In what is now becoming a regular tradition (2016, 2015), time for my annual World Book Day roundup. A day that the world insists falls on 23 April, but the UK (probably because they didn't invent it) claims as the 1st Thursday in March. We may all be reading books, but some of us struggle to read a calendar.
This year feels as though I have done very little reading, but an awful lot of writing. Hoping I've got enough to talk about - if not, click the two date links above to view more recommendations.
The book I have just finished reading:
I finished two books within a couple of days of each other. The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill and Half of a Yellow Sun by Adichie. Really enjoyed both of them. I'm a huge fan of Adichie's TED talk on The Danger of a Single Story, but this was the first of her novels that I've read. Hill is also extremely good, a man writing from a woman's perspective with absolute authenticity. Both worth a read.
The book I am currently reading:
A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James
I must admit, I've been reading this for a really long time. I'm very much enjoying it, but it's a book that requires full concentration and I haven't had much lately. It's largely written in Patois, which is sumptuous - real eye candy for the reader, but takes a bit of thinking about. The chapters are very short though, so it's a good book to have in your bag when you're waiting in a queue.
Author crush of the year:
Jessie Burton for The Miniaturist
A very interesting literary writer, and a wonderfully mystical book. It's set in 1680s Netherlands and it's only whilst checking that information that I just discovered one of the central characters, Petronella Oortman, was a real person - with a real miniature dollhouse. Learn something new every day.
Top of my TBR pile:
For the first time in a very long time, I don't have anything lined up. I have many books I'd like to read, but I also have many books I'd like to write. I'm just settling down after quite a busy few months and haven't quite had time to organise my TBR pile into any sort of order. However, I am eager to read more works by my own publisher, Ghostwoods. Perhaps The Boy Who Spoke to Stars by Reuben Miles or All Lies and Jest by Kate Harrad.
Crome Yellow by Aldous Huxley
Apparently sales of dystopian literature have spiked since Trump got into power. I've never read Huxley's most famous work, Brave New World, but I read this because it was mentioned in Out of Africa by Karen Blixen. I think it was his first novel, and I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. There's one part in there about a household of dwarfs which was so sad I think it will stay with me forever.
I'm currently dipping in and out of a collection of contemporary short stories called Shaking the Tree (yes, I do hear Peter Gabriel every time I open it), edited by Meri Nana-Ama Danquah. As the cover suggests, it's a collection of fiction and memoirs by black women, published in 2003. Some extremely thought-provoking and gritty work in there.
Not usually an area of interest for me, but 2017 has been a fantastic year for my friends at ImagineWe publishing house in Kigali. They've released two titles: Oh, Rwandan Child! and ABC's of Rwanda. These guys are blazing a trail here with help from Inkstain Illustrations. Check them out.