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!