Author Topic: What are you reading today?  (Read 121265 times)

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Offline Muhsin

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Re: What are you reading today?
« Reply #210 on: September 07, 2010, 01:30:13 PM »
Assalamu alaikum,

With all thanks to the Lord of the Worlds, Allah (SWT), I finished my exams yesterday. I am now free as everyone so far before the commencement of the second and the last semester of my study, insha-Allah. I beseech Allah, the Exalted, to give me sterling grades in these exams; I again beseech Him to bless the result. Please brothers and sisters, include me in your individual prayers. Thanks

Upon finishing the exams, I procured two books to start with. Although I already have a few more but these two are the ones I shall begin with. One is by the famous versatile writer, Abubakar Gimba titled Why am I Doing This? which is a collection of his articles in the column of Nigerian Tribune (newspaper); and the other is by yet another prolific, realistic and award-winning writer, my lecturer Aliyu Kamal, entitled Hausa Girl. It's his latest novel that is, as usual and always, set in Kano and about Kano (or even Nigerian) problem of the so-called Kannywood actors and actresses.

I shall tell you more, insha-Allah, when I am through with the two.
Get to know [and remember] Allah in prosperity & He will know  [and remember] you in adversity.

Offline ummutameem

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Re: What are you reading today?
« Reply #211 on: September 29, 2010, 11:24:38 PM »
@muhsin, Allah ya bada saa.

im also done wit my exam, phewww! adult education na wah! anyway alhamdulillah, at least its over, ll worry about second level nxt yr Insha Allah.

read a couple of james patterson. . . 2nd degree n 6th chance (i think), they were good.

got a copy of magana jarice over d hols, n magana jarice, i was going to read them to my boys but i think i ll read em again first b4 we start 'tales by moonlight' wit d kids. i wonder how im going to find d stories now, havent read em in about 6 years now.

ll share as i go along IA.

its good to be back!

Offline Muhsin

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Re: What are you reading today?
« Reply #212 on: October 26, 2010, 03:55:14 PM »
Assalamu alaikum,

Belated thanks, Ummutameem.

I'm now reading for my research project. I'm about to finish Chapter One. Here is the topic's title (maybe I may get assistance from one of you people in getting/finding some data or something like this). It reads: "Problems Militating Against Girl-Child Education in Gwale Local Government Area of Kano State".

Thanks
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Offline GoodFella

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Re: What are you reading today?
« Reply #213 on: December 03, 2010, 09:54:36 AM »
Hey, long time of course @UmmuT. I was and still am being very busy.

@Muhsin, best wishes. You'll get an A+ God willing.

Reading Weep not Child by Ungugi. Well crafted novel.
Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if he or she were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness, and understanding you can muster, and do so with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.
— Og Mandino (Motivational Author & Speaker)

Offline maxsiollun

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Re: What are you reading today?
« Reply #214 on: December 08, 2010, 04:46:15 AM »
I am humbled. Sylva Nze Ifedigbo just wrote another glowing review for the latest edition of Sentinel Magazine (Issue 4)

http://sentinelnigeria.org/online/issue4/max-siolluns-oil-politics-violence-nigeria%E2%80%99s-military-coup-culture-1966-1976/

Max Siollun’s Oil Politics & Violence: Nigeria’s Military Coup Culture (1966-1976)

Book Review

By Sylva Nze Ifedigbo

In a recent piece in NEXT ‘Making the Next 50 Count’ (http://bit.ly/bThmiw) I noted a seemingly conscious effort to erase parts of our national history by making it seem like they never happened, letting them fizzle out of memory. In that piece, I argued; for us to make the most of the next fifty years of Nigeria’s life as a nation, we must go back to our history and for once take seriously the lessons of the past. If we accept that the last fifty years of nationhood has been more or less wasted, then, we must make a conscious effort to appreciate what made it a waste so we can understand how to correct the wrongs. All this is a function of history and that is what Max Siollun offers us in his book “Violence: Nigeria’s Military Coup Culture (1966-1976)”.

Besides the dearth of books on our national history and the near complete erosion of History as a subject of importance in our universities, it is saddening to note that most of the few materials available are mediocre and poorly researched, often betraying either an academic seeking to move up the ranks or a roadside hustler eager to make a quick buck selling books to “History students” equally eager to pass exams. It is in these two respects, standing against them, that Max Siollun establishes the credence of his work.

