Tomi Adeyemi’s Book Recommendations

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Welcome to the lifespan, The books section of ELLE.com, in which the authors share their most memorable readings. Whether you’re looking for a book to console you, move you deeply, or make you laugh, consider a recommendation from the writers of our series who, like you (since you’re here), love books. Maybe one of their favorite titles will become one of yours as well.

Children of virtue and vengeance

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Tomi Adeyemi took a week off from writing Children of blood and bones (the first draft of which took a month) and Children of virtue and vengeance. It’s good for her that she gave herself more time and space for the final installment of the West African fantasy trilogy Legacy of Orïsha, whose title she teased in an IG article as “CAA” . (Patience — she’s working on it.)

And better for us than she was not discouraged when told she was a student of English literature at Harvard, she had no future as a writer, or after a first novel was rejected by 63 agents. Children of blood and bones and Children of virtue and vengeance (Henry Holt) not only spent over 150 weeks combined garnishing or NYT bestseller list, but the first is being adapted for the big screen at Disney / Fox / Lucasfilm (his first non-Star wars or Indiana Jones Project).

The American author of Nigerian descent, raised in Chicago and based in San Diego, has two siblings (the older brother of musical artist Tobi Lou and his younger sister Toni), is a Lion, was one of the Times 100 Most Influential People of 2020, Teaches Creative Writing, Has Bernese Mountain Dog, Calls Fans “Tominators”, Writes For Upcoming Netflix Animated Series My father the bounty hunter (from the host of the Oscar-winning short Hair love), and starts each story with a Pinterest board (Idris Elba was on his mood board for Children of virtue and vengeance.)

Love: SZA and Reine, Valentino, Fenty Gloss Bomb, La the devil wears Prada, Giordano Deep Dish Stuffed Spinach Pizza, reality TV shows, K-pop group Seventeen, boxing. Here are the candidates for your next read.

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The book that …

… Helped me get through a breakup:

Dare Big: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead by Brené Brown. I highly recommend the audiobook if you want to be comforted by Brène’s calming voice like good like being inspired to change and transform.

… made me rethink a long-held belief:

12 rules of life by Jordan B. Peterson.

… made me cry uncontrollably:

A very large expanse of sea by Tahereh Mafi.

… I swear that I will finish one day:

Story by Robert McKee. It was given to me when I was in first year in college, and I literally tried to navigate my way for six years.

… I would give a gift to a new graduate:

Goddesses in Everywoman by Jean Shinoda Bolen.

… I would like signed by the author for my library:

Become bulletproof by Evy Poumpouras. For me, Evy Poumpouras is a paragon of female strength, courage and power. It would be amazing to meet someone who has fought and conquered so much.

… made me laugh out loud:

Everything is trash, but it’s okay by Phoebe Robinson.

… I would like to turn into a Netflix show:

An embers in the ashes by Sabaa Tahir.

… I first bought:

The foreigners by SE Hinton (also the first book to make me cry).

… I recommend again and again:

Zen As F * ck: A journal for practicing the conscious art of doing nothing by Monica Sweeney.

… I asked for a Christmas when I was a child:

The Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne. I practically grew up on this magical series. I still like to review from time to time.

… Is currently sitting on my bedside table:

Children of blood and bones by Tomi Adeyemi. Don’t cheat (lol); re-reading the first volume of volume 3!

… gives me the impression of being seen:

The poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo.

… made me miss a train stop:

Six of crows by Leigh Bardugo.

… I would pass to my child:

Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o. Thus, she would never doubt her light or her beauty.

… presents the most beautiful book cover:

Summer hurricane by Asha Bromfield.

Bonus question:

If I could live in any library or bookstore in the world, it would be: one that sells snickerdoodles and provides fluffy blankets and reading nooks.


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