An Ode to Yaa and Chimamanda

It has not been the easiest of weeks. I have been reminded, once again, that mental health can be a cruel mistress and is not to be underestimated. Fortunately, there is one remedy that never lets me down when I feel like a prisoner in my own mind: reading. One of the books I completed this week reunited me with a firm favourite writer, whilst the other introduced to me a fantastic new one. Both have two of the most beautiful book covers I have encountered.

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I am sure that you have at least heard of Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, or if you have not, you probably do not keep an eye on literary news (in which case, I have to ask, what are you doing here?). It was really inevitable that I would adore this book. I cannot resist a generational tale, particularly one that journeys through slavery, Reconstruction, Jim Crow and the Black Power movement. If you have read my previous reviews, you may call me predictable, but these periods are where my interests lie. Consequently, Homegoing was a delight; a thought-stirring delight, in fact. Gyasi has the enviable ability to weave generational threads together in a way that is both touching and subtle. She goes so far as to link the two familial lines of the book together without being jarring and I am thoroughly jealous of her writing ability.

In regards to the stories themselves, I particularly enjoyed how Gyasi blends history into her tales. I think it would have been inauthentic to have had the characters play major roles in the afore mentioned historical landmarks of the book. Instead, Gyasi focuses on her characters, making history touch them, rather than the other way round. She strikes a believable balance between national (or international) and familial history that demonstrates how tightly the two are linked.

In summary, I cannot praise this book enough. Definitely one of my favourites of 2017 so far.

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When I say that I finished this second book this week, what I really mean is that I devoured it in about forty minutes. Granted, it is only about sixty pages long, but it is as captivating and important as any book twice its size.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie can basically do no wrong in my eyes. I was not expecting her to let me down this time, but, of course, she stunned me with her intelligence once again. Dear Ijeawele is the feminist manifesto that I wish could be passed out to all mothers-to-be and young children alike. Adichie lays out fifteen suggestions on how to raise a feminist, all smart yet simple to practice. Even if you are neither a new mother or a child, you should really read this as a basic life guide. Furthermore, if you have not read any Adichie before, this would be a fantastic, quick starting point to get you as hooked as I am.

Happy reading!

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