Three of my favorite books
In honor of World Book Day, three of my favorite books:
Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimanda Ngozi Adichie
Half of a Yellow Sun is my favorite book of all time. I re-read it recently, and fell in love with it all over again. It was just the perfect book for me at the perfect time. I’d been fascinated with the Biafra chapter of Nigerian/post-colonial African history since coming across it in my politics studies, so to explore that time in a novel by an author with Adichie’s roots and commitment to telling that story, was special. The characters were so complex and fascinating, and the relationships were so interesting and authentic. Her writing was so vivid, it just felt like being transported to that time and place. Thoughtful, funny, sexy, beautiful, tragic.
Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi
The fact that I had no idea what was going on in the first few pages of this book, may be my fault for generally not reading the back cover of books before I read them, or the author’s for over-embellishing her writing in the opening pages. Either she toned it down afterwards or I got used to it, because it quickly became a joy to read. I loved the characters she created, and the complex, difficult, loving yet fraught relationships within marriages and families that she captured so well. Her exploration of the overachieving-African-immigrant-in-America ethic inspired me to pursue excellence. It speaks well of the complexity that she created, that in my book club we all sympathised with different characters. I really felt for Kweku!
The Polygamist by Sue Nyathi
While arguably not as, quote unquote, highbrow as the other two, I really enjoyed this book. Besides being salacious and fun, I think the book is actually great at exploring the sexual and emotional entanglements some of us experience, and the ensuing fallout. As a South African, it certainly resonated. Nyathi’s Harare felt very similar to Johannesburg in terms of its social dynamics.
What are some of your favorite recent books?
Mandla Lionel Isaacs is an avid reader of African fiction, detective books, fantasy, crime fiction, history, and all things political. He tweets @lionofjozi