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:
- Wizard of the Crow by Ngugi wa Thiong’o
- Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
- The Time of the Doves by Merce Rodoreda
- The Stone Virgins by Yvonne Vera
- The Healers by Ayi Kwei Armah
And since I’m partial to the works of African women writers, I would like to acknowledge the following books:
- Tropical Fish: Tale from Entebbe by Doreen Baingana
- Imagine This by Sade Adeniran
- I Do Not Come to You By Chance by Tricia Adaobi Nwaubani
- In Dependence by Sarah Ladipo Manyika
- True Murder by Yaba Badoe
- African Love Stories editied by Ama Ata Aidoo
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.