I felt it was a very achievable goal. However, I only reviewed nine books on this platform even though I read fourteen books in all. That's roughly one book a month so I did achieve my minimum expectations for myself which is great considering the kind of year 2017 was for me. One of the reasons my book count is low this year is because I abandoned a good number of books midway! Let me use lists to explain.

Books I READ in 2017
1) Voice of America by E. C. Osondu
2) Welcome to Lagos by Chibundu Onuzo
3) The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis
4) The Mothers by Brit Bennett
5) Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn
6) Ruby by Cynthia Bond
7) What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah
8) Eyo by Abidemi Sanusi
9) Yellow-Yellow by Kaine Agary [Didn't review]
10) The Day Ends Like Any Day by Timothy Ogene [Didn't review]
11) How to Make Lemonade by Beyonce Knowles-Carter [Didn't Review]
12) Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth by Warsan Shire (Poetry) [Didn't review]
13) Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman [Didn't review]
14) The Caine Prize for African Writing 2017 Anthology

Books I ABANDONED Midread in 2017
1) Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo
2) When We Speak of Nothing by Olumide Popoola
3) Season of Crimson Blossoms by Abubakar Adam Ibrahim
4) The Famished Road by Ben Okri
5) Stock Investing for Dummies by Paul Mladjenovic
5) How to Read the Air by Dinaw Mengestu
6) Gratitude in Low Voices by Dawit Gebremichael Habte
7) Resemblance by Afolabi Opanubi
8) Unstoppable: Challenge Accepted Volume 1 by Tariku Bogale

Here are a few words on the five books I was unable to review earlier this year:

Yellow-Yellow by Kaine Agary is about a girl called Yellow-Yellow, the only child of a single mother. Her mother has dreams of her going to school and rising out of poverty and does everything in her power to make sure her daughter has an education. Does Yellow-Yellow want those same things? The last forty pages gave me anxiety. This girl who had grown up in squalor and had been handed great opportunities seemed like she was about to squander them because of fleshly desires. After I read the last page I just stared at it for a few minutes and then I shut the book and sat in silence. I like this novel. I hate, hate, hate the book cover art on my copy published by "Dtalkshop" in Lagos, Nigeria. It's so ugly! Whoever approved it for publishing should be suspended. That person and "CLAM" who's credited with "designing" the cover.

The Day Ends Like Any Day by Timothy Ogene was a good read but somehow I couldn't find the words to review it and I really, really wanted to. Ogene writes with tremendous skill and I savored his words. The novel is about a young boy who's from a poor background and never quite seems destined to lift himself from all of that. He's also harboring same sex attractions deep inside. He goes to college and meets a boy but... I was impressed with Ogene at the beginning but then the novel became foggy with big words and big thoughts. Maybe it's just me. Get yourself a copy.

How to Make Lemonade by Beyonce Knowles-Carter is a beautiful work of art that chronicles the Lemonade album in its entirety. It's a coffee table book with lots of photos interlaced with lyrics and poetry. Its foreword, written by the amazing Michael Eric Dyson, is a gift in itself, a delightful read wholly befitting for a work of this calibre and magnitude. While I waited for my copy to arrive this unboxing video by Kalen Allen had me laughing out loud. My copy is No. 2254. How to Make Lemonade is a treasure.

Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth by Warsan Shire is beautiful. Beau. tiful. This is the first book of poetry that I've ever bought and it's worth it. I discovered Warsan Shire through Beyonce's monumental visual album, LEMONADE. Warsan's poetry is airy and pretty at times but also really dark and deep. I love it a lot. You should read this collection of poetry. It's really tiny collection too about the size of a pamphlet.

Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman is my pick for BEST BOOK I READ IN 2017! It's so deep and humourous and sexual and well written and poetic and generous. It's a tale about a seventeen years old boy whose dad hosts graduates every summer. Elio is deeply, deeply infatuated with their newest guest, Oliver, and he spends a lot of the novel pinning for him then... You should read this.

That Ladies and Gentlemen was my year in books! I'm currently reading Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward and it's so good. So good. I'm on page 47 as at the time of this post. I want to read it greedily but I also want to take my time with it. I just discovered last night that it was one of Barack Obama's Best Books of 2017! Obama and I have similar tastes in books LOL :P

New Year Resolutions for 2018
1) Return back to reading diversely - For quite a while I've been focused on blogging about books by African authors and then I expanded to African-American authors. Henceforth I'm going to go back to reading the way I read before all of this extra stuff. I'll read everything and anything I find interesting :)

2) I'll drop a book if I don't find it interesting - I'm done struggling through bad prose just so I can say I've read a certain author or to increase my count of the number of African countries I've read from or to increase my book review count in general. If I buy a book and I start reading it and it's difficult to get through I'll drop it like it's hot and move on to the next book on my shelf. There are way too many novels out there to waste time on one. It makes me sad to imagine all the books I'll never ever read.

Have a WONDER-FULL, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! May 2018 be everything you hope it will be!