I have been craving some African literature lately. For no special reason than just because. It has been a long time since I read anything in Africa - the last ones were probably Say You're One of Them by Uwem Akpan (Some of the stories in that book moved me but the collection itself did not make a huge impact on me), The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives by Lola Shoneyin and The Hairdresser of Harare by Tendai Huchu (both of which I loved).
I have watched quite a few movies, set in some of the African countries (Rwanda, Egypt, South Africa, Libya, Nigeria, to name a few), mostly war or revolution-themed, and those movies have left a lasting impression, enough to make me want to watch or read more. So now is probably a good time than any. There are anywhere between 52 and 61 countries in Africa, depending on your source, but according to this site, 55 is the number of them that are recognized. That is a lot of countries to choose from and I was hoping to choose three works to read. After much browsing through literature works, I narrowed down my list to these five.
Obviously, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Half of a Yellow Sun tops my list. I have her Purple Hibiscus also sitting on my desk and may choose to read that one first, but I'm all open to reading anything by her. I have been saying for a few years now that I need to read something by her soon.
But other than that obvious choice, the other four books are also looking very tempting to me. The lone nonfiction on my list, A Long Way Gone is the memoir of a boy soldier, of his days with the government army in Sierra Leone and discovering that he can do some very terrible things. We Need New Names, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, is the story of a young girl's journey from Zimbabwe to America. Agaat is set in apartheid South Africa, a history I know a lot about but have read zilch books about. The Beautyful Ones are not yet Born, by Ghanaian writer Ayi Kwei Armah, has been compared to Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart.
I'm not sure which one I'll read soon after the Adichie book. A Long Way Gone and We Need New Names sound particularly exciting to me, especially the former one, which is likely to give me plenty to think about. Have you read any of these?
This post is part of my Armchair reading project.