A Stack of Twenty-Two Books Seeking Attention

The Pile


I’ll just go ahead and blame my silence on the pile pictured above.  There are books in there that I need to review, and I’ve been telling myself that if I don’t review those then I can’t say anything else.  It’s bollocks of course but we’ll know about excuses. And procrastination. And excuses.

Daris God ooo…

The stack includes

  • books overdue for review
  • books I want to read and will read
  • books I have to read
  • books I may not read but want to talk about, maybe…
  • books that I’m currently reading

I have this to say about eleven of these books:

The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis by Lydia Davis  – I’ve been crowing about this collection to anyone who will listen in Accra.  Lydia Davis is original; she’ll be my new yardstick against which I’ll measure writers described as original.  You know the saying: a story can be told in many ways? Well, here is an a writer who manages to do that and more. This means that she is a master of the short form – regular length short stories, flashes, one-sentence stories and everything in-between. Here’s a writer who doesn’t waste or let pass anything, anyone or anywhere;  it seems everything can be used in a story.  Run and get this collection. For those who can’t seem to get with the short form, if this collection doesn’t change your mind, I give you permission to stop trying to understand short stories all together.  All hail King Lydia!

I Have Time and Other Stories by Franka Maria Andoh –   This book was recently launched in Ghana.  This is Franka’s debut collection. Funny stories about contemporary, urban Ghanaian living.  The struggle, the struggle!

The Wedding of Zein by Tayeb Salih –   Salih’s Season of Migration to the North is on my top 10 list of books.  I think I’ve read ...Zein before but I can’t recall. It’s a novella so I’m giving it another go.

God’s Gym by John Edgar Wideman – I’ve known of  and been interested in John Edgar Wideman for a very long time and yet have not managed to read anything by him. God’s Gym is a collection of short stories and have been described as deeply personal stories of a writer who’s still trying to figure himself out.  Sounds like a good place to start!

The Madonna of Excelsior by Zakes Mda – I read Mda’s Ways of Dying, which chronicles a few days in the life of a Professional Mourner.  I’ve been meaning to get back to Mda.  This book is based on the 1971 trial of the “Excelsior 19, a group of white Afrikaners and Africans charged under the Immorality Act.

The President’s Physician by Dr. Bettina Boohene-Andah  – In 2004, Bettina Boohene-Andah was appointed physician to H.E. John Agyekum Kufuor, Ghana’s President at the time.  She is the first woman to hold the position and this book is her memoir.

look where you have gone to sit: New Ghanaian Poets edited by Martin Egblewogbe and Laban Carrick Hill –  Martin, author of  Mr Happy and the Hammer of God, hosts a Sunday evening radio program on literary stuff and some months ago I appeared on the show and promptly borrowed (it was more like bullied and took!) his copy of this anthology.  I’m finally reading it; I fear Martin may remind me to return soonest!

Thomas Hodgkin: Wandering Scholar by Michael Wolfers – When my mother speaks of her early academic career she’s sure to thank JH Nketiah, Efua Sutherland and Thomas Hodgkin.  These three appointed  her research assistant of Efua Sutherland.  They are spoken of in hallowed and very  fond terms.  The first two I met; Efua Sutherland remains forever my Auntie Efua.  But I never met Hodgkin, and his Nobel Laureate (in Chemistry) wife Dorothy.  For those of you in Ghana and/or interested in study of African history, the British Marxist historian Hodgkin was instrumental in the founding of the Institute of African Studies at Legon.  Wolfers’ book is the first detailed biography of Thomas Hodgkin.

Mr. Loverman by Bernadine Evaristo – By now most of you would have heard of Bernadine Evaristo.  I gald I have this book as I keep reading good things about it on Twitter.  This is the story of “Barrington Jedidiah Walker. Barry to his friends. Trouble to his wife.”  Yo, I love the name Barrington as in Barriingon Levy!  I’m so looking forward to reading this book.

We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo – Oh Lord, I can’t seem to finish We Need New Names. ah! and I want to finish because I want to talk about it. Mostly about how reading this book transforms me into a petty reader. I like a lot of what I’ve read but….

London Cape Town Joburg by Zukiswa Wanner –  Here’s another writer that I’ve been meaning to read.  This is her fourth novel and she was kind to send me a review copy.  I’ll be reading it over the coming weekend and will review it soon.

Would you like to share the books you’re reading or those you won’t be reading?





  1. Definitely an interesting list. I couldn’t make it to the launch of Franka’s collection; must pick up a copy somewhere. And your comments on “The President’s physician” definitely intrigue me. As for Bulawayo’s book, I have a copy on my TBR pile – and BTW for those of us in Accra, EPP opposite Legon has a lot of copies!


  2. But of course you know my thoughts on Americanah and Nana Fredua’s as well. The President’s Physician is bot bad. And like the author said, it’s not about any shenanigans going on during her tenure with the former President. You need to read it. By the way, I’m yet to read Franca’s book 🙂 There’s much talk on We Need New Names and I may just have to read it to see for myself.


  3. I just read the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. It’s a pretty good read. Hope you enjoy!


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