GH at 60 | Our Writers & Their Books (part 1)

Happy Independence Day to all Ghanaians! Ghana is 60 years old today.

After about 113 years of British rule, Ghana gained independence on this day – March 6th, 1957. Our independence pioneered and encouraged other African nations to also fight for their independence from colonial rule. We’ve come a long way and still have a ways to go, but I’m proud to be a Ghanaian.

As a person of Ghanaian heritage, I enjoy discovering new Ghanaian writers and learning about our pioneer writers. Being a lover of African literature and literature of the diaspora, I find that Ghanaian authors and their work aren’t as popular as Kenyan, South African, Nigerian or Zimbabwean literature.

GH at 60 | Our Writers & Their Books is a series that highlights and celebrates various Ghanaian writers and their work. If we don’t celebrate our own, who will? I hope your TBR lists grow once you take the time to appreciate these writers and their work through the series. This is part 1 of a 3-part series and it’s NOT exhaustive by any means. The list is arranged in alphabetical order, of last names.

Sophia Acheampong

I think Sophia Acheampong’s books have the cutest book covers, ever! Acheampong is a Ghanaian-British author of YA (young adult) fiction. Growing Yams in London (2006) and iPods in Accra (2009) follow fourteen year old British-born Makeeda who’s trying to balance both Ghanaian and British identities in the ultra-modern world of social media and instant messaging.


G.A. Agambila

Dr. Gheysika Adombire Agambila is a native of Bolgatanga (in the Upper East Region of Ghana) and is the author of two novels – Journey (2006) and Emigrant (2016). I’m not really crazy about the cover art for Journey, but I’ve seen the book in quite a few bookshops here in Accra. Ann Morgan of blog – A Year of Reading the World chose to read Journey for her Ghana pick and her book review made me add it to my TBR.


Mohammed Naseehu Ali

Mohammed Nasheehu Ali is a Ghanaian writer based in New York City. I read a book review of Ali’s short stories collection – The Prophet of Zongo Street (2006) last year and was determined to purchase it once I spotted it in bookstores. If you would like to get a feel of his writing, check out two short stories: Mallam Sile & My Name is Not Cool Anymore, published in The New Yorker & The New York Times respectively.


Asabea Ashun

Asabea Ashun is the pseudonym of Dr. Mary Ashun who has published a good number of YA (young adult) fiction and adventure stories for children. Last year, I purchased her latest novel, Serwa Akoto’s Diary (2013) which follows a young lady, Serwa Akoto on her quest to blend her Ghanaian heritage and Canadian lifestyle.


Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond

Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond is a Ghanaian-American writer who is the author of Powder Necklace (2010). Powder Necklace is a coming-of-age tale that follows Lila, who was born and raised in England. She’s later sent to Ghana to attend a local boarding school (mirrored off Mfantsiman Girls’ High School in Cape Coast, Ghana) and life takes a 360 degree turn for Lila with respect to her identity and the concept of home. I read the novel back in 2013 and deeply appreciated it as I could relate to the story on many levels. I hope Nana Ekua’s second novel is in the works!


Akosua Busia

If you’ve seen the film The Color Purple, Akosua Busia may look familiar as she played Nettie in it! Akosua Busia is an actress, author, song-writer and film director. The Seasons of Beento Blackbird: A Novel (1997) is Busia’s debut.


Nana Awere Damoah

Nana Awere Damoah is a chemical engineer and author of four non-fiction books. I’ve spotted his most recent book – Sebitically Speaking (2015) in bookshops here in Accra. His other works include I Speak of Ghana (2013), Through the Gates of Thought (2010), Excursions in my Mind (2008) and a collection of short stories called Tales from Different Tails (2011). Damoah’s writing draws readers’ attention to issues that plague the nation and its citizens, with a satirical flavor that will kick anyone into questioning their priorities. Damoah’s work will be reviewed on this platform soon!


Meri Nana-Ama Danquah

Meri Nana-Ama Danquah is a Ghanaian-American writer, editor and journalist. I purchased an anthology edited by Danquah – The Black Body, back in 2009 and found it compelling. Meri Nana-Ama Danquah is best known for her 1998 memoir Willow Weep for Me: A Black Woman’s Journey Through Depression, which I MUST get my hands on soon. In these tumultuous times, her memoir would definitely be a timely read with discourse on mental health and self-care.


