2010 in Review

My decision to start this blog, in March 2010, was the best thing that happened to the reader in me this year.  It’s been fun and challenging at the same time. Book bloggers are an amazing lot.  The community accepted and welcomed me with incredible warmth. Amazing too has been the realization that people (outside Africa) really appreciate African literature.  Because I’m often told by African writers about how difficult it is to get their work published outside Africa.  According to publishers and agents, African literature does not sell very well in the West.  But this is due to a lack of marketing of African books, isn’t ?  This blog makes it possible to connect with other African bloggers.  I’m glad to be part of the growing scene of African bloggers.  We need to connect and converse more with each other.

Here is my list of other African book-related good things that happened or that I discovered in 2010:

  • Nana Fredua-Agyemang of ImageNations is arguably the best promoter of African literature in the book blogosphere.
  • Amy Reads – Can there possibly be a greater fan of Nigerian literature among book bloggers?  Amy reads a lot and her book list is quite diverse and eclectic.  All one has to do is mention a Nigerian book and poof! just like that, its read and reviewed at her blog.  She even run a week-long focus on Nigerian literature.
  • Rebecca Reads’ An African Autumn for which she read and reviewed classic and contemporary African fiction and non-fiction
  • A Ghanaian literature week here at Kinna Reads
  • All the other bloggers who routinely blog about African books.
  • I apparently inspired a fellow Ghanaian, Geosi Reads, to start blogging.   There are now four book bloggers in Ghana.  I hope for more Africans blogging about and promoting reading and writing in 2011.
  • Cassava Republic and Ayebia Publishing – two publishing houses that focus on African books.
  • The wonderful fiction by younger African writers, especially, women writers has been delightful this year.  Undoubtedly, a writing life in Africa is still very difficult.  But, I also feel that, these are much better times for writers on the continent.  Provided, of course, that we readers continue to read and promote their works.
  • Discovering Catalan and Maori literature through books by Merce Rodoreda and Patricia Grace respectively.
  • Poetry by the Scottish writer Jackie Kay

My compliments to book bloggers from The Commonwealth countries; they are doing a wonderful job introducing us to the literature and authors from the community.  Talk about cultural exchange!

Now to a review of my reading in 2010. I read 52 books.  I hope to read more in 2011 because, of course, being a part of the book blogosphere directly translates to more books that one wants to read.  The delight of a never-ending stack to books on one’s shelves.  My five favorite books of 2010 are:

And since I’m partial to the works of African women writers, I would like to acknowledge the following books:

I’m throwing around several ideas for my 2011 reading and will present a plan or two once I’m clear.  Happy New Year everyone.  Enjoy your reading adventures in 2011 :).

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  1. Wolf Hall was also a top 10 of 2010 for me.

    I’m looking forward to your lusophone choices. Are you planning to only read from African Portuguese-speaking authors or also from Portugal and Brazil?


    • I mostly plan on reading lusophone literature from African. But I will try and throw in some books from Portugal and Brazil. Jose Saramago is one of my favorite authors. I’m yet to read his last two books.


  2. Well, I may have read a few books, but it was just the tip of the ice berg! I’m glad you began blogging this year — and I intend to keep reading African literature along with you!


    • I’m glad you will continue reading African lit. I saw your final list of books that your read for the Autumn adventure. Quite impressive. I will be reviewing The Book of Chameleons soon.


  3. Looks like you had a very successful year by all measures. Thanks for increasing my awareness of African literature (and adding lots of titles to my list of books to read). Happy New Year, and here’s to a book-filled 2011!


  4. Congratulations on your blogging and reading year, Kinna, and best of luck for 2011! As a newcomer to your enjoyable blog, I especially look forward to reading more about African and Catalan authors here in 2011 (both figure among my own literature goals/plans for next year). Cheers!


  5. I’m a newcomer to your blog. I love international literature and have been trying to read more non-European works. I think your blog is going to be a great resource.

    I haven’t read Wizard of the Crow but I did enjoy Petals of Blood.


  6. There is no doubt that Nana Fredua deserves such a huge mention. And I am honored that you gave me that inspiration. Thanks. I wish more and more Ghanaians would see the need to blog about books. A special mention also goes to Amy and Nana Fredua. I have really enjoyed being a part of the book blogosphere.


  7. Thank you so much for putting me on your list :) I am honored! I think the lack of marketing is one issue with African literature not selling well, the other (and bigger in my mind) issue is that it just isn’t available. Of course people don’t buy it if they don’t see it. Only those who go out of their way to order online pick it up so it is a MUCH smaller market. If there was more marketing though more people would know to pick it up online at least. I just wish it was more readily available in stores so that when people were browsing they could come across the titles.

    You read such a great list of books, many of which I know I will be looking for in the coming years. Actually I have a friend and co-worker looking for a few titles for me while he is home in Kenya for a few weeks (Matigari by Thiong’o) ;)

    I hope your 2011 is even better! I’m awful glad you started blogging and look forward to many more years of getting to know you.


    • Thanks so much for the kind words, Amy. I haven’t read Matigari so I’m looking forward to your review. What you say about the availability of African books is so true. I wonder why publishers bother to print a book and then watch go out of print. This happens to African authors a lot. Yes, I’m also looking forward to an even better 2011. Happy New Year :)


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