Africa Reading Challenge

January 19, 2012

Kinna Reads is hosting a year-long Africa Reading Challenge. The goal of the Challenge is to read

5 books.  That’s it.  There will be no other levels.  Of course, participants are encouraged to read more than 5 books.  Eligible books include those which are written by African writers, or take place in Africa, or are concerned with Africans and with historical and contemporary African issues. Note that at least 3 books must be written by African writers.

I will be participating in this Challenge. My initial list of 5 books (subject to change) is as follows:

Wives of the Leopard by Edna G. Gay

Why Are We So Blest? by Ayi Kwei Armah

Idu by Flora Nwapa

For Women and the Nation: Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti of Nigeria by Cheryl Johnson-Odom and Nina Emma Mba

Aké by Wole Soyinka

For more information about the challenge (including reading suggestions) visit Kinna Reads

Links and Things

March 12, 2011

One of the blogs I follow is Kinna Reads. Today I received in my inbox the following: Link Gems. The gems included Chimamanda Adichie on Ama Ata Aidoo, an essay about the relationship between Toni Morrison’s Beloved and Homer’s Odyssey. As someone who finds herself interested in the interplay of European classics and Black literature, the last is particularly interesting to me. Both are excerpted below.

Chimamanda Adichie on Ama Ata Aidoo:

Aidoo is too good a writer to paint with overly broad brush strokes. She does not suggest that the past was perfect, and there is no romanticising of culture. Instead, she bears witness to the realities of the time, her vision clear-eyed and pitiless, her role simply that of a truth-teller. Aidoo has a fantastic sly wit and humour. She never hits you over the head with any ‘message’, but after you have greedily finished each story, you sit back and realise that you have been through an intellectual experience as well.

Her Story Next to His: Beloved and The Odyssey:

Beloved certainly does not wear its Odyssey on its sleeve as brazenly as do O Brother or Ulysses, and, perhaps unlike those works, it can be read insightfully without reference to Homer. On the other hand, the connections between the Odyssey and Beloved in no way diminish Morrison’s novel. Instead, the similarities and differences between the works accomplish something important. By making Beloved a reworking of the Odyssey, Toni Morrison puts her story next to Homer’s—placing the lives and struggles of African Americans past and present into an epic context. She places these experiences alongside a story that is central to Western civilization, thereby asserting their own worthiness and importance in that tradition.