Amma Darko

Amma Darko is one of my favorite Ghanaian writers and I feel she is SERIOUSLY underrated. Her 1995 debut, Beyond the Horizon is a tragic masterpiece that I think all book lovers need to read! It’s an uncomfortable read, but important work of art on feminism, immigration, racism, chauvinism and so much more. I plan on reading her 2003 novel, Faceless at some point this year.


Amu Djoleto

Amu Djoleto is a writer and educator who’s novels are quite popular in Ghanaian primary and secondary schools (elementary, middle and high schools). He’s best known for his debut novel – The Strange Man, which is part of the African Writers Series.


Boakyewaa Glover

I met Boakyewaa Glover early last year and she was gracious enough to gift me with two of her novels – Tendai: Nature and Science Unleashed and The Justice: A Political Thriller! I finished reading Tendai last year and the novel was a good blend of sci-fi and mystery. Her latest novel – The Justice was published back in 2013 and is very high up on my TBR list. Apparently the sex scenes in The Justice are pretty spicy, which is rare for Africa fiction. I love that Glover’s books are available in many boutiques and shops, including Shell service station shops, making her work accessible to all Ghanaians.


Mamle Kabu

Mamle Kabu or Mamle Wolo are the pseudonyms of Martina Odonkor, who is a writer of Ghanaian and German ancestry. I was pleasantly surprised to find that her short story ‘The End of Skill’ was shortlisted for the Caine Prize in 2009 (the year E.C Osondu won!). Kabu’s YA (young adult) novel The Kaya-Girl won the Burt Award for African Literature in 2011. The cover art for The Kaya-Girl is stunning.


Benjamin Kwakye

Benjamin Kwakye is a lawyer and novelist with a couple of book awards under his belt. His debut novel, The Clothes of Nakedness (1998) won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. Kwakye’s sophomore novel, The Sun By Night (which has awesomely eccentric cover art) rightfully won the 2006 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book (Africa Region). Out of Kwakye’s books catalogue, I think his debut and sophomore books have the best book covers!


Nana Prah

Nana Prah is a Ghanaian multicultural romance writer. She has about 8 books that have been published and most of them are available for purchase online. Does anyone know if her books are sold here in Accra? Last year I read 2 romance novels and I can’t wait to grab a book from Nana Prah’s collection next! Check out her blog: http://nanaprah.blogspot.com/


Kwei Quartey

Dr. Kwei Quartey is a Ghanaian crime fiction writer. His Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery series is pretty popular, and I love the cover art work for all the books in this series! Late 2014, I really enjoyed his reading that was held here in Accra. He currently resides in California and juggles being a physician and a writer. Book 5 of the series, Death by His Grace will be released August of this year.


Frances Mensah Williams

Frances Mensah Williams is an award-winning Ghanaian-British author of women’s fiction. If you’ve read any books published by the independent publishing house based in London – Jacaranda Books, Williams’s name and her books may look familiar. She created the light-hearted, contemporary series – From Pasta to Pigfoot (2015), which follows London born and bred Faye Bonsu, on her journey to understanding her native Ghanaian culture.



Are you familiar with any of these Ghanaian authors? Have you read any of the books mentioned above? 

The month of March will be dedicated to honoring Ghanaian authors as it is Ghana’s month of independence. Many more writers will be highlighted in this series! Stay tuned for Part 2 of GH at 60 | Our Writers & Their Books.

Note: Images were taken from Goodreads and the respective writers’ websites.

2016 Christmas Wish List

Hey everyone!

Christmas is right around the corner! I honestly have no business buying any new books, anytime soon. But a simple wish list won’t hurt would it? Below are books I’d love Santa to drop into my imaginary Christmas stockings (not in order of preference; click titles to read the blurbs on Goodreads):

The Turner House by Angela Flournoy has been on my TBR for a while. It actually got bumped up my list after Flournoy was shortlisted for the National Book Prize last year + some of my friends highly recommend this novel. I hear there are similarities between The Turner House and Ayana Mathis’s The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, which I LOVED (and reviewed).


