I am currently reading three books at the same time. I have a system where I read a couple of chapters of each book before moving to the next one. It’s one of my favourite pastimes.
I recently took some time to read books by Nigerian authors which I hadn’t read since my childhood or which I had never read before now.
Here are five books by Nigerian authors which you should read:
- ‘Things Fall Apart’ by Chinua Achebe.
Why you should read it: From the first page, Achebe gets straight to the point about Okonkwo’s story: there are no wasted words. You feel Okonkwo’s frustrations as though they are yours, and this almost guarantees that you would finish this book within a very short timeframe.
‘Things Fall Apart’ gives great detail about Igbo traditional culture, and the effects of British Colonial rule on the lives of the indigenous Nigerian people.
2. ‘Jagua Nana’s Daughter’ by Cyprian Ekwensi.
Why you should read it: Unfortunately, I was unable to find the preceding book, ‘Jagua Nana’ to read, but Ekwensi does a great job of helping the reader to link both stories in this book which presents Nigerian life in a very cosmopolitan manner. Here, Liza, a successful Lagos-based lawyer is on a search for her mother, Jagua Nana.
It is a refreshingly entertaining book, with detailed descriptions of sex and extramarital relationships among the elites in Lagos, where a lot of the story is based. Will Liza finally find her mother? You will have to read it to find out!
Why you should read it: This is my favourite book on this list. It’s the first book by Adichie which I ever read back in 2007. I have read all her other books and articles and watched her TED Talk videos, and I can say that this book still ranks as number one of her work to me.
There is an ease with which Adichie describes some situations which are very Nigerian and relatable. Kambili, the protagonist, experiences life under very affluent and difficult circumstances, and the story takes us on a journey about the effects of dysfunctional family relationships. If you must pick one book on this list to read, please pick this one.
4. ‘News From Home’ by Sefi Atta.
Why you should read it: I love a good collection of short stories, and this collection by Atta is one which I could not put down once I started it. Each story is a window looking into different Nigerian eccentricities and lifestyles. I would recommend this book as a guide for anyone who wants to know the different ways being Nigerian could be interpreted.
5. ‘The Joys of Motherhood’ by Buchi Emecheta.
Why you should read it: This book captivated me from the first chapter and I felt both relieved and sad when it ended. The book takes us on Nnu Ego’s journey, a mother whose experiences of motherhood and marriage are bitter-sweet. The book moves from describing the contentment of village life to the hardships of making a life for yourself in the city. A splendid book.
Have you read any of the books on this list? Let me know in the comments!