A couple of busy bookish weeks for me at the end of February – not that I haven’t been reading during the previous weeks, but somehow, the end of the month seems to have a greater intensity than earlier on.
Mid February was a discussion from the second book club/group I belong to here in Accra. The group doesn’t seem to have a name, which for my filing is a little awkward. Should I call it Accra Book Club 2? or Book Club 2? or Other Book Club? Maybe I need to discuss with the person who has been coordinating things for this group?
Anyway this month the choice was mine, and I thought it might be interesting to discuss John Boyne’s The boy in the striped pajamas which I read in 2010, but then revisited by watching the film with the same name over the Christmas holidays. I have to admit I wasn’t sure I wanted to watch the film, because I knew that the ending was not going to be happy, but I found it quite well done on the whole. Definitely one of the better film adaptations of a book, in my opinion.
What particularly marked this particular gathering/discussion was the fact that this was the first time I had read, or in this case re-read, a book on my Kindle for a book club. For some reason I have always been able to get physical books to discuss. But this time, someone had taken my physical copy to school, so there was no choice left but to go the ebook way! Not a hardship, I admit.
But a sign of things to come?
I don’t think I could do any better than the Africa is a Country blog in mentioning the Africa shortlists for the 2011 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize.
I am always happy to see these annual shortlists, to see whether there is anything I have read or should put on my TBR pile. I suspect I will add Helon Habila’s book Oil on water to a reading wishlist, as well as Aminatta Forna’s The memory of love and E C Osondu’s Voice of America.
I am a little embarrassed to admit that not only are the many South Africans on the list are unknown to me, but I suspect likely to remain so. There isn’t much South African fiction available here in Ghana, despite a fairly large community of South Africans living and working here.
A pity there was no Ghanaian nominee this year, but not too surprising.
I started subscribing to the email newsletter of AfricaBookClub.com sometime in 2010, and do enjoy some of the articles and the links.
This month’s interview is with Manu Herbstein, author of Ama, a story of the slave trade, but also of northern Ghana and Asante. I had met Manu on a few occasions, and was of course interested to see what his prize winning novel would be like. But I also remember having to ask my daughter to buy me a copy of this book when it was first published, as it was only available in the US via a publish on demand company called E-reads. It is only fairly recently that it has become available in Ghana.
How things have changed over the last nine years or so!