2017 reads: Ghana and Africa

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:

  1. The President’s physician: Bumps on a smooth road, by Bettina Ama Boohene-Andah  [memoirs of President Kufuor’s physician]
  2. What’s up: Vocabulary for those new to America, by James Gyasi Boateng
  3. Ghana on the go – African mobility in the age of motor transportation, by Jennifer Hart
  4. Future of the tree – Towards growth and development of Kumasi, edited by Kwasi Kwafo Adarkwa
  5. Values, standards and practices in Ghanaian organisational life, by Samuel N Woode
  6. 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]
  7. Reflections of an ordinary African woman, by Akua Djanie

I did read several books by African writers:

  1. Aya de Yopougon, vols 4-6, by Marguerite Abouet & Clement Oubrerie [graphic novel, read in French!]
  2. Born on a Tuesday, by Elnathan John
  3. Blackass, by A Igoni Barrett [for Accra Book Club]
  4. Amie: An African adventure, by Lucinda E Clarke [gave this a low 2 star rating]
  5. Radiance of tomorrow, by Ishmael Beah [for Accra Book Club]
  6. The maestro, the magistrate and the mathematician, by Tendai Huchu [for
    Accra Book Club]
  7. Behold the dreamers, by Imbolu Mbue [for Accra Book Club]
  8. Who will catch us as we fall, by Iman Verjee [for GhanaMustRead book group]

For non-fiction on Africa, I read the following:

  1. We should all be feminists, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  2. The bad-ass librarians of Timbuktu, by Joshua Hammer [for Accra Book Club]
  3. The house my father built, by Adewale Maja-Pearce [dealing with tenants in an inherited
    block of flats in Lagos!]
  4. The African city – a history, by Bill Freund
  5. Longthroat memoirs, by Yemisi Aribisala
  6. 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.

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My book club activities over the last couple of weeks

Last week there was an Accra Book Club meeting at which eight of us discussed Kathryn Stockett’s The help at a new restaurant here in Accra, aptly named Magnolia’s! Most of us enjoyed the book, though there were some reservations – most specifically that the author did gloss over some of the nastier aspects of segregated life in the southern US in the early 1960s.  Yet the author’s skill in portraying characters who neither completely good nor even completely bad was appreciated.  We all liked the way she described how women in that particular milieu interacted with one another.

It was a good start to the year, and we even got a few recommendations for future reads, though this is still work in progress!

Next reads – from our “old” list are:

  1. The house of spirits, by Isabel Allende
  2. In the skin of a lion, by Michael Ondaatje

I also joined with some other readers in a discussion of Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond’s Powder necklace, which was published last year, and whose launch in Ghana I attended.  A much smaller group, but it was interesting because at least two of those present were members of the Ghanaian diaspora who had returned to settle in Ghana, so could empathize quite a lot with some aspects of this story.

Within a day or so, I must make my final suggestion for a book for this group to share:  at the moment I am split between:  Scarlet song, by Mariama Ba or The boy in the striped pajamas, by John Boyne.

So I really, really need to get my reading act together!