The third book group I belong to is quite different from the others. It is led by a real bookworm, who is a book reader and lover, a photographer and producer of several podcasts https://soundcloud.com/bookradioafrica related to books and reading. He also has an online business selling books though that website seems to be under reconstruction at the moment!
Members too are young and mostly Ghanaian. I think yours truly is the oldest member.
A theme is chosen each month and then Bookworm Man puts together a list of contemporary books, complete with blurbs and audio files. Members then vote for their choice, and sometimes even there is a second round!
Since mid-2017 we’ve read and talked about the following:
- Here comes the sun, by Nicole Dennis-Benn [set in contemporary Jamaica]
- Ginny Moon, by Benjamin Ludwig [main character is an autistic teen]
- Who will catch us when we fall? by Iman Verjee [takes place in Kenya]
- Born a crime, by Trevor Noah [autobiographical account of the South African comedian’s early life]
- The book of night women, by Marlon James [takes place in late 18th century Jamaica]
- Before I go, by Colleen Oakley – our March 2018 read
I probably wouldn’t have chosen some of these books if I had been browsing for myself, but then that is the great thing about a book group. You read what you like; and you read material that is different from your own “preferences” (whatever those might be).
During 2017 I did a good bit of reading, and even managed to read over 80 books according to Goodreads.
This did include books on Ghana/by Ghanaian authors as well as books on Africa/by African authors.
For Ghana, I only read one fiction book:
From pasta to pigfoot, by Frances Mensah Williams [written by a diasporan Ghanaian, taking place in both the UK and Ghana]
Why only one fiction book from Ghana? Well, I do admit that I don’t have very many on my TBR shelves.
For non-fiction there were a few more:
- The President’s physician: Bumps on a smooth road, by Bettina Ama Boohene-Andah [memoirs of President Kufuor’s physician]
- What’s up: Vocabulary for those new to America, by James Gyasi Boateng
- Ghana on the go – African mobility in the age of motor transportation, by Jennifer Hart
- Future of the tree – Towards growth and development of Kumasi, edited by Kwasi Kwafo Adarkwa
- Values, standards and practices in Ghanaian organisational life, by Samuel N Woode
- Crossing the color line: Race, sex and the contested politics of colonialism in Ghana, by Carina E Ray [included a chapter of several women married to Ghanaians]
- Reflections of an ordinary African woman, by Akua Djanie
I did read several books by African writers:
- Aya de Yopougon, vols 4-6, by Marguerite Abouet & Clement Oubrerie [graphic novel, read in French!]
- Born on a Tuesday, by Elnathan John
- Blackass, by A Igoni Barrett [for Accra Book Club]
- Amie: An African adventure, by Lucinda E Clarke [gave this a low 2 star rating]
- Radiance of tomorrow, by Ishmael Beah [for Accra Book Club]
- The maestro, the magistrate and the mathematician, by Tendai Huchu [for
Accra Book Club]
- Behold the dreamers, by Imbolu Mbue [for Accra Book Club]
- Who will catch us as we fall, by Iman Verjee [for GhanaMustRead book group]
For non-fiction on Africa, I read the following:
- We should all be feminists, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
- The bad-ass librarians of Timbuktu, by Joshua Hammer [for Accra Book Club]
- The house my father built, by Adewale Maja-Pearce [dealing with tenants in an inherited
block of flats in Lagos!]
- The African city – a history, by Bill Freund
- Longthroat memoirs, by Yemisi Aribisala
- Born a crime, by Trevor Noah [for GhanaMustRead book group]
Part of my reading by Ghanaians/on Ghana depends on availability. I do find there aren’t a lot of fiction books written by Ghanaians. As for the books on Africa/African fiction, there is of course much more choice.