Small Great Things

Month: April

Book: Small Great Things

Author: Jodi Picoult

Now THIS is my book of the year (I write this with so much confidence but I’m allowed to change my mind… right?).

Let me break down (a few of) my thoughts for you:

  1. Like I mentioned with January’s read Wonder, I love getting into characters’ minds and understanding their thought process. Life is multidimensional isn’t it? So are points of view. So I’m seeing things through the lens of a black nurse with c. 20yrs of experience, a white supremacist genuinely fighting for what he believes is “just” and a middle class lawyer just trying to do her job, all encompassing this one read! It’s not so much that it’s genius, it’s more the fluidity in which she weaves the character perspectives (being that their mind frames exist in alternate universes) that’s what blows my mind.
  2. I’m black. I’ve spent the vast majority of my life living in Nigeria. In Nigeria, the people are black. The citizens are (mostly) black. Racism isn’t a thing- at least not a prejudice I’ve experienced here (I’d be interested in finding out white people’s opinions though). My family is comfortable, I am comfortable. I’ve experienced racism abroad and it’s ugly, so that amongst other things is a reason why I find that I am most comfortable in Nigeria. When someone follows me around the shop here, it’s not because they think I’m going to steal. It’s because they think I’m going to buy every damn thing and leave a tip on top of that! They probably think that my perfectly manicured nails and pampered skin won’t tolerate the stress of having to carry a shopping basket or push a trolley, who knows I might cave under the weight (LOL). When I wear track suit (this is rare by the way) it’s not because I’m “ghetto” and getting ready to make a run for it (what ever it is), it’s because I was lazy and threw on something comfortable. When I read Small Great Things, I got angry on behalf of all the black people abroad that experience racism. No matter where you live, how much you earn or what you’ve accomplished, there will always be those that can’t see past your skin colour the fact that you do not look like them, and this absolutely blows my mind!
  3. This book was written by a white woman. She did research, she wrote a story loaded with empathy, unveiling the workings of the American ‘Justice’ system and head on confronting racism. When I read Ruth’s perspective, I felt like I was Ruth and I understood her decisions. When I read Turk’s perspective, I can’t say I fully understood but at least it provided a glimmer of insight. Maybe I’m a little emotional, but I cried when I read Small Great Things.
  • Somewhat random, but there’s a paragraph in the book which I quoted on my Instagram Stories because at the time, it was SO relevant to what I was going through. Not as a black person, but as a human being:

“If the past few months have taught me anything, it’s that friendship is a smokescreen. The people you think are solid turn out to be mirrors and lights; and then you look down and realize there are others you took for granted those who are your foundation.”

Which takes me to my final point:

  • Jodi Picoult’s writing style is beautiful. Her phrases are like a song with deeper meaning. If you rush through, you might be unappreciative of the melodies…. It’ll be like shutting your blinds when the sun is setting instead of taking in the colours, the patience, the beauty. If like me, you then happen to find something that speaks to your situation, well… it’s all over!   

BV Rates: 9/10

xXx

Ps: When you read JP’s more recent stories, the growth is evident. She’s definitely one of my top authors. I’m not sure I’ll ever turn down the opportunity to read one of her books.

PPs: On that random note about skin, I broke out recently and I’ve now taken on a 5 step beauty regimen which is a bit extra for (and hilarious to) me. I’m really hoping it makes a difference. Should I blog about it? LOL I don’t know I’ll need to put pictures….

Picture Perfect

Month: March

Book: Picture Perfect

Author: Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult is my favourite author. Taiwo and Wura raved about her so long that I absolutely HAD to read her books and she never let me down. Well, not until I read Picture Perfect. It started off GREAT. Kind of reminded me of social media- everyone seems to be having a great time, toned bodies, eating great food, living lavish lifestyles, until you peel at the layers and find that a lot of people are lonely or seeking attention/validation, some are simply lost in a journey of self-discovery. I’ve gone off on a tangent. Let me attempt to reel this back in.

Halfway through Picture Perfect, I didn’t think I’d make it. The story line was one of perpetual habitual repetitions and I was getting bored. I made it to the last chapter when a switch finally flipped and reigned it back home.

