There are so many reasons why you’d want to read a book in 2024. You could be trying to improve your vocabulary. You could be trying to build a healthy reading habit. You could be trying to bond better with that cute lover of yours. Or maybe you’ve gotten some internal or external nudge to start your reading journey. Whatever the case, you’re in for something good.
If you’re not an avid reader but you started 2024 by promising yourself to read more books, you might want to start with fiction—or literature, as I would like to call it. I mean, you could pick up 48 Laws of Power, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, and all those psychological and educational books scattered around the net. But if you want to stay glued to the cause, I recommend you start with fiction. And! As a proper Nigerian—with a sprinkle of Gen Z—I have to say that contemporary novels are the best thing after your favourite food. I have five Nigerian contemporary novels that I think you’d love. Have a look.
1. When The Sky Is Ready, The Stars Will Appear
Every young and ambitious person should read this book. If you’ve ever questioned the place of timing in every one of your pursuits, this book spells out the simple but most underrated truth: when it is your time, nothing! will stop you. A heartwarming story of hope, friendship, and family bonds, told with gentle wit and candour, E.C. Osundu tells the story of a young man embarking on a quest to Rome in pursuit of a brighter future, following his grandma and only guardian’s demise.
2. Stay With Me
Ayobami Adebayo raised the bar so high with this book. For one, it left me utterly confused and in a flurry of mixed emotions. I felt a kind of pity that I could not describe Yejide and Akin. “Stay With Me” tells the tale of Yejide and Akin, a deeply in love couple grappling with infertility. When they eventually welcome children into their lives, tragedy strikes as the infants succumb to death. It is a devastating story of the fragility of married love, the undoing of family, the wretchedness of grief, and the desire to have children.
A tale of the intimate journey to identity discovery! You may not find this book interesting at the beginning, especially if you don’t think an identity crisis is a real thing. But with every page, your curiosity will unexpectedly soar, and in the end, you’ll wonder how a 46-year-old woman would search for her father like some lost lover. You would also be happy that she found herself.
This book centres around Anna, a mixed-race British woman who, while going through a divorce and grappling with the recent loss of her mother, stumbles upon diaries authored by her father, Francis Aggrey. She had never met him, and the diaries reveal his life as a student in 1970s London. As Anna reads on, she learns about her father’s encounters with racism and his romantic involvement with her mother.
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Over time, she unravels the truth that her father, now known as Kofi Adjei, played a pivotal role as a revolutionary in the liberation of the fictional West African nation of Bamana. Kofi then became its inaugural president and evolved into a formidable and authoritarian dictator. Amidst a tumultuous separation from her unfaithful husband and navigating a complex relationship with her adult daughter, Anna decides to journey to Bamana to finally meet her father.
4. Exit West
Perhaps the most painful part of this story is Saeed and Nadia’s split. They shared too many intimate moments—like sharing a spiff—so it was saddening to see them grow apart. Set in a war-torn country, two young individuals cross paths—Nadia, a sensual and fiercely independent woman, and Saeed, a gentle and restrained man. They enter into a discreet love affair amidst the turmoil engulfing their city.
As the unrest transforms familiar streets into a mosaic of checkpoints and bomb blasts, rumours circulate about mysterious doors—portals capable of transporting people to distant places, albeit at a perilous cost. With the escalating violence, Nadia and Saeed reach a decisive moment where they feel compelled to act. Abandoning their homeland and former lives, they locate a door and take a courageous step through it.
5. A Broken People’s Playlist
Before you pick up this book to read, prepare your mind because you will cry—or maybe not, depending on how sensitive you are. Set in Porthacourt, Chimeka Garricks tells the tale of ordinary people facing extraordinary emotions. From the sting of betrayal to the ache of loss, each character finds their verse echoed in the lyrics of familiar songs. Love weaves its way through stories of both domestic struggles and forbidden desires, while the city’s vibrant beat thrums against the backdrop of societal challenges. Police sirens, dreams of a better tomorrow, environmental woes, and yearning for family—this novel takes us through a journey of resilience and hope, where even the harshest notes find harmony in the shared spirit of community. A Broken People’s Playlist’ is a collection of 12 music-inspired stories. This captivating collection isn’t just a book; it’s a playlist for the soul.
And that’s it. Which one of them would you love to read first?
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