Reading for 2010 – a few statistics

My colleague, Nana Fredua Agyeman, adopted the Boston Bibliophile meme, on his reading for 2010, so I guess I might make a shot at it too, though I have missed out quite a few of Marie’s categories!

Books read – to time of posting:  109

Fiction vs non-fiction:  59 fiction (with the largest category being crime/mystery, 50 non-fiction (the largest category being food/cookery)

Male vs female authors:  60 male, 45 female [obviously some figures don’t add up, as I wasn’t sure of the sex of some of the authors/editors!]


  • The graveyard, by Neil Gaiman
  • The grand Sophy, by Georgette Heyer
  • Tail of the blue bird, by Nii Ayikwei Parkes
  • The boy in the striped pajamas, by John Boyne
  • Cutting for stone, by Abraham Verghese

Least favourites:

  • Baltasar & Blimunda, by Jose Saramago
  • The sportswriter, by Richard Ford
  • Circles, by Boakyewaa Glover

Which countries did I go through in my year of reading?

Africa:  Ghana, Sierra Leone, Mali, Liberia, Nigeria, Cameroon, South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia

Non-African:  UK, USA, Spain, Sweden, Canada, Iran, India, Pakistan, Italy, Russia, Australia, Netherlands, Germany, Poland

Any re-reads?

  • The grand Sophy, by Georgette Heyer
  • The adventures of Sherlock Holmes, by Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The clothes of nakedness, by Benjamin Kwakye

Most read authors – all except the following, were one of each: Jasper Fforde, Terry Pratchett and Benjamin Kwakye – all two books each

On where I got recommendations from:

  • Accra Book Club reads are a must
  • Great African Reads, from GoodReads, is a guideline, though I don’t always read the books being covered at the time but eventually maybe
  • BBC World Service’s World Book Club selections – though sometimes this may the author rather than the actual books being discussed
  • My sister
  • book reviews (mostly online but from varied sources),
  • what I see in local bookshops and others in the US

And in what format did I do my reading? So far all in physical books, as I am still getting used to my Kindle, which I do like.  But downloading books here in Ghana does have its occasional challenges!


Nana Ayebia Clarke for UK award?

I read on Ghanaweb that Nana Ayebia clarke had been nominated for one of the Queen’s New Year
Honours.  But these haven’t been released yet, so there is no official confirmation, so I wonder whether I should actually say something about this, or leave it.

But then I looked at the article again, and realised that it is sourced from Ivor Agyeman-Duah, a contact whose opinion I respect, and moreover someone whose work has been published by Ayebia which is the publishing company set up by Nana and her husband, so maybe there is truth in this story?

Personally I would hope so, as Nana Ayebia has done a lot to support African, and especially West African, and shall we say even more specifically Ghanaian writing.

Not that long ago, I read Benjamin Kwakye’s The other crucifix, (published by Ayebia) which I have to admit I didn’t like as much as his previous novels, which were set in Ghana.  Still, as an account of a diasporan Ghanaian’s life in the US, it is a welcome addition to the genre.

And just as additional informal promo of Ayebia’s books, I have the following on my TBR (to be read) pile:

  • A fine madness, by Mashingaidze Gomo
  • Queen Pokou, by Veronique Tadjo
  • The book of not, by Tsitsi Dangarembga

The only issue is that sometimes Ayebia books are a little difficult to source here in Accra, but that’s a chronic issue.

So when the formal New Year’s Honours list for 2011 comes out, I will post more on this subject…

More on BarCamp Ghana 2010

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I did attend BarCamp Ghana 2010 – which actually makes it my third!  Not too bad, I think.

I will not go on at the length that my colleague, Nana Fredua Agyeman, has written but I would like to offer a few comments.  I did attend the same sessions that Nana mentioned:  journalism and citizen journalism, telling the African story/ies and blogging.

I did miss Farida Bedwei’s presentation though – often one would like to clone oneself so that one can attend more than one session at a time, but it was not to be.  Well, I did see what the Twitter feeds were on the subject (see the hashtag #bcghana), not too detailed but definitely gives one a flavour of what was going on.

For me the best thing was meeting people I may see sporadically – some at GhanaBlogging, some at other BarCamps, but it is also a great chance to meet face-to-face with those one has online contacts.

And I was reminded that there are so many connections between us here in Ghana, as I met someone who was a relative of a work contact who turned out to have attended college in the US where my daughter went for medical/graduate study!  Small world…


Ghana Library Association annual general meeting taking place in Kumasi

I am a librarian, by training, and by profession.

This week, on 16th and 17th December 2010, the Ghana Library Association, to which I belong, is holding its 2010 Biennial Congress and AGM.

