Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Readers' Top Ten - Amma Konadu

About Hannah Amma Konadu Anarfi: Amma Konadu is blogger - at Amma K's Outlet - and a final year student at the Department of English at the University of Ghana, focusing on advanced creative writing and African/African-American literature. She is the current president of the department and a founding member of the Creative Writers' Club (CWC). She prefers to describe herself as a developing writer and poet.

Below is Amma's Top Ten. Note that I have linked the titles and authors to posts within ImageNations, where available. My views and hers might not be the same and so beware when reading them.
I’m almost ashamed to say, I have read more books from foreign writers than from African writers. But thankfully I have read enough to list my top ten. I must thank Writers’ Project of Ghana for introducing me to amazing reads. School has also helped. Alright so here goes...

It is my number one, because my, oh my! I have read that book about 4 times now and you should see it now…with notes made on almost each page! I love, love, love the read, the characters (God knows I fell in love with Father Amadi) and the emotions it triggered in me. I was angry at a point, frustrated at a point, sad, I wanted to kill Eugene with my bare hands, I tell you! Simply beautiful!

Let me first start by laughing out loud! I rise and salute this man for his witty humour! It blew me away. The richness of the book in terms of language…it is a sad story he tells. But he does so in a much laid back way, you just take the story in cool. I loved the second diary best and that particular character too. He was fiery enough for my liking. It was sad that he died too. 

The Ghost of Sani Abacha – Chuma Nwokolo
It’s him again, yes. I loved this one too. Again for the humour and particularly because he raised very important issues that we see in the present. I still remember this part, to paraphrase..
If I had grown a beard and bleated through my campaign speech, I would still have won the election because I was in the ruling party.
You can’t help but laugh at the raw truth. Just candid and I love it!

This I know a lot of my peers will not agree with me when I say it’s a good read, because I have shared the book with a few of my friends and they couldn't even finish it. They were not getting the story. But I remember what one of my professors told me in a criticism class. He said; "The story, can sometimes start right from its front cover". And this book is one of such. The art on the cover page is in itself a story, before you even begin to read. What I loved about the book was its style. How she told the story in an almost poetic way. I have favorite lines from this book that reads like a poem. Take this for instance;
I do not understand this story that crosses my life diagonally, poisoning my existence and leading me towards hell. I do not understand this musty story…
 And this too
A hand in a half-lit cinema, a hand whose intention I could not fathom. It grabbed mine. Urgent. The music. The film. Voices. The dark. A moist penis. The man running away. An irreparable sensation.
What is there not to love?

Truly it is “a very funny satire”. Again, something we can easily relate to; the corruption in our governments and dirty politics. I loved the love story in there and especially how it ended.

Kongi’s Harvest – Wole Soyinka
The richness in proverbs, the humour in there -The elders just cracked me up! (By now you know I love me some humour). My best part of the book is the sexually suggestive dialogue between Daudo and Segi. Priceless!

This I read just recently and it was a good read. This book became personal to me because when my mother saw me reading it she was so happy, I had the longest chat with her and for the first time she told me many other fantastic tales. So this book I will forever remember. I admire the author for his determination to put his stories out there.

Faceless, Not Without Flowers, and Beyond the Horizon – Amma Darko
These three books I read a while back and I enjoyed. I think she did a good job capturing the true nature of things, especially looking at street life which she captured in Faceless. She did not exaggerate. What she wrote about are things that happen day in day out. I’d choose her books over Peggy Oppong’s any day (I must be candid here).

There are other books I've read and enjoyed including those from African-American writers like Toni Morrison (I love that woman). I have drawn lots of inspiration from her book, Zora Neale Hurston’s  “Their Eyes Were Watching God”, Du-Bois’ “Souls of Black Folk”…they are not African Writers but they do throw some light on the realities in the lives of Africans in the diaspora. 


  1. I'm truly ashamed to say I won't be able to get enough books to make a top 10.
    I've probably read exactly 10 book by Africans. Some weren't too good but others were awesome.
    I'm trying to improve on the number

    1. That's the purpose of this series Dela: to guide you to those African books you might enjoy and to whip up their reading in you.

    2. Efo. A book at a time, you will get there, and you'd be surprised to find real good books too. I am currently on a Veronique Tadjo spree. I just got two more of her books yesterday - Queen Pokou and The Blind kingdom...i've started with the latter. Not bad. Not bad at all. Has similarities with 'The Palmwine Drinkard' in terms of the fantastic scenes, characters and events.
      Keep reading!

  2. Interesting compilation! though there are only 8 here...Perhaps I have wrongly counted.

    1. Thanks for the comments Mary. The trick is the last entry. Each - Faceless, Not Without Flowers, and Beyond the Horizon - is a book of its own.

    2. Yes, the last is made up of 3 different books from one author. ;)

  3. Faceless and Not Without Flowers have been reviewed on my blog. Simply put, they are great social commentaries. As the Crow Flies is waiting to be read. Your review has made me more curious to read it, Amma. A fine list you have up there!


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