The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears by Dinaw Mengestu is a book I’m very keen to read. I haven’t read anything by Mengestu but I’ve seen many reviews of his books – especially his 2014 novel, All Our Names on several book blogs. I’m eager to read about the immigrant experience in the U.S through an Ethiopian lens in this book!


Birth of a Dream Weaver: A Memoir of a Writer’s Awakening by Ngūgī wa Thiong’o was released late October of this year. I found out about this book from highlights of the 2016 Aké Arts and Books Festival and was surprised this book existed, as I didn’t even know Ngūgī wa Thiong’o was actively writing a new memoir! I deeply enjoy anything Thiong’o writes, so this would be a great addition to my already growing Ngūgī wa Thiong’o collection.


Mo’ Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson has been on my TBR for a looong time. I love, love, love The Roots (hip hop group) and for those who don’t know, Questlove is the drummer and one of the leaders of the group (the other leader is rapper – Black Thought). My life was semi-complete when The Roots came to Middlebury back in 2009 and I admired Questlove’s finesse with the drums! He came out with another book this year – Something to Food About: Exploring Creativity with Innovative Chefs. But I hope to read Mo’ Meta Blues first!


Longthroat Memoirs: Soups, Sex and Nigerian Taste Buds by Yemisi Aribisala was published back in November (2016) by Cassava Republic. I have been waiting for a book like this for a while! If you’ve read my review of Pig Tails ‘n Breadfruit: A Culinary Memoir by Barbadian writer Austin Clarke (RIP), I spoke on my desire to read more books that highlight African food. Longthroat Memoirs showcases Nigerian cuisine while discussing various feminist issues. I need this book.


My Name is Leon by Kit de Waal has the best book cover! From what I hear, My Name is Leon is a story about 9 year old Leon – who is biracial and his new baby brother Jake – who is white. Once their mother is deemed unfit to care for them, they are taken into the foster care system. When Leon’s baby brother is adopted before he is, readers see Leon face various prejudices, while trying to save his broken family. I’m ready to have all the feels reading this book.


You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have To Explain by Phoebe Robinson looks like it’d be a great book to get anyone out of a reading slump. Every once in a while I like to let loose and read something humorous and light. The author, Phoebe Robinson – is a comedian and hosts a podcast with Jessica Williams called 2 Dope Queens. I’ve given their fun podcast a couple of listens and even downloaded a sample of this book on Kindle. All I can say is, I know I’ll be entertained by this book!


What books are on your Christmas wish list? Please share some titles!🙂

Happy Holidays & Merry Christmas, everyone!

#SummerReads 2016 – TBR

 

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Hey everyone! Summer break is finally here and there are a couple of books I’d like to read before the end of the break. 7 books on my Summer TBR (to-be-read list) – too many books, or nah?

Please click on the titles below to read more about the books on Goodreads.

sweet medicineSweet Medicine by Panashe Chigumadzi 

Sweet Medicine is a book I had been trying so hard to get my hands on. I even double ordered it – by mistake, but I don’t regret it. One thing that drew me to this book was the chic book cover and the fact that Panashe Chigumadzi is only 25 and is doing amazing things for the continent! I finished Sweet Medicine about a week ago and it was an enjoyable read. Expect the review to go up at some point during the summer.

 

 

 


By the seaBy The Sea by Abdulrazak Gurnah

I saw a review of By The Sea on fellow book blogger (and one of my faves!) – Mary Okeke’s book blog some years back and added it to my TBR. This story is set in Zanzibar, Tanzania – a place I REALLY would love to visit one day! From a series of Goodreads reviews I’ve seen, I hear its best to read this slowly to fully get the impact of the story. I plan on doing exactly that!

 

 

 


The Star Side of Bird HillThe Star Side of Bird Hill by Naomi Jackson

The Star Side of Bird Hill may look familiar to some of you, as its been featured on quite a few of my posts – 2015 New Releases To Anticipate & the TBR Book Tag. Don’t you just love the book cover? Super sassy! Jackson actually wrote a piece about the book cover on the Literary Hub last year. I actually finished The Star Side of Bird Hill earlier this June. Expect a review soon!

