‘Tis the Season of Nostalgia

‘Tis the Season of Nostalgia

The yuletide season always brings me childhood nostalgia. It’s almost as though Christmas is for children, the food, the new clothes…oh the new clothes. I was heartbroken when I got from school (university) one year and I was told ‘no Christmas cloth for you’. Forget what you heard this life is just one big crusty meat pie, one day you have it and another day it is all gone.

I used to get books for Christmas, and in the spirit of Christmas (nostalgia) I will be doing a mini review of the best books I read growing up. I am going to narrow it down to the top five books I read before I turned ten including my school recommended books.

1. Eze goes to school: This book is a classic and I think every child should read it. Written by Onuorah Nzekwu and Michael Crowder, it tells the story of a young boy Eze, who lived in the village at the time where it was not so popular to have boys sent to school rather than farming. His father had left instructions that Eze was to continue his education and Eze and his mother had to overcome a lot of challenges to carry out that instruction including sabotage by his family members. His biggest help came in the form of a returning soldier Wilberforce Ezeilo.

What made the book super cool for me at that time was the man-eating leopard; it just has a really nice ring to it. MAN EATING. Man-eating? Are there leopards that eat only grass? There are other ‘versions’ of the book like ‘Akin goes to school’, ‘Sani goes to school’ but Eze goes to school is my winner for being the first.

2. Without a silver spoon: This is the story of Ure Chokwe (I love that name). He was a young boy living in the village whose parents really did not have a lot of material wealth but his father taught him a lot about honesty. In his last year of primary school his parents could not afford his fees and in order to prevent him dropping out from school to learn a trade, he got an arrangement with his teacher at school to serve as his house-boy in exchange for payment of his three terms school fees.

Ure had to battle allegations of theft both from school and his teacher’s house as well as humiliation from his friends and school mates for being poor but then good triumphed over evil. Written by Eddie Iroh, the  theme of the book is ‘honesty is the best policy’ and is a very good book especially for children to teach early enough.

3. The Trials of Brother Jero : This was written by Wole Soyinka. It contained two plays, the trials of brother Jero and then Jero’s metamorphosis. This book was given to me as a gift in school for my performance that term, I really don’t know what they were playing at but maybe they were trying to teach me meaning of big words because I read the whole book with a dictionary in hand. It tells the story of a prophet in a white garment church, his issues with his congregation and of course money.

In ‘Trials of Brother Jero’ he had problems with the daughters of Eve (that is just a euphemism for the word, women). In Jero’s Metamorphosis, to simply put it things had gotten better. It paints a satirical picture of religious leaders especially in this part of the world and even for a nine-year old the book was laugh out loud funny. Probably the funniest material I have ever read from Soyinka.

4. Chike and the river: A Chinua Achebe classic. This was also a prescribed literature textbook in school. I read it in primary school and then secondary school. The book tells the story of the brave eleven-year old Chike who was sent to live with his uncle in Onitsha. The book was set before the construction of the Niger bridge as he took on the biggest adventure of his life by taking a ferry across the river to Asaba, well things start to go wrong when the ferry leaves him while he was having too much fun. My best character was the Money-miss-road who was described as a man who ‘lived by the bank of the River Niger and washed his hand with spittle’, that was my most profound statement in the book.

5. The gods are not to blame: For the longest time, I called this book ‘the gods are not to blame a play’ because on the cover, I saw ‘a play’ after the title and I just assumed…I felt so stupid when my mum corrected me. It was written by Ola Rotimi and is one of the most brilliantly well told stories ever. The plot was solid, the characters were properly developed and the twist…oh the twist. The background story was of a king whose land was going through a lot of unfortunate events. People were dying, they did not have food to eat and they were very worried. They decided to consult the oracle and they find out that their problems are connected to a prophecy that was given years before about a baby who was destined to kill his father and marry his own mother. I would go ahead with the story but the twist really nails the story and if you have not read the book, I think I have given enough spoilers. Go and get it.

