250 books – Book #8

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

 

Book Details

TheWhiteTiger

Pages –    321  pages

Genre – Fiction

 

My Thoughts

First, let me tell you how I got this book… Earlier this year, while the weather was still dreadfully cold and all anyone wanted was to be in a warm and comfortable place, I was watching TV with Dark Chocolate when he suddenly remembered he wanted to tell me something. On his way to the flat back from work that evening, he had passed a pile of books left at the foot of the stairs with a note requesting that anyone interested in them should take them as they would be given to charity the next day if they weren’t. At first, he was not sure if it was better to tell me about the books or keep his mouth shut as our flat was already filled with books – those I had read and those I was looking forward to reading. But somehow he let it slip and my reaction made him realise he should have stuck with the latter and kept the knowledge of the book pile to himself.

But it was too late as I was up on my feet, eyes wide with excitement, dashing out of the flat to check out the books. To be honest, I didn’t expect to find much out there but boy was I pleasantly surprised. On seeing the books, I felt like I had entered a book lover’s heaven. There were almost a hundred books there, none of which I had read (except for one of them, Chiamanda Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun) and I quickly began to go through them all. I flipped through every single novel in that pile looking for one that will interest me. In my excitement I left the flat with just my pyjamas, although thick, were not thick enough to sufficiently shield me from the cold breeze that seeped in through the door not far from me. I felt my hands getting numb from being exposed to the cold but I didn’t care and was determined to look at all the books there.

In the end, I left with close to 30 books and a cute book stand :). You should have seen the shock on Dark Chocolate’s face when I entered the flat with a book stand filled with books and a small pile of books on the floor beside it. He instantly regretted letting me know about the books but I am thankful he did.

The White Tiger is one of the books I acquired that night. At the time, I was reading Anne of Green Gables but quickly dropped it to read one of my newly acquired books. Sadly, I have not picked up Anne since then.

I am not sure what drew me to the book, was it the book description, book cover or the fact that it was set in India? At first, I wanted to test the waters by reading the first page but went for a swim instead. Within a few minutes I had finished the first chapter and knew right away that I had to finish the book.

The book is Balram Halwai’s narration of his life, first how as a child he lived in poverty in The Darkness, one of the slums in India, how he went on to kill his master, steal his money and become an entrepreneur. The whole story was narrated as a letter (a very long one i might add) that Balram writes to the Chinese Premier who would be visiting India for the first time. The book reminds me very much of Tunde Cole’s Everyday is for the Thief as it’s exposes the reality of everyday life as a slum boy in India, the corruption that is found at almost every level of the society and the struggle that people of the lower class have to go through to become one of the big boys.

There have been comments from people who have lived in Inida that the author skewed a few details out of proportion and having experienced the same with Tunde Cole’s book, this is not hard to believe. Not being Indian myself or visited the country before, I cannot say how much of what I read was true or if it was just exaggerated to make the story more interesting.

Nevertheless, the book is engrossing, eye-opening and entertaining, as i found myself laughing out loud occasionally. I would easily recommend this to anyone who wants a book that is serious, educating and funny at the same time. Definitely worth reading

.

Thanks for reading.

 

250 books – Book #7

 

The Kreutzer Sonata by Leo Tolstoy

Book Details

The Kreutzer Sonata

Pages –    144 pages

Genre –   Novel

Publish date –    August 2007

 

My Thoughts

The Kreutzer Sonata was my first taste of Russian literature. Leo Tolstoy is a well known Russian writer and some of his notable works, in addition to The Kreutzer Sonata, are War and Peace and Anna Karenina.

The Kreutzer Sonata is a story of one man’s jealous rage against his wife and how that rage lead to him murdering her. He suspected her of having an affair with a violinist whom she performed some pieces with at their home. Along with justifying his reasons for killing her, he had so many analogies about love, marriage and sex, few of which I agreed with, the others in my opinion were too extreme. He made it seem like love and marriage, true marriage, are only fairytales, an illusion, something that people aspire to have but never really achieve.

The writer, Tolstoy showed his beliefs through the main character, Pozdnyshev – one of such beliefs was that sexual immorality was a disease that seeped into humanity and rather than us rejecting it and looking for ways to combat it, we indulge in it, give excuses for our actions and look for cures to whatever diseases may arise thereafter. I agree with this analogy and it got me thinking about what would have happened if people took his concern about sexual immorality serious back in 1889 when the book was first published. Would the world have been as morally degraded as it is now? Would it have caused one sex to rule unjustly over the other, making zombies out of humans? Would the society still have the moral values it once had? Or would it have degraded anyway?