With evident objectivity, every page of the 268-page book exudes detailed research and is presented as a free flowing blow-by-blow account of events; Siollun carefully separates speculation from fact and myth from actual happenings.
This book, a detailed expose on the first four coups and the Nigerian civil war, helps bring to fore what really happened in those years, who were involved and why they did what they did. Siollun packs his work with dates and names – all easily verifiable.

Popular for his many history laced political essays in Nigerian news forums both online and off, Siollun, who writes Nigerian history almost from an outsiders point of view, comes across as free from the ethnic chauvinism which limits the work of other Nigerian Historians. Siollun traces the history of the Nation before independence, particularly that of the military, and sequentially leads the reader on to the events leading up to the first coup, the counter coup, the Civil War and then traces the discussion further on to the two post-Civil War coups. The writer shows the relationship between all four coups. He highlights, in particular, the recurrent involvement of certain names, such as Babangida, Abacha, Yaradua and Buhari, in Nigeria’s coup plotting history and touches on the fact that for many years, coup plotting seemed to be the main agenda in the country’s military, quite like a culture, and how the failure to punish coup plotters helped to sustain the tradition and how this, in turn, led to instability in the polity and attendant underdevelopment which still stares Nigeria in the face today.

Siollun’s book presents new insights into widely held opinions, revealing what was hitherto not known in the public space about the working of the military and the inner happenings within its ranks, especially as they concerned the coups.
It reveals that the January 15th 1966 coup, seen largely as an “Igbo Coup”, was essentially instigated by southern politicians working behind the curtain to unseat their Northern rivals and change the power equation. It also reveals the personal emotions, reactions and idiosyncrasies of the popular officers of the time and helps us understand them better, shedding light on why they did what they did then as well as their contemporary posturing.

It is generally held that there is always more than one angle to a story; therefore, many people would disagree with Siollun’s arguments or explanations on some of the events discussed in the book. This is expected and indeed the author does not pretend to have written an infallible history but has rather, simply, opened an avenue for reflection and knowledge sharing on our history. Another obvious inadequacy of the book is the fact that it covers just ten of our fifty years of national existence, this again highlights the need for other historians to rise to the challenge and tell the story after 1976.

This book is a good read, made even more easily readable by Max Siollun’s fantastic prose and use of simple language in a manner which takes away the oft complained at drabness of history books. I would recommend this to all writers, political commentators and indeed all persons who love Nigeria. We can not make the next fifty years of our life as a nation worth the while if we don’t appreciate where we are coming from.
____________________________________________________________
Ifedigbo, an award winning writer, is the ‘Features and Reviews’ editor for the Sentinel Nigeria Magazine
____________________________________________________________

Oil Politics & Violence: Nigeria’s Military Coup Culture (1966-1976)
Max Siollun
Algora Publishing, New York; 2009
268pp

Offline Muhsin

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Re: What are you reading today?
« Reply #215 on: December 08, 2010, 12:17:51 PM »
Hey, long time of course @UmmuT. I was and still am being very busy.

@Muhsin, best wishes. You'll get an A+ God willing.

Reading Weep not Child by Ungugi. Well crafted novel.

Thanks man. Ameen to the prayer.

Weep not Child is one of Ngugi's masterpieces. If I can recall, it tells a story of one boy called Njorogie or something like this, growing up in Kenya's White dominated area. Very captivating and touching story. It's one of my best novels in the world, I tell you. Tell us more when you are through.
Get to know [and remember] Allah in prosperity & He will know  [and remember] you in adversity.

Offline bakangizo

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Re: What are you reading today?
« Reply #216 on: January 08, 2011, 10:04:50 AM »
why do I find it difficult to read books these days?

Offline Muhsin

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Re: What are you reading today?
« Reply #217 on: January 10, 2011, 03:37:58 PM »
why do I find it difficult to read books these days?

How do you then find watching these days? I would like to know this before responding to your question.
Get to know [and remember] Allah in prosperity & He will know  [and remember] you in adversity.

Offline bakangizo

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Re: What are you reading today?
« Reply #218 on: January 12, 2011, 06:42:05 PM »
You mean watching films? I enjoy it when I have the time. Especially on my laptop in bed. Kinda in a relaxing manner.

Offline maxsiollun

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Re: What are you reading today?
« Reply #219 on: January 19, 2011, 03:22:31 AM »
I am so grateful. Another glowing review just in....

