Sunday, 15 April 2018

The Mourned One, 1975, Stanlake Samkange ***

The Mourned one narrates the story of a young man who is condemned for allegedly raping a white woman in Rhodesia, today's Zimbabwe.
Ndatshana is born a twin, separated from his brother after birth, saved and raised by a white missionary. Life is good until he realises he does not really belong and starts to enquire about his background, which, does not sit well with the white missionaries.

The woman he allegedly raped is his

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Dance of the Jakaranda, 2018, Peter Kimani ***

Dance of the Jakaranda narrates the story of the intertwined destinies of a white reverend, a British soldier, an Indian railway worker and a Masai king in today's Kenya before its independence from the British. A novel that questions the true identity of a Kenyan. 
The story has lots of potential, however, it does not meet my expectations, A lot is going on at a time, which keeps on moving back and fort in history. I was more interested in the lives of the characters, I wanted to get to know them better, however the historical events keep on popping up, kindling my interest, although,

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Horses of God, 2010, Mahi Binebine ****

Horses of God tells the story of a boy who lives in abject poverty and squalor in Morocco, falls into Islamic indoctrination and is convinced to carry out a jihad. This book actually is written in remembrance of the 2003 Casablanca bombing. One of the suicide bombers from his grave narrates the story of his life and what led him to become a suicide bomber.

It is not a novel I particularly enjoyed however, I must say it is brilliantly written. An interesting read as we live in an era where there has been more often than not suicide attacks,  a situation that creates

Sunday, 21 January 2018

New Release 2018

What books to watch out for in 2018

 
The Secrets Between Us is a sequel to The Space Between Us published in 2006 by Thrity Umrigar, I'd like to read. It will be published in June 2018 by Harper.


The author of Nervous Condition has published again. She won The Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best Book in Africa 1986 with her first novel. I'd like

Sunday, 14 January 2018

2017 Book of the Year

http://www.maryokekereviews.com/2017/07/dance-with-poor-mans-daughter-1997.html 

I read many interesting novels in 2017 however, Dance with a Poor Man's Daughter was outstanding in so many ways. A page turner, an easy read, a sad read and a hopeful story told through the eyes of a child. This book was published in 1997 and won the Commonwealth Writer's Prize for Best First Book in Africa 1998. This is a novel, I wholeheartedly recommend. 

Pamela Jooste is a South African  novelist. Dance with a Poor Man's Daughter is her first novel.

What was your most outstanding book read in the year 2017?


Sunday, 7 January 2018

2017 Reading Highlights

Read, Enjoyed and Highly Recommended in 2017.

http://www.maryokekereviews.com/2017/09/the-fishermen-2015-chigozie-obioma.html http://www.maryokekereviews.com/2017/07/dance-with-poor-mans-daughter-1997.html http://www.maryokekereviews.com/2017/06/love-in-exile-1995-bahaa-taher.html
 http://www.maryokekereviews.com/2017/04/palace-walk-cairo-trilogy-1-1956-naguib.html http://www.maryokekereviews.com/2017/05/the-book-of-memory-2015-petinah-gappah.html http://www.maryokekereviews.com/2017/02/a-bit-of-difference-2012-sefi-atta.html 


My 2017 book of the year will be announced next week.

Monday, 1 January 2018

Happy New Year 2018


http://www.maryokekereviews.com/2017/02/a-bit-of-difference-2012-sefi-atta.html http://www.maryokekereviews.com/2017/02/a-bit-of-difference-2012-sefi-atta.html http://www.maryokekereviews.com/2017/02/tierra-de-brujas-2016-maria-ferreira.html

http://www.maryokekereviews.com/2017/03/gratitude-in-low-voices-memoir.html http://www.maryokekereviews.com/2017/04/happiness-like-water-2013-chinelo.html http://www.maryokekereviews.com/2017/04/palace-walk-cairo-trilogy-1-1956-naguib.html
http://www.maryokekereviews.com/2017/04/thorns-and-roses-2017-amaka-azie.html http://www.maryokekereviews.com/2017/05/the-book-of-memory-2015-petinah-gappah.html http://www.maryokekereviews.com/2017/06/the-white-tiger-aravind-adiga-2008.html
http://www.maryokekereviews.com/2017/06/the-river-between-1965-ngugi-wa-thiongo.html http://www.maryokekereviews.com/2017/06/love-in-exile-1995-bahaa-taher.html http://www.maryokekereviews.com/2017/07/dance-with-poor-mans-daughter-1997.html
http://www.maryokekereviews.com/2017/07/you-cant-get-lost-in-cape-town-1987-zoe.html http://www.maryokekereviews.com/2017/09/the-fishermen-2015-chigozie-obioma.html http://www.maryokekereviews.com/2017/09/cocktail-hour-under-tree-of.html
http://www.maryokekereviews.com/2017/10/when-we-speak-of-nothing-2017-olumide.html http://www.maryokekereviews.com/2017/09/hausfrau-2015-jill-alexander-essbaum.html http://www.maryokekereviews.com/2017/10/the-underground-railroad-2016-colson.html
http://www.maryokekereviews.com/2017/11/how-to-read-air-2010-dinaw-mengestu.html http://www.maryokekereviews.com/2017/12/the-boy-who-spat-in-sargrentis-eye-2014.html http://www.maryokekereviews.com/2017/02/ghana-must-go-2013-taiye-selasi.html

I read 21 books in 2017, I must admit that I did not read as much I would have loved to. My readings slowed down the last trimester of 2017 due to personal reasons. At least I was able to read as much as in 2016, not less.

What about you? Have you read any of the books mentioned above or any book by any of the writers mentioned above? Please let us know or post a link to your review.

I am wishing you a prosperous reading in 2018. 