 

 

 

 


pede hollistSo The Path Does Not Die by Pede Hollist

The first time I heard about Pede Hollist was back in 2013, when he was shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing. So The Path Does Not Die was published back in 2014 and follows a young girl, Finaba (or Fina) from Sierra Leone. I haven’t read much from Sierra Leone, so I hope to learn a thing or two about the West African nation from this novel!

 

 

 

 


The justiceThe Justice: A Political Thriller by Boakyewaa Glover

Boakyewaa Glover was kind enough to gift me with this book, along with her sci-fi novel – Tendai (which I read and really enjoyed back in May – expect a review soon!). I’ve been looking forward to reading The Justice since the beginning of the year. I’m excited to read this political thriller 🙂

 

 

 

 


Earl LovelaceThe Wine of Astonishment by Earl Lovelace

I’m sure this book looks familiar to some of you. The Wine of Astonishment was featured in my 2015 Summer Book Haul. I hope I get a chance to finally read it this summer, as I hear its a Trinidadian classic!

 

 

 

 


born-on-a-tuesdayBorn on a Tuesday by Elnathan John

I purchased Born on a Tuesday back in March, after attending a reading by Elnathan John here in Accra. Elnathan John was also shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing – in 2013 and 2015. I really like Elnathan John’s writing (his satire blog is quite hilarious. Check out his blog: Elnathan’s Dark Cornerhere). I prefer this vibrant book cover by Cassava Press. The book covers for the American and British editions aren’t appealing to me at all. I like this Nigerian cover 🙂

 

 

 


We Are All BlueWe Are All Blue by Donald Molosi

In collaboration with the Writivism Book festival taking place in Kampala, Uganda – August 22-28, I shall be posting a review of We Are All Blue by Donald Molosi! This book was on my 2016 New Releases To Anticipate post. I’m especially excited that We Are All Blue is a collection of 2 plays that take place in Botswana. Indulging in a playwright from a country I’m not familiar with will be fun. Stay tuned for the review 🙂

 

 

 

 


 Last year I was able to knockout 8 books during the summer break. I’m not sure I’ll be able to read all 7 of these books before the end of the summer – as I don’t plan on reading my break away. We’ll see! If these aren’t read by the end of the summer, hopefully they’ll be read by the end of the year – no pressure here (its not that serious).

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Have you read any of these? What books are on your Summer TBR? Please share some of your summer reads! New recommendations are always welcome 🙂

TBR Book Tag!

Hey everyone. The lovely Zezee of book blog Zee With Books tagged me to participate in the TBR (to-be-read) tag. Below are my responses to the questions, enjoy!

How do you keep track of your TBR pile?

  • Goodreads has been quite helpful in keeping track of the books on my TBR. But some books on my bookshelf need to be read too. So just the sight of those books remind me of their existence.

Is your TBR mostly print or e-book?

  • PRINT! I prefer physical books. I like to believe I’m building a collection (for the next generation to enjoy as well). Plus, just seeing my (physical) books on the bookshelf makes me proud for some reason! Buying books is an investment and I like to make references to the books from time to time. I have a few e-books, but they usually aren’t books I’m truly passionate about OR they are not available in physical copy yet.

How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?

  • It depends on my mood and what is available to me at the time. Most of the books on my TBR on Goodreads haven’t even been purchased yet and some probably won’t ever be haha. I read whatever my heart/mood desires at the time and pick it off my bookshelf; it is random.

A book that has been on your TBR the longest?

  • I had to choose 4! I finally got a (signed) copy of Fine Boys this summer, as I mentioned in my 2015 Summer Book Haul post. Daughters Who Walk This Path, Baking Cakes in Kigali and No Telephone to Heaven have also been on my TBR for a while! I haven’t purchased any of them yet, so I don’t know when I’ll read them.

 A book you recently added to your TBR? 

A book on your TBR strictly because of its beautiful cover?

  • I chose 4 books. The book cover for Hiding in Plain Sight looks so beautiful in print if you ever see it, I promise! I love the art work for the Ivorian graphic novel series, Aya of Yop City and I hope to purchase the series in the future. The painting of Nnedi Okorafor’s cover for Kabu Kabu is truly a piece of art- look at those strokes! And of course, the sassy covergirl on Naomi Jackson’s The Star Side of Bird Hill cover is everything (and so me)!

