I got a new bookcase made earlier this year – and ended up putting mostly CDs on it, as that was why I really got it, but it looks like I am running out of shelf space again. So finally I went to the carpenter I used for the last bookshelves, and asked him to make another bookcase. Maybe it will be ready next week? Who knows? He gave me the time, but I suspect it will take him longer.
I think I will have to move quite a few books from some of the other shelves, as these are already doubled up, so it is difficult to see what is there when it is essentially in two layers. Plus I keep buying new additions which when read need a home.
I did go to the biennial (and yes I do mean every two years) Ghana International Book Fair, and I did go twice, as I originally guessed/suspected. There didn’t seem to be quite as many stands as on some previous years, but generally it seemed better organised. There were quite a few events taking place during the week – some workshops for publishers, writers, poets, plus some book launches as well as gatherings for children. I went to one book launch – of some Senior High School textbooks for Core Maths and Core English – held at British Council, mainly because of an email invitation from the Ghana Library Association. The brochure for the Fair wasn’t badly done, and had contact details for exhibitors, which is useful in the future.
For me personally there wasn’t that much I was interested in – the big market is of course the educational one – and for general reading many of the exhibitors had books suitable for primary age children. Otherwise the selection seems to be aimed at the academic market, so I did pick up a few things for work, and met a colleague who was doing the same!
The kids did buy some second hand “trashy” novels (I wonder why not more of these second hand sellers were around – I guess they figure they don’t need to bring attention to themselves? or it is is too expensive to exhibit?). And I bought a couple more African Writers Series books, plus some Nigerian plays which I have heard of, but I am ashamed to say I have never read.
Not sure how these two ends of the market – which are mostly education oriented are going to make a reading nation, but still I suppose it is a start.
I saw in Saturday’s Mirror that the Silver Bird cinema complex at the Accra Shopping Mall is supposed to have a books and music area… I wonder when that will happen? The first shop in the Mall opened more than a year ago, and the cinema still isn’t finished and functioning… It really is taking a long time. I look forward to seeing the selection of books and CDs – as well as the prices. I hope there is some thought to this market, plus the fact that many expatriates probably buy books from Amazon and music on iTunes or the equivalent. I also hope the movies are new and not some rehashed old DVDs which one could borrow from a local DVD rental place… Maybe they are planning for a Christmas opening?
It is something to look forward to, though, as one of small book collections here in Accra – mostly children’s books plus some toys – housed in the Dealer store in Osu is closing down. Pity. I did buy a couple of cookbooks from there, plus some Putumayo CDs.
I shouldn’t complain really. This coming week is the 7th Ghana International Book Fair at the National Theatre. I’ll probably go at least twice – once on my own to have a snoop, and see what is available, plus once at the weekend with whoever will be coming with me on my shopping. I do have to prepare my pocket though, and make sure that I have enough cash on me. In the past I’ve usually found some good things – not necessarily fiction though. Once again, anticipation is half the fun! but I will pass the word round to colleagues at work. I suspect some will take a look… There does seem to be more publicity this year for the Fair, plus events. I hope the attendance is OK; I expect there will be the usual crowds of children, but that is always the case at these kinds of fairs cum events.
More later on any outstanding finds.
In the meantime I am still reading Barack Obama’s The audacity of hope, which seems appropriate for this period. I have already informed the kids that the only TV that will be allowed from Tuesday evening will be tuned to a news channel. So the African movie and cartoon watchers are warned!