The Africa Center: Blogger Spotlight + LIT links mĂ©lange III

Hey everyone!

The Africa Center – which is based in New York, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, multidisciplinary institution, provides a gateway for engagement with contemporary Africa. They’ve started a Bloggers Spotlight series that features African bloggers who have caught their eye. African Book Addict! is the first feature of the series.

Click the image below to check out the interview where I speak with Evelyn Owen about African Book Addict!, literature by writers of African descent, the literary scene in Accra and more:

Special thanks to Evelyn Owen and the team over at The Africa Center for the feature. I’m super grateful 🙂


Other interesting LIT links to indulge in:

  • Chigozie Obioma: who should I write for – Nigerians, Africans, or everyone? via The Guardian. I know a couple of Nigerians who weren’t crazy about Obioma’s debut – The Fishermen. They simply weren’t blown away by the storyline and some felt the text was laden with petty details – details that seem commonplace to the average Nigerian. I absolutely loved Obioma’s debut, but hearing a couple of readers’ complaints made me question his target audience. In this article, Obioma eloquently asserts that his writing is for everyone as he believes the best literature is accessibly to all.
  • Book bloggers are real readers via The Irish Times. Tunrayo of the blog Tunrayo’s Thoughts tweeted this AMAZING article to me last week. The article articulates and basically defends the role of book bloggers and the influence we hold. I loved it!
  •  We Can Be Heroes via Lenny Letter. In this very timely piece (Black History Month, duh!), black women writers pay homage to the women who’ve inspired them most. Featured writers include Zinzi Clemmons, Nicole Dennis-Benn, Jazmine Hughes and more!

Images via #ReadSoulLit Twitter hashtag timeline

I hope Black History Month 2017 has been inspiring so far! If you’re active on social media (Twitter & Instagram), definitely follow the annual #ReadSoulLit photo challenge (curated by Didi of Brown Girl Reading) to engage with other book lovers of African-American literature and discover many recommendations of books written by Black authors!

2017 Reading Intentions

New Year, new reading goals – right?

Instead of using the word ‘goals’, I’ll use the word ‘intentions’. Goals focus on the future, while intentions focus on the present; goals are focused on a specific achievement, while intentions are lived on a daily basis – which is how I intend my reading experience to be this year.

My reading intentions for 2017 won’t be as intricate as my 2016 reading goals. This year, I’ll be reading what my mood calls for. I don’t have a set number of African, Caribbean or African-American books to read nor do I have a specific number of books written by women or men I’d like to read either. I like to track books read each year via Goodreads, so entering the Goodreads Reading Challenge helps me do that. Every year I like to declare a goal of 20-25 books as a set point, just to help me gauge my reading experience for the year. Whether I exceed the 20-25 books goal or not, I’ll just be going with the flow – no need to make reading stressful. Reading isn’t a race or competition – at least not for me.

Below are some intentions I’ll be considering during the year:

  • To READ MY OWN DAMN BOOKS! On my bookshelves, I have about 55 books that haven’t been read. I’d like to get through a good chunk of those books by the end of the year.
  • To PURCHASE LESS books, especially during the first half of the year – so help me God. (So far I’ve only purchased one book, so I’m trying here!)
  • To buddy-read with other book lovers/ book bloggers. This should be exciting! Thus far, I’ve planned to read 1 book each, with 3 different book lovers/ book bloggers. Due to scheduling issues, I haven’t successfully buddy-read a book with anyone yet, so I’m really looking forward to this experience!

There are definitely other things I’d like to pursue throughout the year with respect to reading and this book blog, but these are the intentions I’ll share for now.

Here’s to a successful year of reading (with few reading slumps), for all of us!

It’s almost the end of the 1st month of 2017, have you figured out your reading intentions/goals yet? Please do share some!

Two book blog features + LIT links mĂ©lange II

Hey everyone!

Earlier this week, African Book Addict! was honored via 2 book blog features. It’s funny how the features were posted a day after the other, as I did not anticipate such close timing at all :).

Thanks again to Mary and Whitney for the features!

Head on oscreen-shot-2016-10-13-at-12-18-50-pmver to Mary Okeke’s blog over at – Mary Okeke Reviews and check out the Blogger Spotlight project that featured African Book Addict! This project aims at introducing other fascinating blogs that also discuss African literature to the world.

 

 

 

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Also check out Whitney’s book blog – Brown Books and Green Tea for the African Book Addict! #DiverseBookBloggers feature, that promotes diversity in the book blogging community.

 

 


Other interesting LIT links to indulge in:

  • Osondu of Incessant Scribble wrote a heartfelt book review of Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. If you still need a nudge to read the book, check out his review! I posted my thoughts/review of Homegoing back in September :).
  • Safe House by ZoĂ« Gadegbeku via AFREADA is one of my absolute favorite short stories on the website. ZoĂ« just completed her first year in the Creative Writing MFA Program at Emerson College. She’s originally from Ghana (she actually went to one of my high schools here in Accra) and I already see her maturing into an even more fabulous writer in the future. Please read it!

