TwentyFifteen Collection 3: Deen Books

OumissaInspire

This part of my library is special as most of the books are hard bound tomes that cost more than most of the others. They are guarded jealously for their value is inestimable. Never a light read, perusing them can be tedious as I try to jot down words of wisdom and so I just give up and soak up the goodness.

About these pearls. They can be found in millions of homes and libraries around the world.

The Sealed Nectar is the winner of a writing contest about the Prophet.
Women Around the Messenger by Muhammad Ali Qutb is a collection of essays on the female companions. Stories extolling their grace, wisdom, courage, loyalty, honour and piety.
Enjoy Your Life by is a treasure by Muhammad Al Arifi Let it hold your hand and show you the beauty of life in the obvious and the hidden
Don’t be Sad by Aidh Al-Qarni. Well, that speaks for itself. It is a modern day classic that has impacted the lives of millions around the world.
Why Women Are Accepting Islam by Muhammad Shahid explores the many reasons reverts to Islam in the West are mostly women. .

In the years since, I have read more Muslim books written by Muslim women to have a more complete experience. This is very important as more women need to see their perspectives being recognized, and girls need to learn that this religion encourages them to seek knowledge and teach it.

Award winning writer, Naima Robert is a contemporary example of Muslim women writers. There are countless women in Islamic history with great knowledge who authored treatises and taught notable scholars. Starting from Aishah bint Abu Bakr. We should read more of them and share their work.

What is your favourite Muslim classic?

________

With love,

Oumissa.

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TwentyFifteen Collection 4: My First Adichie Book

OumissaInspire

I can’t look at this book without memories of my days spent in the University of Lagos bookshop when I would enjoy those moments with only the books for company. No one disturbed me on my long walks down the shelves, looking at shelves and shelves of books, reading pages out of some and shaking my head at how inadequate my allowance as a hundred level student was.

They were intimate moments that made me feel at peace. I had a glimpse into the minds of great men and women in blissful solitude as there were few other buyers at the times I went which often were my breaks between science classes.

…who live in Chimamanda’s

favourite setting; the university

community of Nsukka,

I did sacrifice many a lunch to save up and buy a few books there. This cost five hundred naira and has remained a favourite . She lords it over the other books in my collection like “I am not your mate. I am not only older but I was borne of hunger for food and for building a library”

It is a coming of age tale about Kambili, a young girl based in 1980s South-Eastern Nigeria. Her growth is a mix of living in a home ruled by the tight grip of a fanatical Christian father, finding respite in holidays with her lecturer aunt and her children who live in Chimamanda’s favourite setting; the university community of Nsukka, falling in love with a priest, finding her voice, a family’s survival through tragedy. It is honest and gripping.

The themes transcend Kambili’s specific circumstances and resonates with many across ethnic, nationality and religious divides

This book fast became required reading material for secondary schools exam boards in West Africa and is one of the most notable debuts by any author.

What are your thoughts on Purple Hibiscus?
______

Oumissa

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Okada Books Town Hall Meet – UX research with small chops

A touch of yellow

The Okada Books Town Hall Meeting held Sunday 7th April, 2019 at GTB You Read Library, Yaba, Lagos.

Marlon James’ A Brief History of Seven Killings (ManBooker Prize Winner) was my touch of yellow for the event. A big and heavy book that was the perfect accessory. My fashion mantra is “You’re never fully dressed without a book.” It’s such a beauty to photograph and a sweet gift from a dear friend. I have the best people, Alhamdulillah

A few years ago, another friend gave me How Intelligence Kills by Okechukwu Ofili @ofilispeaks (Founder, Okada Books), I enjoyed it. It was funny while questioning our collective consciousness towards academics, excellence, respect, belief etc. The perceptions we hold so dearly to can be improved upon if we must achieve growth.

It wasn’t a surprise therefore to see him along with his fantastic team to be open, honest and welcoming of criticism from their community of authors and readers. All of this was noted down. Hopefully the recommendations, complaints and comments culminate in a stronger company and a better experience for us all.

More Nigerian brands need to inculcate this. For me, I learnt so much more about the brand even though I check their IG posts daily. The business structure, the opportunities for authors, the accessibility it provides readers but most of all, the keenness for growth made me consider writing my own book. Dreamy huh?

They were great with time management and there was ample opportunity to network with authors, publishers and readers.

Is it even a Lagos event if there is no small chops? There was a lot to go round with @wilsonslemonade and water. See ehn, that chilled water and few hours of air conditioning was a relief from this angry Lagos sun roasting brilliant ideas along with skins.

