November could be termed Ghana Reading Month here on ImageNations. Most of the books I read went into the Ghanaian Literature Week organised by Kinna at Kinna Reads. Of the five books I planned reading, three were read, I am reading the fourth, To Kill a Mockingbird, and the fifth, A Place of Beautiful Nonsense, has been postponed. I also reviewed Tail of the Blue Bird as part of the GLW celebrations.
- Tail of the Blue Bird by Nii Ayikwei Parkes. This a book about a young man Kayo trying to crack a case of seeming murder in a village of Sonokrom. The book highlights the science versus tradition (spirituality) tango. Depiction of Ghanaian living was palpable and true. This book was read in October but reviewed in November for reasons already stated.
- The Other Crucifix by Benjamin Kwakye. This book is about identity, culture shock, home and more. It follows Jojo Badu as he finds his way into the US and the trappings of living in such society which makes one forgetful of home or makes one question what home is and where it could be found.
- Tickling the Ghanaian by Kofi Akpabli. Kofi's works ask questions and explore topics in a way that people have never really done in a very long while. In fact his work is destined to be important for many years to come especially as we refuse to let our older generation teach us the importance of every traditional belief, traditional item and more. What is the importance of the cloth to the Ghanaian, or the Schnapps, or Akpeteshie (local gin)? Kofi's writing is funny and probing. In this book we encounter contemporary Ghanaian culture.
- The Imported Ghanaian by Alba Kunadu Sumprim. Alba's work is a somewhat antithesis of Kofi's work. Whereas Alba's seemingly also want to ask questions, it was more judgmental than exploratory. Picking on certain experiences and observations, the author provided scathing discussions of these issues, providing what in her mind was to be done. The tone was acerbic and vituperative at several points. However, there were some funny moments in the book. To know that the author had just arrived from the UK, where she was born, is important in appreciating this work. I am eager to read what she has to say 10 years later.
I managed to read one Caine Prize 2011 Shortlist:
- Butterfly Dreams by Beatrice Lamwaka. This is a story about child soldiers, rape, conflict, survival, trauma and more. And it is a short story.
In December, there are no specific titles but there is a specific objective: to read only books that are on my challenge list. My Top 100 Books Reading Challenge is only two years to the end and I am not even a quarter through the list. Fortunately, with the help of some friends, both home and abroad, known and unknown, I have managed to obtain some of the books on the list. Thus, I would be focusing mainly on these books. The implication is that few, if any, of African-authored books will be read this month, except if it is on the list and I have it. Also, if things go through well with my reading objective, I will be joining Iris on Books in her Advent with Austen which began on November 27, and ends on December 24.
My plans for next year will come out soon.