 

Check out the first LIT links mĂ©lange from back in May – here

Brunch Over Books – Sip ‘n’ Swap in Accra!

Ever since I moved to Accra in 2014, I’ve really been missing the variety of literary events I used to attend back in Boston and Middlebury. But Accra has its own selection of events I’ve been enjoying. Writers Project Ghana has been spearheading the literary scene with the plethora of events they host, like – Ghana Voices Series: where bookworms and literary fiends gather for monthly public book readings featuring African writers who visit Accra; Writers Project on Citi FM: an hour of poetry readings and updates on literature-related events in Accra on the radio waves; writers workshops, book club meetings and more! With respect to book festivals, GAWBOFEST – Ghana Association of Writers Book Festival has been a recurring book festival for 5 years now. Hopefully I’ll find time to finally attend this year’s event in September. Also later this year, the Storymoja Festival will be in Accra (not Nairobi, Kenya) – so that will be exciting!

To add to the eclectic and ever growing bunch of literary events in Accra is – Brunch Over Books! Two weeks ago, Brunch Over Books – a Sip ‘n’ Swap book exchange was inaugurated at the quaint CafĂ© Kwae, in Accra. This maiden event, curated by the lovely Nana Konamah (@nanakonamah), attracted lots of bookworms, book bloggers and page slayers to sip yummy drinks and exchange book titles and actual books! After a speed book exchange activity, I jotted down a couple of book recommendations, met some folks I had been following (or stalking) on social media – like Ghanaian bibliophile, Shika of @bookpress on Instagram (@bookpresse on Twitter) and just geeked-out over books with fellow book lovers who also recently moved to the city, and long time residents of Accra!

Images via Brunch Over Books

As per my Book Chat post on book lending – you know me! I do not lend or exchange books (sorry, not sorry). So for this event, I purposely purchased a new copy of Beyond the Horizon by Amma Darko (a Ghanaian book and author I believe is seriously underrated) for whoever wanted to swap with me – but for the person to KEEP.

Its always refreshing when you can converse with book lovers and discuss why you loved/disliked certain novels. If you live in Accra, try and come to the next Sip ‘n’ Swap event! Rumor has it that the next gathering will be in August. I can’t wait to see what new activities and conversations we’ll have over yummy cocktails.

 

What type of literary events do you usually attend? Have you ever been to any book festivals, public readings (I feel like public readings are standard go-to’s for book lovers, right?), book signings, book exchanges, book blogger meet-ups? How many times a year do you attend literary events? Please do share!

Book Chat :: Do you lend your books?

Hey everyone!

From time to time, I’d like to pick your brains on different topics that I think interest and affect all book lovers. Today, I’m really curious to know from you all: Do you lend your books to others?

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Image via EpicReads

Let’s chat, shall we?

There have been times when friends have NOT returned the books I lent them. To this day, one of my best friends still has one of my favorite books in her possession (I gave it to her back in 2009 and I eventually had to stop asking for the book back, since she didn’t seem to know where she put it -_-). Other friends who eventually returned books I lent, brought them back with either oil smudges on the pages, discombobulated book spines or limp-looking, torn paperback covers – basically, damaged books.

I feel very connected to the (physical) books I own – am I alone here? I’ve connected with various characters, places and incidents from the books I read. Some of my books have notes I jotted down on the pages, some passages are underlined and some pages are marked for future referencing and whatnot. So right now, I do not like to lend my books to anyone anymore (well, I do share my books with my Mom. She’s an original book lover, so she respects books! And I usually read her books, so its only fair to share mine too haha).

I’m learning to say ‘no’ to lending my books. But it’s not easy to say no – I don’t want a friend or family member to feel offended or think I’m being selfish for not wanting to lend them. Books shouldn’t be the cause of sour relations between individuals… but honestly, after all the bad experiences I’ve had with lending, I’d rather purchase the book of interest for a friend, instead of loaning my copy.

How about you all:

Do you let people borrow your books? Are you attached to the physical books you own? Have you had similar instances where loved ones misplace or ‘abuse’ your cherished books? How would you tell others that you don’t usually lend out your books?

I’d love to hear your opinions, experiences and tips on your book lending policy!


By the way, I’m currently (slowly) reading Jhumpa Lahiri’s latest novel: In Other Words. It’s very passionate thus far!

I also attended a book reading for Elnathan John last weekend (he was shortlisted twice for the Caine Prize) and I purchased his debut novel – Born On A Tuesday, as well as Fela: This Bitch of a Life by Carlos Moore which I spotted at the bookstore where the reading was being held (Vidya Bookstore; Accra). I hope to enjoy them during summer break!

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Image via my Instagram: @AwoDeee