Summer 2019 Reading List

A friend and I was discussing our high school summer reading list mandated for English class and how I never read the books until a few days before school started. It got me thinking of creating a short summer reading list of my own and encouraging others to join. This summer, I will read 3 books with different genres, cultures and each set in different times. I think this will be a fun challenge along with finishing up graduate school and having Sunday brunch.

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The Wife between Us by G.Hendricks and S.Pekkanen

When you read this book, you will make many assumptions. Itโ€™s about a jealous wife, obsessed with her replacement. Itโ€™s about a younger woman set to marry the man she loves. The first wife seems like a disaster; her replacement is the perfect woman. You will assume you know the motives, the history, the anatomy of the relationships. You will be wrong – Goodreadsย 

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A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

A breathtaking story set against the volatile events of Afghanistan’s last thirty yearsโ€”from the Soviet invasion to the reign of the Taliban to post-Taliban rebuildingโ€”that puts the violence, fear, hope, and faith of this country in intimate, human terms. It is a tale of two generations of characters brought jarringly together by the tragic sweep of war, where personal livesโ€”the struggle to survive, raise a family, find happinessโ€”are inextricable from the history playing out around them –Goodreads

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

This is the story of what it’s like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie’s letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that the perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite.- Goodreads

I will start with The Wife Between Us,ย make sure you follow myย instagram for updates.

Do you have any books you’ll be reading this summer?

If you’d like to join for all three or any of them, please comment or email.

B.

Book Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
By: Benjamin A Sรกenz
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Pub date: 02/21/2012
Rate โคโคโคโค/5
Buy or borrow: buy

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendshipโ€”the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be – Simon and Schuster

Aristole and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (ADDSotU) covered different facets of life, from a friendship between two young boys who on the outside seemed like an unlikely duo, to a family dealing with shame and regret in an unhealthy manner. Aristotle and Dante not only tried to discover the secrets of the universe but helped their families find a few of their own.

While reading ADDSotU, I found that the author treated each relationship with care. It was refreshing to read the fragile relationship between Aristotle and his father, the push and pull between Aristotle and his mother as well as how easy Dante welcomed Aristole into his life and family. I had no choice but to fall in love with both of the boys as they helped each other. I enjoyed this book so much because of the support each teen got from their family in every aspect of their life, even though each one showed it differently. ADDSotU reminds you that family is very important during the years when teens are still figuring out where they belong in this big world.

I also found that the writing was witty, simple and unrushed. Sรกenz didn’t fill the pages with unnecessary details that wasn’t moving the plot along.

Aristole and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is a self discovery book that would touch not only teens hoping to learn a thing or two about the secrets of the universe but adults could find some secrets worth discovering as well.

I’ll be posting my summer reading list. Let me know if you’ll be reading any books this summer.

B.


Book Review : Ghana Must Go

Ghana Must Go
By: Taiye Selasi
Publisher: Penguin Group
Pub Date : 03/05/13
Buy or Borrow : Buy

A renowned surgeon and failed husband, Kweku Sai dies suddenly at dawn outside his home in suburban Accra. The news of his death sends a ripple around the world, bringing together the family he abandoned years before. Moving with great elegance through time and place, Ghana Must Go charts their circuitous journey to one another and, along the way, teaches us that the truths we speak can heal the wounds we hide.- Penguin Random House

Ever been left speechless after a book, shocked that you can say a million things you disliked but in the same breathe, a million for why you love it just as much? Ghana Must Go was that. I began this book a few years ago and left it unfinished on my bookshelf. Looking to read beyond my usual YA novels, I chose to give it one more shot. After the first few chapters, I remembered why I dropped it years ago; the story unraveled in an unusual way. The author’s style required patience and she was building a world that couldn’t be rushed. So this time, I became patient. I read and went back throughout the book to make sure I got the message she was trying to convey.

Honestly, Ghana Must Go lit a fire in me that I haven’t felt in a while. I felt so connected to these weird, weak yet strong characters and I was left feeling uncomfortable with that. I felt uncomfortable because I saw myself as well many other people I know in similar situations that Selasi wrote about. The brokenness and need for answers within each character was so real, you may even shed a tear. I learned from Selasi that, lack of communication is a deep rooted issue that can create a lifelong damage to people you care about. Many people, especially Africans, do not like to talk about their feelings, the things that hurt them and often shoulder pains that should not be carried alone. I don’t know if it’s more prevalent in Africans than other ethnicities, or we’re just more ashamed to show others our broken hearts.

If you are like me, and you didn’t finish Ghana Must Go, then give it another try. Be patient and let each character guide you through the turmoils, the revelations and the resolution.

If you’re up for the challenge, you’ll appreciate this well written work of art.

B.

African Men Don’t Honor Their Family

It is very difficult to surprise me but once in a while, when it happens I hold onto that moment. I hold on to see what clues I missed and how to be better prepared next time. Currently reading Ghana Must Go and while the story is unravelling in a unique timeline, I can’t let a scene go. A scene I wasn’t expecting to happen the way it, and I’m sure the characters weren’t expecting it as well.
A character said he believed that the reason Africa is so “backwards” even with bright men and women is because of the lack of respect for family.

“Fathers dont honor their children or wives”.

