Category: Book Reviews

WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR BY PAUL KALANITHI

TITLE: WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR

AURTHOR:PAUL KALANITHI

GENRE: AUTOBIOGRAPHY

PAGES:228

RATING: 4/5

paul kalanithi

“And even though I no longer really knew what it was, I felt it: a drop of hope. The fog surrounding my life rolled back another inch, and a sliver of blue sky peeked through.”

 

When breath becomes air is a gasping and profound memoir that can easily turn one into a sad sobbing mess. Honestly, I had to give myself a break before writing the review of this exquisite read to pull myself together.

At the age of thirty-six, Paul Kalanithi who is nearing completion of his training as a neurosurgeon realizes that he is skating on thin ice after being diagnosed with an aggressive stage IV lung cancer.

The reversal of fortune from a healthy physician to a patient makes Paula reassess on how he would spend the rest of his time, alive.

Paul Kalanithi had previously pursued English Literature and acquired a Master’s of the same. He considered books his closest confidants from a tender age. But he dithered between being a writer and a doctor.

He later applies for medical school as he desired to impact in the real world directly. Although he still holds onto his dream of becoming a writer later in his life. The later time turns out to be when he is in the hospital bed.

“We all have a notion of what it means to be good, and we can’t live up to it all the time.”

The book has four parts. In the first part, Paul Kalanithi describes his diagnoses. The second part talks about his change of careers from a writer to a doctor. The third part he describes what it feels like being in the shoes of a patient as a doctor, being a father and his deteriorating health.

Finally, the epilogue is written by his wife, a physician, who they went ahead to have a baby with after his diagnoses. She talks about her husband’s death, his journey of writing and their relationship.

I find hard to fathom how fast life was cut. Yet, grateful that Paul wrote such an insightful memoir in his last days. Life is worth living, regardless of how truncated it is.

Mood while reading this gem. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE GOD OF SMALL THINGS

 

TITLE: THE GOD OF SMALL THINGS

AUTHOR: ARUNDHATI ROY

GENRE: FICTION

PAGES: 340

RATING: 4/5

god5Perhaps it’s true that things can change in a day. That a few dozen hours can affect the outcome of whole lifetimes. And that when they do, those few dozen hours, like the salvaged remains of a burned house—the charred clock, the singed photograph, the scorched furniture—must be resurrected from the ruins and examined. Preserved. Accounted for. Little events, ordinary things, smashed and reconstitutred. Imbued with new meaning. Suddenly they become the bleached bones of a story.” 

 

Tony Mochama mentioned some time back about The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy, and the mention came with a jacket of praise. Being on my radar for quite some time, I decided to have it as my first 2017 read. Yes it won the Man Booker Prize, yet it drowned me, I was engulfed by the swelling waters of intolerable sorrows, the word shaped eyes thrashed me with each page I leafed. However, the same book gave me life after killing me hundred times in waves of piercing beauty. The words were remarkably written to bring out profound humor and themes like communism, tension in religion, colonialism, culture and forbidden love. “And the Air was full of Thoughts and Things to Say. But at times like these, only the Small Things are ever said. The Big Things lurk unsaid inside.”

Read More

Nice Girls Don’t Get The Corner Office

TITLE:NICE GIRLS DON’T GET THE CORNER OFFICE

AUTHOR:LOIS P. FRANKEL

GENRE: SELF-HELP

PAGES: 288

RATING: 4/5

nicegirls3They need to tread waters beyond the limits that the society has set, to stand up for their rights, to take up top notch career roles, to say no without apologizing, empower other women and get rid of emotional retardation.

 

 

After reading this stunning book I feel like every bouquet of flowers offered to a lady upon graduating from the University should be accompanied by a copy of Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office by Lois P. Frankel. The book with the tacky title is a revelation of a bunch of mistakes we make as ladies in our career. There is quite a good number of tips that any lady can glean from the book especially subtle actions one can accommodate in their daily routine quickly.

