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My Love Affair With Books

It’s the last Sunday of the month which means it’s Book Club Sunday!!! I’m so excited y’all, and in the spirit of Women’s History Month we are discussing Becoming by the great inspirational, motivational Michelle Obama.

My love affair with books started because of my family. As a child growing up in a face me I face you with parents that had to work till 5pm the instructions were simple: When you get back from school eat your food, watch BCOS (IB fam can relate) and do not go outside for any reason. Now if you know Ibadan, we never had good stations so I was always bored to death. Then books came to my rescue. I read everything I could lay my hands, from magazines to my book of bible stories to newspapers.

When I got to secondary school at 9 it was like a whole new world was waiting for me. Anyone familiar with boarding schools knows that Harlequin book go round a mile a dozen and I was swept up in the craze of it all.

A senior used to make me clean her locker and she had an entire collection of romance novels that I would steal, read under covers, then return the next morning (which usually led to me sleeping in class a lot). I was an addict and Harlequin super romance was my drug of choice.

This was all until a soldier caught me reading an Harlequin book. It was one of those books that had a naked man and woman standing under a waterfall looking all cozy. Let me tell you, that book earned me a good Military School beating. Their reactions were “so you want to be reading pornography in school abi”, ” Come here, small ashewo, so this is what you like“. It was a legendary beat down. A senior officer was walking by and asked what my offence was and they showed him the book and his reaction stays with me to this day.

He said “it’s normal for a child to be curious, you just need to teach them to know better“. It was like someone finally understood me. He then gave me Sidney Sheldon’s Stars Shine Down. He told me to read it over the weekend and tell him what I learnt.

It was like he unleashed the beast in me. I read and digested that book with so much gusto. When I met him on Sunday to tell him what I learnt, he was waiting for me with another Sidney Sheldon. If Harlequin felt like heaven, this was the 7th heaven. He gave me one book a week and made my world a better place.

10 years later I am still addicted to books and I read all types of books. From historical romances to SciFi to biographies and to self help books. Now I live, walk and breathe books. I started a mandate that says I will read 200 books before I’m 30 which I’m certain I will surpass.

I have read books that changed my opinion of the world (The Girl Around The World), books that left me with ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ (Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings), books that left me crying and sad (Stay with me, An American Marriage), books that had me rolling on the floor with laughter (I’m Judging You by Luvvie Ajayi) and books that left me so furious, I wrote the writers long emails about my thoughts and feelings (The Fishermen, The Handmaid’s Tale, The Hate You Give).

Good books have the ability to transform you and to envelope you. A good book to me is like a warm hug on a cold night. It’ll leave you feeling warm and fuzzy.

Here are some of my best African books by phenomenal women that changed my view of the world.

Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth by Warsan Shine

Best known for the poetry featured prominently in Beyoncé’s 2016 feature-length film Lemonade, this collection is essential. Hers is a brilliant, intuitive and deeply empathetic voice, full of the range of human emotion.

What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi

Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi

Welcome To Lagos by Chibindu Onuzo

The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso

An exploration of friendship and changing race relations over 60 years of South African history told through the experiences of two women who are neighbors. One is Black, the other White.

Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor

A Hugo, Nebula and World Fantasy Award winner, she’s written 12 books in the fantasy, sci-fi and speculative fiction genres. Who Fears Death will be adapted by HBO into a TV series exec- produced by George RR Martin, the writer of the Game of Thrones books.

The Joys Of Motherhood by Buchi Emecheta

Half Of A Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo

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About Aramide Akanni