When I read this, I was pissed. How could you say such a thing, we care for our family & bad leadership is the main reason the continent seem “backwards” to the rest of the world

But then I truly thought about it. Caring doesnt equate respect. While it doesn’t apply to every or only African men, it’s still the truth. I have seen men of various ethnic backgrounds who can fit the picture of “not respecting their family” but this one felt personal because you’re talking about African men and how their action hinders the progression of the continent.

Why do men work really hard to be successful but take on many wives or keep mistresses and children outside of their marriage? Is it a complex or true lack of respect for women? Do they not think of the effect it has on the children and do you think it has an impact on why Africa is “backwards”?

Book Review: On The Come Up

On The Come Up by Angie Thomas
โคโคโคโค/5
Publisher: Balzer+Bray
Published: 02/05/19
Borrow or Buy: Buy

Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least make it out of her neighborhood one day. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died before he hit big, Briโ€™s got big shoes to fill. But now that her mom has unexpectedly lost her job, food banks and shutoff notices are as much a part of Briโ€™s life as beats and rhymes. With bills piling up and homelessness staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make itโ€”she has to make it -GoodReads

On The Come Up (OTCU) is Angie Thomas follow up to her astonishing debut novel, The Hate U Give. OTCU is a relatable story for many readers, especially black families. To avoid spoilers, I won’t mention all the struggles that Bri and her family experience, but I have experienced similar situations and to have a book show such things makes you feel less alone. We see Bri throughout the book trying to “make it”, so her family can be okay and although she is trying to make it as a rapper, there are young women and men just like her who are trying to make it either as a rapper, basketball player, accountant, stylist, nurse, lawyers or engineer and that is why this book will resonate with a lot of people. The songs included reminded me of when rappers actually stood for something and it felt like an ode.

Many readers have compared OTCU to T.H.U.G and I believe that’s not fair. T.H.U.G was a completely different story while OTCU pays homage to Angie Thomas love for rapping, the black culture and day to day struggle of an average black family. Both books has a strong plotline and shows that Thomas isnt afraid to speak her mind on concerning matters.

Bri was a character was lively and although her decision making skills needed more work, it added to the overall coming of age story line. There were alot of likeable characters that different people will relate to.

A great read and looking forward to her next release !
Leave a comment if you’re going to read or what you think of the book!


Happy Book Day!!

Book Review : The Hating Game

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Rated โคโคโคโค/5
Publisher: Harper Collins
Published: 08/09/16
Buy or Borrow: Buy

Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Both are Co Executive Assistant to a publishing company Co Ceo and now must complete for a promotion. Lucy cannot understand Joshua’s joyless uptight attitude and he is baffled with her bright and always helpful attitude. As they both continue to play their games, they realize there is something building between them, but is that another game they’re playing? And who will come out victorious?

Looking for a cute, fast and easy to read RomCom? The Hating Game delivers. I enjoyed the banter between Lucy and Joshua, the games were fun to read through and interesting to see how they both soften towards each other.

I liked how it took placed within a publishing company, I’m a sucker for character who love and breathe books. The tension between Josh and Lucy was funny and felt very real as I read it. Their relationship evolved gradually and with the usual bumps and glides that an authentic one usually has. Love them.

Lucy was a semi-likeable character. I found her somewhat annoying in some scenes but she grew on me towards the end of the book as she became more assured of herself. Love a great character ARC. Makes the book feel more real and true.

Overall, The Hating Game was a sweet read and great debut for the author!

You can buy or Borrow, but totally recommend of you’re in the mood for a light read.

With Love, ๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ’›

Book Review: Stay With Me

Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo
Rated โคโคโคโคโค/5
Publisher: Canongate
Published: 03/02/2017
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Yejide and Akin have been married for quiet some time and trying to get pregnant. Their family members are putting pressure on them, especially Yejide, to find a solution and give them an heir. As the pressure increase, choices are made by all parties involved to make the best of the situation and protect their loved ones. But no one considered the consequences of their decisions and how fate has it’s own idea of how their lives will turn out.

Stay With Me is a story that will make you grab on from the first page and never let you go. I went from trying really hard not throw away the book after a couple of chapters, to wishing and praying for better choices for the characters, to rooting then begging the characters to just figure out their life! It was a rollercoaster and I was not disappointed.

I felt that I may have loved this book alot more than other readers because I’m from Nigeria. I’ve seen a lot of the actions in the book played out when I lived there or when a fellow Nigerian share their story. So, it wasn’t just a “fiction” novel for me. This book could honestly be a Nigerian family’s reality and that’s what I loved most about it.

I liked Yejide’s character. She tried and went through so much and often time, when a family is planning for a child, a woman receivesย majority of the blame, when everyone knows, it takes two to get pregnant.

I was very invested and I loved it. I was not ready for the impact that this book was going to have on me. As a woman, I saw several issues that I’ve discussed with my friends and family in this book: how society looks at woman, treat women and men and the unbalanced responsibities placed in a marriage. (If you’d like to have a discussion on this topic, comment below, I can creat another post on this). Each character in this book felt real to me, they evolved accordingly and Adebayo did an amazing job crafting a story I’ll remember, share and recommend to others.

Buy this book and thank me later.

p.s.: I already gave my copy to a friend to read.

๐Ÿ’›