Book Review: Manchester Happened by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

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Title – Manchester Happened

Author – Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

Publication – May 23rd, 2019.

Publisher – One World Publications

Genre – Short Story Collection & Ugandan Fiction

An ambitious and assured collection of short stories from the internationally acclaimed author of Kintu

If there’s one thing the characters in Jennifer Makumbi’s stories know, it’s how to field a question.

‘Let me buy you a cup of tea… what are you doing in England?’

‘Do these children of yours speak any Luganda?’

‘Did you know that man Idi Amin?’

But perhaps the most difficult question of all is the one they ask themselves: ‘You mean this is England?’

Told with empathy, humour and compassion, these vibrant, kaleidoscopic stories re-imagine the journey of Ugandans who choose to make England their home. Weaving between Manchester and Kampala, this dazzling, polyphonic collection will captivate anyone who has ever wondered what it means to truly belong.

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I’ve read many collections of short stories which endings leave me feeling unsettled and bothered because of how abrupt the stories end but this isn’t the case with this book. All stories end perfectly and I found myself chuckling out loud in public spaces while reading this book, which is the best collections of short stories I have ever read since my primary school days.

I laugh in the face of people who think writing short stories is easier than writing a novel. And not just any kind of short story, one with the all the best characteristics of a novel, go ahead…try it, let’s see how easy it is.

I highly love Jennifer Makumbi’s writing and I am so happy she fought for this collection to be published! This pressed on the fact I need to read Kintu ASAP.

One thing I learnt from reading this collection is that we African’s really have characteristics that bind us despite how different our traditions and culture are. I really loved reading about the Ugandans and is it just me but I spotted some connections in the stories that were told, like “Our Allies the Colonies” and “The Nod”

“Let’s Tell This Story Properly” had my heart in my throat and my anger, but what is wonderful throughout is how powerful and inspiring Nnam is.

Of course, my favourite story in the collection is “Memoirs of a Namaaso” because hello a huge canine lover over here. It’s also a story that leaves me 100% curious because of how bittersweet it is.

Of all the humans in the story my favourite was Poonah and I love how we get to follow her in not one but two stories. “In Love Made in Manchester” Masaaba had me in shock and anticipating how the story would end and I love I felt all the intended emotions the story was meant to evoke.

If I was a white person or someone of lower intellect I would be complaining about how this book doesn’t explain the many Ugandan words and expression and be crying about the—*blasphemous* fact there’s no glossary to explain them. Ladies and gentlemen, there’s google and let it be the norm for writers whose indigenous languages aren’t English to use their indigenous words in their books because it is 100% normal for them.

Each of the stories are wonderful and portray beautiful people going about their normal lives. The writing is well put together and definitely unproblematic. The storytelling is seamless and easy to follow. Need I say more? What are you waiting for? Add this book to your TBR if you’ve not read it already!

5

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Falling Down the Rabbit Hole that is Bully Romance.

It started with a twitter thread about a high school bully romance The Secret Girl by C.M. Stunich and I was intrigued because I love reading enemies-to-lovers stories…I didn’t know getting my hands on this book would set me on a dangerous path down the world of bully romance that can be alarmingly dark at times and I haven’t really reflected on what that says about me because I read them.

I only know I’m able to dissociate because I take it for the fictional narrative it is and I definitely do not want any of the so-called bullies in my life as a romantic partner, because I give back as good as I get, I will not take anyone’s bullshit ever. I will snitch and do everything in my power to protect my mental health, hence my favourite reads in the category are ones with heroines that kick ass.

From reading The Secret Girl, I found myself joining C.M. Stunich Facebook page because I needed the next book ASAP and wanted to be kept in the loop, I didn’t know I would stumble upon so many recommended reads and I went further into inhaling books in the category and with this category comes many Reverse Harem books, in which a girl has more than one or two love interests, where she doesn’t have to make a choice but gets them all.

FYI I actually have read other bully romance over the years prior to this year but I didn’t actually know they were defined as Bully Romance. The book that started this journey for me was Bully by Penelope Douglas, I read it the year it got republished and was eagerly devouring each book in the series and other books Penelope released, but still the category didn’t click even though it was glaring lol.

Another obvious sign was when I read The Royal Series by Erin Watt A reminder I won’t take for any kind of bullying, mansplaining, dominating, domineering, possessiveness or controlling spirit from a man, in reality, so I really don’t understand why reading such in books releases my endorphins, which is why I devour so many dark-themed romances.

Don’t get me wrong some of them are just plain bad, which perpetuates nasty and bad actions that need to be burnt to ashes and condemned so I shall not be giving them any spotlight in this post.

Fall Away Series by Penelope Douglas

 

 

4

The Royals Series by Erin Watt

 

 

4

Adamson All-Boys Academy Series by C.M. Stunich

 

 

4.5

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3.5

And there you have my recommendations but please proceed at your own caution.

On Writing David Mogo, Godhunter Q&A with Suyi Davies Okungbowa

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Title – David Mogo, Godhunter

Author – Suyi Davies Okungbowa

Publication – July 9th, 2019.

Publisher – Abaddon

Genre – Urban Fantasy

Since the Orisha War that rained thousands of deities down on the streets of Lagos, David Mogo, demigod, scours Eko’s dank underbelly for a living wage as a freelance Godhunter. Despite pulling his biggest feat yet by capturing a high god for a renowned Eko wizard, David knows his job’s bad luck. He’s proved right when the wizard conjures a legion of Taboos—feral godling-child hybrids—to seize Lagos for himself. To fix his mistake and keep Lagos standing, David teams up with his foster wizard, the high god’s twin sister and a speech-impaired Muslim teenage girl to defeat the wizard.

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I Published A Guide Book to Self-Publishing!

Hello there! I’m Lara Kareem aka Naija Book Bae, the runner of this wonderful literary blog, who reads and reviews book, however, due to how hectic my year has been I haven’t really read and reviewed a book by an independent author recently and I haven’t had time for my Review Request Form.

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I took a very long break from accepting books from my request form because not only do I have a backlog of pending reviews, many of the few I have collected aren’t of the best quality, because of this I went ahead and used my few years of experience working in the publishing sect to write A Guide to Self-Publishing.

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For months you’ve worked diligently, dedicated time, stayed up late, overcame writer’s block and finally, you typed the last word and finished writing your book.

Now that you’ve finished writing your book, you’re anxious to know what comes next? You look up publishing firms accepting the genre of your manuscript and query them, hoping they’ll publish your book and you’re on your merry way to the life of authordom.

But, there’s no response from these publishing firms or many apologise but aren’t sure you’re the right fit for the firm and now you’re stumped. Don’t fret too much because there is another way, which is where this book comes in.

Do you really want to publish your book? Self-Publishing is the path to take and this book is filled with all the necessary information needed to get your book ready before hitting the publish button.

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Guest Feature #19|Meet the Blogger: Precious of DAALULOG!

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Hey you, thank you for taking time out to read this post because today on the blog you get to meet a blogger! First and foremost welcome to my Guest Feature Series! It’s super exciting doing this, I may not be *a huge blogger* but I do have a presence in the online community, well because of the love many of you give to me daily. and I intend to make use of it by also giving back the love to the community, by shining the light on as many bloggers as I can, because most of us deserve it and also you know make a stand on marginalization—fighting for what’s right. Read More »