11 April 2020

Lockdown Diaries | "Yes My Accent is Real" Book Review

I've finally found my niche of favourite type of books to read - semi-autobiographies by comedians.  I know I know, that's quite a niche category - but the heart wants what it wants - laughter.

Yes My Accent is Real Book Review - Aspiring Londoner


7 April 2020

Lockdown Diaries | Book Review "We Should All Be Feminists"

Short but to the point book from Chimamanda, which is an adaptation of her TED talk.  It's a great introductory book to feminism - it's 50 pages long, so nothing is discussed at any length. 

We Should All Be Feminists - Book Review Aspiring Londoner


6 April 2020

Lockdown Diaries | Book Review "The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl"

Audible recommended this book to me after I finished listening to 'Queenie' and it was on my list since then.  I always enjoy books by comedians especially autobiographical, as the humour is baked in.  I love Issa Rae in HBO series 'Insecure' so this book was a no-brainer for me.

The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl - Review Aspiring Londoner


4 April 2020

Lockdown Diaries | Book Review “My Sister, the Serial Killer”

This has been on my reading list for a while, everyone that has read it, has given it a rave review.  Also, it’s quite short so would be easier to finish in a day, so my choice was made!

My Sister, the Serial Killer - Book Review

When it comes to contemporary fiction, a book cover inevitably plays into the decision making for me.  I loved the colourful cover art, and yes it did draw me in.

The story is about two sisters, one of whom is a serial killer (Ayoola) and the other, Korede, helps her cover up the crimes.  Throughout the book, we see Korede’s struggle between her conscience and her love and sense of duty to her sister and her protection.  It really highlights the grey areas between right and wrong.  We so readily accept that certain actions are right/wrong – but what about the intricacies of life and relationships? 

We get a glimpse of the sisters’ childhood and what may be the reason behind Ayoola’s violence.  This also helps us understand the sisters’ relationships a little more, we see the roots of Korede’s sense of responsibility and duty to Ayoola.

The events that unfold when Ayoola and the cute doctor, that Korede has had a crush on start dating and Korede has to choose between his wellbeing and Ayoola’s.  In my opinion, the story is a little rushed after this point, however it’s not bad by any means, just a little difficult to follow.  Oyinkan’s use of Lagos’ surroundings in her story is endearing and gives the readers an insight into the environment the characters are in.

I enjoyed this book with the dark humour, intricate characters and family saga.  I’d be keen to read future stories from Oyinkan!

Have you read 'My Sister, the Serial Killer'?  Send me some recommendations please!

3 April 2020

Lockdown Diaries | Book Review “Silver Sparrow”

Last year, I read my first book by Tayari, “An American Marriage” and instantly loved her style of writing.  So when I came across “Silver Sparrow”, I knew I had to read it.

Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones - Book Review by Aspiring Londoner

The book is set in Atlanta in the ‘80’s and circles the life of two sisters who share a bigamist father.  That’s not a spoiler, in fact that’s in the first paragraph of the book!  From the two sisters, only one knew of the other’s existence.  The book switches back and forth a little to help us understand the characters’ stories and mostly follows the two girls’ lives.

Although James (the bigamist dad) does everything in his power to keep his ‘outside’ family a secret, a chance encounter between his two daughters threatens his double life and the story unfolds.  I also enjoyed how the author split the book into two parts; each narrated by Dana and Chaurisse’s (the two sisters) perspectives.  It’s interesting how the two girls’ lives and identity are defined by choices made by their father and Jones perceptively portrays this.

The book explores women, relationships, families and lies, struggle for attention and love – one of the best fiction books I’ve read.  Tayari Jones is fast becoming a favourite of mine, with her gripping storytelling and insightful characters.  Highly recommend that you add ‘Silver Sparrow’ by Tayari Jones to your reading list!

P.S: Yes, I also listened to it on Scribd audiobook – honestly, audiobooks are the shi*t!

Have you read it?  What contemporary fiction books are on your reading list?


2 April 2020

Lockdown Diaries | Book Review “The Year of Less”

Day 1 of reading a book a day, first up – “The Year of Less” by Cait Flanders.  The author, Cait, gave up shopping for a year and documents the highs and lows of her journey in the book.  The reason for picking this book is, it resonated with the kind of lifestyle I've been living for past 4 years - simple living.

The Year of Less by Cait Flanders - Book Review

The book is quite anecdotal as Cait shares a lot of her personal struggles, I found this element really helpful because it shows no journey is ever straightforward.  There are always going to be obstacles, it’s interesting to see what tools the author uses to tackle with her issues whilst sticking to her shopping ban.  She sheds a light on how interdependent the elements of our lives are - habits, relationships, money, family....one thing falling out of balance threatens all the other elements.  She talks about how some of her friends reacted to her personal lifestyle choice of spending less, and this is a stark reminder that once you choose to 'better' yourself - you may find you need different people around you.  People that are like-minded, not necessarily same lifestyle, but people who understand why you need to do certain things and support you in that choice.

If you are someone who is looking into simple living and wants to get a handle on their finances and spending habits – it’s a good starter book.  I have been on my journey for a few years now, so didn’t find it that helpful – however it validated some of the struggles I still have when I see a new skincare product pop up or something of the sort.  The review is quite short, I didn't want to delve too much into the details but keep it succinct and value based.  Let me know what kind of book reviews you enjoy reading on a blog!

It’s an easy read, I listened to it on Scribd as an audiobook.  Also, helpful note, Scribd is currently free for everyone for 30 days during the lockdown.  I highly recommend taking advantage of this, as it’s not like audible where you have to purchase the book.  You have access to everything that’s on Scribd for the whole 30 days!  Great offer!  (p.s. this is not an ad, it’s truly a great offer!)

If you have read this, please do share your thoughts in the comments.  Do you have any reading recommendations on simple living?

1 April 2020

Lockdown Diaries | Reading Challenge

The lockdown and social distancing has gotten me feeling lonely is a very different way.  Whilst my friends are working from home and talking about enjoying nature, I’m going in to work every day, busier than ever and feeling lonely that I’m unable to share these new experiences. Before you freak out, I’m a key worker.  

Reading challenge - Aspiring Londoner

To balance that lonely feeling, I feel quite enthused about the time I’m able to spend on myself and my goals.  It struck me this morning – why don’t I try some new things and see where I end up in 30 days, 3 months, or 6 months’ time?  I’ve thought about this many a times.  How we underestimate what we can do within a timescale and what can I achieve when I focus my time and energy on a goal and consistently showed up?

So here I am, it only took a worldwide lockdown, but sometimes we need a wakeup call – and this is it folks.  First challenge – a book a day for 30 days.  I know, bold.  But given my love of reading from a young age, this seemed like a no brainer.  It’s something I’ve seen bloggers/youtubers do and have been intrigued by it.  I enjoy it so there’s an internal motivation, and it’s challenging and I definitely love a good challenge!  I use the word ‘read’ loosely – I’m going to use various mediums: physical books, ebooks and audiobooks.  Just to make sure I don’t zone out, I will also post short reviews – so I’ll be present, mindful and share knowledge!

What goals are you working in during this time?  What does your self-care involve?
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