Pozdnyshev’s views were too skewed sometimes and I believe they only portrayed his insecurities and the personal demons he was fighting. For example, he believed that 99% of the marriages were like his, flawed and full of pretense and hatred and that it was impossible for a man to love one woman all his life. In some parts it seemed like he was against sex altogether and believed that people should live, fulfilling their purpose on earth without procreating. That part I did not understand or agree to.

I believe that what drove Pozdnyshev to killing his wife was not just jealousy but fear. He was afraid that the sexual immorality he practiced as a youth would come back to haunt him in form of his wife’s infidelity. He had little or no trust in her and even though he strongly believed that she was having an affair with the violinist, he could not prove it. Unfortunately it was never said if Pozdnyshev’s suspicions of his wife were true or if he was just insecure and what he saw in the study that evening he murdered her, his wife in the violinist’s arms, was what his mind wanted him to see.

Overall, I would give the book an average rating. The first half of the book was very interesting, where he laid the foundation for his beliefs and why he thought that way but in the second half, as Pozdnyshev narrated the story of his marriage, I was left confused, disagreeing with almost all of his beliefs. It was not the most enjoyable read but was very  thought provoking.

I’m back

I’m sorry for the hiatus. You see, I started a new job and other things (which I will be talking about later) came up and it was down to proper time management… something I haven’t quite gotten a hang of yet. I won’t bore you with details on how that’s going but here’s a summary of what i’ve been up to:

Hair: Good news! My hair’s doing much better now. I have tried my best to obey the golden rules and it’s paying off. All I can say is moisturise! moisturise!! moisturise!!! That’s the summary of my regimen. My hair (both the natural and relaxed bit) is softer than it’s ever been. Expect a post on my regimen soon, I promise it won’t be long before it comes. Best thing is that I found a spritz concoction that I use on my hair everyday and it’s been a life saver. Right now i’m doing more of the protective styling while I allow my new growth to grow.

Adventure: hmmm, not much has been going on on this front…wait! How can I forget my horrible experience Kart racing? As I have been challenged myself to try new things, I decided to give Kart racing a go. It reminded me of bumper cars; you know those electronic cars that have no wheels and an antenna-like metal linking the car to the metal net/meshing above/on the roof? I thoroughly enjoyed that as a child and  had high hopes for the Kart racing but my hopes were hopelessly dashed, scattered into a million pieces. Thank God I came out of there whole (err, not totally whole as I had bouts of nausea and felt really dizzy afterwards); my sister on the other hand was not so lucky as she lost her left boot due to a horrible collision that occurred. The collision left her with a badly torn boot, a bruise on her leg and fear of her neck being sprained. What?! I hear u say…yes, kart racing can be that dangerous. It would have been fun if some people did not decide to make the race a real one, revving and swooshing past people with such speed, all because they wanted to come first. Now i know why i never liked Formula one racing, going round and round the same track, endangering your life to come first..no thank you. No more kart racing for me. That’s Louis Hamilton’s job not mine.

Kitchen things: Unfortunately my cookery, like my blog, has also suffered since starting my new job. I have spent less time in the kitchen but yesterday, I got ‘encouraged’ by my sister to bake something new. ‘Encouraged’ because after a few subtle sacarstic comments here, a few nudges there and the most encouraging of them all, a trip to a kitcheware store, i got all the encouragement I needed. We made an Almond and Raspberry cake and Chocolate brownies. but that was not half as exciting as visiting that Kitchenware store. We were like children in a candy shop running from one end of the store to another, calling out each other’s names when we found something we liked. It was the colourful kitchen ware caught my attention, very practical utensils but also beautiful, most of them could pass as decor for the house. I managed to control my self and be a good girl and bought just the things I needed.

Err, i must confess, it was a bit more than I needed…ok, ok, much more. I went there to get a small rectangular bread tin but left with more than a small bread tin. I also left with an egg shaped timer, a baking thermometer, electronic scale, silicone cooling rack and egg whisker). You see, I was being proactive, buying the things I knew I would need in future and not just the one thing I needed at the moment.  I did well, don’t you think? That is what we call planning ahead. I give myself a pat on the back for that; well done Tuawa, well done. I did go over my budget but what can I say, a girl’s gotta have what she wants 🙂

Books: I’m far behind from achieveing my goal of reading 250 books but I’ve been making progress. I have read Leo Tolstoy’s The Kreuzter Sonata which I have started to review but yet to post. Let’s not get into / Don’t get me started talking about that book because I can easily say it’s one the or THE strangest book i’ve read in a while; it carried/portrayed lots of truths about human nature and relationships but at the same time was very twisted and wrong in some parts. I think that’s why I’ve found it difficult to finish that review. I have started reading Anne of Green Gables by L. Montgomery and it’s a joy to read, the main character, Anne, embodies the naiveness of a child and the author has written the book so well that it’s a breeze to read. I have  recently started experimenting reading 2 books at a time; something I saw one of my dear aunt’s doing. She is a book fanatic / reader but unfortunately, we read entirely different genres, she does a lot of historic/classic romance and i, well, I’m all over the place. I’ll read anything I can lay my hands on as long as it’s interesting. Anyhoo, I’ve only just started the second book, The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga and I have only just finished the first chapter. The authors style of writing is unique/intriguing, including humour into almost every sentence and i’m enjoying the book so far. I’m eager to see how I get on; will I be able to read both books simultaneously or will I go back to my method of reading and finish one book before completing the other? Time will tell…

That’s it folks. My life in the past few weeks in a nutshell.