Read More

WE NEED NEW NAMES

TITLE: WE NEED NEW NAMES

AUTHOR: NOVIOLET BULAWAYO

GENRE: FICTION

PAGES: 298

RATING 4.5

we-need-new-names-2

“When Godknows starts singing Jobho, Sbho joins in and we listen to them sing it for a while and then we’re all scratching our bodies and singing it because Jobho is a song that leaves you with no choice but to scratch your body the way that sick man Job did in the Bible, lying there scratching his itching wounds when God was busy torturing him just to play with him to see if he had faith. Jobho makes you call out to heaven even though you know God is occupied with better things and will not even look your way. Jobho makes you point your forefinger to the sky and sing at the top of your voice. We itch and we scratch and we point and we itch again and we fill the shack with song.

Bulawayo got me fumbling around on how to go about the review. Her message is potent and fiercely honest to gainsay my long lived prejudices and treasured misconceptions, the raw work, and the unique language held me spellbound. The picturesque fictional memoir had me relate to so much, and it is a typical story of any individual who was brought up in a developing country. It evokes the traditional songs, the games such as ‘Find  Bin Laden’ and the communal beating on our chapped buttocks. ‘I’m not talking to you, chapped buttocks and I don’t need any kaka school to make money, you goat-teeth.’

Darling is a ten-year-old from a shanty town bitterly named as Paradise. Her childhood revolves around her gang of friends with amusing names ; Stina, Chipo, Bastard and Godknows, seemingly innocent beings in a harsh environment of Zimbabwe.Around 2007/2008 the country falls apart, citizens are murdered and the white Zimbabweans are not spared either. Darlings lavish lifestyle comes to a halt when their prestigious home is bulldozed, and they leave for the village. The Chinese are haste to ceremoniously reap the benefits of a nation in despair and dire poverty.The leadership has been accused of rigging polls and orchestrating violence.

Darling and her crew are regularly hitting Budapest which is a nearby town of the well off. Like any child, they are eager to know the other side of life but primarily to fill their ever grumbling stomachs.  We didn’t eat this morning, and my stomach feels like somebody took a shovel and dug everything out. A simile you can feel. They enjoy climbing walls, peeking into gardens and their dream houses and heave themselves into trees to steal guavas. The fruit tranquilizes their hunger temporarily, but they get to pay for it later. Their childhood is full of mischief that is breathtaking, at some point, they want to help Chipo get rid of her big stomach with a wire. In another instance, they find out  Darlings absentee father has shown up,they forcefully get in their shack and intuit he is dying of AIDS yet poor darling had not yet grasped that. ‘He feels like dry wood in my hands, but there is a strange light in his sunken eyes like he has swallowed the sun.’ Their worship, play, illiteracy, home leaves one feeling explosive and dreading their next move.

photo-we-need-new-names

Darling’s dream of going abroad comes true, and she is uprooted from her witty friends and wretched country. Like so many immigrants, she is disillusioned with her exodus in search of a better life and education. Life is not as easy as she thought it would be in the United States. The jobs aren’t much for the immigrants who found their way illegally. ‘You think watching on BBC means you know what is going on? No, you don’t my friend, it’s the wound that knows the texture of the pain; it’s us who stayed here feeling the real suffering, it’s us who stayed here who have the right to say anything.’ Darling has to do odd jobs of sorting out waste plastics and bear the pain of not visiting her home country because she is an illegal immigrant. She is bereft in her dream country where minds are more isolated, unlike her motherland.

The book vividly displays the impact of colonialism and imperialism in the eyes of a minor and the disillusion of an immigrant. Honestly, I am the audience targeted by  Bulawayo, and my enthusiasm is skewed. Her work stuns as it captivates and she flays the skin with issues such as AIDS, teenage pregnancy, rape, and politics. I doubt my capability to do justice describing it, so I won’t.  I definitely recommend this vibrant read from high school onwards. It is the closest you might come to someone’s else life.

