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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Twenty Fifteen Collection 1 : My Early Bookstagram Days

What to do with old things?

Four years ago, when I newly discovered this amazing community Bookstagram, I took a series of pictures and only posted a few. For many reasons, some straightforward, others weird, they laid deep in an onion ring of folders.

Many post-its later, fast forward to a few minutes ago, I faced the digging I’d been postponing and would be sharing them.

A lot has happened since then, my presence here has evolved and I have learnt quite a lot.
This community has grown in delightful ways and many of those whose pictures inspired me then have gone on to become award-winning book influencers.

I wasn’t called a nerd derisively here, I could just be me. I didn’t have to field ‘All these books you are reading sef, is a waste of energy when you will end up in a man’s kitchen’ type of comments

These three are part of a series of medical thrillers by Ted’s Gerritsen. I loved them! I was dreaming of becoming a physician and I had a love for literature some told me was incompatible with medicine. Thus, finding a New York Times bestselling author who was a doctor too was exhilarating in so many ways. Of course I used to enjoy Michael Crichton and Robin Cook but they were not female like me so it wasn’t as perfect as Tess. Representation matters.

My early days were thrilling. A community within Instagram where what I loved to do was shared by so many around the world! I remember the joy of having my photos liked by someone in Brazil whose page was all in Portuguese. Thousands of miles apart in distance yet bonded by our love for books.

I wasn’t called a nerd derisively here, I could just be me. I didn’t have to field ‘All these books you are reading sef, is a waste of energy when you will end up in a man’s kitchen’ type of comments. Not like these comments dented my spirit in anyway but it was exhausting having to put these ‘educated’ people in their place.

@aeesha__t, @bookminimalist @thatothernigeriangirl, @theguywiththebook, his sister @sumaiyya.books, their friends @pardonmywritings @ilhamreads and @i.reads and @alliyah.riaz all shaped my early experience. Many of them still do today. I was a silent observer of their discussions, their reviews, book shopping trips, and Lord, was there some drama! I’m happy to see they have all undergone remarkable growth. Thank you all for making Instagram pop for me.

When did you join Bookstagram?
What were your early days like?

______

With love,

Oumissa

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Book Reviews With Oumissa 9: Sexual Violence in Nigeria: A Silent Epidemic

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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Ten Signs A Book is Your Favourite

It’s Friday! As you go to the masjid and go about worship, pray for peace, love and an end to hate everywhere. Commit to making this world a better place.

And please don’t forget to hydrate to stay fine in this warm temperature.

These are signs that about is your favourite.

1. You have more than one copy, these may include different translations.
2. You read it everyday.
3. You keep it in a special place on your shelf.
4. You have recommended and bought it for others.
5. You quote from it frequently.
6. You are familiar with the words and these in it.
7. You are heavily influenced by it.
8. You probably loved it from an early age.
9. You have a miniature version to carry around.
10. You smile just by thinking of it.
.
Fact: the word ‘book’ occurs more than 300 times in the Qur’an (my favourite book of all. 🙂

What is your favourite book?

With Love,

Oumissa

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