Happy Tuesday everyone! I hope your week is going great. Otherwise, I hope that it will start looking up in the coming days. It is my fervent hope that it will usher in positive energy, blessings, healing, and forgiveness for everyone. I hope and pray that 2022 will not only be a good year but a great one. As it is Tuesday, it is also time for a Top 5 Tuesday update. Top 5 Tuesday was originally created by Shanah @ the Bionic Bookworm but is now currently being hosted by Meeghan @ Meeghan Reads.
This week’s topic: Books About a Birth
Births often represent a new start. However, I find this week’s topic a tad difficult. I had to dig deep for this one. Nonetheless, here are five books about birth that I liked and enjoyed. Happy reading!
Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
Kicking off this list is one of my all-time favorite reads. Prior to reading Midnight’s Children, I was mostly unimpressed by Salman Rushdie’s oeuvre. None of his works I read earlier captured my imagination and interest the way the Booker of Bookers did. In the novel, birth is more symbolic although there were physical births, a lot in fact. The story linked the birth date of the independent Indian state and the birth of children within hours of this independence. The novel then charted the stories of these titular children and wove their connection to the growth and development of their nation. Rushdie provided a breathtaking experience that has mesmerized me. Everything, from the prose to the characters to the magical elements captured me and my imagination. This is a book I will never tire of singing praises for.
Stay With Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀
From one all-time favorite to another all-time favorite read. When I started reading Nigerian writer Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀’s debut novel, Stay With Me, I had very few expectations. I guess this helped in my appreciation of the novel. While Midnight’s Children explored the birth of the nation, Stay With Me charted the story of a young Nigerian couple, Yejide and Akin, who badly wanted to have a child but was unable to. Their story was juxtaposed to a rich backdrop of Nigerian culture and contemporary history. The pressures they received from all corners of society, including their own family, were making them anxious. Stay With Me, is, literally, a magnetic story that remained glued to my mind. The colorful albeit tumultuous background, the flawed but intriguing characters, the simple but interesting plot, the moral crossroads were adroitly woven together in a breathtaking and memorable tapestry by Adébáyọ̀’s cunning writing ability.
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
There are just books that you know you will the first time you encounter them, even though you barely have an inkling of what the story they hold is about. This was the case with Jeffrey Eugenides’ Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Middlesex, which I first encountered through must-read lists. There was just something about the book that enchanted me, something that was difficult to put into words. Finally reading the book justified all my expectations and even went beyond them. The story of Calliope “Cal” Stephanides swept me away, born a hermaphrodite although she never knew it until she discovered this anomaly by accident. The novel left me in awe. There was a boldness to the story that I can barely keep my hands off it. The moment I started reading I just wanted to know how it is going to end.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
For the fourth consecutive book, I have a different interpretation of birth; I guess it is because the word itself can be tackled in different ways. Anyway, The Handmaid’s Tale was my second novel by Margaret Atwood. It couldn’t come at a better time because I was not impressed with Bodily Harm, the first Atwood novel I read. Anyway, in The Handmaid’s Tale, Atwood transported readers to a dystopian world where regular women have lost their ability to bear children, hence, the rise of Handmaids who were duty-bound to bear children for their masters. However, the Handmaid’s actions were limited; they cannot roam freely and they were not allowed to fall in love. The true gem in the story is Margaret Atwood’s writing she told the story as it is without it going awry. The storytelling is packed with heavy punches but it was not overbearing and overwhelming.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Completing this Top Five Tuesday List is Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, another book I encountered through must-read lists. The story’s main protagonist is Mary Frances “Francie” Nolan who was born to an impoverished family. The story commenced when Francie was already eleven-year-old and slowly progressed until she reached the age of twenty. At its heart, the novel was a handbook on how to survive this challenging world, particularly in turn-of-the-century Brooklyn. It depicted only a certain portion of the author’s life but it spoke volumes. It was about finding the strength within in order to overcome challenges and disadvantages in life. Smith poignantly shared. If she was able to survive and become successful, then we most probably all can!