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

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Fourth Estate

Fourth Estate is a publishing house founded in Nothing Hill, London and later acquired in 2000 by an American publishing house HaperCollins one of the "Big Fives". The Big Fives are five of the publishing houses through which an important percentage of books in English language are being published. They are: Penguin Random House, Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster and Macmillan. To read more about Fourth Estate please click here.

Books I have read published by Fourth Estate are:

Sunday, 23 July 2017

You Can't Get Lost in Cape Town, 1987, Zoë Wicomb

I bought this book a long time ago. I could not read it, I find the writing style difficult, though poetic and a bit confusing. I did not struggle, I left it on my shelf and picked another one. Nevertheless, after reading Dance with a Poor Man's Daughter by Pamela Jooste  a novel that narrates on the ordeal of being "coloured" in apartheid South Africa, which, I enjoyed and highly recommend. Although, I felt there is some aspect of their story missing in the narrative as it is

Monday, 17 July 2017

Cassava Republic Press

As part of my Publishing House Project I am going to talk about Cassava Republic Press. It is true that most of the books I read are published abroad and none or few are published in the African continent. That is why it is a breath of fresh air when I came across Cassava Republic Press, a publishing house based in Nigeria.

The first book published by them that I read is

Sunday, 9 July 2017

2017 Spring Read


 https://maryokekereviews.blogspot.com.es/2017/07/dance-with-poor-mans-daughter-1997.html

 
I read 8 books this Spring, it is a lot compared to the 5 I read in Winter. The

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Dance with a Poor Man's Daughter, 1997, Pamela Jooste *****

Dance with a Poor Man's daughter is the story of one of the "coloured" families forced to relocate from the Cape Town area known as District Six in South Africa during apartheid, told through the eyes of a little girl. 

District 6 Memorial Plaque
ALL WHO PASS
Remember the thousands of people who lived for generations in district six and were forced by law to leave their homes because of the colour of their skins. Remember St. Mark's Church and the community who resisted the destruction of district six. -Hands Off District Six Campaign 11.2.1989

Lily lives with her grand mother, her aunt Stella and uncle Gus-Seep (that is how she calls and spells his name). Her mother Gloria left for Johannesburg because the valley is too small for her. Lily loves her grandmother more than she loves her mother, which she makes clear.
'You don't always like your mother as much as you would like to, do you Lily?' he says and I don't even have to answer him because he knows it's true.
The Group Area Act is approved, Lily and her family are forced to leave their house and move to the flats. Her mother, from Johannesburg hears what is going on and decides to fight in order to make sure that the house where  six to

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Love in Exile, 1995, Bahaa Taher *****

The title of this novel is misleading, of course love is one of the  themes discussed. However, I must say that it is a highly political read heavily based on the Sabra and Shatila Massacre that occurred in 1982.  The narrator is a journalist who leaves his homeland in Egypt and flees to Geneva where he works from, leaving behind his estranged wife and children. He tells us about his life in Swiss followed by the story of Pedro Ibañez's torture and the killing of his brother in Chile, as it was believed that they were supporters of the socialist president Salvador Allende. That is when he met Brigitte the woman he fell in love with, who is also living in exile. 

As the story unfolds, we find out that Brigitte was once married to a political refugee from Equatorial Guinea, however their love couldn't survive the height of racism in her home country, Austria.

While, the narrator is living in exile, civil war breaks out in Lebanon. Tension between Israel and Palestine is high. Israel used the attempted assassination of

Sunday, 18 June 2017

The River Between, 1965, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o ***

The River Between narrates the confusion that comes with the introduction of Christianity in a Kikuyu community. Clearly the religion divides them, a once united people start to drift apart, the struggle for power and confrontation begin.

Joshua is converted to Christianity, he changes his name and is told that his culture and tradition are heathenish and will not lead him into the kingdom of God. When one of his daughters decides that she wants to be circumcised because to her it means the initiation into womanhood as established in her culture and tradition, therefore part of her identity. Joshua refuses, he forsakes her, she flees. His second daughter, Nyambura falls in love with

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Winner of 5th Anniversary Book Giveaway

Celestine Nudanu from Ghana is the winner of my 5th Anniversary Book Giveaway. Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasie has been dispatched to her. She is a blogger on Reading Pleasure and author of  Haiku Rhapsodies. She was part of my Blogger Spotlight  Project. Please click here to read her interview.


  • Her favourite African writer is

Sunday, 4 June 2017

The White Tiger, Aravind Adiga, 2008 ****

I have read quite a few novels set in India or by writers of Indian heritage and one of the topics that keeps on popping up is the blatant poverty and caste discrimination that perpetuate their society, The White Tiger is no exception. We get to read about the life style of an upper-middle class through the voice of their servant Balram. It is quite interesting as Balram tells us what he knows about his master  through pieces of information he gathers while being enslaved.
Balram narrates his ordeal with a witty sense of humour, you might  find yourself laughing in front of his adversity.
"The Great Socialist himself is said to have embezzled one billion rupees from the Darkness, and transferred that money into a bank account in a small, beautiful country in Europe full of white people and black money"
Balram narrates about life in his village Laxmangarh, his mother died when he was very young, his father a rickshaw puller died miserably of tuberculosis. A life of misery. One thing led to another and Balram becomes a driver and moves

Sunday, 28 May 2017

5 Years of Book Blogging & 50 Highly Recommended


    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
            
Click on cover to read review. For book giveaway please click HERE
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