Unfortunately I am unable to attend – as it is taking place at KNUST in Kumasi, but I do hope that it goes well.   I think it will also be a good opportunity for many library practitioners based in the northern part of Ghana, and especially in and around Kumasi, to attend such a function, without having to travel all the way to Accra.   Certainly I know I used to feel a little left out and deprived of events when I lived in Kumasi, so in that sense I think it is very much a good thing.

But for me personally I just couldn’t go. Being away right at the end of the semester, when the piles of returned textbooks grow higher and higher, is not fair to colleagues.  Plus travelling right before Christmas when traffic becomes doubly insane is another disincentive.  And then there are the domestic considerations…   So plenty of reasons, or are they excuses?

I do feel a certain element of disappointment, of course.  I do like meeting fellow librarians and colleagues, and just generally supporting the Association.  The theme of “Open access to information” is also interesting and relevant, though I suspect some of the papers may be on the theoretical rather than practical side.

One small comment:  I wish there were some colleagues who were tweeting about it, but so far I haven’t found any.

But I shouldn’t feel too deprived of networking events, as I will be going to the BarCamp Ghana 2010 event on 18 December which is taking place at Ashesi.  And I know there will be lots of write-ups and tweets to look at during and after the event.

Links re African literature and the Nobel Prize

A couple of interesting links on African literature and the Nobel Prize.

Thanks to Chris Blattman for his post, and the recent opinion by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani in the New York Times.

I admit I have not read either Dinaw Mengestu’s latest novel, How to read the air, or Petina Gappah’s An elegy for Easterly, but the latter is certainly on my wish list.

I have read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s collection of stories, The thing around your neck, which I enjoyed, though obviously some stories more than others.

And I admit I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani’s debut novel I do not come to you by chance.  Having received many 419 emails and even a couple of 419 letters (admittedly that was in the 1990s!), I wasn’t sure whether I would find it interesting, but it was fun, and seemed to reflect a lot of the issues of contemporary Nigerian/West African urban life.

BarCamp Ghana 2010 taking place on 18 Dec 2010 at Ashesi

BarCamp Ghana 2010

BarCamp Ghana 2010, an ad-hoc gathering where attendees meet for discussions, demos and networking, will take place on December 18 2010 at the Ashesi University campus in Accra. The theme is  “Create dreams, work smart and shape the future”. Following the successes of BarCamp Ghana ’08 and BarCamp Ghana ’09, regional BarCamp events were organized in KumasiAccra and Takoradi and Barcamp Ghana 2010 will crown the year as the national event.

BarCamps all over the world have brought together individuals and organizations to collaborate on various projects and businesses. BarCamp Ghana’10 is a FREE event for anyone who is interested in using their skills, talent, and resources to benefit Ghana and Africa as a whole. This year, the focus is on telling stories and discussing ways of how entrepreneurs and businessmen can create wealth in a burgeoning Accra metropolis faced with a myriad of challenges.

Unusually, the pivot of this year’s event revolves around breakout sessions instead of the usual mix of discussions and expert panelist presentations – regardless, experts will be seated in each breakout discussion to facilitate the coherence of relevant facts and knowledge on all respective items for deliberation.  This strategy was inspired by the desired outcome of this year’s gathering which is to stimulate an engaging conference between industry stakeholders, consumers and prospective entrepreneurs on the workings and current realities of industries and services in Ghana.

Impressive yet poignant is our bill of facilitating experts, all of which effect the changes and growing definition of their industries worth and direction in this era. Our confirmed list includes

  • Bernard Avle of CITI 07.3 FM,
  • Leila Djansi of Turning Point Pictures,
  • Oluniyi Ajao of Web4Africa,
  • Solomon Adu-Atefoe of Agric Development Bank,
  • Golda Addo of Energy Solutions Foundation,
  • Mohamed Amin Adam of Publish What You Pay,
  • Philip Gamey of Web & Software,
  • DK Osseo-Asare of Anamcity,
  • Paul Tenejou of ROI-MOB-Lang,
  • Ronke Ampiah of Smiles for Christmas

Register or RSVP your participation today at the BarCamp Ghana Eventbrite website. You may also contact the BarCamp Ghana team through the Eventbrite website for sponsorship opportunities. Also, If you are interested in proposing a breakout session, let us know, especially if you have special needs.

BarCamp Ghana 2010 is proudly sponsored by the Ashesi UniversityVodafone GhanaMeltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) , GhanaThink Foundation, Fie.nipa, NandiMobile,Mobile Web Ghana and Google . Our media partners are CITI FMRadio Univers,ModernGhana, GhanaBlogging, Sunlight Radio America, The New Ghanaian, and Skyy Digital. The customer support hotline is 020-1500033. You can send questions, comments, and feedback by SMS and get responses.

See you there!

The above is  a press release about the forthcoming BarCamp Ghana.  I’ve been to at least two of them, and look forward to going to this one.