2015 reads slightly analysed

I did a fair amount of reading during 2015, though I didn’t meet my target of 75 books in the Goodreads challenge for 2015: I read 72 books which was 96% – not too bad!

I still tend to read more physical books than e-books – 60% for the physical. And still have four shelves+ of To Be Read titles!  And yes, there are TBR titles on my Kindle too!

I borrowed about 5% of the books read – mostly from where I work (an academic library).

My reading in 2015 was still dominated by fiction – about 60%, with women authors featuring in over 50% of the titles read.

As usual I read a fair number of crime, science fiction/fantasy and thriller books – covering more than a third of what I read.

These were some of my favourite 2015 books:

  • Midnight in the garden of good and evil, by John Berendt
  • The short and tragic life of Robert Peace, by Jeff Hobbs
  • An untamed state, by Roxane Gay
  • Southern Reach trilogy, by Jeff Vandermeer
  • Child 44, by Tom Rob Smith
  • The passage, by Justin Cronin
  • Colour my English, by Caryl Phillips

November – librarians’ meeting and readings

When I initially started thinking about this post I thought November hadn’t been a particular busy month, but on reflection, maybe that was not quite the case.

I completed five books during the period:

  1. The kaya-girl, by Mamle Wolo [First prize Winner of the 2011 Burt Award]. A fun read for teens/young adults.
  2. Florida heatwave, edited by Michael Lister. [A collection of thriller short stories set in Florida; some definitely better than others]
  3. My first coup d’etat: Memories from the lost decades of Africa, by John Dramani Mahama [Written when the now President of Ghana was Vice-President; some interesting anecdotes from a contemporary politician.  We felt we had to read and discuss this book before Ghana’s Election Day on 7 December 2012]
  4. It happened in Ghana – A historical romance 1824-1971, by Noel Smith [not sure how to describe this book, which mentioned various events in Ghana’s history; I didn’t think it was that great]
  5. A discovery of witches, by Deborah Harkness [all right, I haven’t read the whole Twilight series, but this vampire/witch/daemon story has its entertaining bits!]

There was a preponderance of books on Ghana, with more fiction (as usual), but more male authors than female.  And I did read two of the books on my Kindle, definitely a bit more than usual!

I bought four books during the period – all from Vidya Bookstore  so as usual my TBR shelves continue to grow

  1. Joseph Anton, by Salman Rushdie
  2. The casual vacancy, by J K Rowling
  3. American dervish, by Ayad Akhtar [actually on one of my wish lists for a while]
  4. Amateur spy, by Dan Fespermann

My bookish/library activities during the month of November were three:

  • Ghana Library Association‘s biennial congress & AGM – took place in the first week in November.  Alternately interesting and a bit irritating.  Great to see professional colleagues.  Election results were pretty interesting – a much younger group elected!
  • Accra Book Club’s discussion of My first coup d’etat, by John Dramani Mahama.  We all agreed that it was great that a Ghanaian politician should put pen to paper, and wished that more would do so.  Reactions from those of us who had spent some time in Ghana did differ a bit from those who hadn’t.  But generally we liked it.
  • Readings by Chuma Nwokolo, author of The ghost of Sani Abacha and Diaries of a dead African, at his visit to Ashesi.   Very entertaining and amusing.  I think all the students and others present enjoyed it.

Maybe readers should be the judge as to whether November was a busy or quiet month?

A weakness for cookbooks

I am not a good cook, though I do like to bake at the weekends.

But I do like to buy and skim/read through cookbooks.

Although my shelves of cookbooks don’t particularly look like it, I do try to buy any Ghanaian or African cookbooks which I come across, which admittedly are not that numerous. Here are a few of them – some definitely newer – in colour, with photos – and some older, with a few line drawings if one was lucky, none was much more the norm.

Interestingly the newer Ghanaian cookbooks are often aimed at those in the diaspora – many of whom who may be of Ghanaian origin – and wanting to recreate a little bit of “home” through their cooking. With the increasing availability of items such as plantains and yams even in mainstream supermarkets, plus the plethora of so-called “international” supermarkets catering to multi-ethnic communities, as well as the so-called “Ghana stores” or “African supermarkets” which are no longer total rarities even in suburban areas of the US.

One of the best sources of Ghanaian recipes which is not in book form – yet – can be found on Fran Osseo-Asare’s BetumiBlog http://betumiblog.blogspot.com/ which not only has recipes, but talks about alternatives and the whole process at arriving at formal recipes. Fascinating, though I admit to not having the patience to do this.

Apart from Ghanaian/African cookbooks I love looking and drooling at contemporary cookbooks with their beautiful photos – and knowing that my dishes never look anything like that. Middle Eastern/North African/Mediterranean food are all pretty attractive to me, especially those that do not use a lot of meat. Baking too is a weakness – after all that is something I often do on a Sunday afternoon.

So here are some of what is on my shelves, and in some boxes.

NB: I was originally going to post this as part of the Blog Action Day on FOOD, but obviously it didn’t happen quite as planned!

Better late than never?

Reorganizing my books

I do admit that I haven’t posted much in the last few weeks.  Not really for lack of material, but more for lack of inclination, and for lack of time and more importantly commitment.

Last weekend I moved from our house to rented premises – to allow us to have some reconstruction done – and although we are somewhat settled, there are still several boxes of books to be unpacked and organized!  Because so much stuff has been accumulated over the years, I have almost forgotten how much space it all takes up!

Doing the actual work does take up time and energy, not always in great supply after a full day, and certainly not assisted when the electricity goes off!

And of course it seems as if there aren’t enough shelves so I will have to get some more made – which  amuses everyone at home to no end!  I guess it is all made worse by my trying to put together non-fiction, children’s stuff, mysteries/thrillers/crime (quite a lot), African literature, books on Ghana, and also other novels. And I really, really filled the shelves, as you can see.

Then there are all the “To be read” books which I usually try to keep separate so they stand as a reminder of all I have in store for the future!