 

A book on your TBR that you never plan on reading?Mema

  • I randomly bought Mema by Daniel Mengara from my local bookstore last year. I thought it would be an interesting read, as the author is from Gabon- a country that’s more or less absent in the African Literature scene. But so far, I’ve found the first few pages of the book to be extremely dry. For all you know, this book will probably be quite amazing if I give it a chance, but I doubt I’ll ever read Mema anytime soon. Sorry, not sorry!

An unpublished book on your TBR that you’re excited for?

A book on your TBR that everyone recommends to you?

Frantz Fanon

A book on your TBR that everyone has read but you?

A book on your TBR that you’re dying to read?

How many books are in your Goodreads TBR shelf?

  • I have 97 books in my Goodreads TBR shelf. But on my bookshelf at home, I have about 50 books I haven’t read yet. But who is counting? No pressure here!

This was a cool stress-reliever post for me! Thanks Zezee for including me in on the fun.

I tag:

and whoever else reads this post. Join in on the fun, you might spot new book recommendations!

2015 Summer Book Haul!

IMG_0826Hey everyone! Since May of this year, I have received the bulk of my book orders from the mail and I’d love to share some of them with you. Please click on the title to go read more about the book on Goodreads.

Tendai HuchuThe Maestro, the Magistrate and the Mathematician by Tendai Huchu 

I’ve read the first 15 pages of this and its decent thus far! I love a book on African (in this case, Zimbabwean) immigrant experiences abroad. But the font in the book is small, so reading this might take a while.


Saturday's Shadows Saturday’s Shadows by Ayesha Harruna Attah

I’m glad this book is thick! I can’t wait to enjoy this story which focuses on the Avoka family. Hopefully I’ll read Saturday’s Shadows before the year ends. Recommendation: check out Ayesha’s first novel- Harmattan Rain.

 


 Hiding in Plain Sight by Nuruddin Farah Farah

Hiding in Plain Sight is my first novel from Somalia. Nuruddin Farah has written several books and I hope to read more of his work in the future. The cover art is lovely if you see the physical copy. I love the iridescent details! This is on my 2016 *TBR list.


Some Love, Some Pain, Sometime: stories by J. California Cooper 

J. California Cooper

I’ve heard and read nothing but great things about Ms Cooper. I hope I love her work as much as others do! Hopefully I can add her to my favorite African-American pioneer writers: Gwendolyn Brooks, Lorraine Hansberry, Maya Angelou, Richard Wright and Alice Walker.


 The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma The Fishermen

*sigh* This tale on love, brotherhood and madness has been the best book I’ve read this summer… and maybe all year (expect the book review soon)! Please pick this up if you get the chance. Obioma took fiction to another level with this book.

 

 


 nalo hopkinsonThe Salt Roads by Nalo Hopkinson

I’m not a huge fan of science-fiction, but Nalo Hopkinson seems pretty amazing from what I’ve read/heard. And her stories feature Afro-Caribbean folk, so I’m sure I’ll enjoy this!


Love is Power or Something Like That by A. Igoni Barrett igoni

I enjoy short stories and I look forward to reading this collection by half-Jamaican & half-Nigerian – A. Igoni Barrett. His latest novel, Blackass was released about two weeks ago!


Samuelsson_Yes-Chef_pbYes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson

This is a memoir that I’m excited to read! I love Chef Marcus Samuelsson from the Food Network on television and I’d love to read more about his life, especially since he is of Ethiopian heritage. Can’t wait.

 


 

Krik? Krak! by Edgwige Danticat Edwidge Danticat

I recently finished reading this short stories collection and I must say, it was a perfect summer read! Edwidge Danticat, who is well-known in the Caribbean Literature sphere ‘reps’ hard for Haiti – and I love it.


fine boysFine Boys by Eghosa Imasuen 

How cool is the book cover art? I was sooo glad when I finally got my hands on this book! I had been searching for the physical copy since 2013 since it is only available on Kindle (I don’t prefer e-books). So when Imasuen came to Accra last month for a reading hosted by Writers Project Ghana, I  did not hesitate to attend the event, purchase the book and stand in line for it to be signed. #winning!