I expressed my thoughts to Taiwo and discovered that it was one of Jodi P’s early books. Comparing that to her more recent publications, her growth has been multi-dimensional. I’ll delve a bit more into her writing style with next month’s read. Get excited! LOL

BV Rates: 5.5/10

xXx

Ps: Eid Mubarak to my Muslim Brothers and Sisters out there.

PPs: Trying a new text setting where I show a large initial letter… I think I like it…

Queenie

Month: February

Book: Queenie

Author: Candice Carty-Williams

I think I finished reading this book in two weekends. (It’s a real struggle to read during the weekdays because I have to balance reading with work and I’m not great at balancing. I try, but it’s not often that I get very far.) The entire time I was reading Queenie, I was pissed! I (used to) judge people that make(/made) bad decisions and Queenie exercised very limited self-control and self-awareness (I found myself screaming at her with every chapter)! Accordingly, she was subject to my full wrath and resolute judgement. I’m unapologetic.

The writing style wasn’t particularly memorable, but on the bright side I loved the use of (black British) slang and the insight into that stereotypical world. [Most? Some?] black people abroad get caught up in this balancing act of staying true to their culture yet fitting in. I don’t know about you guys, but at some point, I faked the British accent, laughed when I was supposed to, did all I had to, just so I would NOT stand stick out. Eventually, I realized that it was a waste of time. Who was I trying to impress and for God’s sake WHY?! was I even trying to impress these strangers?

Queenie gives you a good idea of how tedious it is to be totally lost in a cultural mishmash!   

Would I recommend this read? Probably not. But if you happened to pick it up on your own accord, I’d happily engage in conversation.

BV Rates: 6.5/10   

xXx

Ps: So far, I’ve decided NOT to write much on the plot of the books I’ve read. I hate spoilers. But if you’d like a brief summary, let me know and I can incorporate those in the coming posts.

Pps: I’ve started using BV Rates. Thanks Laitan *smooches*

Wonder

Month: January

Book: Wonder

Author: R.J. Palacio

Wonder was an easy enough read. I’d watched the movie numerous times (I think I cried the first time) so I knew it was a storyline I liked. It was supposed to be an easy kick-off. A light enough read to get through quickly and still stay interested. I find that the books I’m most interested in are the ones that let me into each character’s perspective and Wonder did just that.

In hindsight, it wasn’t the greatest kick-off. I already knew where things were going, and the movie did it so much justice that finishing the book wasn’t a priority. (Confession: I finished it in February!)

For that reason, I’m not rating this book. Not in a it’s-not-worth-rating sense, but in a I’m-not-in-a-position-to-rate-it-because-I-already-watched-it sense. Am I making sense?

What I particularly liked about it though (beyond the storyline) was the ease in which you could read it. To expatiate, let me put it like this (the same way Wura broke it down for me) if English is your second language and you want to better understand how to string sentences and correctly use grammar, this would be my recommendation.

*I’ve been trying to upload a picture of Wonder for the past 48hrs with no joy, so pretend I’ve inserted a picture here and when it finally uploads, I’ll edit this post 🙂 *

KF Rating: N/A

xXx

Ps: I’m trying to think up something more interesting than “KF rating”. Any suggestions?

Come, Fly with Me!

It was (is!) a fresh start on a couple of fronts. On a more obvious note, it was literally the new year, January 1, 2021, but beyond that, it was a rare opportunity to teach myself to improve my vocabulary, be better well spoken.

When people describe me, I always wanted one of the words they used to be REFINED. POLISHED, you know… an all-round LADY and for whatever reason, reading was going to help me accomplish this. On that evening, round the dinner table with friends and family, I decided I was going to read at least one book a month through 2021.

You see, the thing with reading is that it opens a window to exposure beyond the physical. A direct path into minds, thoughts, research… other people’s imagination and sometimes, their experiences.

I’m six months into my reading journey (I honestly doubted I’d last this long) and (I can’t believe I’m saying this), I don’t want to stop. I’m cumulating memories, fantasies, findings; and it’s shaping my mind.

