April was a slower month for me in terms of getting through books. I began re-reading “The Far Field” by Madhuri Vijay for a book club; I previously listened to the audiobook and have spoken about it here and here. I loved this book! Reading it again has been nice in allowing me to soak in the beautiful writing even more. I know how it ends, of course, so that colors my experience of revisiting the story, but I love discovering little details I missed or forgot about the first time. I am about halfway through, so I’ve got to hustle to finish it for book club this Sunday! I have roped a few friends into reading it too, so I am excited to hear what they have to say =)
I had seen “The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois” by Honoree Fanonne Jeffers on Oprah’s recommended list and all over Instagram all throughout last year. I finally gave it a try this month, and all in all, I am glad I did. This is another very long book. The audio was 29 hours and 49 minutes long! I tend to speed up the audio when listening, so it did not take quite this long, but it certainly took the large part of April to finish. This story follows the main character, Ailey, and goes back and forth in time to slowly piece together the tale of her ancestors who were a mix of slaves and Native Americans. My favorite parts were those entitled “Song” because the writing was just gorgeous. The more modern-day portions detailing Ailey’s time in high school and college were not as interesting to me, but I definitely appreciate how Ailey grows and matures throughout the story. Things start to pick up and get interesting once Ailey enters graduate school and is working on her degree in History. This book covers several important topics including addiction, sexual trauma, and racism, but it also has many light and sweet parts that make you feel like a part of Ailey’s family. I think my favorite character is Ailey’s Uncle Root. His role in the story is pivotal, so if you start reading this book, pay close attention to what he says! I read many reviews of this book, and I agree with many readers who say the final 1/3 is the best. If you are looking for a long read and have the time to invest in this story, it truly is worth it. Aside from literary nerds, I think the history buffs out there would appreciate this book too! All in all, the decade of work it took the author to complete this book is remarkable.
My last audiobook for April was “Wahala” by Nikki May. This was a nice break from the intensity of the previously mentioned books. It was a really fun listen, and I loved the narrator who could easily switch between a posh English accent and a traditional Nigerian accent. Set in London, it follows three half white-half Nigerian women (Ronke, Boo, and Simi) whose tight circle of friendship experiences a shockwave when a fourth woman, Isobel, enters their lives. The word “wahala” means “trouble” in Nigerian pidgin, and when listening to this book, I also often thought of the word chaos! The rapid and complete unwinding of each of their lives kept me listening. There was a huge shock at the end of the novel, and I must say I wish it ended a little differently. However, I felt the whole story was done nicely. I also loved the frequent descriptions of Nigerian food which is near and dear to Ronke’s heart. I so relate to that deep connection to one’s traditional cuisine, and I love when characters are written around their culture and food. This would make a great vacation read if you’re looking for one this summer!