Wednesday, December 23, 2015

How is your faith? By David Gregory

It took a while to get into this book but when I finally did, my reading speed became a sprint. I didn't put it down until I got to the last page [except for when I had to use the bathroom] and even found myself digging into the acknowledgment pages.

David wrote this book with a soul. There are few writers who have mastered the art of weaving words into sincere memoirs. Any reader would be endeared by this style.

Judging by the title of the book, I expected to be bombarded with information overload about religion and all that but to my surprise the book ended up to be a beautiful piece of ethnography mixed in autobiographical narrative.

I was intrigued by his zest for journalism. I was also intrigued by his love for life and life of love, as expressed in the pages that narrated how he bonded with his father and sparked up his relationship with Beth, who became his wife despite age and religious gaps. It was interesting that what appeared to be a traumatic upbringing did not destroy his ability to raise a family.

David talked openly about his mother's alcoholism, family struggles, betrayal, workplace politics and the hustling to climb up the ladder. He talked about small and big victories. He didn't present himself as a saint and spoke easily about when he fell short and how he struggled to make amends.

And yes-- he talked about how faith helped him through each phase.

Yay, yay, yay-- I was a bit paranoid when I first started reading... my little knowledge about Judaism and Jewish culture didn't ignite any enthusiasm at all. But like I said earlier, the soulful way David told his story broke down every paranoia and I soon found myself drawn into the pages as the story unfolded.

David's many interpretation of faith - Judaism, Christianity, Islam etc. - didn't cause me to lose anything by reading the book. Instead, it strengthened my believe in God and His love expressed through Jesus Christ. The book also encouraged me to learn not to separate my faith from my work. I especially appreciate how David discussed these things by putting a human face to each of them. Yep, it wasn't another of those abstract discourse.

You might not meet a President George Bush who might ask you "how is your faith?" [David says that is what spurred him to embark on his journey]. But you can open you heart and be liberated.

We live in a secular world that takes pride in stigmatising people who believe in God through His son Jesus Christ. How can you believe in a God that you cannot see? Well, that is why it is called faith! Look closely, you will see God in everything and everywhere. There is a God. He has expressed His love to us by sending us His only son Jesus Christ. Our role is to believe. Of course, the doubts will always set in but it won't quench our faith if we don't let it.

I'll recommend How is your faith? to everyone interested in journalism or interfaith marriage. But most importantly to anyone out there interested in diving deeper in their spiritual journey, beyond the peripheral of this secular world. I don't 100% agree with the principles shared in the book but I appreciate David for having the courage to share his story.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

I like this book, "Lean In" very much. The author's voice is very authentic. No pretentious high sounding i-want-to-sound-intellengent innuendos one often finds in these genres of literature. 

"Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead" by Sheryl Sandberg.

I started reading this book at a point in my career when I was pulling back-- and I'm so glad I found Sheryl's Lean In just in time. All I am doing now is leaning in, all weight forward :-). May God bless everyone who has the courage to share their stories for those coming up to learn from.

This book puts everything into perspective and gives you the courage to have that one-on-one conversation with yourself-- yes, that honest talk we cease to have after a certain phase of life. 

As ambitious as I look and sometimes appear, there are times when I have been so sure of myself and then, not to sure of myself.

Sheryl shares her story and through her story you'll see that it is okay not to know it all. But she doesn't stop at that, she encourages you to learn to put a step forward and be better than you have become. Her honest approach in picking different issues and addressing them one after the other is commendable. There is no rush.

I'm still reading it. But just thought to stop by here and say-- highly recommended!

Every girl, boy, woman and man should read this.

But most importantly, every girl, lady and woman should read it. Now I wish I had read this book in 2013! Anyway, life saving principles are never too late to apply.

Happy reading!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Adultery by Paulo Coehlo

If we are connected on Social Media [WhatsApp especially], you'd have received one of my broadcasts about my search for Paulo's Adultery. Finding a local bookstore to purchase this book was a hard nut to crack. Just at the point of almost giving up, my very good and kind friend, Zika, bought me a copy from the jand! Woot!!

Bookstores in Nigeria, we can do better!

Now back to my review:

I read Paulo's The Alchemist.

That book set a certain standard for what to expect from any book written by him. So when I started reading "Adultery," it was with the same enthusiasm, interest and fondness.

I was a bit disappointed. This is not to say the book isn't a good read. I think it might appeal better to a certain group of people at a certain phase of life.

And yeah, I'm going to hide the book far away from my baby niece who has a penchant for reading my books. That is to say, if you think "Half of a Yellow Sun" was sensual or provocative, wait until you read Adultery.

The plot wasn't so bad.

I admire Paulo's ability to infuse so many other important sub-themes under the main theme of adultery.

It covered love, jealousy, the futility of playing with fire, redemption, insecurity, hope, forgiveness, pretence, lies. loneliness etc.

“It’s loneliness. Even though I’m surrounded by loved ones who care about me and want only the best, it’s possible they try to help only because they feel the same thing—loneliness—and why, in a gesture of solidarity, you’ll find the phrase “I am useful, even if alone” carved in stone. Though the brain says all is well, the soul is lost, confused, doesn’t know why life is being unfair to it. But we still wake up in the morning and take care of our children, our husband, our lover, our boss, our employees, our students, those dozens of people who make an ordinary day come to life. And we often have a smile on our face and a word of encouragement, because no one can explain their loneliness to others, especially when we are always in good company. But this loneliness exists and eats away at the best parts of us because we must use all our energy to appear happy, even though we will never be able to deceive ourselves."

Taking it out of the context of marriage-- I think we can all identify with Linda and Jacob -- the two main characters.

Everyone think our lives are perfect. No one notice the struggle and discontentment. Yeah--sometimes we experience that discontented emotion with our lives and crave for something more-- more exciting. We find what we think it is and realize what we had was way better. Linda was lucky to not to loose it all before she found her way back.

Redemption c'est possible!

Some more quotes from Adultery:
“You only need to hide if you’re doing something you shouldn’t.”
“Going after a dream has a price. It may mean abandoning our habits, it may make us go through hardships, or it may lead us to disappointment, et cetera. But however costly it may be, it is never as high as the price paid by people who didn’t live. Because one day they will look back and hear their own heart say: ‘I wasted my life.’ ”
"Learn to love better. 
This should be our goal in the world: learn to love.
Life offers us thousands of opportunities for learning. Every man and every woman, in every day of our lives, always has a good opportunity to surrender to Love. Life is not a long vacation, but a constant learning process.
And the most important lesson is learning to love.
Loving better and better...

The book had a lot going on. Isn't that what adulthood is all about? A lot going on!

I'll rate the book a four star. BUT like I mentioned to someone who asked if it was worth reading: what you'll get out of this book is very personal. This is one book you need no blanket feedback to decide on whether or not to read.

By the way, I found this picture of other collections by Paulo. I have only two checked off the list so far:

Have a good read!