Novels On The Nightstand
Falling into summer usually begins by me looking over at my bookshelf and wondering what new story can I engulf myself into. If I can be honest, my attempt at fiction ‘fun’ reading these last few years has been haphazard at best. I found myself gravitating towards current affairs, trying my best to keep abreast of what is happening all over the world. During the Christmas season, I was gifted a Kindle, and I knew I would return to my old reading glory days. The gift has been used as tablet and has only served to push me to reacquaint myself with the printed literary word. As soon as the weather warmed up, I promptly made a quick call to the local library, confirmed my library privileges were still honored, and hightailed myself to peruse the isles looking for the latest reading adventure. I really did try to get into the e-book life, but there is something about holding a book, following along with the pads of my fingertips that calls me back to it’s physical copy.
These days my reading interests are leaning towards Contemporary works of African Fiction and of the diaspora. A part of me knows this intrest is a residual of my time spent in Uganda, and for the moment I am throughly enjoying getting lost in the fiction narratives of authors who have either lived on the continent or claim ancestral lineage to the place I love the most. Like anything, the phrase ‘Contemporary African Fiction’ is extremely relative and to a certain extent can be subjective to the reader’s perception. It is not an attempt to pigeon hole the wonderful works of these authors into a single categorical level, but it is however an attempt to say hey, there are many many many great novels that are the brainchild of non-Western writers, so let us share it under the common umbrella of one thing (out of many) that they have in common.
I’ve been drawn to these books because the authors are often telling stories about places and experiences that were very different to most of what I’d read and have experienced. It sort of takes me back to my schoolgirl days when hour after hour I would get lost in stories, always welcoming enthralling myself into a story because I’m able to fully become a character. The stories are also oddly familiar and comforting, which helps me deal with the ever present longing I have for going back to Africa and makes me feel more at home in the world by creating an intricate voice of experiences of the diaspora.
As to the collection on my nightstand itself: The novels listed are by surname, and are in no particular order in terms of relevance, feelings, of preference. I used to be that girl who could read a book in a day, but now I find it takes me a little longer (2-3 weeks on average) to finish one novel, and that is okay. I want to get through these books by the end of the summer, so I guess this will be my summer reading challenge! I find I have the most time to read in transit to and from work, and it is nice to dive into a novel rather than immediately don my headphone and jam to my tunes. These novels are also a part of my absurdly long reading list. I blame this blog and this one and this one for introducing me to the world of African Literature Reading lists but I am up for the challenge!
In non-preferencial order:
- Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
- Orange Mint and Honey – Carleen Brice
- The Memory of Love – Aminatta Forna
- By Love Possessed – Lorna Goodison
- Zenzele: A Letter for my Daughter – Nozipo Maraire
- The Twelve Tribes of Hattie – Ayana Mathis
- Ghana Must Go – Taiye Selasi
Have you picked up any new reads lately? What books are on your list? Where is your favorite place to read?