July round-up – books etc

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:

  1. 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?]
  2. Late rain, by Lynn Kostoff [I guess you could call this a crime story, maybe Florida noir?]
  3. The kill artist, by Daniel Silva [pure escapism, but a good story nonetheless. I do like Silva’s hero!]
  4. 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.]
  5. Holes, by Louis Sachar [I had seen the movie, and then came across the book. Not sure which one I preferred!]
  6. 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!

Follow-up to a BIG literary week in Accra.

Earlier this month, I posted briefly about all the literary activities that were going to take place in Accra.  I guess it is really time to talk about how I took part.

Ghana must go Amazon coverI didn’t attend Taiye Selasi’s first event at Taverna Tropicana on 16 July; I was at a meeting instead.  But I heard it was fun, there was good music, a youngish crowd, and there were books for sale!

Selasi’s reading on 17 July was definitely a more up-market affair, taking place at Villa Monticello.  I saw a couple of ambassadors and their spouses, plus various Ghanaian literary personalities were around.  Entertainment journalist/blogger Ameyaw Debrah has not only coverage of the event (including some photos – including one which includes yours truly!), plus a copy of a review of the book.  Definitely worth looking at.  The venue was packed – maybe 100 people? and many more were turned away, which I suspect was disappointing for them.  Fortunately  I had bought a copy of Ghana must go while on holiday, so at least I was able to get it autographed.  Those who thought they would be able to buy copies were not so lucky however, as I heard later that the books hadn’t yet been cleared from the airport!  [I think I have mentioned this issue before?]

I was very lucky to hear Taiye Selasi speak at an after dinner discussion on 18 July at the Yale event, From success to significance.  This was not a reading, but more or less an extended interview, giving those of us lucky enough to be present a further insight into some of her lifetime decisions – including that of becoming a writer.  Very complementary to the readings of the day before!

The Spider King's daughter Amazon coverAnd to top off the week, there was the African Writers Evening on 19 July at Sytris.  Featured were:  Nigerian writer Chibundu Onuzo and Martin Egblewogbe, with Nii Ayikwei Parkes in the chair!  Onuzu gave the second of her Accra readings (the first one took place on 17 July – which of course I missed as I was attending Taiye Selasi’s reading), with excerpts from her first novel The spider king’s daughter, while Martin Egblewogbe (of Writers Project of Ghana, among others) reading from some of his unpublished short stories.  Luckily I was able to buy a copy of Onuzo’s book.  Although I enjoyed the event, ultimately I thought it was too short!  Definitely a compliment then.

A BIG literary week in Accra!

51hg9fpz0gL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_This is definitely going to be a heavy literary week in Accra, and when I first realized what the schedule would be, I wondered, on Twitter, whether I should clone myself!

This is definitely going to require a bit of juggling.

It started off with Writers Project of Ghana‘s Sunday evening radio show on CitiFM… with Chibundu Onuzu and Elizabeth-Irene Baitie.

Tuesday 16 July:  Taiye Selasi is doing a reading of her book, Ghana must go, at Taverna Tropicana in Nima.  There will also be music, DJ Kobby Graham.  Time:  from 8pm.  I would have liked to go but I think I might give this one a miss, as I do have to go to work the next morning.  Plus I have another commitment that evening…

Wednesday 17 July:  two events on the same day!   Chibundu Onuzu and Emmanuel Iduma will be reading at the WEB DuBois Center in Accra, from 6pm.  And, Taiye  Selasi is officially doing her Ghana launch of Ghana must go at Villa Monticello at 7pm [I think I will go to this one.]  I have a copy of her book, which I must start reading.  If there are copies for sale, then maybe I will buy some for work?

Friday 19 July:  Chibundu Onuzu and Martin Egblewogbe are doing readings, organized by Nii Ayikwei Parkes, at Sytris [I think I will go to this].  Onuzu’s book, The spider king’s daughter, is definitely on my wish list!

Thanks to fellow blogger, Creative Writing Ghana, for a composite post on some of these events.