Friday, December 29, 2006

My Books of 2006

The following are a few of the books I came across, and read, during the past year (mainly towards the end). I composed the first draft of this post in November, in response to Molara Wood's annual call to authors to send their favourite reads of the year. Her online list is published in Farafina Magazine. The print list is forthcoming - in some Nigerian dailies, I presume. (Apologies for earlier misposturing). Here, anyway, are a few of my engaging reads, with reasons.

NO SENSE OF LIMITS, by Araceli Aipoh

Why I like this book, I don't know. Maybe it's because I didn't expect much when I picked it up, yet I was pleasantly surprised when I finished with it - I'm finicky with cover designs - and I had not heard of the name much. "She's a foreigner who works at an Embassy in Lagos." My host had said. "You'll like her portrayal of Lagos. Take a look." I said OK and picked it up for the night. When I completed it the next day, it felt like watching an entertaining (and well made) Nollywood movie. I think I almost cried at one part even. Seriously. It must be towards the end when a relatively unknown grave-digging character found something familiar in a grave... (No spoilers here). Soon, I hope, the author would have the work at Amazon. I recommend it for reading. The story might not be so particularly Nigerian (as many reviewers have said.) You could change the names of people and places and still find it nice, equally as beautiful. The telling however is great.

ABOUT: I have said that it read at times like Soyinka's You Must Set Forth at Dawn and Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code both books which I read only days before, where all/most the action takes place within the course of the persona's journey through flashbacks and gradual disclosures. In Soyinka's case, it was a flight back from Exile while in No Sense of Limits, it was the femme fatale's drive through Lagos on a course of revenge.


Having heard so much hype about this book, I finally got a copy, and read it in a night. I must say that I did not get much impressed to equal the hype raised by critics. I am not a feminist. I read the book for information, and pleasure. And I wasn't disappointed. It is a nice book, though it could be kinda wierd holding it in your hand with the title sticking out so boldly in the presence of your parents and their church guests. You would save yourself the trouble of explaining if you would just put a paper wrap around the cover. My best part of the narrations was the funny/sad narration of a woman whose husband slept around ostensibly because the wife would not shave her pubis. If you would not read the book, you could watch Sex and the City instead. You wouldn't miss so much...!

My friends joke about a riposte, in form of the Penis Diatrible, (and maybe later, The Genital Dialogues) but, mischief and humour apart, it's always nice to read literature that seeks to defy conventions, and to shock. Great work.

ABOUT: A series of narrations by women, about their vaginas, and its influences on their lives.


Also so much hyped, this lives up to some expectation as a record of history from the view/angle of one man who should know because he has been there. So what can I say on this that has not been said before? I guess it's that it's another result of an incurable restlessness of the author, slamming us with a work of prose (the third, I think) in the series of his memoirs with the size of the complete works of Shakespeare. It is however engaging enough not to be boring, except the bits about Nigerian history, for those foreigners more enchanted with the mystery of the man than perhaps his political motivations. Towards the end, however, I was stuck by his continuous use of one word, "chagrin", and not for want of more suitable synonyms. The professor also gets the "block" sometimes.

WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: Because why not? This is an account from a man who has lived life to the full, over and over, and his telling is, characteristically, entertaining. You'll know why the Ori Olokun in Ife is a clone of a lost original now in the British Museum.


Anonymous said...

Why do you think your comment was not published? I think it's wrong to ask peole to make comments and then ignore their replies.

iGwatala said...
This comment has been removed by the author.