I cannot promise that i’ll write every week but I will endeavour to post  as often as I can. Hope you’ve had a splendid couple of weeks too, do share.

Thanks for reading.

 

C’est moi,

Tuawa

250 Books – Book #6

Good Morning Holy Spirit by Benny Hinn

Book Details

Holy Spirit

Pages:     177 (189 with the  study and discussion guide)

Genre:    Religious (Christian)

Publish date:    May 1997

 

My Thoughts

When I told a friend I was reading this book, the first thing he said was “Oh! That gem!” and looking back I totally agree with him.

Good morning Holy Spirit is a very insightful book, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and had many aha! moments whilst reading it. In my opinion, it’s a must read for every Christian.

The first few chapters of the book give a short account of Benny’s life while growing up, his encounter and early relationship with the Holy Spirit, the opposition he faced from his orthodox parents and how he grew in His walk with God. In the latter chapters of the book, he concentrates on defining who the Holy Spirit is, His position in the God head and how to develop/build a relationship with Him. I appreciated reading about Benny’s story of his early relationship with the Holy Spirit and growth in the knowledge of spiritual things as it gave an insight into how the Holy Spirit works; so when he talked about the Holy Spirit in the rest of the book, I knew he was talking about something he’d experienced first hand and is still benefiting from.

Most Christians, myself included, are not taught much about the Holy Spirit and think that He is a dove or a tingling feeling but he’s much more than that. He is a person with feelings and a personality. Reading the book really cleared up a lot of misconceptions I had about the Holy Spirit and made me realise He is not a lesser part of the God Head (i.e. The Father, Son and Holy Ghost) but is equal to the Father and the Son. The Holy Spirit is here on earth to commune and fellowship with us; He’s here as a friend, a counsellor and teacher.

Although the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are equal, they do not have the same responsibilities.I particularly liked the way Benny was able to give examples that made the functions of the different parts of the God Head clearer and easier to understand. Here’s one of such illustrations:

“God is like the sun in the sky. If you look at its brightness you see one sun. in reality, however, it is a triune sun that keeps our planet alive. There are three distinct elements: the sun, light and heat. And so it is with the Trinity. The Father is like the whole sun, Jesus is the light and the Holy Spirit is the heat you feel”

This version of the book has a study / discussion guide which makes it a great sunday school or bible study resource. It was definitely worth the read. Overall, I highly recommend this book to every Christian; It’ll change the way you relate with and see the Holy Spirit.

 

It’s Fallen Apart

Today, the renowned African novelist, Chinua Achebe died. I might not have been privileged to have a face-to-face encounter with him but I did meet him once, when I read his most popular novel, Things Fall Apart.  The book left me wanting more and I wasn’t too impressed but I decided to give him another try and read another of his work, Arrow of God, which I have not got around to reading yet.

Upon hearing about his death today, I was strangely saddened; guess just knowing who he was and having read one of his works somehow gave me a connection to him. As a sort of tribute, I will be reading as many of his works as I can. I went searching for all of his works and what I found was a fairly long list of novels, short stories, children’s literature, poems and political/critism/non-fiction work. Here’s a list of some of his work:

Novels

  • Things Fall Apart
  • No Longer at Ease
  • Arrow of God
  • A man of the people
  • Anthills of the Savannah

Short Stories

  • Marriage is a Private Affair
  • Dead Men’s Path
  • The Sacrificial Egg and other stories
  • Civil Peace
  • Girls at War and other stories
  • The Voter

Children’s Literature

  • Chike and the River
  • How the Leopard got it’s claws
  • The Flute
  • The Drum

Poetry

  • Beware, Soul Brother and other poems
  • Don’t let him die: An anthology of memorial poems for Christopher Okigbo
  • Another Africa
  • Refugee Mother and Child
  • Vultures

Political commentary/Essays/ Non-fiction

  • Morning yet to creation day
  • The Trouble with Nigeria
  • Hopes and Impediments
  • Home and Exile
  • There was a country

There was a country was his last work, published in October 2012, and I have been coerced by a friend to read it. The book is a personal account of his experience during the Biafran civil war, not a topic i’m interested in reading but i’ll take up my friend’s challenge.

R.I.P Chinua Achebe…