Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

#Book Review
Historical Fiction | War | Love | Politics

An incredible novel that tells us about the Biafran civil war of Nigeria and how the lives of people are affected by the turbulence of war. It is a powerful and impactful story about Nigerian history that also discusses relationships and love. 

The story begins with Ugwu, a simple Igbo village boy who goes to a town called Nsukka to work as a houseboy for Odenigbo. Odenigbo is a mathematics professor who can speak confidently about many intellectual topics. He is a socialist and loves discussing politics. Odenigbo is in love with a woman called Olanna who is often treated with love and respect by everyone because of her striking beauty and kindness. Olanna has a twin sister, Kaniene who is not as beautiful as Olanna but is super confident, sophisticated and handles her father’s businesses. There is another character called Richard who is from England. When he visits Nigeria as a journalist he falls in love with the country. He learns to speak the Igbo language and is so fascinated by their culture that he decides to write a book about Biafra.

The story revolves around these five characters, Ugwu, Odenigbo, Olanna, Kaniene, and Richard, and how their lives are affected due to the civil war. It discusses the characters on a deeply personal level and at the same time establishes the struggles of violence, politics, and war. Each of the characters evolves throughout the book after we get acquainted with them in the initial chapters. From vulnerability, poverty, and fear to accepting change, and being hopeful.

Half of a Yellow Sun is a story that paints a very realistic image of the Biafran civil war. As a reader I got pulled into the culture, language, and history of Biafra. It highlights topics like postcolonial traditions, racism, and different ethnicities. Amongst all of this, love is also a prominent theme that remains in the book right till the end, even though it gets a little complicated and twisted due to the complexities of the characters and situations. 

It is a remarkable book that I highly recommend you to read if you are in the mood for a love story in a war background. 

Myths, Doves, Tears, and the Rest by Martin Boško 

#Book Review
Poetry | Love | Emotions | Mythology

Myths, Doves, Tears, and the Rest is a collection of admirably written poems by Martin Boško. It takes you on a journey inspired by Greek mythology while also tugging on the heartstrings with feelings of love, betrayal, and longing.

This book is a collection of poems assembled by the author through one calendar year. The use of imagery, powerful expressions, and moving poems give us an insight into the inner workings of the poet’s mind. The author has shared some of his most intimate moments, emotions, and intentions that make each of his poems memorable. The rhyming nature of the poems was an absolute delight to read and made me want to keep going on and on for more.

When sadness comes as a raging river
I reach into my trusty quiver
To pull out the Arrow made of honey
And heal the wounds that are fresh and bloody.

– Martin Boško

The book has four sections as mentioned in the title: Myths, Doves, Tears, and the Rest. Even though my knowledge of Greek mythology is quite basic, I still found the poems hard-hitting and extremely pleasing to read. The poems on love capture the heart and soul of the feeling of being in love. As I progressed further, I could not help but feel like I was experiencing heartbreak along with the poet through his poetry. There were many moments where I empathized with the poet and wished for a turnaround in his life. Overall, I highly recommend Myths, Doves, Tears, and the Rest for all those poetry lovers who wish to be taken on a journey of imagination and emotions.

Also, read my review on Reedsy.

Eat Your Rice Cakes by Margaret Weiss

#BookReview
Self-help | Celiac Disease | Acceptance

A great self-help book for people suffering from celiac disease in which the author also reaffirms the need for compassion and care.

Eat Your Rice Cakes is a self-help book for people suffering from celiac disease. Margaret Weiss takes us through her journey of diagnosis, struggles of living with the disease, and finally acceptance of her condition. This book is a great resource for other patients who have their own struggles with celiac’s and also for readers who are curious about the disease.

The author takes us through her early life where the celiac disease diagnosis turns her world upside down. She narrates the tale of where she was first diagnosed and how that led to the title of this book. Margaret Weiss also takes us through the shock and horror of losing all her comfort foods. Some anecdotes from the book highlight her plight as she realizes cakes, bread, pastries, and even Oreo cookies are permanently off her dinner table.

The other aspect she talks about is the societal reaction to her condition. In the times when she was diagnosed there was very little public awareness about the disease. She was often mocked by friends and the waiters at restaurants would give her quizzical looks as she explained her conditions. In that regard, modern times are a much better place due to the abundance of gluten-free products in grocery stores.

Margaret’s journey then leads her to become a registered dietitian, diabetes care, education specialist, counselor, and author. She takes to the practice to help others overcome this disease. Eat Your Rice Cakes is a book that aims to help patients deal with the different stages of grief and take a positive course towards change, transition and adherence. As a fellow patient with around twenty-five years since her diagnosis, she understands not only the physical limitations but also the emotional stress of living with celiac.