 


 My Brother by Jamaica Kincaid My Brother Jamaica Kincaid

Well-known Caribbean writer – Kincaid’s work is always a joy to read as she writes with palpable emotion. This is the third Kincaid novel I own – her books Annie John and Lucy are must reads! I love her writing style and learning more about Antigua from the characters in her novels. Oh, and her books are usually in large fonts, so that’s always wonderful.


MabanckouTomorrowTomorrow I’ll be Twenty by Alain Mabanckou

The cover art of this book made me buy it! Alain Mabanckou is a renowned Congolese writer and I’m curious to read on the twists and turns in this memoir-esque novel. His books are usually written in French; Tomorrow I’ll be Twenty or Demain J’Aurais Vingt Ans originally in French, was translated to English by Helen Stevenson. This novel has been compared to J.D Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye which I loved when I was 13, so I should enjoy this too! This is high up on my 2016 TBR list.


The Wine of Astonishment by Earl Lovelace Earl Lovelace

Trinidadian author, Earl Lovelace is another big name in Caribbean literature. The Wine of Astonishment is a classic and I’m glad I finally own it. This is the first novel I own from the Caribbean Writers Series.

 


Toni MorrisonGod Help the Child by Toni Morrison

This is ToMo’s latest baby. I’ve seen lots of mixed reviews of this book on Goodreads, so I don’t know when I’ll get to it. Maybe in 2016? (Sula is the only ToMo I’ve read thus far. Meh).

 

 


 

Pig Tails ‘n Breadfruit by Austin Clarke Austin Clarke

Have you ever read a culinary memoir? Well, in Austin Clarke’s book Pig Tails ‘n Breadfruit ‘each chapter is devoted to a detailed description of the ritual surrounding the preparation of a particular native dish—Oxtails with Mushrooms, Smoked Ham Hocks with Lima Beans, or Breadfruit Cou-Cou with Braising Beef.’ This is a (culinary) memoir of Austin Clarke’s childhood in Barbados. Clarke is a preeminent writer of the Caribbean and I’m ready to indulge – literally!



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Have you read any of these? What are you reading this summer? Please let me know!

*TBR : ‘to be read’

Happy Black History Month! African-American Book Covers (showcase 4)

Why not celebrate Black History Month by admiring lovely book covers by 30 brilliant African-American/ Black authors?

Pick up a copy of one of these to commemorate Black Literature. Enjoy!

Check out more amazing book covers by African and Caribbean writers here.

And!! Check out (and join) #ReadSoulLit on social media (Twitter & Instagram) which was created by Didi of Brown Girl Reading (@FrenchieDeeDee). It’s a February Book Photo Challenge to celebrate Black History Month – her blog: http://browngirlreading.com

Happy Black History Month! 🙂

Caribbean Book Covers! (showcase 3)

Welcome to showcase 3 of the Book Covers Series!

The showcase below displays some lovely Caribbean book covers! The art work of these covers have either pushed me to purchase some books, or are still encouraging me to purchase them in the near future. Check out the other showcases from the Book Cover Series – here!

Stay tuned for showcase 4- to be posted early next year, which will feature African-American book covers.

Enjoy! 🙂

More book covers!

African Book Covers! (showcase 2)

Welcome to showcase 2 of the Book Covers Series!

The showcase below is part two of some of my favorite African book covers. African book covers are all very unique! The cool art work of these covers either pushed me to purchase the books, or are still encouraging me to purchase them in the near future. Check out African Book Covers showcase 1 – here!

Stay tuned for showcase 3, which will feature some great Caribbean book covers.

Enjoy! 🙂

More book covers! 

African Book Covers! (showcase 1)

Let’s be honest, we ALL judge books by their covers! The cover of a book can either dissuade or persuade anyone into reading it. African book covers in particular are all very unique. Here are 20 of some of my favorite African book covers. The cool art work of these covers either pushed me to purchase the books, or are still encouraging me to purchase them in the near future. This is showcase 1 of my Book Covers Series :).

This post is inspired by Bookshy, the creator of africanbookcovers.tumblr.com and bookshybooks.blogspot.co.uk. Several diverse African book covers are beautifully showcased and celebrated on her blogs. They are a lovely ode to African literature!

 More book covers!