Category Archives: Podcasts

6 Ways To Discover New Books

There are a million and one books and it can be difficult choosing what to read. I once came home when I was a teenager and my mum told me that she had just finished a novel called Trust Me by Lesley Pearse. She said it was a moving story and recommended that I read it. The story is about two children from England who were sent to an Australian orphanage in the 1950s. I read it and went on to read more Lesley Pearse novels.

Reading books_mini

My mum’s read many Lesley Pearse novels too that I can’t get her any of her novels as a surprise present for her because she may have read it. I think she chooses books based on if she has enjoyed their previous work. 

So, people choose books based on if they’ve enjoyed the author’s previous books. How do I pick books to read? Well, based on my mum’s recommendations although I recommend more books to her now. These are a few ways that I discover new books. 

  1. Blog and YouTube reviews: I have subscribed to a few YouTube channels like Penguin Platform and Reads and Daydreams. Penguin Platform is a channel from Penguin Randomhouse so they only talk about books they’ve published. They run a giveaway every month but I’ve never won so I stopped entering their giveaway. Maybe, I’ll enter their next giveaway and see if I’ll be successful. I recently read Elif Shafak’s Three Daughters of Eve after watching one of their videos. Three Daughters of Eve_mini
  2. Friends: I speak to my friends about books they’ve enjoyed. My friend, Eniola told me how good I Do Not Come To You By Chance by Tricia Adaobi Nwaubani was. I found it at my local library so I borrowed it. The novel didn’t disappoint. If it had, I would have stopped taking Eniola’s recommendations.
  3. Events: I lived in London for a year and would go to author events. The book stands would be irresistible so I would end up going home with a book or two. Since moving to Nottingham last August, I’ve been to only two events. One, where I got Gary Younge’s book Another Day In The Death of America and another on Feminist Publishing. Both events were organised by Five Leaves Bookshop. If you live in Nottingham, you can check them out. I went home with a long reading list of feminist books after going to their event in April and I’ve been reading a few feminist nonfiction books since then. I Call Myself A FeministJPG_mini
  4. Podcasts: Authors are often interviewed on some podcasts that I listen such as Ctrl Alt Delete hosted by Emma Gannon and BBC’s Woman’s Hour. They discuss their books and if I find them interesting, I add them to my growing reading list. I read a book by Sophie Kinsella (Finding Audrey) for the first time this year after listening to Sophie Kinsella on Emma Gannon’s podcast. 
  5. Films: Reading Hidden Figures about female African-American scientists was a decision I made after watching the trailer of the film adaptation. I probably may not have read the book, had I not seen Taraji P Henson in the trailer. Taraji P Henson
  6. Bookshops/Libraries: Any day I have spare time and I’m out in the city centre, I usually stop at the library or any bookshops to see what books they have. I may just browse through the books at a bookshop and not buy anything. However, it requires a lot of self-discipline when I go to a bookshop. 

These are the main places I find books to read. When I see a lot of people talking about a book on social media, I usually check the books too.

I found a book yesterday while reading a podcast review on iTunes. The book is called The Upstarts:  How Uber, AirBnBand the Killer Companies of the New Silicon Valley are Changing the World by Brad Stone. I googled it and read an excerpt. Then, I found that the author, Brad Stone was on the Penguin podcast discussing the book. I ended up ordering the book from my library while listening to him on the podcast episode.

If you’re looking for a book to read over the summer or at any time, you can use these options or read reviews on my blog or check out my YouTube channel.

Best of 2016: Books and Podcasts

I wrote a post a few months back where I mentioned my top podcasts at the time. Since then I’ve discovered more podcasts and I’ll be mentioning my favourite podcast episodes.

I bought speakers this year so I could listen to podcasts while I’m cooking. I struggled to listen to podcasts without speakers in the kitchen because the sound of water running from the kitchen tap prevented me from hearing my podcasts. Buying the speakers helped me realise that my interest in podcasts was real.

The podcasts I enjoyed are written in no particular order of preference.

  1. Melanin Millenials podcast episode on homelessness in Britain: It’s hosted by two black British women, Imrie and Satia. This episode got me thinking about housing and what the government can do to address this. They mentioned how the government is intending to spend £370m to refurbish Buckingham Palace while the homeless lie on the streets with nowhere to sleep. melanin-millenials
  2. The Startup Podcast: It’s a podcast on business and entrepreneurship. I like the storytelling on the podcast. My favourite episodes from Startup were the series of episodes that followed the life of Dov Charney, the founder of American Apparel. He went from starting a great company to being fired by the company board. The episodes explored the mistakes he made such as having sexual relationships with his employees and his style of running a business. startup-podcast

I walked past the American Apparel in Nottingham, where I live and saw that it was closing down. The first thing that came to my mind was Dov Charney has left the company and I wonder what’s become of American Apparel.

Beyond podcasts, I’ve read more books this year from non-fiction to romance literature. It was hard for me to choose my favourite books this years but I ended up choosing two.

Favourite work of Nonfiction: Another Day in the Death of America by Gary Younge

gary-younge

It’s a book that explores what happens when there is no gun control. The book looks at the lives of ten young people who died from gun wounds on a particular day in America. Each chapter focuses on one young person who was killed by a gun and tells the story on the life that they lived.

Favourite work of fiction: The Book of Harlan by Bernice McFadden

the-book-of-harlan

The Book of Harlan falls into the historical fiction genre. It is set in the period from 1917 to about the late 1960s. Harlan is a young black musician who is caught up in Europe during the Nazi era and ends up in a concentration camp. The book opens with the birth of Harlan in Georgia and follows the experiences of his family move from Georgia in other parts of America in search of a better life.