Please click on image to read review.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

The Boy Who Spat in Sargrenti's Eye, 2014, Manu Herbstein ****

Manu Herbstein is a historical novelist whose novels are so well researched, Ama: A Story Of The Atlantic Slave Trade is a good example.
The Boy who Spat in Sargrenti's eye is the story of  the invasion of today's Ghanaian territory by the British army told through the eyes of a teenage boy Kofi Gyan, in the 1800s. Villages were ransacked, villagers were hanged, maimed or sent to exile. Tons of gold were stolen and auctioned at the invaders' heart desire.

An easy read, even a book I'd

Sunday, 19 November 2017

How to Read the Air, 2010, Dinaw Mengestu ****

"Like most of the men he was thirsty all the time, and he was convinced that there was something irreparably cruel about a place that put water that could not be drunk in front of you"
"The ships that you see at the far end of the port are all government controlled,... They carry one of two things: food or weapons. We don't make either of them in Sudan"
"I know what you want, he would shout. You want me to go back and have  me dead." In the way he phrased it, death always sounded less like a condition and more like an item from a grocery list. You want me to go back and get the fish. Or You want me to go back and get more bread."
Jonas trying to make sense of his existence, the broken relationship with his parents and the failed marriage to his wife Angela, has to invent a story for

Sunday, 22 October 2017

George Braziller Inc

George Braziller Inc. is an American independent publishing house since 1955, mainly known for their publication of works by foreign authors. George Braziller was the founder, he was born on the 12th of February 1916 and passed

Sunday, 15 October 2017

The Underground Railroad, 2016, Colson Whitehead ****

The Underground Railroad is the plightful journey to freedom of a young woman named Cora, from a plantation in Georgia, United States of America. Her grand mother, Ajarry was kidnapped from Africa and enslaved in America. Her mother Mabel was born into slavery, she supposedly abandoned Cora in search of her own freedom.
This book basically narrates the life of Cora in Randall's plantation, how she escaped, the people that helped, betrayed and hunted her. It is a novel that helps you understand the history of Africans in America.
"For we are Africans in America. Something new in the history of the world, without models for what we will become"
The book is painfully interesting because I know it is a historical novel even

Sunday, 1 October 2017

When We Speak of Nothing, 2017, Olumide Popoola ***

I am not really into the "new release fever", I basically read what I can set my hands on. However, I bought "When We Speak of Nothing" by Olumide Popoola when I visited Atlantis Books  in Santorini. I had no idea who the writer was, however, I know the publishing house Cassava Republic  based in Nigeria and I've been longing to read more books published by them, so, coming across this novel was an opportunity.

This book is about many things and nothing in particular. Nevertheless, it emphasizes on the life of Karl, born Carla, by a Nigerian father and British mother in England. He lives with his mother and never met his father before. After some ups and downs in his relationship with his mother, he decides to travel to Portharourt in search of his father. What arouse my interest is first and foremost, the gender identity in a Nigerian (African) literature, a topic that Olumide addresses so

Sunday, 24 September 2017

2017 Children’s Africana Book Awards

The Children’s Africana Book Awards (CABA) program is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.   CABA awards are presented annually to the authors and illustrators of the best children’s and young adult books on Africa available in the U.S. The awards were created by Africa Access and the Outreach Council of the African Studies Association (ASA) to encourage the publication and use of accurate, balanced children’s materials about Africa. Over the past 25 years, CABA has recognized 90 books for children and older readers.

Reviewers read 30 to 40 books a year, nominated by publishers and copyrighted in the year preceding each awards ceremony. Books must be available in English in the United States. The number of awards varies each year depending on the quality of what has been published.

In addition to honoring a total of 90 books set in 24 countries, the Africa Access’ website (africaaccessreview.org) provides scholarly reviews and criteria for evaluating books.

The 2017 CABA Winners are:

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness, 2011, Alexandra Fuller

I read Alexandra Fuller's "Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight" and fell in love with her writing, therefore, I decided to read Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness. A non-fiction dedicated to her mother. Her birth, how she met her husband, how she came to settle in Africa. The children she gave birth to, the ones she buried, the friends she lost and the ones she gained. Her continuous moving. How she strove to remain in the African

Monday, 11 September 2017

Hausfrau, 2015, Jill Alexander Essbaum ****

I am not sure why the low ratings of this novel on Goodreads and Amazon. Is it because of the writing, which I think is not bad at all or is it because of the main character who is simply annoying?

I read this book because in one of Chimamanda's interviews on The New Yorker, This Week in Fiction: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie By Willing Davidson April 6, 2015 When asked:

The undercurrent of attraction in the story is elegant and subtle, and yet we sense by the end the interest that Okenwa has in Raphael, and it snaps the beginning of the story into place. How do you go about constructing a story such that the ending reveals something about the beginning? Are there stories or novels you particularly like that you think do this well?

She replied:

Sunday, 3 September 2017

The Fishermen, 2015, Chigozie Obioma ****

I met Chigozie Obioma in person when he was invited to Barcelona for his book promotion in Spanish and Catalan. I haven't read his book then, we took a picture together and I found his speech, questions and answers interesting. Click here for more info regarding his visit to my city.

Chigozie is a stellar storyteller and writer, another talented novelist full of promises from Nigeria,"The Fishermen" is only his debut novel, in spite of its accolades, I

Sunday, 27 August 2017

New Releases 2017


   


I bought  copy of When We Speak Of Nothing by Olumide Popoola purchased from Atlantis Books Oia, Santorini.

Arundhati Roy published her second novel 20 years after releasing The Gods of Small Things.

I am a huge fan of Abdulrazak Gurnah, I have read his books By The Sea and Admiring Silence which I highly enjoyed and recommend. His latest novel is "Gravel Heart". 

The Author of  The Spider King's Daughter strikes
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