All in all, Eat Your Rice Cakes is a great resource for anyone suffering from celiac or has a loved one afflicted by this condition. Readers who are curious about the gluten-free items they spot in the grocery store can also learn a lot from this book and be more accepting of this condition.

Also, find my review on Reedsy.

My Name is Wilma by Kirsten Bett

#Book Review
Fiction | Cats | Adventures |

My Name is Wilma is a quirky book that’ll take you on a journey of exploration of the world through the eyes of a cat. If you’re a cat lover, then cozy up and enjoy the ride.

Wilma, the cat’s story begins on the Dutch tulip fields where her life was rough and rugged. It was only after she meets her humans, Kirsten and Willem, does she realize how wonderfully sheltered a cat’s life can be. The story is narrated from Wilma’s point of view. In Kirsten’s house, Wilma meets Sailor, Kapitein, Prince, and many other cats throughout the book. While Wilma has learned many lessons about surviving in the outside world, she relies on Kapitein to be her guide, mentor, and friend for wise pieces of advice. Kapitein helps Wilma get comfortable in her new home and also gives life lessons on how to deal with difficult situations.

While Sailor and Wilma are tolerant of each other, they never become extremely close and Wilma instead seeks adventures outside. Soon, they have to make a difficult journey from the Netherlands to New Zealand. This part of the story is invigorating and described in remarkable detail where we get to experience what cats go through during a long overseas flight. The fear, uncertainty, confusion, and finally relief are something we go through together with Wilma while reading the book. The adventures continue one after the other until Wilma reaches her forever home.

Also, find my review on Reedsy.

Wanderer by Court Young

#BookReview
Poetry|Love|Heartbreak|Hope

Wanderer is a poetry book which discusses the author’s journey of falling in love, heartbreak, pain, hope, and finding forever love. 

In this poetry book, the author Court Young shares the two most important phases of her life. The first part is about the Wolf and the second part is about the Eagle/Lion. The first part is about getting attracted to the Wolf and falling hard in love. It’s about love, lust, heartbreak, and the pain that follows.

The poems express the vulnerability, anger, confusion, and frustration that she feels towards the Wolf. Her anger is also towards herself because she had given him the power to hurt her. She goes through this emotional journey with questions of self-doubt and self-worth. Some of her poetry is also about the seasons which reflect her state of mind. This poetry book progresses slowly towards hope when she finds her Eagle/Lion. The haunting memories of her past are soon forgotten after she finds her soulmate. She realizes what she has been missing out on and understands love is all about respecting one another and making each other feel beautiful about themselves.

Most of the poems in the Wanderer are about love, desire, and pain. It’s about the turbulent times in the author’s life and how she learns to overcome these challenges. The poems are not super impressive; they felt more like the experiences of a teenager. It was also a little confusing because the author talks about the Wolf and the Eagle in the Author’s Note, but in the second part, she addresses her forever love as the Lion. The poems were not thought-provoking and lacked imagination and rhythm. However, her sweet short poems are easy to read and are great for young adults. Through her poems, she tries to inspire all those people experiencing heartbreak to get back up as there is always light at the end of the tunnel. 

Midnight Light by Brian Paglinco

#BookReview
Poetry|Love|Death|

Midnight Light romanticizes the concept of death, nature, love, and redemption making it a perfect pick for the season of Halloween!

The ideas presented in the book flirt with burial, guardian statues, left behind loved ones, and astronomical figures where the real ones include stars, lights, and night, and the unreal figures are the devil, god, and angels. A background theme that recurs in some poems deals with drugs and their intoxicating effects and how some lives are ended too early because of addiction. The combination of the words on the page along with the photographs that accompany them presents a vivid picture that guides you along a path to find your own understanding of each poem. 

The poems are written artistically and without hesitation about certain themes that are difficult to discuss. It is easy to fall into a world of imagination as you picturise each of these poems while reading them. While the poems are not very simple, they aren’t complex either, which leaves you longing for one more poem before you call it a night. 

This poetry book is a combined passionate labor of love by two friends Michael Pace and Brian Paglinco who share over thirty years of friendship. Michael weaves the rich and rhythmic poems through his writing and Brian has provided captivating photographs that frame the theme of this book which is mainly about love, death, and redemption. I lost track of time, at times, engrossed in the fascinating pictures and uniquely interesting poems which I’m certain many readers too will happen to experience while reading the Midnight Light. 

Also find my review on Reedsy.