Reading Helon Habila

I’m reading my first Helon Habila book, Waiting For an Angel, and I wasn’t so sure I liked his writing until I read these lines on page 89:

When I returned to the tenement house, she was there by the door. I almost passed her like I always did, but her voice stopped me. ‘You no go come inside?’

I looked at her wise, wise eyes, then I went in. I sat down on the rumpled bed. The warmth in the bed rose up like welcoming arms and hugged me.

… then I exclaimed, “this guy’s really good.”

Of course, the excerpt is like a climax to a build-up of happenings.


Everything Good Will Come

I picked up Sefi Atta’s book with great anticipation, and the beginning parts did not disappoint. The story, however, suffered a decline as it started becoming boring at some point. The book alternated between being interesting and not-so-interesting.

I find the title catchy, which is a good thing.

All over the book, she kept referring to ‘tupperware’, rather unnecessarily I think.

The print was large and editing was poor. Errors occurred more than an insignificant number of times (except it’s been re-edited, considering the fact that the cover picture shown here is different from my own copy).

The idea occurred to me that she wanted the book to be lengthy as there are a number of details/ pages a reader could have done without.

You just may really like the book, however.

Hilariously Interesting

Barika’s anger as he left the palace twisted his face the way Pa’s double barrel had twisted his buttocks. I passed him, surrounded by my bodyguards, and he screamed at me, that I thought I was a man just because I could buy the Igwe and the village and put them in my pocket but there was one thing I could never buy and that was my manhood.

This was the very point that the engine of my life knocked, just like that.

The silence that followed was the kind of silence that swallowed the village near Ubiaja when Chief Ato lifted up the head of the bat from his soup. I saw Barika’s wife trying to cover his mouth but the demon of his anger gave him power to push the head nurse of Ikerre Health Centre, who was three times his size, to the ground.

He was shouting now: Leave me, let me talk! After all, if I am lying, let him pull down his trousers! Then let him go and marry tomorrow like his mates! Look at him! And when they call for men he will stand up!

Even from the ground, his wife was pulling and pinching him, but it was too late, his anger had provoked him to say what they had been hiding for how many years now. Otherwise, how did Barika know the biggest secret in the Jumai family, if it isn’t that his wife was the very midwife that castrated me?

As for me, what did I say? I heard my voice sounding like an echo, saying that if he doubted my manhood he should bring along his daughter to my house; but it was foolish nonsense, the sort of stupid threat that you can hear from an angry man in a wheelchair.

It wasn’t me that my bodyguards pushed into my car. It wasn’t me that Nacet drove home. On the way, some boys saw my car and hailed me, Ca-la-mi-ty! That was when I knew what a terrible nickname I had.


By mistake, that witch conceived me in another man’s bed. By mistake, my circumcision became a castration. By mistake, they called me Calamatus…

Tonight there’ll be no mistake.
(An excerpt from Chuma Nwokolo’s DIARIES OF A DEAD AFRICAN)

The only thing Calamatus Jumai wanted to see in people’s eyes was envy, not pity.

Without mincing words, this book is a comedy. How it’s able to have a gripping story line, nonetheless, is quite remarkable. He writes without quotation marks when reporting a speech. Chuma Nwokolo mocks the English Language politely.

‘Hilariously interesting’ is how I would describe the book in two words.

Book Reading

I attended a book reading today. Yes, my first of many to come.

There were musical and poetry performances, and Okechukwu Ofili read from both his books, ‘How Stupidity Saved My Life’ and ‘How Laziness saved my life’. Another lady read an excerpt from her favorite book, one by Joy Isi Bewagi (can’t remember the title now).

The book reading organized by a book club, PULP FACTION, is known as BOOK N’ GAUGE. It holds on the last Saturday of every month at Debonair bookshop, 294, Herbert Macaulay Road, Yaba.

Here’s inviting you to the next. There’s a tag: Invite 5 people and win a book. So please attend and help me win a book.

To him who says that to hide a thing from a Nigerian is to put it in a book is quite ignorant. QUOTE ME.

New additions to my library

Exceeding my budget, I got these books yesterday at the University of Lagos book fair.

My colleagues at work have been asking me when I would finish them; my response, “as long as I live, I shall surely read them.” I’m really not in a hurry to devour them, as I’d rather savour my books. So yes yes yes, happy reading to me 😀

The bookfair which began on Monday would be ending today, Saturday, May 12, 2012. You may want to pay a visit.

P.S: Thanks to WordPress for Blackberry, this post is arriving two days late.


The first time I heard of Teju Cole, it was through reading his fait divers (or small fates as he also calls them), and I was captivated by his style of writing.

After reading a couple of his fait divers, I truly wanted to stop because he only reported strictly bad news, but a part of me wanted to read just one more, and so I clicked away onto the next and then the next… and of course the next. Even Teju Cole is aware of this effect on his readers, and in his words, “something of the dark humour catches them.”

So when I came across Every Day Is For The Thief at The Hub media, my curiosity was aroused and I was expectant of a fabulous read.

Only a 128-page book, it took me forever to finish it… actually, just three weeks.

For starters, I cannot comprehend those ‘photocopied’ illustrations that ‘adorn’ some of the pages!

Then, there’s hardly a story line. The novella sorta felt like reading the bad news in a Nigerian tabloid. I should have known, right? But I find the title very catchy.

After reading Every Day is For The Thief, I didn’t look forward to purchasing his first novel Open City published in 2011, but we all know the hype surrounding it: nominated for The National Book Critics Circle for Best Fiction, and more importantly, winner of the 2012 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for a distinguished first book of fiction. Open City, therefore, is now also listed on my to-get book list.

Chinazar Okoro©2012


(continued from my last post)

If you happen to have read any of the books that feature, do let me know what you think.


It’s absolutely coincidental that the first three books I decided to feature are the first of the authors that I read. However, HE LOVES ME! unlike the previous two books is the ONLY book of Wayne Jacobsen I have ever come across despite searching renowned bookstores.

Now, I had never even heard of Wayne, but then I go to Edysyl bookshop and there his book lies solo amidst Max Lucados, Myles Munroes, Kenneth Copelands, Joyce Meyers… and his title isn’t even catchy either!

I mean ‘everyone’ knows what love is, and since he is obviously a Christian writer, we don’t need an interpreter as to what the book is about: JESUS CHRIST LOVES US! Kpom kwem.

As I flip through this book, I love the lines I see. They are well-crafted. Even though I’ve long known Jesus loves me, I wanted to read how Wayne would tell it to me. And then the cover-back of the book is not usual, it’s slightly velvety and sweet to hold.

Truth is many people don’t know how Jesus loves them. They just know He loves them because aunty Bisi, their Sunday school teacher made them recite John 3:16 every week, so they just know.

When I became the Bible Study Secretary of a student fellowship in my university days, I made sure to share with my unit members what I had learned from this book. In fact, it was our very first study for the year.

Wayne taught that you don’t have to mention ‘satan’ and ‘hell fire’ in the message of Salvation.

What better way to end this post than with the message?


Chinazar Okoro©2012