Lastly but not leastly, it was a delight to meet the creative persona behind the @okadabooks page. Well done and thank you for the daily bursts of yellow happiness.

_________

With love,

Oumissa

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TwentyFifteen Collection 2: Lagos Books And Arts Festival 2013

Bought this at the Lagos Books and Art Festival (LABAF) 2013. At @freedomparklagos. A fun day with @aeesha__t .

We attended the book launch (The Accidental Public Servant) of Nasir El-Rufai @nelrufai former Federal Capital Territory Minister and current Governor of Kaduna State.

People we met and had interesting conversations with
-a cheerful South African lady with blond hair, blue eyes and a welcoming smile who was excited to see two Nigerian sisters in hijab. Exchanged stories about our schooling and her work. Contacts were exchanged but we haven’t spoken since then.

-Tolu Ogunlesi @toluogunlesi a journalist, poet and blogger whose work I read in print and on Twitter. He is now Special Assistant to the Nigerian President on Digital/New Media It was interesting to learn he was a pharmacist by training. I was a medical student in love with literature. A combination of health sciences and writing? Here was another person who got it!

It is a classic that explores everyday American life.

-Fodeh Baldeh a Gambian author who was thrilled to see two Muslim girls that loved books. He told us about the value of education and confidence in our culture, faith and interests. We bought his book Fate of an African President.

Briefly met veteran Nigerian filmmaker, @tkelani as we left the event to search for a mosque. I didn’t know until then that he was Muslim. His awardwinning productions like Saworo-Ide were the highlights of school holidays.

We were driven to Jumu’ah prayers by a man who didn’t ask for our numbers or any of those things Lagos men with Jeeps liked to do. We later found out he was a legislator. He didn’t even wait for us to say thanks.
________________
Would you believe it if I said I haven’t read this book for close to the 6 years I’ve had it? It’s not hoarding if it is books right? It is a classic that explores everyday American life. In elevating the ordinary, Mark Twain makes these stories easy to relate to and this endeared him to millions around the world. He also highlights social conditions of the masses. Many decades later, his books are still in high demand. He is perhaps best known for his witty quotes.

What is your best Mark Twain book?

Have you read this book? What did you think about it?

_________

With love,

Oumissa

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Sexual Violence in Nigeria: A Silent Epidemic – Book review

Image credit: OumissaInspire

Long before the contemporary levels of awareness and progress of the #MeToo era, the menace of sexual violence has been a normalized part of life for far too many women, girls, and some boys and men in Nigeria.

For a nation which places culture, religion and good values on a tower with its spire in the clouds, the impunity with which sexual offenders commit crimes and get protected for it is incongruent. The hypocrisy brings bile to the throat. Victims suffer many times over and the damage is often irreparable. As if the turmoils of being a Nigerian weren’t enough to make life bleak, these victims and survivors have to contend with stigma, emotional and physical effects their entire lives. In some cases, the cycle of abuse continues as they go on to be perpetrators.

This book is a short read but is packed with facts and research on the problem of rape and other sexual crimes in Nigeria. It debunks myths that have kept the problem alive for this long and counters the societal acceptance of sweeping it under the carpet. Solutions are highlighted on how to achieve a society free of these horrific acts via taking precautions, preventing sexual violence and changing the poisonous mindsets that cause it.


kangbch from Pixabay “>
Image credit:  kangbch from Pixabay “>



We are shown that rape is an act of violence, a display of power and control over a victim’s body and life that includes injury and sometimes death and thus should not be chalked up to the simplism of sexual attraction. We see that women as old as ninety and girls as young as three have been victims of rape. There have even been newspaper stories about eight-month-old female infants being raped.
The list is endless. A case was reported just this morning by LinkaNG, a Nigerian health communication start-up.

Contrary to what some would like us to believe, staying at home is not a guaranteed way to avoid being raped in Nigeria. Many victims are attacked by their closest relatives and supposed loved ones. The home is therefore not the safe haven it should be. Boys and men are victims too. There are numerous heart-wrenching accounts of boys as young as four being violated. In addition, the statistics show that the overwhelming majority of perpetrators are men.

the shame associated with
the crime is borne not by the
perpetrators but the victims.

One needs not to be an academic to appreciate the value of research. And this particular one is a feat considering that in this country, the shame associated with the crime is borne not by the perpetrators but the victims. The victims and families who reported these cases must be commended for their bravery. It is extremely traumatic to relive events like this and the law isn’t always on their side. Not too long ago Nigerian Twitter was awash with a report of a father whose young daughter was raped at school and during the process of making a case, he had to pay for the medical tests of not just his daughter but that of the perpetrator!