Will you fly with me on this journey?

xXx

Ps: Shout Out to Taiwo for encouraging me to do this. My initial reaction was a STRONG NO! I’m not sure if people still blog but in all honesty, I don’t care! I’ve missed this.

Plastic

Since the start of the year, I’ve put zero effort into my physical appearance. Make-Up routines have become a distant memory, my heels have accumulated dust of varying degrees and my hair has been somewhat neglected, neatly hidden between braids or Senegalese twists.

Between my Mum, Wura and Gbonju, I experienced an unsequenced, well articulated ‘intervention’. I didn’t make any promises, but I did resolve to ‘do better’ more consistently.

Heels would ordinarily have been my first step towards my ‘come back’ but given that I walk up four flights of stairs every morning, I passed on that struggle (thank you very much)! The other option was Make-Up.

My Make-Up is pretty basic, so this shouldn’t be much of a problem, right? Wrong! My biggest issue has been an oil defying, sweat resistant (I’m actually not kidding) PRIMER. At the end of every day, I find that a considerable amount of my oily skin disintegrates my LA Girl HD, boils through my MAC NW45 and my Make-Up in general starts to slip right off my face. Once or twice, I’ve tried to psyche myself into thinking it’s a ‘dewy look’ but it’s not. Ladies, I need your help!

I’ve read bareMinerals is pretty decent (it’s made with natural ingredients)…

Image result for bareminerals prime time primer
Source: bareMinerals.co.uk

But I had a conversation with Wura last night and she pretty much swore by Becca Ever-Matte Primer…

Image result for becca ever matte primer
Source: Sephora Australia

Any suggestions? Maybe I should take this to the Insta-polls…?

Meanwhile, I think this has been one of my best Make-Up looks all YEAR…. AND it’s a picture of myself that I actually like, so I’m just going to drop. this. right. here.

cropped-kf123-e1528444372531

xXx

Ps: Can I be Victoria Beckham for a day? LOVE that lady! Need to get my hands on a copy of October’s Vogue (my birthday month, whoop!)

Pps: A holiday is much needed. I’m still keen on seeing the world

Pps: What do you think of the heading ‘Plastic’? I kinda like it.

White Shirts & Whatnots

Growing up, a white shirt was a status symbol. It spoke at length in knowledge, uncovered depths of wisdom and expressed silent authority. Growing up, my Dad was not just the epitome of a white shirt, he was the very essence of it. It was the singular most dominant feature of his wardrobe and it could only ever be crisp… pristine… starched… SHARP! It earned him the nickname ‘GQ’ and in my book, anything short of this, just didn’t make the cut!

Naturally, as I progressed into the realm of employment, I too found the white shirt to be not just a staple, but supposedly critical for unattained heights of success. Accessorized with a Hermès 90×90 (*insert smug smile*), my white shirt wasn’t just my authority, it transformed to my cape! But I’ve since learned not to take life too seriously. SHARP! is nice, but as a lady, I much prefer my shirt (blouse?) to glide gracefully along my fashion scale, sliding from understated chic to refined grace.

Ever-adaptable, I often find that my white shirt is my blank canvas, capable of self-expression and open to my style interpretations. Somewhere between the flirty off shoulders, the hand stitched silks and the creaseless oxford cloth classics (Taiwo does this like a PRO!), I’ve found myself  “at home” with this undeniable essential.

Below are my much desired white shirt chic goals

Source: Pinterest

 

Tome | Open Back Shirt | My Chameleon
Source: The Chic Department

Cotton shirts are enjoying a new lease of life via architectural shapes. This neat bow detailing will nip in your waist too
Source: The Telegraph

I’ve learnt that maintenance is the greatest feat in owning a white shirt, but here’s a tip you (probably) didn’t know… they (Brooks Brothers, according to the WSJ) say your blend ratio shouldn’t exceed 60/40 Polyester/Cotton…. you can thank me later!

Ladies, have you invested in a white shirt? How does it work for you?

xXx

Ps: For those of you that don’t already know, I have Tory Lanez ‘Hypnotized’ on REPEAT!!!!

PPs: I can’t seem to decide if I want  my hair in Senegalese twists or if I want to keep queening in my nappy ‘fro… thoughts?