It’s an amazing story about family and the challenges Harlan’s family faces an African American family in that time. The story also explores Harlan’s experience in the concentration camp which I feel was important because as Harlan’s mother thought “Every time the news reported on the Holocaust, they talked about the Jews and no one else.”

Both Another Day in the Death of America and The Book of Harlan were set in America and explored the lives of minorities within the country. I understood more about the black experience in America. Previously, I didn’t understand much about the Black Lives Matter protests and the books let me know why these protests matter. Both books didn’t specifically mention Black Lives Matter but their themes on violence and race can be linked to the protests.

I also realised how much I enjoyed African American literature while reading both books. Gary Younge is a black British writer but his book, Another Day in the Death of America has chapters on African American young boys who died from gun violence. These books helped me develop empathy for others and not to say, “I live faraway from this place so it’s none of my business what happens there.”

Have a lovely new year. Let me know what your favourite books or podcasts were this year and what you’re looking forward to reading in the new year.

Top 6 Podcast Recommendations

Listening to podcasts reminds me of listening to the radio. The major difference being that anyone can start a podcast while being on air at a radio station involves formal procedures. There was a time I wanted to delete the podcasts app on my phone because I never used it but I was unable to. The podcasts app is in-built on my phone. I started listening to podcasts when I realised that some bloggers behind the blogs I read had podcasts.

Today, I decided to share six of my favourite podcasts.

1) This Afropolitan Life: It is hosted by Clarissa Bannor, a Ghanaian-American. I discovered her podcast while reading one of her articles on She Leads Africa. She included her site in her bio on the platform. I checked it out and saw that she interviewed an actress from a web series I love, An African City. The actress she interviewed was Maame Adjei and I listened to it. From then, I’ve been a regular listener to Clarissa’s podcasts. She focuses on the stories and experiences of Africans both in the diaspora and on the continent. One of my favourite episodes was on weddings. She had an events planner, Maame on the show and they spoke about planning an African wedding. Maame mentioned how brides would see something pretty on Instagram and would only want to pay $500 for that beautiful thing they saw on Insta. If you want the fancy decor you saw on Pinterest, you have to pay for it.

Clarissa is vegan and she had an episode on being vegan and African. One of Clarissa’s friends was on the podcast and she’s vegan too. It was interesting to hear what it’s like being vegan in a household where all your family members are eating jollof rice (which has meat stock) and fried fish at a family gathering.

2) The Pool: They have episodes such as Dear Viv which is like an agony aunty show. People send in questions like- what happens when you move in with your homeowner boyfriend and you break up. They also interview authors so I listen to them for book recommendations. They interviewed Kit de Waal, the author of My Name is Leon and immediately I was sold on reading her book. It’s on my Goodreads list now. It’s a book about a boy who is mixed race and comes from a poor family. The story explores how it can be difficult for young black boys to be adopted. Leon has a younger half- brother who is white and he got adopted but Leon wasn’t.

3) The Pandolly Podcast: This is a popular culture, fashion and entertainment podcast hosted by two British ladies, Pandora Sykes and Dolly Alderton. It’s the Sunday Times Style podcast. On one of the podcasts, they spoke how much they had stalked a wedding on social media. Then, they saw one of the guests at that wedding in real life and they were about to say hello. They then realised that they didn’t know the guest.However, because they had looked at the wedding pictures a lot, they felt for a moment that they knew the guest. Dolly and Pandora are interesting to listen to so check them out.

4) Ctrl Alt Delete: This is hosted by Emma Gannon, who is a British blogger, author and podcaster. Her podcast has the same name as her book. I think that was a brilliant marketing strategy as the name of her book sticks quickly in people’s mind once you begin to listen to her. She has had popular YouTubers- Zoella and Tanya Burr as guests on her podcast. It’s interesting how social media has shaped people’s careers and lives. My little cousin once told me, he wants to be a YouTuber. Social media has changed our aspirations and Emma talks about how lives are different now that we are online a lot more.

5) Not Your African Cliche(NYAC): Four young Nigerian ladies run this podcast. I like that I can relate to their discussions. Their latest episode was about going back to school and they shared their memories of returning to boarding school in Nigeria after the holidays. It brought back many memories for me. They mentioned how people felt under pressure to say they went abroad (when they didn’t go) during their summer holidays in order to fit in. One of my memories of returning to secondary school after the holidays was ironing my clothes and hanging them in the car, rather than folding them in  my suitcase so they would not get rumpled. I remember going to the tailor and telling how many house wears I needed for school. Also, I always had tummy ache on resumption day because I didn’t want to go to school. I really identify with NYAC podcast and if you’re looking for a podcast where you get to hear the voice of young Nigerians, NYAC would be my top recommendation

6) MyTaughtYou: This is hosted by Myleik Teele, who is the founder of Curlbox, a beauty subscription service in the US. Myleik is really down to earth and she says it as it is. She answers questions from listeners and shares her experiences as an entrepreneur in the natural haircare industry. I like that she not only runs Curlbox but she connects with people in a different way through running her podcast.

In all, podcasts allow me to discover the world in a different way. One minute, I’m listening to a podcast about weddings and the next minute I’m listening to a podcast on whether Pippa Middleton is a socialite or not. I like stories so I think that’s part of the reason why I love podcasts.

Do let me know in the comments if you listen to podcasts and which ones you recommend.

Photo Credit: This Afropolitan Life, Emma Gannon, Myleik, The Pool, The Pandolly Podcast and Not Your African Cliche.