It is interesting that American/Ghanaian mystery writer Kwei Quartey is presently visiting Ghana – obviously doing research on his next book? I heard him speak, and do a reading on CitiFM’s Writers Project programme two Sundays ago, which was at least better than nothing, but part of me wished that he could have given a public reading here in Accra. I guess that is being a bit selfish, but I guess that is what comes of being in this location.
I do remember Quartey being asked about the availability of his books here in Ghana. And of course the usual issues of where publishers chose to promote books came up.
Unfortunately there is also a major issue of what local booksellers chose to sell. I think I read Quartey’s first novel, Wife of the Gods, as a borrowed copy which a fellow Accra Book Club member had bought on a trip outside Ghana. His second book, Children of the street, I did buy from a local bookshop [though I haven’t read it yet], and the third , Death at the Voyager Hotel, I managed to download on my e-reader [actually this happened because Quartey mentioned it on the Writers Project radio programme!] I am not sure however whether any of them are currently available here in Accra, which is very sad, in my opinion.
Thanks to fellow blogger and reader, Chris Scott, for reminding me, via his website that I had actually considered writing about this.
Although it wasn’t that long ago since I posted about my reading, buying and events, this was about May and June, so rather than delaying things, I thought I should get my act together reasonably early this time.
So this covers activities in July.
I completed six books during the period: five fiction and one non-fiction. There were four male authors and two females, and only one Ghanaian author! Plus two were read on Kindle, and the rest in physical form.
Here, in the order that I finished them, are my July reads:
- Mr Penumbra’s 24-hour bookstore, by Robin Sloan [read for Accra Book Club; I preferred the first part of this novel, and didn’t really like the way it ended. Maybe I need to re-read it?]
- Late rain, by Lynn Kostoff [I guess you could call this a crime story, maybe Florida noir?]
- The kill artist, by Daniel Silva [pure escapism, but a good story nonetheless. I do like Silva’s hero!]
- Ghana must go, by Taiye Selasi [family saga or drama; very poignant and moving. I really liked it. I think this is one of my favourite books of the year.]
- Holes, by Louis Sachar [I had seen the movie, and then came across the book. Not sure which one I preferred!]
- Taste – the story of Britain through its cooking, by Kate Colquhoun [I do like cookery and food books, and this one was pretty interesting]
The buying front was also pretty busy – and somewhat self-indulgent. I managed to acquire seven titles on my Kindle (or rather, to be read via a Kindle app on my new tablet) – including four freebies (yeah!) plus nine physical books. That definitely means that I will have to try to restrain myself a little in August.
I attended four book related events in July (previously discussed, so I won’t go into much detail) – and they were concentrated in the last couple of weeks. Two involved Taiye Selasi, who read excerpts from her first novel, Ghana must go, to a packed audience at the Villa Monticello, followed the evening after by a discussion about how she finally made the decision to write her novel. Then Nigerian writer Chibundu Onuzo joined Martin Egblewogbe at an all too brief reading hosted by Nii Ayikwei Parkes at Sytris. And finally there was a reading by chick-lit/romance writer Nana Malone who gave a reading at the Goethe Institut. It was interesting to hear how she got into full-time writing, and that the self-publishing e-book route had served her well.
I am not sure what my plans are for August; I tend to decide on my reading on a rather ad hoc basis. But I have plenty of works to choose from!