Tuesday, 13 March 2007

A rush to finish one of these

Finished March 13
GraceLand by Chris Abani
Set in Nigeria this story of Elvis Oke jumps back and forth from his life in Lagos in 1983 and his life in a small village in the 1970s and early 1980s. Elvis got his name from his mother's favourite singer. His mother, Beatrice, died when he was a child and he was raised by his father, Sunday and grandmother, Oye. He was also close to his aunt Felicia. After an upset in a local election, his father moved with him to Lagos, where they lived in a ghetto. Elvis has dropped out of school and tried to earn a living by dancing. He is deeply unhappy and carries his mother's journal with him everywhere, reading it to console himself. He makes some friends, not all of whom, it would seem, have his best interests at heart. He gives to those more impoverished than himself and tries to do the right thing. This is a difficult story of a young man living in a military dictatorship and who doesn't really understand "the system".
The author is also from Nigeria and published his first novel when he was 16, a move that resulted in political persecution. He went into exile in 1991.

Finished March 12
Dieting Causes Brain Damage: How to Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind
by Bradley Trevor Greive
This photobook offers animal pictures with captions to encourage the reader to move toward weight loss. The pictures are gorgeous and the words helpful. I really enjoyed it as a light and uplifting read. I especially like the picture about how women are led to think they should look like alien-headed supermodels. Priceless.

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