Sometimes when a book gets tons of hype, it can fall short of expectations. But other times, a two-year hype train can lead to finding a new favorite author. Happily, the latter was the case when I finally read the writing of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie last month. Americanah has earned a permanent spot on my bookshelf for its beautiful writing and keen observations, and I’m trying to find a spot in my apartment to display We Should All Be Feminists that will encourage visitors to read it.
March 4, 2014 | Anchor
When Ifemelu leaves military-ruled Nigeria to attend an American university, she and her lover Obinze plan to reunite someday and start a life together. But as time passes, the two fall out of touch. Ifemelu grapples with race for the first time and channels her frustration into a successful blog about how race is experienced by non-American blacks in America, and Obinze, unable to secure a visa to the US, makes his way to England, where he barely scrapes by as an undocumented worker for corrupt employers. At once a tender love story, a glimpse into the immigrant experience, a fascinating tale of two countries, and a thought-provoking contemplation of race and identity, Americanah is a stunning book that deserves every ounce of love it has received.
Feb 3, 2015 | Anchor
Adapted from her TEDx talk of the same name, We Should All Be Feminists is a powerful, eloquent argument for the importance of feminism and a discussion of how sexism harms boys as well as girls. The physical book is a beautiful object; it’s a tiny almost-pocket-sized (actually, it could probably fit in a man’s pocket) volume that begs to be petted. Read the book or watch the original speech, I don’t care how you do it, but put put this speech/essay into your brain! It will only take you half an hour, and it is infinitely worth it. Here’s just a little teaser:
“Boys and girls are undeniably different biologically, but socialization exaggerates the differences, and then starts a self-fulfilling process. Take cooking for example. Today, women in general are more likely to do housework than men — cooking and cleaning. But why is that? Is it because women are born with a cooking gene or because over the years they have been socialized to see cooking as their role? I was going to say that perhaps women are born with a cooking gene until I remembered that the majority of famous cooks in the world — who are given the fancy title of ‘chef’ are men. I used to look at my grandmother, a brilliant woman, and wonder what she would have been if she’d had the same opportunities as men during her youth. Today, there are more opportunities for women than there were during my grandmother’s time, because of changes in policy and law, which are very important. But what matters even more is our attitude, our mindset. What if, in raising children, we focus on ability instead of gender? What if we focus on interest instead of gender?”