Growing up, many of us lived with our noses stuck between the pages of a book as we journeyed into other worlds. Reading was an escape we welcomed, giving us the opportunity to experience different realities. Now, with the weight of adulthood crushing us and to-do lists that never seem to end, finding time to read can be a herculean task. Adulthood can be scary like that.
Today, we’re standing our ground and saying a firm “NO!” to these expectations and taking a much-needed break to read and fill our souls with some literary food. Call it a mini-rebellion if you will.
We know you’re on board with this plan as much as we are and so we compiled and summarized 7 short stories by femme folks, to ease you back into the pleasures of reading. You’re welcome. These stories traverse many different worlds of all shapes and colours, from man-eating houses to disappearing women, there’s a range of places to immerse yourself in. So sit back, cosy up and dive into this list of our recommendations. Bon Apple Tea!
1. “The Hollow” – Pemi Aguda
Estimated reading time: 30 minutes
A young woman, Arit, just beginning her career as an architect, is given the task of surveying a house that’s up for renovation. As she explores the mysterious house, she learns its history from the old woman who lives in it, while revisiting her own traumatic past. “The Hollow” is a gripping story of a journey towards healing. It touches on the excesses of men, the cost of justice, physical architecture and the architecture of the soul.
2. “After God, Fear Women” – Eloghosa Osunde
Est. reading time: 53 minutes
When women begin to disappear one after the other, following a visitation from a ghost, an entire town is thrown into chaos. Men begin to keep their wives and daughters under lock and key, and are forced to take charge of their own lives. They aren’t up to the task though, and their efforts aren’t enough to keep the women from disappearing. This story highlights a world that depends on women’s servitude, while disregarding their humanity.
3. “The Girl Who Cried” – Ope Adedeji
Est. reading time: 32 minutes
Spurred by a strange incident, a girl returns home from school with the announcement that she no longer wishes to attend. In anger, and without finding out what her reasons might be, the girl’s mother sends her off to father hoping he’ll straighten her out. Instead, he sends her off to learn a trade! “The Girl Who Cried” is a comic story, told in an honest voice, as it weaves through the intricacies of rural living. It sheds a light on parenting, while examining the power of fear in derailing lives.
4. “If We Were Made Green” – Afopefoluwa Ojo
Est. reading time: 16 minutes
Set in the distant future, this story reimagines Lagos as an eco-friendly city. The architect who led this ecological revolution, meets a young, successful artist who paints otherworldly self portraits. They begin a short-lived affair, and the architect makes a damning confession about the city he has built. Essentially, “If We Were Made Green” examines our dreams of Utopia.
5. “Who Is Like God” – Akwaeke Emezi
Est. reading time: 25 minutes
Set against the backdrop of a religious household, a boy deviates from laid out gender roles when he picks up the hobby of baking. But that’s as far as his mother will allow it. Then a misunderstanding—as well as the blooming of a forbidden love—occurs that will leave him marked, perhaps, for life. This story probes the definition of love, which addressing identity and social restrictions.
6. “Grace Jones” – Irenosen Okojie
Est. reading time: 38 minutes
After losing her family to a fire at a young age, Sidra is haunted by the memory far into her adulthood. Along the way, she takes up a career as a Grace Jones impersonator, having idolised her as a young girl. While she works, her past is always within reach, haunting her into reenacting her trauma. “Grace Jones” is a story about loss in more ways than one.
7. “The Women of Atinga House” – Fatima Okhuosami
Est. reading time: 28 minutes
This story is told by multiple women, all of whom work in the same brothel. We learn their stories and at the same time witness the drama and betrayal that comes with such spaces. It is a witty story about the lives of women at the margins of society.