Monday, October 27, 2014


Book Title: Terra Cotta Beauty #TerraCottaBeauty

Paperback: 142 pages

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (June 12, 2014)

ISBN-10: 1491271671

ISBN-13: 978-1491271674

Genre: Fiction

Author: Jola Naibi

About he Author

Jola Naibi was raised in Lagos, Nigeria and studied in in the United Kingdom. She enjoys writing and blogging as a way to satisfy and extremely eager imagination.

About The Book

Follow the daily lives, loves, and hopes of an entire community in Jola Naibi’s moving debut, Terra Cotta Beauty.

A carefully crafted selection of short stories, this collection examines life in Lagos, Nigeria, during the era of military rule. It reveals the struggles, loves, and hopes of a disparate group of people whose lives always manage to intersect—sometimes in the most devastating of ways.

With each brief conversation and split-second decision containing consequences that reach further than anyone could ever imagine, each of the book’s seven tales is a delicate thread that helps form the social fabric of a nation divided.

From a woman whose journalist husband is jailed for criticizing the government to a young man’s reluctant descent into crime, Terra Cotta Beauty acts as a carefully crafted ode to the essence of Lagos itself: its people.

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A Life in Reading: My Top Ten Books

It is books that are a key to a wide world; if you can’t do anything else, read all you can.

Jane Hamilton. The Book of Ruth.

I read Alex Haley’s Roots when I was 11 years old. It managed to unsettle and expand my young sensibilities at the time. Years later, when I reflected on this, I realized that I had become so advanced in my reading at a very early age, that I had exhausted books that were written for my age group. They no longer held an appeal for me and granted Roots was one that I should not have been reading at age 11, it was my way of announcing to the world that I needed to learn more about it, in the books that I read. Choosing my top ten books is a bit of a chore, because, there have been so many books that have shaped my writing and reading.

George Eliot’s Silas Marner was part of the required reading for the equivalent of eighth or ninth grade when I was in high school. By the end of that particular school year, my copy of the book was both dog-eared and shabby. The story starts with a very poignant description of the town of Raveloe where the story is set and I was so smitten by the author’s portrayal of it, that I read it over and over. Another reason I love Silas Marner is that I remember very vividly that shortly after reading it for the umpteenth time, I started writing in a more organized way. At first it was just jotting down my notes on Silas Marner and my thoughts on the plot, and then I started to create more solid stories that varied in length and content.

I have always been fascinated by what life was like in Nigeria before I was born. Kole Omotosho’s Just Before Dawn helped to satisfy my curiosity. The author uses a combination of fiction and non-fiction elements to tell stories of a Nigeria that I never knew but can somehow relate to.

J.D. Salinger has often been described as an enigma, mostly because he wrote one of the more profound pieces of work in American literature by introducing the world to Holden Caulfield in “The Catcher and the Rye”

Miss Havisham, Pip and Estella – all distinguishing sounding names belong to the characters in Charles Dickens’ “Great Expectations”. I am an avid Dickens fan so everything he has written always grasps my attention. However, the first time I read the book I did not like it. But I was a loyal enough fan to give it another chance and it was in that second reading that I fell in love with the story.

I have always been interested in stories that depict how a community pulls itself together especially in difficult times and that is why I love Les Bouts de Bois de Bois (God’s Bits of Wood) by Sembene Ousmane. It tells the story of rail workers who start a strike to protest their poor treatment by the French colonialists and how their families cope in the midst of the uncertainty.

I discovered the author Jhumpa Lahiri by a simple accident and think that her book: The Interpreter of Maladies is one of the most engaging pieces of fiction that I have ever read. It introduces the reader to some complex yet colorful characters. One other reason why I love this book is when I finished reading it, I was inspired to share some of the short stories that I had read and write even more. I created a short story blog called: La Racontrice and started the journey to publication with my first book: Terra Cotta Beauty

You know that moment when you finish a book, look around and realize that everyone is carrying on with their lives…as though you did not just experience emotional trauma at the hands of a book. That is how I felt when I finished Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah. At many moments while reading the book, I felt like Ms. Adichie had people trailing me with a hidden camera because there were so many scenes in the story that were so real and relatable. It is one of my favorite books because it validates the stories of those of us who are Nigerian and have called the diaspora home for a long time.

Anita Rau Badami’s The Hero’s Walk wins my vote for its seamless turns of hilarity and depth of seriousness as it captures a sad and melancholy story.

Historical fiction has always held a strong appeal for me and Maryse Condé’s Segu which captures life in the kingdom of Segu in 1797 was an extremely intriguing read.

I am a Yoruba girl who likes to dance, so of course a book with a title “Yoruba Girl Dancing” is going to attract my attention. Simi Bedford’s masterful tale has less to do with dancing Yoruba girls but tells more about coming of age in a time of love and confusion.


Terra Cotta Beauty is short stories that show how closely people lives can intertwine and influence. The way this book is written seems to show family, values, and the choices made will influence more people than anyone can know.

This book was good and is worth a 4/5 stars.

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