A few months ago, I let loose a bit of a rant on twitter about The Definition of an ‘African’ Writer, and how we are expected to write village square stories or colonial time stories or civil war stories. Basically, historical fiction. After my rant, and some distance, and some deep breathing, I became somewhat ashamed of myself.
What right did I have to complain about the type of work African writers are expected to produce? First of all, where is my body of work? Second, how many African writers have I actually read? Where did I get the idea that there was a stereotype aspiring authors like myself had to conform to? Shame on me.
So, I decided that next year, as part of my 300 book reading challenge (more on that later), I would read more African authors. Enter my BFF, Cho, who out of the blue asked me to start a book club.
“Maybe it will encourage me to read more”.
Hmm. I ran the idea by our mutual friend, Joy, who said, “I’ve been meaning to start a book club, but never got around to it”. Well, then, I was gingered. I asked them some more questions on the number of books we would read – 1 a month, the genres, and other little details. We all agreed to think of a name later, but I was so excited about it (books!!!) that I opened a Blackberry group with the the tentative name – The (Unnamed) Book Club. Little did I know, that once (Unnamed) forever shall it be. Thankfully, the other 12 members of our all female group (which includes Ann) like the quirky name (no one has said they hate it, so yay!).
We don’t officially start reading and discussing the books till next year (which is just around the corner), but so far, it has been fun. First, there were nominations, and then campaigns, and then votes. Just this Sunday, the polls closed and we have our reading list for 2013. Drum roll please….
January – The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives by Lola Shoneyin
February – I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella
March – The Mrs. Club by Ekene Onu
April – Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beechar Stowe
May – Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
June – To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
July – Half of A Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
August – Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
September – On Black Sisters Street by Chika Unigwe
October – Stardust by Neil Gaiman or The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (we’re still voting, but Stardust is in the lead. yay!)
November – Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
December – The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
I’M SO EXCITED!!!
PS. I nominated Fine Boys by Eghosa Imasuen but it didn’t make the cut *sniff sniff*, but I’m going to mention it anyway because the author was nice enough to respond to my inquiry on twitter about an image of his book cover for my campaign.
Will you be taking a reading challenge next year? What books are you just dying to read?
PPS. Sigh. Internet is acting up (I hope that means it will rain tonight), and so that means alas, I cannot upload images of the book covers tonight, but mark my words, I will eventually.
(Cue evil laugh)
(Felt like the thing to do)