The Daily Post, of this WordPress blogging platform, provides a theme each Friday which bloggers can use as a prompt for writing or for photography. I subscribe to the blog but I’ve never thought of using any of the prompts until I read Friday’s theme:
“Roy G. Biv: no, he’s not the new bagger down at the grocery store. “Roy G. Biv” is an acronym made of the first letters of the seven colors of the rainbow, to help you remember: Red. Orange. Yellow. Green. Blue. Indigo. Violet. It’s also your photo challenge theme for this week!”
Participants can share one image that “contains all the colors of the rainbow (or an actual rainbow or share a multi-photo gallery, one image for each color”.
So I’ve decided to share and talk about seven books, with each book cover depicting a color of the rainbow. BTW, I’d never heard of the acronym ROY G BIV before, who knew?
Here is ROY G BIV in Books:
Red: The Fisherman by Chigozie Obioma
Four middle-class brothers who are also fishermen and a prophecy are the centre of this 2015 debut by Nigerian writer Chigozie Obioma. Helon Habila, in a review for The Guardian, concludes with:
“The Fishermen is an elegy to lost promise, to a golden age squandered, and yet it remains hopeful about the redemptive possibilities of a new generation – what I like to call the “post-nationalist generation”, described as “egrets” in the book: harbingers of a bright future.”
Orange: The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis
The best orange-covered book ever. Inside its covers are four collections of short stories published by Lydia Davis between 1986 and 2007. Davis, I’m sure you’ve heard before, is the most inventive of short story writers. She’s also the most frugal; she wastes nothing. Here is the entire story “Certain Knowledge from Herodotus” on pg 325:
“These are the facts about the fish in the Nile: “
Done reading the story? Good, unto yellow then.
Yellow: The Yellow Arrow by Victor Pelevin
Ignore completely the caption at the top of the book cover: “Victor Pelevin is the Russian David Foster, Will Self and Haruki Murakami”. What is this? I hate these “X from Country A is this person Y from Country B”. People who feel the need to write such drivel should go solve some quadratic equations.
Years ago, I discovered that telling some Russians that “Mihkail Bulgakov is one of my favorite writers” garnered one cache, including several shots of premium Russian vodka. It also got me a recommendation to read Victor Pelevin and a fan was born. Trains with entire nations on board, this novella is a metaphor for post-Communist Russia. The Yellow Arrow is fantastic, absurd and a delight to read. My review is here.
Green: The General in His Labyrinth by Gabriel Garcia Márquez
One of three Latin American dictator novels on my shelves. The novel covers the last eight months in the life of Simón Bolívar, the “great liberator and leader of Gran Colombia”. Except in Gabo’s The General in His Labyrinth, Bolivar is not great; here is a sad, pathetic man trying to make his way into exile. His days are marked with bitterness and frustration, his memories give him no comfort. The book is mashup of historical accounts and fiction (magical and otherwise). It is also rewarding to look away from Gabriel Garcia Márquez’s most known masterpiece, One Hundred Years of Solitude, and look towards his other novels and novellas.
Blue: Our Lady of the Nile by Scholastique Mukasonga
I keep track of gaps in literature and I’m always aware of those African countries whose literary cultures I remain ignorant of. Rwanda is such a country and I’m glad to have found a book written by a Rwandan writer that I want to read. Scholastique Mukasonga’s novel is set in a 1970s elite Catholic boarding school for girls and portrays events leading up to the 1994 Rwanda Genocide.
Indigo: Indigo by Molara Wood
Book covers in indigo? Luckily I have Molara Wood’s collection of short stories so I’m covered! I’ve been looking for this collection for a while (never mind that I’m in Ghana and kept missing opportunities to have it purchased for me from Nigeria) so when Molara tweeted that the kindle edition would be free on Amazon for one day only, I snapped it up. It’s in my next pile of books to read. Stay tuned.
Violet: The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Violet and purple? One is a spectral color, the other is a composite color. Purple has more red, violet is true. I won’t sweat the difference. The Color Purple – Celie’s life as it unfolds in those letters addressed mainly to God and then later, to her sister Nettie, the depiction of black women’s struggles in 1930s Alabama, the film adaptation which I saw with my godfather in Nairobi, redemption! – is a seminal book. The Color Purple.
“She like a queen to me, so I say to Kate, Somethin purple, maybe a little red in it too ”
“it pisses God off if you walk by the colour purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it”
That my 7 Books for ROY G BIV.