Currently: Harmattan in a New Year, Bookish Goals and Reading Challenges

Afenhyiapa! Happy New Year y’all.

It’s 9:30am in Accra. The lights have been on everyday since the December 2015 holidays and I’ve given up anticipating/calculating the return of Dumsor the Dread.

The Harmattan season is upon us here in West Africa. (For those unfamiliar with Harmattan, it’s a December-to-March season of coldish, dry and dusty winds that sweep down West Africa from the Sahara Desert) so

Suffering: Dry throat, smarting eyes, just aggravation and general misery. Three nights ago, I jumped up off my bed at 4am, awakened by an overwhelming smell of smoke, convinced that my house was on fire. As I reached for the door handle, my brain remembered that characteristic smoky scent of Harmattan. The house was not on fire. Just wicked Harmattan winds. I went back to sleep comforted but cursing my completely dried-out nostrils. Harmattan is one of those iconic, bizarre seasons — far better to talk about than to experience. Where are the rainmakers?

Reminiscing and grateful for: The holiday season, which I spent in bed, in my village. Oh, glorious sleep. Such a fitting way to end what was a stressful year. (I’m tempering my emotions here but 2015 was awful). I even took afternoon naps. In between sleeping, napping, reclining, I managed to finish Dilman Dila’s A Killing in the Sun.

Canceling: Any attempt to organize my 2015 reading into a coherent post. I did a poor job of tracking and reviewing the books that I read in 2015. Moving on….

Reflecting: On my 2016 Bookish and Reading Goals. I’ll keep them flexible and brief:

  • Have fun reading.
  • Shadow judge the Etisalat Prize for literature
  • Read at least 50 books
  • Reread some of my favorite books

Joining: reading challenges.  I like reading challenges. The struggle to complete them is fun and I never beat myself up for not completing a challenge ☺.  I’m doing the following 2016 Challenges:

  • What’s In a Name? 2016.   A title-themed system. I have to read one book for each of the following categories of titles:  a country, an item of clothing, an item of furniture, a profession, a month of the year, and a title with the word ‘tree in it. Cool themes. Early days yet but I’m having trouble with the clothing and furniture titles.
  • Deal Me In Short Stories and 100 Shots of Short.  I read plenty short stories every year so my yearly 100 Shots of Shorts is no big deal.  Deal Me In involves a deck of playing cards, four categories and 52 stories.  Crazy fun.  I’m yet to compile my categories and list of short stories and I’m already a week behind. Stories that I read for one won’t count for the other challenge. In other words, I’m doing a 152-short-stories challenge.
  • The TBR Triple Dog Dare and #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks.  I started populating my Goodreads to-read shelf  with my unread books and the count is 90 and rising as fast as my hands can type. Too many good books go unread in my house, some for over two decades. For the Triple Dog Dare, during the first three months of 2016, I have to read books that are in my possession (as of December 31, 2015). I can make up my own rules for #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks. I’ll do that later.  But there it is– I’m delving into my stacks this year.

Hosting:  The African Reading Challenge again this year. Do sign up if you’ve resolved to read African literature this year.

(The featured image for this post is Difficult Choice by Jong-Hae Jeong)

I wish everyone a fantastic year filled with good books and good health.

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12 comments

  1. I failed miserably with my reading last year so I’m not making any promises or resolutions. I simply pray I am able to read at least half way through my Classics Challenge.

    Happy New Year and good luck. 🙂

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    • I hope this year goes better for you. It seems quite a number of us struggled with our reading last year. It happens. Happy New Year. I’ll be in touch more 🙂

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  2. I read up on the Harmattan in preparation for my review of Dry Season, Slovenian author Gabriela Babnik’s novel set in Burkina Faso (Istros Books). The season is a secondary character in that book. Where I live in western Canada, our winters tend to be rather cold with a fair amount of snow (more or less). But as we like to say “It’s a dry cold” and that never feels as brutal as a damp cold. However we do get very high winds and your skin and sinuses dry right up. You have my empathy!

    As for reading goals, I plan to make no formal ones, just lots of general objectives. If I meet any of them, I’ll share the fact. Otherwise only I will know where I went off the rails!

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    • General objectives are good too :). I’m hoping that folks will help keep me on track. I’ve gone off too many rails. The Harmattan is letting up. But it’s also sneaky. It can disappear and appear during its season. So we wait.

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    • My decision to catalog on Goodreads has led to a newfound love for that site. All those books! The closest I’ll come to some is seeing them on Goodreads – too many books, too little time.

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  3. I think I have to do some blogging on my bookish activities this year. 2015 was definitely sparse on that front.

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  4. You do way better on challenges than I do so I decided simply not to try any longer. I have joined the triple dog dare but then that’s not really a challenge. It won’t be that difficult since its only for a few months and i can still buy, just can’t read…. I’ll follow your Africa reading challenge with interest so I can pick up some new authors

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    • I don’t think I do way better than you. Perhaps, I’m better at Challenge porn, :). So many I covet and yet I have no time and will to follow through. Let’s hope this year is better. The Triple Dog Dare should make a dent on our unread piles. Enjoy your reading in 2016.

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