Sunday, February 06, 2011

Library Additions

I am behind in the only time-bound Challenge - Top 100 books to be read in five years. Consequently, on Saturday, February 5, I went on a book hunt in search of the necessary books that would help me succeed but ended up buying more books that are not on the challenge's list of books. However, I got books for my other Africa related challenges. The books were a mix of English Classics (which I would feature on my blogs), African Literary pieces, and a non-fiction. I virtually had to roam every corner in Central Business District of Accra where I had ever seen a book being sold and in doing this I got lost several times passing places I had already passed and still asking for directions to this same place. That's what happens to a quasi-recluse.

English Classics:
  1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte: almost every reader has read this book. Readers are quite divided between being an Austen fan or a Bronte fan. Though this book is not on any of my reading challenges, the author is on a long list of authors I want to read. I have a list of over two hundred authors whose books I would buy anytime I come across them; however, this is not a challenge. This novel is also on a list of Top 100 books by the BBC;
  2. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte: Same as above except that this book is on my list of Top 100 books to be read in five years. It is also on the Guardian's and BBC's list of Top 100 books;
  3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: This is also on my list of Top 100 books to be read in five years. I have heard great things about all these English Classics and I believe I have to satisfy myself by reading it. Note that my background has nothing to do with studying novels for class so I am far behind in classics that many have read. Also, present in the Guardian's and BBC's list of Top 100 books;
  4. Persuasion by Jane Austen: This is not on my list but I chose it because of the author. Later, I would love to read everything by the Brontes and Austen.
  5. Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy: I read and love Jude the Obscure. I purchased this for the same reasons as 1 above. It is not on any list of Challenges but on a list of authors I want to read.
  6. Tess of the d'Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy: This is his most talked about novel. It appears on most Top 100 list such as the BBC's together with Far from the Madding Crowd.
  7. Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence: Not on any Challenge list, I purchased this book for same reasons as in 1.
  8. The Adventures of Huckleberry Fin by Mark Twain (US): Not on my list but there is no need to give a reason. This book has been read by most literary enthusiasts and last year being the centennial year of Twain's death I believe those of us on the periphery of the Fellowship of the Words should at least have a go with this much-talked about widely-banned book. Yes, it has also been on the list of most banned books because of its use of the 'N' word. Currently, it has been banned from most classrooms in the US and there is a call to 'clean' all the 'N' word out. I have no say in this issue but I believe a book cannot be appreciated in isolation. It is best read and appreciated within the environment within which it was written. Besides, every word used by an author is significant to the complete understanding of whatever has been written.
Conclusion: Only two of the non-African books are on any Challenge list. Impulse buying?

African Literature:
  1. The Purple Violet of Oshaantu by Neshani Andreas (Namibia): for the Africa Reading Challenge. This is the author's debut novel;
  2. A Question of Power by Bessie Head (Botswana/South Africa): on my Top 100 list. After reading A Woman Alone, I purchased Maru and finally I have obtained the book whose search led me to purchase the first two;
  3. Harvest of Thorns by Shimmer Chinodya (Zimbabwe): on the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Africa Region Reading Challenge. Doris Lessing describes the book as 'A brave book, a good strong story';
  4. Shadows by Chenjerai Hove (Zimbabwe): Looking for Bones, which is on my Top 100 list but had to settle for this;
  5. Houseboy by Ferdinand Oyono (Cameroon): for the Africa Reading Challenge.
  6. Mine Boy by Peter Abrahams (South Africa): for my Top 100 list. The first copy I bought had several blank pages. According to the cover page, this novel is 'the first modern novel of black South Africa' according to the cover page;
  7. The Clothes of Nakedness by Benjamin Kwakye: for the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Africa Region Reading Challenge. A friend told me her impressions of this book and I decided against reading it. However, this challenge and Geosi Reads have virtually forced me to read it.
Others
  1. Fury by Salman Rushdie
  2. The Art of War by Sun Tzu translated by Samuel B. Griffith (Non-Fiction)
So these are the books I have added to my library. I shall let you know my thoughts as I gradually gnaw my way through them.

10 comments:

  1. Wow, that is some good compulsive shopping! :-)

    I am eager to read about your opinions on the classics. I am also behind on them, I have read only 1 to 4 and I am supposed to be in a PhD programme on English Literature, argh!

    By the way, I have watched "Desert Flower" yesterday. I don't know if you've heard of it, it's a movie on Waris Dirie, a Somali-born fashion model turned activist against femal genital mutilation. The movie is an adaptation of her memoir. Read it/watch it if you come across it.

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  2. Tess of the d'Ubervilles is on my list too, but it seems like such a sad story that I can't bring myself to read it yet.

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  3. @Stefania, It was really compulsive as I have to take a drastic effort to catch up. If you are in the third year of a five year project and has achieved only 16% of your target you have to take a drastic effort to complete it.

    I would let you know what I think on them, though it is not in me to review the non-African books I read. But I would let you know of my thoughts. I believe you would soon catch up... lol and like always I would be reading your thoughts if I get google to translate them.

    I have not heard of this. I heard of another from Mali or so. Forgotten her name but I wrote a poem out of her experience and this was a very long time ago when I started writing poems (perhaps in 1998/9). It was titled 'Crucifixion'. I would be on the look out for this as that act, FGM, is one thing I hate most. Thanks for informing me.

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  4. @Charley, I have heard this before. I mean a similar sentiment. I loved the portrayal of marriage and class in Jude the Obscure, though I must confess that I don't know what Tess of the d'Umbervilles is all about. I hope you would come around to reading it one day.

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  5. Wow! Congrats! You've made great purchases. I am glad now have two of Kwakye's novels. I encourage you to start with The Other Crucifix and then plunge your way through The Cloth of Nakedness. I am highly interested to read your thoughts on them. And yay....You've got a Salman Rushdie? Where did you buy that one, Fury?

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  6. @Geosi, I got it from some wayside dealer opposite Glamour. It smells of age. lol. Definitely you would hear from me on these novels. You mean The Other Crucifix should be the entry point? I hear you... would look out for that. Is it published by Heinemann AWS?

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  7. What a fantastic list of books! The English classics don't interest me all too much (a few are languishing on my shelves and likely will be for a lot longer!) but the African lit sounds so interesting! Can't wait to hear your thoughts.

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  8. @Amy, I can see because I have hardly 'heard' you mentioning them as others do. They have made it sound so interesting so I had to try it out too.

    You would read my comments on the African lit.

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  9. Oh, I can't wait to hear what you think of Jane Austen! Pride and Prejudice was my favorite book, but it got pushed to second after I read Persuasion last year. I'm already itching to re-read Persuasion!

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  10. @Anna, and I have both! that's double enjoyment. I would let you know what I think of them.

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