Book Recommendations For Newbies

A question I’ve been asked enough times to warrant a blog post goes thus;

“Hello, you unparalleled vision of beauty and paragon of wisdom, I know you’re really into novels. What books would you recommend for someone trying to get into fiction?”

Me: say less!

The truth is, if it were up to me, I could drop a hot 20 books, but apparently, that would be overwhelming. So what I have done, is chosen 3 books (of the many I love) that are tried, tested champions in my recommendation basket. I am yet to meet one person I have recommended (one of) these to, that hasn’t enjoyed or at least been eager to discuss them.

For a reason I am still figuring out, Happy Noisemaker has a Youtube channel (still pretty new) and I shared my recommendations in the latest video which is linked below. Please make sure you subscribe and click the notification button so you’re aware whenever I upload a brand new video.

Here are my recommendations (and yes, yes, those are affiliate links)

  1. Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo –
  2. The Secret Lives of Baba Segi Wives by Lola Shoneyin – here
  3. Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie –

If you’ve read any of these, let me know what you thought of the book(s) and if you have any more recommendations, please share them!


  • Lyza

    I've read all three yay! However, Stay With Me resonated with me on a different level because I have two kid sisters who have SCD. I've known them my entire life, have watched them deal with this disease and I will tell you that nothing can be more heart wrenching than seeing a loved one go through pain while you stand by almost totally useless to help! I will also tell you that their strength and resilience is second to none. Every day with them is a lesson on faith.

  • Dee

    Great recommendations. Thank you!

  • Oyindrop

    All these books are great recommendations, Jola and I have read them all. I think I would add Being A Nigerian and Daughters Who Walked This Path

  • Mino

    I’ve read all three and I think Stay With Me was my favourite. The book was so painfully sad but the underlying theme was so important. The stigma of childlesness and the burden placed on women was explored so well. Even in Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives too tbf because I did not expect the plot twist at the end at alllll.

    • Roudiyah

      I have been reluctant to read stay with me because I'm scared it will be a trigger for me, buuuut all your recommendations rock i always recommend the same to friends also worthy mentions are swallow, my sister the serial killer, woman in her prime......I can on and on sha

  • Elyon

    Thanks for the recommendationsss. I read purple hibiscus in school but i don't remember much and i hated reading lol, so i'm gonna try it again.

  • Chisom O

    Stay with me is such a beautiful book. Loved it so much I gisted my colleagues at drinks the next day. My manager read it and now she wants more Nigerian books. It’s such a good read. I’ve read the other two as well. Absolutely love them. Purple hibiscus is Chimamanda’s best book to me.

  • D3msss

    I've read The Secret Lives and Purple Hibiscus, and can I just say Lola Shobeyin did amazing work with that book. I think, asides queen CNA, The Secret Lives was the book that really piqued my interest in African Literature when I was like 13/14. It was such an amazing read!! And of course Chimamanda does no wrong in my eyes, so I'll just leave it at that. Seeing as I agree with your other 2 recommendations, I'll have to check Stay With Me out!

  • Shalewarh

    I have only read The secret lives of Baba Segi's wife. That's a very very interesting book

  • Zee

    Never read any. Safe to say it would be deceptive for me to think I’m a book lover😂

    • Ọmọlàbákẹ́

      Lol, No na. A book lover is someone who loves to read books, no matter the genre and that's on periodt!

  • ADK

    Even before I scrolled down to the list, I already knew what that the first 2 had to be there. No. 3 also had to be a book by CNA — I just wasn’t sure which one you would pick. All great choices! That being said, wherever Akinyele (from Stay With Me) is, please he better SQUARE UP.

  • Ọmọlàbákẹ́

    I have read all three! And I agree, these 3 books are enough to indoctrinate anyone into African Fiction. I would add, This House is Not for Sale by E.C. Osondu, it's a very lovely book riddled with humour. Can I add that, I have come to appreciate African fiction much more because of you? Your love for them, has influenced me. So I'm always on the look out for them. And each time I read them, I see the stark difference from "Oyinbo" books and how wholesome, and enriching they are. We've got us some immensely talented writers in Africa.

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