Monday, December 02, 2013

November in Review, Projections for December

October was such a great month for reading that I thought I would not be able to repeat it again. Thus, even though I read a total of eight books, I set a target of six (6) for November, knowing that if I really have to play catch-up to my target of 60 books in the year, I would have to do better because of the poor showing in the months of August and September. 

However, November turned out to be not different from October. Like October I read exactly 8 books, including all the 6 books I projected to read; however, better than October I read a total of 1,988 pages (66 pages a day). I read one each of memoir, short story anthology, novella, and five novels; seven African-authored books (from five different countries, spread across four regions(West, East, Central and Southern Africa)) and one English author. Thus, according to Goodreads, at my current rate I am one book ahead. The following are the books I read:
  1. True Murder by Yaba Badoe. This story deals with the psychological effects of loss and break-ups in marriages. It is more than a Young Adult fiction.
  2. The Poor Christ of Bomba by Mongo Beti. Mongo Beti is the second Cameroonian novelist I have read after Ferdinand Oyono. This book examines the clash of cultures and beliefs and the consequences of imposing one's religion on another.
  3. Dreams in a Time of War by Ngugi wa Thiong'o. This is a childhood memoir of Ngugi wa Thiong'o. It traces is life during the struggle for independence and his own personal struggle for education.
  4. Allah is not Obliged by Ahmadou Kourouma. Kourouma is also the second Ivorian I have read, after Veronique Tadjo. In fact, I read two of Kourouma's books: one after the other. This particular one is about a  young boy of ten who got caught up in the Liberian-Sierra Leonean war when he embarked on a search for his aunt in Liberia.
  5. Waiting for the Wild Beasts to Vote by Ahmadou Kourouma. Similarly, this book treats political issues. It satirises the development of autocratic governments and demonstrates the effects of the Cold War on leadership in Africa.
  6. A Bit of Difference by Sefi Atta. Sefi Atta's book is difficult to describe. As its title suggest it is different. It 'just' tells of the ordinary life of an upper middle class woman who shuffles between Lagos and the UK, in a complex way. Sefi just talks about the ordinary events in her life: her work, her relationship or the lack of it, her friendships, her hopes and fears. Yet, this is a 'bang' of a book. You see those books that you take and the prose and descriptions are so 'tight' and enthralling that you cannot wait to see what will happen? Yes, this is one of those. It really is not saying much but you cannot leave it. Sefi is an excellent novelist. This is a good book, really a bit of difference.
  7. Animal Farm by George Orwell. Who has not read Animal Farm, either on their own or as an assigned text? This was my second reading of this excellent novella that traces the development of an autocratic regime and how the people are swindled to believing that their politicians represent their best interest. It shows the role of propaganda in politics.
  8. South African Short Stories by Denis Hirson (editor) with Martin Trump. This is a collection of twenty-one short stories. They capture the everyday lives and the problems of apartheid. 
As I negotiate the final bend into the homestretch, I hope to complete the challenge early in December (by the second week). The following are the books I intend to read in December:
  1. Head above Water by Buchi Emecheta.
  2. A Cowrie of Hope by Binwell Sinyangwe
  3. African Short Stories by Chinua Achebe and C. L. Innes (editors)
  4. No Sweetness Here by Ama Ata Aidoo
These four books will take me to my target. However, I will read others as and when I get the books.

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