I know I said five but as I was writing this another book came to mind that I just had to mention; No Longer at Ease by Chinua Achebe. I love Achebe and I think he is phenomenal. This was a continuation of ‘Things fall apart’; it tells the story of Okonkwo’s grandson. At the time I read this book, I had not even read Things fall apart but I was able to follow the story just fine. Obi Okonkwo left the village for a British education and subsequently a job in the Nigerian colonial civil service. He later got into trouble because he was caught taking bribe in a sting operation. I didn’t really finish the book, I stopped after his mother died and he refused to go home for the burial because he had slipped into depression. So, what I want for Christmas (definitely not all) is a copy of No Longer at Ease, throw in the rest of the trilogy and I might just propose.

These books are great for everyone and if you haven’t read any stop depriving yourself and do not deprive children around you too. I did not rate any of them because they are all wonderful books, well written and highly recommended for adults or children.

Happy holidays.

16 thoughts on “‘Tis the Season of Nostalgia” by Salliness (@Salliness)

  1. Regurgitating right now. you must be a nerd then!

  2. thanks. i recalled reading two or three of them, but i couldn’t remember. I guess, I’ll go hunting for them for my kids. And for me as well.

  3. My dear I read all of them, feeling nostalgic at this point, Without my silver spoon is my favourite of them all, these books have strong characters in- Eze, Ure, Chike, Gbonka…
    Thanks for sharing this!

  4. Nostalgia definitely. And you should read ‘No longer at ease’ complete the story, ;)

    That said, All the books here are cool, read them too, and it’s just not cool that kids today can’t get classics to read, instead they are subjected to half-baked writs in the form of children’s novels. I was an AWS nerd, mum had a compendium and I devoured. Guess that’s one of ’em reasons why I love reading, and writing…

    However, I have a few things against this article. I mean, ‘Ralia the sugar girl’ should be on the list, and definitely ‘an african’s night entertainment’ There’s a story about a guy that was captured and sold into slavery and then married a queen in the land where he was sold off as a slave. Can’t remember the title though, it gnaws.

    Finally, you should have added a few Yoruba literature, ‘Olorunshogo’ was a really good read, if you could read the language, then there was ‘Ogboju Ode Ninu Igbo Irunmole’ DO Fagunwa.

    I concede, that was me reminiscing… :d

    Can I propose now, I’ll tell you the stories, serious ;)

    1. @daireenonline to be very honest, Ralia the sugar girl is supposed to be somewhere there. The Salve Boy is the story of the boy who was sold and then married the queen. AN AFRICAN’S NIGHT ENTERTAINMENT! THE PASSPORT OF MALLAM ILLIA! I am not fluent in Yoruba so I did not read much of Yoruba literature except those that were written in English. I think I will do another review soon so I can include these ones.

      And if you are going to propose, no need to buy a ring just the African Trilogy will do. ;;)

        1. @salliness haba na. You said you would propose, I offered to keep your dignity intact and allow you do yanga small. Bia, I will tell you the stories, I have an eidetic memory you know. Forget the part where I forget novel titles ;).

          Thanks for reminding me of the slave boy title though, appreciate.

          1. @daireenonline you are speaking plenty English. The books.

            1. @salliness, no ring, no nada, u even get to propose? ‘raised brow’
              Agree to that, and amma get ’em books lale yi! (means tonight) :d.

  5. TRIALS OF BROTHER JERO!!! I loved that book

  6. jeez, this is good…. do it again

  7. @salliness

    i feel you. i too always encouraged my nieces and nephews to read these books and more.

    its a pity youngsters these days are not passionate about reading books.

  8. Really nice running thru ur reviews…got my own bit of nostalgia too. (smiles) thanks and merry xmas!

  9. I loved ‘Eze goes to school’.another book i would like 4 christmas is ‘the boy slave’ by Kola Onadipe(i think).I hve searched 4 the book everywhere,hvent been so lucky to find it.As for the Chinua Achebe trilogy:things fall apart,no longer at ease &arrow of the gods,i got that :)

  10. Really nostalgic. @Salliness along with ‘No Longer at Ease’ you should add Sugar Girl (Ralia), Slave Boy, Cyprian Ekwensi’s An African Night’s Entertainment, The Drummer Boy (Akin), and Juju Rock (Rikku) – I struggled with Juju Rock for a while before I got into the story. There’s also Akpan and the Smugglers (I think). Publishers need to reprint these books for today’s children.

  11. … a good write…

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