Thursday, September 15, 2011

New Acquisitions

Here in Ghana I met a friend who happens to share both my passion and profession. This friend, though not a Ghanaian, has read enough African-authored books to hold meaningful and lasting conversation. And we both share similar opinions on the crowding around of topics and the seeming scatological preferences of publishers, if not of African writers.

This is not what the post is about. Martin, the name of my friend, has gifted me with books I have been meaning  to read by such authors as Jose Saramago and Roberto Bolano. Besides, this I purchased Kofi Akpabli's new book Tickling the Ghanaian at the launch. And got it autographed. Below are the books:

  • Tickling the Ghanaian: An Encounter with Contemporary Culture by Kofi Akpabli. Kofi's penchant for humour and insight pervades his second book. This book takes a second and third look at our culture. Is it archaic as some have come to call it? Through this book Kofi seeks to point out things which have been long overlooked.
  • A Life in Full and Other Stories. This is an anthology of the 2010 Caine Prize shortlist and stories from the Caine Prize Writers' Workshop held in Kenya. In all there is a total of 17 short stories, including the five shortlisted for the prize. I started my Caine Prize Shortlist reading before this book, hence I would still review the shortlist as individual stories and not as an anthology. When I come round to reading the book, I would link to the already reviewed stories and review the 12 remaining stories in the anthology. Given to me by Martin.
  • On the Road by Jack Kerouac. Looks like I am one of the few readers on blogosphere who haven't been wowed by Kerouac. I haven't read any thing by him but have read a lot about him. Jack is considered alongside Allen Gingsberg as the pioneers of the beat generation. According to Wikipedia, On the Road is a story about two Catholic buddies roaming the country in search of God.
  • Blindness by Jose Saramago. Jose Saramago has been recommended (or much talked about) by Kinna of Kinna Reads who considers Blindness to be among the author's top 5 books. I respect Kinna's opinion and hope that she would be right again. Given to me by Martin.
  • Last Evenings on Earth by Roberto Bolano. This is a collection of short stories. I was told that this isn't the best of the Chilean author. Again Kinna has read some of his short stories, though I have not read her recommendations and/or high praise, more like she was ambivalent about the read. Given to me by Martin.
  • Jazz by Toni Morrison. This would have made it three Morrisons but I gave it to a friend who requested for a book, just after Martin had given them to me. If I get it I would read them, if not I would search for another.

20 comments:

  1. It's a good fried that gives another a Saramago book! You tell that to Martin for me. Enjoy.

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  2. I enjoyed On The Road and Blindness. I have yet to read Jazz, although I own a copy and have read 7 of her books. Enjoy your books, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on them.

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  3. I'll Kinna, but he's left the country to pursue higher education. And leaving, he has also left me a pack of books I am yet to pick up. This is a great friend. One that gives you books to broaden your knowledge

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  4. @Sandra... I'll let you know my thoughts, as always.

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  5. Great list, as always. I have read three of them and my favourite is "On the Road".

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  6. @Stefania, heard a lot about this book

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  7. What a wonderful gift!

    I would suggest that "ambivalent" is just what Bolaño was aiming at. He, like Kerouac, is not an author interested in crafting the perfect story. It's much more about the process or journey. That story collection should be a good introduction.

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  8. @AR... thanks for this brief introduction and explanation of Bolano.

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  9. Isn't it wonderful to get new books? I think you have a very nice friend over there to have shared some of these gems with you! Enjoy them all!

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  10. oh wonderfrul selection I ll be review the Bolano soon and loved on the road as teen ,Kerouac wrote with such energy and it shines through in on the road ,all the best stu

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  11. With this consensus I'm bound to enjoy this pile of books.

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  12. Great new collection of books - happy reading!

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  13. I was ambivalent about "Blindness", by the way. It really is a difficult book.

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  14. @Amy, I thank all my beneficiaries, including you, for making my reading an improved one.

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  15. @Stefania, huh? Is that it? I am in for a difficult reading. I hope to come out refreshed and enlightened.

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  16. Wonderful book, particularly a life in full and other stories.

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  17. Last Evenings on Earth is one of my favourite, if not my favourite Bolano, it has all the ambience, all the elements that make up books like 2666 & The Savage Detectives, but in a series of short stories.Saramago is a writer who seems to get a lot of respect from bloggers I admire, hence on my own list & I read Kerouac years ago & there good but of the beats & with my fondness for the poetic I prefer the words of Lawrence Ferlinghetti. you've one hell of a good friend there, but I guess you know that.

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  18. @Geosi, I hope to enjoy this. Have already started blogging on reviews of the shortlisted stories.

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  19. @PL... thanks for convincing me on Bolano and the recommendation (Lawrence Ferlinghetti). Yes, he's solved some of my reading problems.

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