 

 

 

 

 

I AM MALALA

 

TITLE: I AM MALALA

AUTHOR:  MALALA  YOUSAFZAI AND CHRISTINA LAMB

GENRE: BIOGRAPHY/NON-FICTION

PAGES: 293

RATING: 4.5 /5

malala1“When I was born, people in our village commiserated with my mother and nobody congratulated my father. I arrived at dawn as the last star blinked out….I was a girl in a land where rifles are fired in celebration of a son, while daughters are hidden away behind a curtain, their role in life simply to prepare food and give birth to children.”

I Am Malala is a remarkable memoir by Malala with the assistance of a journalist Christina Lamb. The courage of a young intrigued me and I was awed at how the voice of one person can have such an immense change. “My mother always told me,”hide your face people are looking at you.”I would reply,“it does not matter; I am also looking at them” Freedom, that is one thing any reader will not take for granted henceforth and the emphasis on the untapped potential of uneducated girls. I was captivated by her plight and vision, needless to say; this book ended up being better than I expected.

Read More

BLUE OCEAN STRATEGY

Photo Collage Maker_FsLcQY

TITLE: BLUE OCEAN STRATEGY

AUTHOR: W. CHAN KIM and RENEE MAUBORGNE

GENRE: BUSINESS MANAGEMENT

PAGES: 287
“Value innovation is the cornerstone of blue ocean strategy. We call it value innovation because instead of focusing on beating the competition, you focus on making the competition irrelevant by creating a leap in value for buyers and your company, thereby opening up new and uncontested market space. Value innovation places equal emphasis on value.”

Blue Ocean Strategy, How to Create Uncontested Market and Make Competition Irrelevant.This is a thought provoking book as so many others.Blue ocean challenges companies to step out of the bloody competition by creating their market space that renders competition irrelevant.The book is realistic as it goes further to show companies on how to achieve this.They insist on the positioning of one’s company away from the common ‘red ocean’ to less concentrated ‘blue ocean’ can reap immense returns for any investor.The well-written and easy to read

Read More

ME BEFORE YOU

Author :  Jojo Moyes

Genre :  Adult novel

Realistic fiction

Pages: 480

Rating : 4.5/5

Me before you

 

“Its not a matter of giving you a chance. I’ve watched you these six months becoming a whole different person, someone who is only just beginning to see her possibilities. You have no idea how happy that has made me. I don’t want you to be tied to me, to my hospital appointments, to the restrictions on my life. I don’t want you to miss out on the things someone else could give you.” 

 

Read More

WHY NATIONS FAIL: THE ORIGINS OF POWER,PROSPERITY AND POVERTY

nations1

Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson has been laying miserably on my shelf for quite some time. I wasn’t sure I would enjoy it and more so  being voluminous. It came with a jacket of praise because it appeared on  Mark Zuckerberg 2015 reading list and that’s how it found its way in my hands. Having pursued Economics in my undergraduate, I could absolutely relate to it as soon as I raved about it, such an insightful and terrific book!

Read More

TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE BOOK REVIEW

Cover ImageSo many people walk around with a meaningless life.They seem half-asleep, even when they are busy doing things they think are important.This is because they are chasing the wrong things.The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.

An old man, a young man and life greatest lesson, this book is full of reality that I can’t think of.The book is an autobiographical account that was beautifully written and

Read More

The Secret Lives Of Baba Segi’s Wives

baba-1Baba Segi is a hardworking, uneducated husband to three wives: Iya segi,Iya Top, Iya Femi and father to even children. Their lives take place in Ayikara as the 20th century is drawing to a close. When Baba Segi takes a fourth wife,whose mother is furious for throwing herself away to such an oaf, Bolanle’s university degree creates tension between her and the other semi-illiterate wives: and her inability to become pregnant after Baba Segi’s ‘pounding’ is the predicament that sets emotions roiling and schemes in motion. Baba Segi’s ignorance and sexism are a source of hilarity particularly in the hospital scenes, as well as inducing belly laughs.

Read More

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén