I read 110 books in 2022!

This year, I read the most number of books I have ever and it was the busiest year I’ve had since – with school, writing my undergraduate thesis, part-time work on campus, looking for a job (which is a full-time job in of itself), and then working full time.

I often get asked how I manage to read a lot, so I have taken some time to reflect on my reading habits. Here’s what I have learned so far, which will help you read more books in the new year.

  1. Read what you enjoy
    • Since the invention of Gutenberg’s printing press in 1440, it’s estimated that about 156,264,880 books have been published. I’m sure there’s even more if we consider books of different languages across the globe. With so many books worldwide, you don’t need to stick to a genre or book you don’t like. You can learn a lot from reading any single book. Thus, reading what also brings you joy is essential.
  2. You can read more than one book at a time
    • You don’t have to finish one book before going on to the next. For example, sometimes you might not be in the mood to continue reading the historical fiction novel you had started. That’s fine! You don’t have to force yourself or wait till you are back in the mood. You may read a fantasy novel in the meantime.
  3. Listen to audiobooks
    • In 2021, I read 55 books. I could double the number of books I read this year by including audiobooks on my reading list. They are a great option while doing chores, commuting or cooking (which I often do). In addition, audiobooks are a great experience. You get to hear dialogues between characters and music that was supposed to be playing in the background of a scene and immerse yourself in the book world differently.
  4. Share the books you read
    • When you read a new book, please share it with those around you. Even if you didn’t like the book, a great conversation could come out of sharing so. I often share my 5-star reads with friends and family, so I am always happy to share new 5-star reads (which means I have to read more to find more). Likewise, sharing my book reviews (however short) on the blog motivates me to read more (though I have realised writing a book review on a book I didn’t enjoy is far easier than writing one on a book I did).

Of all the 110 books I read, 22 were five stars reads (a nice coincidence). Here are just five I would like to highlight, as listed in the order I read them this year. I have explained why I enjoyed them in one sentence and included the links to book reviews for those I wrote.

  1. Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley
    • It tells a heart-wrenching yet hopeful tale of family and belonging, set in the Ojibwe reservation. (It was also my first 5-star read of the year!)
  2. Lovely War by Julie Berry
    • By far, the best audiobook I have listened to this year.
    • Book Review
  3. Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orïsha, #1) by Tomi Adeyemi
    • It is an engaging and brilliant fantasy novel based on Yoruba mythology.
    • Book Review
  4. Notes on an Execution by Danya Kukafka
    • This book lives rent-free in my head; I think about it often despite having read it in July.
    • Book Review
  5. My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth
    • I don’t think I ever felt as angry from reading a book as I did reading this.

Here’s to the joy of reading and more 5-star reads in 2023! Happy New Year!

Book Review: The Psychology of Money

Title: The Psychology of Money

Author: Morgan Housel

Genre: Non-fiction, Personal development

Pages: 252 pages; 6 hours (audiobook)

Level of difficulty: 3/5 Dictionaries

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Brief Introduction:

Doing well with money isn’t necessarily about what you know. It’s about how you behave. And behavior is hard to teach, even to really smart people. Morgan Housel shares 19 short stories exploring the strange ways people think about money and teaches you how to make better sense of one of life’s most important topics.

Review:

I really enjoyed how the lessons were conveyed through storytelling – the stories of specific individuals and companies.

Here are some lessons I learnt from the book that I would like to share:

  1. Our willingness to bare risk depends on personal history (where and when you were born)
  2. Luck and risk are duo forces in our lives
    • Success is what differentiates a bold decision and a foolish choice
    • Luck is the cousin of failure
  3. The hardest financial skill is getting the goal post to stop moving
  4. Big things can happen with small forces
    • Compound interest
  5. The only way to stay wealthy is frugality and paranoia
    • Getting money and keeping money are two different skills
  6. The key of a plan is planning for when the plan fails
    • Margin of safety is important
    • Ensure a room for error when estimating your future returns
  7. The highest dividend that money pays is freedom / control over one’s time
  8. Experience doesn’t lead to forecast abilities
  9. We underestimate how much we will change in the future
  10. The more you want something to be true, the more likely you are to believe a story that overestimates it

Book Review: The Almanack of Naval Ravikant

Title: The Almanack of Naval Ravikant: A Guide to Wealth and Happiness

Author: Eric Jorgenson

Genre: Non-fiction, Personal development

Pages: 244 pages; 5 hours (audiobook)

Level of difficulty: 3/5 Dictionaries

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Brief Introduction:

Naval Ravikant is an entrepreneur, philosopher, and investor who has captivated the world with his principles for building wealth and creating long-term happiness. The Almanack of Naval Ravikant is a collection of Naval’s wisdom and experience from the last ten years, shared as a curation of his most insightful interviews and poignant reflections.

Review:

This book is full of great advice/lessons/insights. It requires one to sit with each phrase and do some reflection during and after reading the book. Definitely, this is a book that would be best utilized by reading certain insights more than one.

The five hours I spent on the book did not go to waste, and I had quite a lot of notes. Here are just a few of my favourites insights from the book:

1. Don’t take yourself so seriously; you are just a monkey with a plan
2. Death is the most important thing that will happen to you
3. The hardest thing (in life) is figuring out what you want
4. There is no end point to self-awareness and self-discovery. It’s a lifelong process you hopefully get better and better at
5. Anger is hot coal you hold in your hands while waiting to throw at somebody
6. To find a lovely mate, be worthy of a lovely mate
7. Inspiration is perishable; act on it immediately

I highly recommend you read the book!

You may get it here!

Book Review: One True Loves

Title: One True Loves

Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid

Genre: Romance, Contemporary

Pages: 331 pages; 8 hours (audiobook)

Level of difficulty: 3/5 Dictionaries

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Brief Introduction:

Emma Blair married her childhood sweetheart, Jesse, in her twenties. On their first wedding anniversary, Jesse is on a helicopter over the Pacific when it goes missing. Years later, after much grief, Emma falls in love with an old childhood friend, Sam and soon gets engaged. However, Jesse is found alive, and what kept him through all these years was trying to get back to Emma. With a husband and a fiancé, Emma has to now figure out who she is and what she wants, while trying to protect the ones she loves

Review:

What is true love?

Are we able to love as boldly as we did after being hurt?

This was a beautiful story about the power of love, and the notion that we have soul mates (instead of only one soul mate). The division of the book between “before Emily got engaged to Sam”, and “after her husband who was believed to be dead returns” was clear and engaging. It was also a lovely listen as an audiobook.

You may get the book here!

Book Review: Legacy of Orïsha Series

Title: Children of Blood and Bone

Author: Tomi Adeyemi

Genre: (High) Fantasy, Young Adult, Yoruba mythology

Pages: 544 pages; 18 hours (audiobook)

Level of difficulty: 3/5 Dictionaries

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Brief Introduction:

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, Maji (folks with magic) were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Review:

Wow! Wow! Wow! This book was excellent. Nothing about it was predictable – each event/turning point was a surprise. The plot was straightforward, creative, and critical.

As a Nigerian and a Yoruba, it was heartwarming to have the language embedded throughout the novel. I was also very excited about how Yoruba mythology was embedded in the book. In addition, the characters were authentic, empowering and relatable.

The novel was also pretty political, highlighting the dangers of discrimination and the need for people to unite to fight injustices.

I highly recommend it!

Title: Children of Virtue and Vengeance

Pages: 404 pages; 13 hours (audiobook)

Level of difficulty: 3/5 Dictionaries

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Review:

(Screaming!!) Another cliffhanger! Honestly, that is the only ‘bad’ part about this book. It was engaging, and all the twists and turns were very unexpected. Tomi Adeyemi does an excellent job of surprising readers. It was not as exciting as the first book, but it was not too far behind. I truly enjoyed reading it.

I wanted to wait for the third book before writing a book review about the series. However, it’s been too long, and I still think the series deserves to be read. Nevertheless, I will warn that with the third book nowhere in sight, it might be best just to read the first book and put the second book on hold until after the third book comes out (as the cliffhanger might gravely annoy you).

Book Review: Warlight

Title: Warlight

Author: Michael Ondaatje

Genre: Historical Fiction

Pages: 290 pages; 9 hours (audiobook)

Level of difficulty: 3/5 Dictionaries

Rating: 2/5 Stars

Brief Introduction:

A vivid, thrilling novel of violence and love, intrigue and desire. It is 1945, and London is still reeling from the Blitz and years of war. 14-year-old Nathaniel and his sister, Rachel, are apparently abandoned by their parents, left in the care of an enigmatic figure named The Moth. A dozen years later, Nathaniel begins to uncover all he didn’t know or understand in that time.

Review:

The author deserves credit for experimenting with this writing style that reads like a memoir. The main character speaks of significant events in his life and the lives of those close to him, often imagining how things would have been – but yet telling the readers what had happened because he is the narrator.

However, it was not that engaging. I got bored a few times and wanted to stop reading/for it to end. I think it might be because the plot was relatively flat. There was not much development. We as readers aren’t incentivized to find out more about what happened to various characters in the book, for which Nathaniel is investigating because we don’t get to build much of a connection nor understanding of said characters.

TW: Death

You may get the book here!

Book Review: Death on the Nile

Title: Death on the Nile

Author: Agatha Christie

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Pages: 333 pages

Level of difficulty: 3/5 Dictionaries

Rating: 2/5 Stars

Brief Introduction:

Linnet Ridgeway, a young, stylish and beautiful girl has been shot through the head during a cruise along the Nile. The passengers are all close acquaintances of hers, so who is the murderer?

Review:

This was my first time reading Agatha Christie’s book even though I have watched and enjoyed several of her movies (including the adaptation of this book). However, the book was quite disappointing. I could guess the murder, although I was not sure how they did it. In addition, the other characters were not as interesting (and as such their motive in the murder was not as clear nor believable). Nevertheless, I will definitely pick up another of her books! 

You may get the book here!

Analytical Approaches to Primary Source Analysis

An Orientalist Approach to the Human Zoo at St. Louis World’s Fair 1904

Over 100 years ago, in 1904, peoples from across the globe were taken by various means and brought to the St. Louis World’s Fair in the United States of America to be ‘displayed’.1 During and shortly after the World’s Fair (April 30th – December 1st, 1904), several newspapers articles were published by the St. Louis Post-dispatch to advertise the exposition of peoples, inform readers of how they had gotten the peoples to come to the United States, and what ‘use’ the peoples would be off in the United States after the end of the World’s Fair.2 The newspaper articles, while limited as they may reflect uninformed public opinion, are useful in providing an interpretation of the World’s Fair during that time. An Orientalist analytical approach to the set of newspaper articles shall help us investigate what Edward Said would have interpreted as a tool that helped constitute ‘difference’ as the negative to the West and provide insight into how anthropologists and citizens alike could have participated in and allowed what we know today was a racist act violating human rights. 

In the work Orientalism, Edward Said argues that the orient was almost a European invention that had helped to “define the West as its contrasting image, idea, personality, experience”.3 This contrasting image portrayed the orient as inferior, uncivilised, and weird, while simultaneously portraying the Europeans as superior, civilised, and cultured. This example of a contrasting image was evident in the ‘display’ of peoples at the St. Louis World’s Fair 1904, which 20th-century scholars have termed a Human Zoo. By putting peoples from all over the world on ‘exhibition’ in the United States, the focal point of the visitors, who were predominately white, was the awareness that they were different from those in the Human Zoo. However, this awareness of ‘difference’ in the audience would not have immediately equated to them feeling superior to those participating in the exhibition. The condition of the exhibition spaces, the treatment of those being ‘exhibited’, and the dialogue regarding the people being ‘exhibited’ would have been the key factors that influenced visitors of the exhibitions to think that they were superior to those they had come to watch. As such, Said would view the newspaper articles by St. Louis Post-dispatch about the Human Zoo, which presented itself as what the general public was thinking and facilitated discussion about the exhibition, as a tool that helped constitute ‘difference’ as the negative to the West.

One reason the set of newspaper articles was a tool that helped constitute ‘difference’ as the negative to the West is that it used the audience’s culture to put down the culture of those being ‘exhibited’. The Human Zoo was highlighted in the newspaper articles by St. Louis Post-dispatch as the “Grand March of the Barbarians” and advertised as an exposition of “strange peoples” and “types of mankind from many continents”.4 The use of such degrading terms in the newspaper articles portrayed the “varying degrees of a complex hegemony” that Said had discussed was part of the relationship between Occident and Orient5, and more specifically, a “cultural hegemony”.6 Just like how Orientalism distorts our understanding of people and cultures different from us, and turns them to a stereotype, the use of the degrading terms in the newspaper distorted the readers understanding of the peoples and the cultures of those who participated in the exhibition. For example, the newspaper article entitled “Barbarians meet in Athletic Games” described a mud fight amongst the Pygmies as an athletic competition but portrayed it as a violent the manner by writing that it did not stop until “one side was put to rout”.7 Consequentially, the culture of the Pygmies, just like the cultures of the other peoples in the Human Zoo, was attacked simply because it was different from the American culture or way of being that the readers were familiar of. This act of cultural hegemony is significant because it justified and further played on the stereotype that those from Africa and Asia were backwards. 

Secondly, the set of newspaper articles was a tool that constituted ‘difference’ as the negative to the West because it justified the Human Zoo. The article entitled “Pygmy Cannibals Coming Up River” engaged with the willingness of the Pygmies to be in the United States and stated that the “saw-tooth savages were glad to be here” and “tickled to death to be in America”.8 This depiction of excitement was used to frame the anthropologist’s decision to bring the Pygmies as a favour and a good deed. However, the anthropologist bringing the Pygmies to the United States portrayed how “knowledge” authorises the assertion of power. Said explained in Orientalism that the discourse of the Orient allows Orientalism to be a “western style for dominating, restructuring and having authority over the Orient”.9 This notion was evident from the fact that because there was a discourse about Africans, and because the Pygmies were different from Americans and had never been seen before, the decision to bring them to the United States was justified in the public eye. Consequentially, this assertion of power created a power relation between the Pygmies and the anthropologist that affected their time in the United States – at just a primary level of analysis; the power relation resulted in the Pygmies being in a Human Zoo. 

Thirdly, the reduction of the peoples ‘exhibited’ into stereotypes in the set of newspaper articles is another reason why it was a tool that helped constitute ‘difference’ as the negative to the West. The peoples participating in the exhibition were advertised based on their stereotypes, such as the “Pygmies from Darkest Africa”, “Head Hunting Dog Eaters from Luzon”, and “Dwarf Negritos from the Philippines”, to attract the readers to visit.10 In addition, the illustrations of the Pygmies in the newspaper articles were depicted stereotypically with them having big feet and hands, huge lips that took up one-third of their faces, and sharp teeth that looked like a shark’s, thus depicting them more like an animal than human beings.11 This depiction is significant because the newspaper published an anthropologist’s sketch of the Pygmies that depicted them looking like human beings a month before the illustrations.12 The drastic difference between the illustrations and the anthropologist’s sketch highlights the politics of stereotypes, as the newspapers had used stereotypical differences between Africans and white Americans to attract readers to the fair. In Orientalism, Said discussed the politics of stereotypes, informing readers of how the “reinforcement of the stereotypes by which the Orient is viewed”13 in Orientalism created a justification for colonisation.14 This notion was evident from the newspaper’s illustration of how the foreigners who participated in the exhibition could be ‘used’ in St. Louis after the fair ended.15

The front page illustration entitled “Those Foreigners at the Fair – A Few Ways to Make Use of Them Here in St. Louis After the Exposition Closes” justified the type of human exploitation under colonisation by discussing how human beings could be ‘used’ for economic benefits.15  Furthermore, the identified ‘uses’ for the foreigners were based on their stereotypes with “Esquimos” portrayed as the ideal icemen, “Hairy Ainus” portrayed as beneficial in providing hair tonics, and the “Geisha Girls” portrayed as solving the servant girl problem.15

Using a model of analysis based on Edward Said’s Orientalism that ‘difference’ is constituted as the negative to the West, the racial and cultural tensions in the United States are much easier to understand. Said argued that cultural hegemony gives Orientalism durability and strength.16 Applying this notion if cultural hegemony is exercised upon any other culture simply because it is different from ‘American culture’ or American norm, that culture and the racial group that practices the culture will immediately be seen as negative. In addition, Said discussed that “Orientalism assumed an unchanging Orient, absolutely different” from the West.17 This notion means that once a culture has been seen as inferior, it will be continued to be seen and defined as such. Thus, the reason why African Americans are still depicted as violent and commonly degraded by associating them with animals (in particular monkeys), why Muslim men are still commonly seen as terrorists and Muslim women as oppressed, and why the stereotype that all Asians eat dogs is still so prominent is much clearer. Those perceptions began and continue till today in the United States because part of American culture has been the constitution of anything different from the norm as negative and thus inferior. Furthermore, Said argued that Orientalism “is involved in worldly, historical circumstances which it has tried to conceal behind an often pompous scientism and appeals to rationalism.” This notion provides insight into how anthropologists and citizens alike could have participated in and allowed the Human Zoos – they believed it was a rational scientific project. However, the anthropologists’ actions and the audience’s complicity were rooted in the fact that because the peoples they saw were so different from them and had cultures, they could not understand, it was easier to deem them strange and inferior. 

Despite Orientalism providing a valuable model for understanding to set of newspaper articles and understanding the racial and cultural tensions in the United States, it has its own strengths and weaknesses. One strength of Orientalism as a mode of analysis is that it represents the consciousness of knowledge producers. Understanding the mindset of those who produce knowledge and the knowledge they produce is crucial because knowledge gives power.18 More so, this power could be detrimental as having certain types of knowledge enables the domination of and authority over what is known.19 Similarly, another strength of Orientalism as a mode of analysis is that it provides insight into the European-Atlantic power over the Orient. A significant part of history has been Europe and the United States exercising authority and enforcing power over those in Africa and Asia. However, authority is not mysterious nor natural; it is formed and thus must be analysed. Orientalism is the best tool for such an analysis because it is a western-style “for dominating, restructuring, and having authority over the Orient”. 20

On the other hand, one weakness of Orientalism as a mode of analysis is that it does not provide insight into the consciousness of the consumers. Although knowledge is relational in the sense that one party takes on the role of being informed and another party takes on the role of the informant, Orientalism does not provide the means of understanding how exactly those being informed responded and why they responded the way they might have. Another weakness of Orientalism as a mode of analysis is that it does not enable a means for those who have been labelled Orient or impacted by Orientalism to represent themselves. Although it is acknowledged that the Orient could not represent itself because “the Orient was almost a European invention”21, Orientalism still affects how the Orient sees itself. More importantly, Africans and Asians impacted by Orientalism might see themselves differently due to its impact. However, this is not accounted for. For example, regarding Human Zoos, very little is known about those who ended up participating in the exhibitions.22 Furthermore, there is a very limited amount of testimonies, which means that journalistic descriptions are often used to deduce the type of experiences those who were ‘exhibited’ had and how they truly felt about being ‘exhibited’.22 This limited personal account in addition to how Orientalism fails to account for those affected by it, almost leaves the peoples ‘exhibited’ silenced when talking about their experience in Human Zoos from an Orientalist perspective. 

A critical relation between idea and methodology in Orientalism is understanding the distinction between “the Occident” and “the Orient”. Orientalism as an idea helped to “define the West as its contrasting image, idea, personality, experience”.23 For this definition to have occurred, there had to be a fixed universal notion of what an Orient was and what an Occident was. As such, the methodology is rooted in understanding how the notion of “the Orient” turned from an opinion to a belief and how this believed Orient turned into a real identity in itself. This relation is most evident from how Orientalism is “a style of thought based upon an ontological and epistemological distinction made between” the Orient and the Occident.23 A key relation between idea and conclusion in Orientalism is whether Orientalism and its effects can come to an end. Said viewed Orientalism as “a way of coming to terms with the Orient based on the Orient’s special place in European Western experience”24. Unfortunately, this “special place” is constantly evolving. Its evolvement is evident in how even in the “electronic, postmodern world”, there has been a “reinforcement of the stereotypes” of the Orient, which is an effect of Orientalism.25 Hence, even though eliminating the Orient and Occident altogether would allow us to unlearn the “inherent dominative mode”, getting to that point seems almost impossible. 

1 Jacobson, Nate. “America’s Forgotten History of Scientific Racism.” Human Zoos. https://humanzoos.org/. 

2 “Pygmy Exhibit at St. Louis World’s Fair.” STLtoday.com, April 22, 2020. https://www.stltoday.com/news/archives/pygmy-exhibit-at-st-louis-worlds-fair/collection_16f4a93f-5ac4-56c1-ba20-5069e09b1d67.html#1.

3 Said, Edward W. Orientalism. New York: Random House, 1979, 1. 

4 “Pygmy Exhibit at St. Louis World’s Fair.” STLtoday.com, April 22, 2020. https://www.stltoday.com/news/archives/pygmy-exhibit-at-st-louis-worlds-fair/collection_16f4a93f-5ac4-56c1-ba20-5069e09b1d67.html#1.

5 Said, Edward W. Orientalism. New York: Random House, 1979, 5.

6 Said, Edward W. Orientalism. New York: Random House, 1979, 7. 

7 “Barbarians meet in Athletic Games”, 11 August 1904, St. Louis Post-Dispatch. STLtoday.com. https://www.stltoday.com/news/archives/pygmy-exhibit-at-st-louis-worlds-fair/collection_16f4a93f-5ac4-56c1-ba20-5069e09b1d67.html#1.

8 “Pygmy Cannibals Coming Up River”, 28 June 1904, St. Louis Post-Dispatch. STLtoday.com. https://www.stltoday.com/news/archives/pygmy-exhibit-at-st-louis-worlds-fair/collection_16f4a93f-5ac4-56c1-ba20-5069e09b1d67.html#1.

9 Said, Edward W. Orientalism. New York: Random House, 1979, 3.

10 “St. Louis Day”, 11 September 1904, St. Louis Post-Dispatch. STLtoday.com. https://www.stltoday.com/news/archives/pygmy-exhibit-at-st-louis-worlds-fair/collection_16f4a93f-5ac4-56c1-ba20-5069e09b1d67.html#1

11 “Money! Money! Is the Cry of Even Babies at the Fair”, 17 July 1904, St. Louis Post-Dispatch. STLtoday.com. https://www.stltoday.com/news/archives/pygmy-exhibit-at-st-louis-worlds-fair/collection_16f4a93f-5ac4-56c1-ba20-5069e09b1d67.html#1

12 “African Pygmies for the World Fair”, 26 June 1904, St. Louis Post-Dispatch. STLtoday.com. https://www.stltoday.com/news/archives/pygmy-exhibit-at-st-louis-worlds-fair/collection_16f4a93f-5ac4-56c1-ba20-5069e09b1d67.html#1

13 Said, Edward W. Orientalism. New York: Random House, 1979, 26.

14 Said, Edward W. Orientalism. New York: Random House, 1979, 39.

15 “African Pygmies for the World Fair”, 26 June 1904, St. Louis Post-Dispatch. STLtoday.com. https://www.stltoday.com/news/archives/pygmy-exhibit-at-st-louis-worlds-fair/collection_16f4a93f-5ac4-56c1-ba20-5069e09b1d67.html#1

16 Said, Edward W. Orientalism. New York: Random House, 1979, 7.

17 Said, Edward W. Orientalism. New York: Random House, 1979, 96.

18 Said, Edward W. Orientalism. New York: Random House, 1979, 36.

19 Said, Edward W. Orientalism. New York: Random House, 1979, 32.

20 Said, Edward W. Orientalism. New York: Random House, 1979, 3.

21 Said, Edward W. Orientalism. New York: Random House, 1979, 1.

22 Andreassen, Rikke. “Human on Display: The Era of Human Exhibitions.” In Human Exhibitions: Race, Gender and Sexuality in Ethnic Displays, 29.

23 Said, Edward W. Orientalism. New York: Random House, 1979, 2.

24 Said, Edward W. Orientalism. New York: Random House, 1979, 1.

25 Said, Edward W. Orientalism. New York: Random House, 1979, 26.

26 Said, Edward W. Orientalism. New York: Random House, 1979, 28.

Bibliography

Andreassen, Rikke. “Human on Display: The Era of Human Exhibitions.” In Human Exhibitions: Race, Gender and Sexuality in Ethnic Displays, 1–32. London: Routledge, 2020. 

Jacobson, Nate. “America’s Forgotten History of Scientific Racism.” Human Zoos. Accessed December 8, 2020. https://humanzoos.org/. 

“Pygmy Exhibit at St. Louis World’s Fair.” STLtoday.com, April 22, 2020. https://www.stltoday.com/news/archives/pygmy-exhibit-at-st-louis-worlds-fair/collection_16f4a93f-5ac4-56c1-ba20-5069e09b1d67.html#1.

Said, Edward W. Orientalism. New York: Random House, 1979. 

Book Review: You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty

Title: You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty

Author: Akwaeke Emezi

Genre: Romance, Contemporary

Pages: 288 pages; 10 hours (audiobook)

Level of difficulty: 3/5 Dictionaries

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Brief Introduction:

It has been five year since the accident that killed the love of Feyi Adekola life’s, and she is re-learning what it means to be alive. However, what about giving love a second chance?

Review:

I went into this book without reading the synopsis; it was a great decision! I recommend you do the same!

Akwaeke Emezi has this unique ability to write books that make you (or maybe just me) deeply uncomfortable yet enjoy greatly. The story plot was chaotic and a little stressful, yet engaging and unpredictable. I was hooked even though I was worried about what would happen next. The book questions the assumptions around true love and age differences in relationships. I can’t entirely say that I found the relationship between the main characters endearing/heart warmly; however, the book made me root for them.

TW: Death, Trauma, Blood

You may get the book here!

Book Review: Wish You Were Here

Title: Wish You Were Here

Author: Jodi Picoult

Genre: Contemporary, Romance

Pages: 310 pages; 12 hours (audiobook)

Level of difficulty: 3/5 Dictionaries

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Brief Introduction:

What has supposed to be a romantic getaway to the Galápagos for Diana and her boyfriend Finn – days before her 30th birthday does not go as planned. Finn, a surgical resident, must stay back in New York because it’s all hand on deck after the Covid-19 outbreak. However, he encourages and reassures Diana to go by herself since it would be a shame for all of their nonrefundable trip to go to waste. Unfortunately, Diana’s luggage is lost on her way to the Galápagos, the Wi-Fi is nearly nonexistent on the Island, and the hotel they’d booked is shut down due to the pandemic. In fact, the whole Island is now under quarantine, and she is stranded until the borders reopen.

Review:

In the book’s first part, I was a little disappointed by how the female lead ended up on the Island. I felt it was a little too convenient as a plot. However, by the book’s second part, that thought was knocked right out of me. Jodi Picoult is brilliant at engaging a reader and challenging all situations. At that point, I was reminded again why she is (one of my) favourite writer(s).

The themes in the novel about the pandemic were handled well and fully stretched despite being a relatively short book set in a complex time (and written at the earlier stages of the pandemic).

You may get the book here!