January is finally over, after about 5,623 days. Why did it feel so long? January was an interesting month for me and I had a good time. I hope you had a good one too.
Sad news – Buchi Emecheta, a Nigerian writer who inspired me among several others with her books passed away on the 25th of this month. When I heard the news I felt very sad. I went on Twitter and saw all the moving tributes written for her, and that made me feel better. If she inspired so many people, then she lived a good life. I liked this tribute, this tribute and this tribute. I especially loved this one The Unintended Feminist by Niyi Osundare. If you haven’t read any of her books, you should definitely pick up one or two. Her book, ‘The Joys of Motherhood’ was the first bookthat made me realize that society didn’t treat women and men equally. I was 10.
I hope Ms Buchi Emecheta knew that she inspired generations of Nigerian women to write and to fight and to question.
— flower (@ThePhidelia_) January 26, 2017
In other news, I got published twice in one day. When I first came to Ibadan for NYSC camp last year, I came across a copy of the IB City Info Magazine and really liked it. I decided then that I would work with them before I leave Ibadan. In November, I wrote a feature story on the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture and it has now been published as the cover story for the 5th issue. You can check it out on pages 47 – 57 of the digital magazine here. I also interviewed my boss on pages 108 and 109.
I also wrote a piece of poetry, inspired by a book I read last month, ‘Like a mule bringing Ice cream to the sun’ by Sarah Ladipo Manyika. The poem got published by Brittle Paper and you can read it here.
And now to my favorite things of the month.
- The Confessions of R. Kelly by Chris Heath – R. Kelly spoke to a GQ correspondent about his childhood, career and the sexual abuse allegations against him without restrictions. Lovely writing.
- The Runner by David Samuels – How did a twenty-nine-year-old drifter, petty thief, and ex-con turn himself into a nineteen-year-old freshman at Princeton? There’s only one way to find out.
- Learn Something New – Here’s a great curation of the best websites and apps to learn something new
- Solange by Beyoncé – Interview magazine got Beyoncé to interview Solange and I love it.
- This is Your Morning by Enuma Okoro – A great non fiction piece about a US born Nigerian woman’s relocation to Nigeria and her feelings of disconnection from what should be her home.
- The Highstreet Abduction by Andrew Bomford – The puzzling tale of the abduction of a toddler by two teenage girls from a primark store.
- Child Sexual Abuse: in the social context by Dr Shruti Kapoor and Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi – Child sexual abuse in Nigeria is one of the most silenced and under-reported forms of violence perpetrated against children. In this essay, the writers suggest ways in which child sexual abuse can be curbed.
- God’s Little Children are Broken Things by Arinze Ifeakandu – The best love stories are tragic. Like this one.
- I didn’t have kids because they are too expensive, and I don’t regret it by Bonnie Gayle – The writer discusses her decision to opt out of having kids in order to devote herself to building her career and growing her income. A decision which has brought her happiness and financial
- A Partnership larger than Marriage: the stunning love letters of Kahlil Gibran and Mary Haskell by Maria Popova – “You are like the Great Spirit, who befriends man not only to share his life, but to add to it. My knowing you is the greatest thing in my days and nights, a miracle quite outside the natural order of things.” You know a writer like Kahlil Gibran must have written the best love letters. These had me shook!
- The Feels of Love by T Kira Madden – “I was 12, you say. Those things don’t go away. In my defense, he says, I thought you were 13.” An essay about a horrible occurrence in this writer’s childhood. Reading this broke my heart.
- The Marriage Diary by Funmi Iyanda – “I couldn’t communicate how disgusted and belittled l felt. Nothing about it (marriage) made me feel excited or hopeful. The thought of it made me feel entrapped and frightened. I hate feeling trapped.”
- The True Story of the Fugitive Drug Smuggler Who Became an Environmental Hero by Rich Schapiro – This man lived not one, but two extraordinary lives.
- On our Illusion of Time and the Shortness of Life by Jamila Mustapha – Time is running out, and you right along with it. This piece urges you to make the end of every day the deadline for whatever you ought to do that day.
- 21 of the Most Powerful things ever said about being an Immigrant by Ahmed Ali Akbar – In the wake of the chaos going on in the US right now, a buzzfeed writer compiled this lovely list of quotes about being an immigrant.
- Head Above Water by Buchi Emecheta – A lovely memoir piece about her childhood and her love affair with stories.
My song of the moment is Pepper Dem Gang by Olamide & Davolee, don’t judge me. I was obsessed with the Hamilton Original Broadway Cast Recording Soundtrack for weeks. I couldn’t stop thinking about it when I wasn’t listening to it. I read ‘In Dependence’ by Sarah Ladipo Manyika this month. It is a good book, a love story set in three continents that spans the lifetime of the two characters.
I hope you enjoy checking out everything on my list and love them as much as I did. I want to do these lists monthly and have considered making them into monthly newsletters. If you’re interested in receiving a monthly list of good reads, playlists and just random stuff like this one, please subscribe here. I promise not to spam you.
Caleb McLaughlin of Stranger Things and Miles Brown of Black-ish having a dance off at a SAG Award Nominees Party.
Have a great February, and happy Valentine’s Day in advance.