Image credit: Lum3n.com from Pexels


This book draws on work by Project Alert and Mirabel Centre two of the organizations making strides in ending sexual violence in Nigeria. The stigma attached to the victims makes it difficult for bodies like theirs to get data for this research. Another Nigerian organization leading change in mental health and sexual violence is She Writes Woman founded by Queen’s Young Leader,

Hauwa Ojeifo, a survivor herself who has shared her experience and works tirelessly to help countless women.

With this, hopefully, more awareness will be raised and more progress would be achieved. It wouldn’t take up to an hour for most readers. Which is just as well as everyone would benefit from this. Sexual violence is closer to home than most of us want to admit. Let’s work together to have a nation and world free of this evil. Nigerian writer and social critic, El Nathan John provides a synopsis of the pervasion of violence in the country in this poignant Twitter thread.

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Rating: 4/5 stars

____________
Thanks to Oyinkansola Momoh of Muslimah Style Guide for lending me this book for a quick read and of course providing access to a valuable library.
.
With love,
Oumissa
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Health and Books – My Social Media Week Lagos Experience

KhamisLifestyle Read a Book and Go Offline

The two books I just fell in love with at the KhamisLifestyle Social Media Week Lagos Event. I read a few pages from each and was enthralled!
(Mistress of Nothing by Kate Pullinger
And A Platter of Gold by Olasupo Shasore).

Two days ago, I hosted a session as CEO, KhamisLifestyle – Story Story: Read a Book And Go Offline with Spa Pampering At Home for its Offline Wellness Studio at the Social Media Week Lagos event. It was all shades of amazing. I had a great time with great participants.

Last Thursday was one of the most hectic and yet rewarding days I’ve had. All morning and afternoon was for the Hellocare Nigeria Telling Great Stories in Healthcare, a Social Media Week Off-Campus event which held at Doctoora Health hub at Surulere.

that smile is what everyone deserves to have.

Then came the rushed cab ride through Costain and Island traffic to Landmark Event Centre, Victoria Island to host the KhamisLifestyle event. I wish I had a helicopter! Of course I got there behind schedule but I had the best facilitators and participants who got things started. (Thank you!)

It was fun being on teams organizing two Social Media Week Lagos events in one day! I thought it was impossible at first but with a solid support system and positive affirmation I pulled through ( This throbbing headache is worth it!)

Harnessing the power of social media to change lives

I am immensely grateful to every single person who helped me do this. The donations, the kind words of encouragement, the listening ears, the backbreaking work, networks , flurry of calls and emails and so much more make me believe that humanity is alive and thriving.

Perhaps the greatest lesson I’ve learnt this past week is “Believe in yourself and your power to do great stuff. Don’t worry, Allah’s got it.”

_________

With Love,

Oumissa

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One Woman’s Unbeaten Zeal for Learning – Tara Westover’s Educated

From a Mormon survivalist to a Cambridge Ph.D,the New York Times bestselling author, Tara Westover’s memoir recently won the Goodreads Choice Awards 2018. It is also one of 5 books loved by Bill Gates in 2018. See his full list

Tara’s compelling work pulls us along on a journey of determination, strong will and surmounting challenges in the most incredible transformation to a place so far and different from her background it is almost unrecognizable. It tells the pain of separating from family and ingrained values for what you believe in. An Idaho girl from a Mormon household who never visited a doctor or set foot in a classroom until she was 17 self-taught and continued trudging on the road to Cambridge through Harvard. Read full Goodreads review

It is also interesting to know that Trinity College, Cambridge only started accepting women students about 40 years ago with the first female graduate student in 1976, the first female fellow in 1977 and the first female undergraduate in 1978. The college recently celebrated 40 years of this.

“Ó n ka ìwé bí ení n lo Kémbíríjì” which is Yorùbá for “She reads like one who attends Cambridge.”

Growing up, I often had my head buried in a book and went to school with a heavy backpack filled with notebooks, textbooks and novels I would sneak and read whenever I could get away with it. Adults would say about me,
“Ó n ka ìwé bí ení n lo Kémbíríjì” which is Yorùbá for “She reads like one who attends Cambridge.”
This shows how the prestigious institution has been regarded as the utlimate icon of learning all over the world for generations.

If like mine, your TBR pile is so long, the list makes a book of its own, please share tips on how to add this new book to it and not be crushed under the weight of it all.To the goodwilled people out there, if you want to buy me anything, make it this book thank you.

________
With love,
Oumissa
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