By Maggie of Sociolingo. Maggie is a sociolinguist with a PhD in education and a keen interest in African affairs.

http://www.sociolingo.com/2011/01/nigeria-book-review-oil-politics-and-violence/

Jan 18, 2011

http://www.amazon.com/Oil-Politics-Violence-Nigerias-1966-1976/dp/0875867081/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1295402852&sr=8-1

In the year that many Nigerians celebrate their 50th Anniversary of Independence, it is also an opportunity to reflect on all that has happened since 1960. If you do a search on Amazon you’ll find quite a number of Nigeria books published around this anniversary.

One of these books, Oil, Politics and Violence: Nigeria’s Military Coup Culture 1966-1976, is by Max Siollun, a well respected Nigerian historian, who has a gift of making the history of this complex country clearer to non-specialists.

In his book Siollun opens up one of the most troublesome and distressing periods in Nigeria’s history and introduces us to the mindset of the Nigerian military which has so influenced the turmoil that ensued following independence. Although the book is a historical narrative, it goes beyond ‘dry’ dates and events to take the reader on a journey. The author does this by utilising recently de-classified material and old intelligence reports together with personal knowledge and in depth analysis .

I like the way this book sets the scene by presenting us with a series of maps at the beginning. Before the opening pages we are presented with a map of the major ethnic groups, although I’m not quite sure why that map was not included with the other maps in the preface as it would go better with the map of major Nigerian languages and the more general map locating Nigeria in Africa would have been better in its place, but that is just my preference.  The series of historical maps in the preface cover the political development  from the four regions of 1966  to the present 36 States and are worth referring back to from time to time.

It is impossible to appreciate the political complexity of Nigeria without a passing understanding of how the country came into being, its ethnic complexity and its mineral wealth and this book provides good background material in the preface and the opening chapter for those who are not so familiar with Nigeria.  The writer introduces us to these issues in the opening chapters by describing the situation leading up to independence and  introducing us to several strands - political and military – which culminate in the post-independence turmoil of 1966 which was a pivotal and dreadful year.

It is important to understand that like many African countries ‘Nigeria’ was an artificial construct.

    The country was artificially constructed by a colonial power without the consent of its citizens. Over 250 ethnic groups were arbitrarily herded together into an unwieldy and non-consensual union by the UK. Nigeria was so ethnically, religiously and linguistically complex that even some of its leading politicians initially doubted it could constitute a real country.

The division of the huge area called Nigeria into the original 3 Regions by the British in the earlier part of the 20th century was largely pragmatic. The very large Northern Region was predominantly Muslim and dominated by the Hausa and Fulani, while the predominantly Christian south was dominated by two competing groups, the Yoruba and the Igbo. Among these main groups were 250 other ethnic groups of varying size. Most ethnic groups had little in common, and Siollun says that ‘The cultural differences between the ethnic groups made it virtually impossible for Nigerians to have any commonality of purpose’. It was within this artificially constructed maelstrom that political divides took on the identity and ideology of the these three geo-political regions.  The Western Region in the south was further divided into a Mid-Western region in 1963 after rising tensions and what could almost be considered the first coup plot. The antagonism between the north and south continued after independence and was further exacerbated by the fragmentation in the more numerous south and the uneven distribution of mineral wealth.

It is as a military historian that Siollun has his strength and this shows in his masterly analysis in the chapters that introduce the military background to the coups and the detailed description and analysis of the coups themselves. In some ways, although this is devastatingly real, I was reminded of a detective novel as the protagonists are revealed and their motives and actions analysed.

It would be tempting to give you a chapter by chapter summary of how the coup culture developed, but you’ll just have to read the book to understand the depth of detail that gives a fascinating insight into the way that friends can become rivals and enemies, and to see how Siollun answers the question of ‘how an apolitical professional army with less than fifty indigenous officers at independence in 1960 became politicized and overthrew its country’s government less than six years later’.

The lessons to be learnt from the critical analysis in this book are grim but necessary reading. Siollun’s final points are that ‘most of the coups …. were carried out by the same cabal of officers, and that ‘an unpunished coup will be followed by a bloodier coup’.  It is also significant that it was only after 1999 when ‘all the serving army officers who had held political office for 6 months or more were compulsorily retired’ that the events set in motion in 1966 that lead to the military coups and military rule were able to be put to rest.

