January and February 2014 bookish activities

Late again – as usual!  What can I say – apart from I apologize?

Once again I am combining two months of reading, buying and other bookish/literary activities.  Admittedly January is usually pretty quiet – at least here in Accra – partly as people recover from Christmas/New Year, and set about new activities.

I read 11 books during these two months:  10 fiction, and one non-fiction, six male authors and five females, two African books, one Ghanaian, and the rest with a non-African focus.  Of the books I read, six were physical and five were electronic.

  1. Scientific progress goes “boink”, by Bill Watterson. [I am a Calvin and Hobbes addict.  I love them, and pity their poor parents!]
  2. NW, by Zadie Smith.  [The pull of a particular area on a group of Londoners as they grow up]
  3. The hunger games, by Suzanne Collins.  [Unusually I had watched part of the movie before reading the book, but on reflection found that the movie had actually adhered quite well to much of the story.  Now I do have to read the rest of the series before seeing those movies!]
  4. Afro SF – Science fiction by African writers, edited by Ivor Hartmann.  [Variable quality, but altogether a pretty good bunch.  I enjoyed the collection!  I wish there had been a Ghanaian writer among them though!]
  5. Inferno, by Dan Brown.  [I know this is light weight reading, but so what?  It read just like a movie script!]
  6. Gone girl, by Gillian Flynn.  [This did come well recommended, and even though I didn’t particularly “like” any of the characters, the story is very, very well told]
  7. The ocean at the end of the lane, by Neil Gaiman. [I love Neil Gaiman, and the way he captures the fears of children especially.  So this was definitely one of my favourites]
  8. Bad blood, by Linda Fairstein. [I had heard of this mystery writer, but never read any of her books.  It was entertaining, and the plot was quite intricate, but I didn’t get much of an impression about the central character]
  9. Death at the Voyager Hotel, by Kwei Quartey. [Light mystery, set in Accra]
  10. The ghost of Sani Abacha, by Chuma Nwokolo. [Short stories set in Nigeria, some I liked, some I didn’t]
  11. Dear life, by Alice Munro. [Short stories by the Nobel Prize winning author.  Read for Accra Book Club.  At first the lives depicted seem to be rather ordinary, but there are often twists in these tales.]

I treated myself to buying nine physical books, and 13 ebooks (thanks to Christmas gift cards!)

Not too many literary activities though.

There were two Accra Book Club gatherings.  For the first one, there were only two of us – a pity as the read was Enders game, by Orson Scott Card, which I had hoped to discuss with someone else, even if the person had only seen the movie, which I don’t think was shown here in Accra (though I could easily be wrong on that score!).  The other ABC discussion by contrast was well attended with six of us talking about Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s latest book.  The setting was suitable – a local restaurant called Buka (a local eating place in Nigeria) – and indeed there were many Nigerians also eating there.

I attended one book launch – at the University of Ghana Institute of African Studies – for the book Africa in contemporary perspective, edited by Takyiwaa Manuh and Esi Sutherland-Addy. Typically I couldn’t stay for the whole function, as I had a meeting to attend!