Friday, July 20, 2012

Library Additions

This year I've been slow on the book-purchasing front. Very slow. However, I've been lucky to have been gifted with some books. The first three books have all been read and were purchased in Tanzania. My reminder of that country. The following are books I've come to possess but which I haven't shared with you:
  • The Black Swan - the Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. The book is about how important some events are and how to protect yourself against them, especially Black Swan events that occur in Extremistan. I hope this will mark the beginning of my slight shift towards non-fiction. 
  • The Rational Optimist - How Prosperity Evolves by Matt Ridley. This book challenges the usual perception of a deteriorating world, of a world heading toward destruction. It gives hope back by figures and examples. It shows how prediction of doom have failed to materialise - beginning far before Malthus prophecy - and yet people will not stop predicting.
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. This is a bittersweet book about the life of a young girl during Nazi invasion and the World War II. The story is narrated by Death.
The following set of books were purchased in Uganda and have not yet been read. Both are poetry anthologies:
  • Cut off My Tongue by Sitawa Namwalie. I watched Sitawa and another poet perform almost the entire poems in this book at the Ugandan Museum. That performance could possibly be the most memorable literary night I've ever had.
  • Unjumping by Beverly Nambo Nsengiyunva. Purchased it at the same programme.

The following sets of books are gifts I received from friends and publishers:
  • Home by Toni Morrison. This will go to helping accomplish the quasi-challenge of reading the entire books of Toni Morrison, one of my favourite writers.
  • The Periodic Table by Primo Levi. "The book it is necessary to read next. After a few pages I immersed myself gladly and gratefully. There is nothing superfluous here, everything this book contains is essential. It is wonderfully pure, and beautifully translated... I was impressed" - Saul Bellow
  • A Month and a Day and Letters by Ken Saro-Wiwa (Foreword by Wole Soyinka). Saro-Wiwa was hanged by the military government of Sani Abacha in Nigeria and though it became clearer that it was politically motivated as he spoke loudly for his Ogoni people against the environmental degradation by the petroleum industry.
  • Traces of Life - A Collection of Elegies and Praise Poems by Abena P.A. Busia. Promises to be interesting, even at a glance.
  • The Place We Call Home and other Poems by Kofi Anyidoho (and two CD narration of the poems by the author). Fantastic!
  • Diplomatic Pounds and Other Stories by Ama Ata Aidoo, my second copy. This is a twelve-story anthology that subtly explores and questions some of those things we hold onto in the name of tradition.
  • Fathers and Daughters - An Anthology of Exploration, edited by Ato Quayson. The authors in this anthology will blow you away.
I will be reviewing all these books on this blog. Let me know if you have read any of these.


  1. I can't wait to read The Book Thief. I have heard so many great things about it. I hope that you enjoy it too, Nana!

    1. It's could easily pass as the best novel I've read this year. And that will be saying something.

  2. some great addition ,I was touched by the Levi when I read it years ago ,all the best stu

  3. I have not read any of the above, Nana. I went to the Legon Bookshop for a copy of the Diplomatic Pou;nds, but there was none. I would love to read that and Fathers and Daughters. Incidentally, I think I may know Ato Quayson. He was my TA in Legon years back. Is/was he a prof of English Literature at Oxford? A great list you have here by the way. Looking forward to reading your reviews, as always.

    1. I can lend you a copy of Diplomatic Pounds. I don't personally know Ato Quayson and have not read anything about him too. Will check him out.

    2. Oh really? I would love that. Where can I get you to pick up the Diplomatic Pounds?

    3. DM me where you're on twitter. I am currently on leave and I live around Madina.

  4. The Periodic Table has sat unread on my shelf since 2003--your post might just make me pick it up!

    1. I read some comments about the author and I think it intrigues me enough for me to read it.


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