I think this book will become a seminal source for Nigerian historians and will be a fascinating read for anyone interested in Nigeria and in how coups develop.


http://www.amazon.com/Oil-Politics-Violence-Nigerias-1966-1976/dp/0875867081/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1295402852&sr=8-1

Oil, Politics and Violence: Nigeria’s Military Coup Culture (1966-1976) by Max Siollun, Algora Publishing, New York. 2009  ISBN: 9780875867083

Offline Muhsin

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Re: What are you reading today?
« Reply #220 on: September 13, 2011, 03:39:56 PM »
Hey! It has been quiet a long time since last I posted here. Hmm... Can't help it; to say it in the briefest way. Anyway, here we are again; thanks to Allah. I just finished reading two classical novels: Hausa Boy, and Women without Borders, by the prolific author, who's very recently christined Professor, Aliyu Kamal. I recommend these novels to any non-Hausa and even the Hausa speakers who want to know more about Hausa norms, culture and values. The writer, as in almost all his other novels, so graphically talks about these and much more. Thanks
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Offline bakangizo

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Re: What are you reading today?
« Reply #221 on: September 14, 2011, 09:14:59 AM »
Now reading The Sicilian by Mario Puzo. This after I finished The Innocent Man (non-fiction) by John Grisham and Tell Me Your Dreams by Sidney Sheldon. All within a week. It was a pleasant surprise for me to discover that I can still enjoy novels. I thought I'm 'done' with them.

Offline Muhsin

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Re: What are you reading today?
« Reply #222 on: September 14, 2011, 03:55:07 PM »
@Bakan~Gizo,

You are my man of the day! You really are having a wonderful time. The Sicilian as you must have read on another thread I made mention of it as one of Puzo's bests; Grisham, I know for long, crafts very intriguing novels although I recently quit reading his works. Why? He so unceasingly dwells on legal stuff, which I rarely enjoy. Yet one of my bookworm friends sometimes ago told me that he (Grisham) had "switched" to other general issues. Any way, I'll in one of these days get hold of one, inshaAllah. More-over, I never know he writes non-fiction books.

Last but by no means the least: the Master of all times in the world of writing, the sage and superb author of many unputdownables, Sheldon remains my best author when it comes to Best-Sellers. This Tell Me Your Dreams is his first novel I ever read. And it's the second best, as far as I can say. The first being Sands of Time. I like it. I most of all how he handles the issue of Multiple Personality Disorder...huh? And the leading character, if I can recall right, is one Ashley. Kai! I so much loved the novel.

BTW, am reading The Man Died authored by the "worst" writer in the whole Africa, the Nobel Laureate (Literature), Wole Soyinka. Don't ask me why I say the worst writer unless if you know and read his writings. LOL ;D
« Last Edit: September 15, 2011, 03:06:39 PM by Muhsin »
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Offline bakangizo

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Re: What are you reading today?
« Reply #223 on: September 15, 2011, 10:23:29 AM »
Yeah,well, I don't know why you called Soyinka the worst writer. He's one of the finest Africa has produced. But of course his 'crime' is that he is fond trying to speak English more than the Englishman  ;D. All those big big words. So that makes his books relatively complex, and to some people, boring.

Offline Muhsin

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Re: What are you reading today?
« Reply #224 on: September 15, 2011, 02:56:18 PM »
Yeah,well, I don't know why you called Soyinka the worst writer. He's one of the finest Africa has produced. But of course his 'crime' is that he is fond trying to speak English more than the Englishman  ;D. All those big big words. So that makes his books relatively complex, and to some people, boring.

Exactly my point!

The essence of writing, as aptly explained Niyi Osundare, is a man to man communication. Then why all the obscurity, vagueness and eccentricism (and Eurocentricism) in his writings? Africans have passed that time; to some, African had never even been in that time. Soyinka should move on. His works are the most despised and feared writings among many, if not all, literary students in Nigeria, and probably beyond. I once wrote quite a lot about him on this board. I may check for that later.

There's, more-over, one joke I once read about his Nobel Prize winning in 1986. In the joke two people were having a chat. One of them asked the other whether he had heard that Soyinka won a Nobel Prize. His interlocutor responded in affirmative adding, "he won it with his novel Things Fall Apart." The other confirmed that.

Do you get the gist of the above? Hmm... When Soyinka won that prize, Chinua Achebe, the author of the said novel, was more known and regarded more a literati than him; yet, as luck had it, he won.
Get to know [and remember] Allah in prosperity & He will know  [and remember] you in adversity.

 


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