May 24, 2018

Our best reads of 2017 (DailyTrust)

Our best reads of 2017 (DailyTrust)

Origin, by Dan Brown

After being a super-fan of writer Dan Brown because of The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, I confess I drifted away. I also own up to having picked up his new book, Origin, out of curiosity. But as I began to read it, page after page, I could see that he has returned to top form, perhaps outdoing himself this time.

Origin tells the story of Robert Langdon, in the fifth instalment of the protagonist’s stories. Described as a science fiction mystery thriller novel, I thought of it more as a Rubik’s Cube in book form, presenting puzzles I aspired to solve before the story unravelled itself for my entertainment.

There are new characters, like Edmond Kirsch, a futurist, inventor and former student of Langdon. He claims to have solved the question of where humanity comes from and where we are going. While he presents his results, he is shot. The book sees Langdon and Ambra Vidal, the fiancée of the future King of Spain, try to figure out what Edmond Kirsch wanted to reveal. The ending presents a classic Dan Brown twist that had me smiling for some minutes.

We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy, by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Award-winning author of ‘Between the World and Me’ Ta-Nehisi Coates has always had a compelling voice, and perspective. This, his latest, reflects on race, Barack Obama’s presidency, Donald Trump’s White House win, and its still-unfolding aftermath. While some see it as a lament of reconstruction-era black politicians, the selected essays within this hefty (for Coates) 367-page book explore the tragic echoes of various histories. It paints an almost-perfect canvas of the unprecedented election of a black president, which appears to have lit the flame that is currently a dumpster fire of sorts, electing the man Coates has tagged America’s “first white president.”

Coates examination of the Obama era from a vantage perspective, having interviewed Obama in the past, shows the well-standing feet needed for such a book. Granted, ‘We Were Eight Years in Power’ sports the writer’s popular essays first published in The Atlantic, but they all seem strangely fresh for the times today. There is a lot for other nations, Nigeria included, to glean from the essays in in this book. That’s because the themes within project broader social and political phenomena. Exactly what we need to, as Nigerians, come to terms with today.

Carnivorous City, by Toni Kan

Toni Kan, famous for writing raunchy short stories for a huge audience, via Hints Magazine, has evolved into a wordsmith who breathes life into characters by first of all detailing the sprawling canvas on which their lives unfold. ‘Carnivorous City’ is his first book after a rather risqué one he offered some years back. This time, he’s armed with a deceptively simple premise: a Lagos ‘Big Boy’ called Sabato goes missing without a trace, leaving his more down-to-earth brother Abel, from Asaba, to deal with the events that follow.

 

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