Tag Archives: book club

15 Best Reads in 2017

I read some really interesting books in 2017.

  • On Black Sisters Street: Chika Unigwe – I read it in the context of the current mass migration tales and I helped me imagine the kind of backstories that some of the migrants are fleeing from.
  • The Woman Next Door: Yewande Omotoso – Great read. As I read it I kept thinking it would make for a great TV mini-series.
  • Rape: Pumla Dineo Gqola– Eye opening. Educative. Informative. Heavy topic, well written.
  • When Breath Becomes Air: Paul Kalanithi – I cried after reading this one. It made me think of legacies and the things that drive me.
  • Small Great Acts: Jodi Piccoult – I love her writing and as usual, there was a deep ethical question to ponder.
  • An Elegy for Easterly: Pettinah Gappah – I am not a big short stories fan but I love the author and the stories did not disappoint. Must admit to the fact that I kept thinking back to these stories during Mugabe’s exit.
  • Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City: Matthew Desmond – I love these kinds of books that delve into one deep topic. It was interesting to also see how eviction has interlinkages with so many other issues: unemployment, poverty, crime, food shortages.
  • The Mothers: Brit Bennett – I enjoyed this read, it was an easy read but raised so many questions for me – especially on the role of faith in our lives.
  • The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Pearce: Jeff Hobbs – Forgetting whether it is the author’s story to tell, this book broke my heart. For anyone that wants to read Hillbilly Elegy, I would rather recommend this one.
  • Stay With Me: Ayobami Adebayo – Loved, loved, loved this one. Definitely recommending it to one and all.
  • Who Will Catch Us As We Fall: Iman Verjee – Great story on Kenya post-2007. Faultless.
  • Lyrics Alley: Leila Aboulela – This book made me dream of visiting Khartoum and The Sudan.
  • Beneath the Lion’s Gaze: Maaza Mengiste – It helped me understand so much about Ethiopia. Definitely a must read.
  • Kintu: Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi – A book from home. I initially thought it would be too ambitious and then under deliver but no, it was a great book to read. Get it.
  • Pachinko: Min Jin Lee – I have a thing for dynastic reads and this delivered exactly what I love: joy, sadness, tears, laughter and triumph.

Sunday Reads

Fill your life with women that empower you, that help you believe in your magic and aid them to believe in their own exceptional power and their incredible magic too. Women that believe in each other can survive anything. Women who believe in each other create armies that will win kingdoms and wars. Nikita Gill


Travelling through Africa / To- Read Books

I recently noticed that I have been reading a lot of Nigerian/ Ghanaian authored books and so I set myself a challenge to diversify my reading to other parts of Africa. Here are some of the books on my to-read list.

  1. Lyrics Alley – Leila Aboulela (Sudan)
  2. So Long a Letter – Mariam Ba (Senegal)
  3. Beneath the Lion’s Gaze – Maaza Mengiste ( Ethiopia)
  4. Flame and Song – Philippa Namutebi Kabali-Kagwa (Uganda)



Sunday Reads




Reading the 2014 Caine Prize

I wanted to review the 2014 Caine Prize for African Writing shortlist before the final announcement is made on the 14th of July. There are five short stories:

I have always said that short stories are not my cuppa tea. I now have to amend that to badly written short stories are just not my thing and I now have to become discerning of the baddies from the goodies.

I don’t like short stories that are pretentious or that attempt to do too. And that’s what I felt about Oduor’s story. It was like this fantastical thing that moved from the real to the otherworldly and in between the reader is left wondering what just happened in this story?

Huchu’s story was just a bit haphazard for my liking. It moved from one character to the next and there were so many of them that it killed me to have to follow who was speaking and what the significance was. I felt like it was the first rough draft and could have done with a second read-through. It was also just a bit obvious with the conflicts and the different character roles that it got boring and I could not be done fast enough.

Phosphorescence was also a bit of a blur for me. I read it from start to end and I just could not make head or tail of it. I was a bit grossed out about the granny swimming in the nude so I guess we can say that her descriptions were fairly vivid. This story was actually not too bad, I felt it could have been developed slightly.

Kahora tried to do too much and again I was left confused when the story concluded. The only thing about this story was that I enjoyed knowing where the story was located and the significance of the different settings within Nairobi. The descriptions were also so long and he could have changed his writing style. Stories about animals are also just not my type of thing and this since I was a kid. Animals. do. not. talk. Humans. cannot. speak. to. them!

In my view, “Chicken” should win. It was well-written, easy to follow and had great potential to be further developed into a novel. It was technically written yet easy and simple to follow which rather appeals to me. Holding thumbs for her. I did wonder though about the market for black eggs as the stereotype is that Africans won’t adopt or go for invitro fertilisation.

If you have time, I would say only read Chicken and let me know. If you wish, also check up the writers bios here.