Summer is a season in which most people like to spend their time outside, enjoying the ambience, scent and taste of barbecues, basking in the beauty of nature and walking aimlessly downtown or in their smaller neighborhoods. Some people prefer, however, to kick back and relax in their homes with the AC on full blast. To each his/her own; I vacillate, as I’m sure most do, from the indoor crowd to the outdoorsy folks. Regardless, I will say that reading is a great thing to do during the summer time, whether it be cozying up on your couch or on a park bench.
I would like to introduce you all to my favorite book of all time: Half of a Yellow Sun. The title alone is evocative of summer time, however the story is imbued with a bittersweetness comparable to a brick of dark chocolate, which you somehow decide to wash down with a cold glass of beer. Half of a Yellow Sun, written by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, captures the Biafran war, and the descriptions therein really immerse you into the story. It’s beautiful; it’s heart-breaking; it’s a masterpiece. At some point, something tragic happened in the story and I actually gasped loudly in the bus as onlookers most likely thought I was insane. For the entire time I spent reading the book, I felt as if I was living in Nigeria of the 1960s and sharing in the joys and hardships of every character. I actually missed the book when I had completed it.
Adichie also wrote the book Purple Hibiscus. As I re-explore this story in my mind, I get chocked up. Ok, I don’t want you guys spending your summer reading depressing books, but there is such beauty in tragedy. And, you’ll get a glimpse at Nigerian culture. Purple Hibiscus is about young Kambili who grew up in a wealthy yet stifling home in Nigeria. Her father disciplined her and her brother severely. I’m not talking about grounded for a week, no phone, no friends severe, I’m referring to being burned with boiling water severe. That depressing environment is contrasted to a life of freedom outside the city with their aunt Ifeoma. The end is shocking. I think anyone, African or not, could enjoy these two reads. I hope I have awoken your thirst for African writers, or at the least Chimamanda, because honestly, she is an amazing writer.
Image layout: Ashley
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