If I didn’t write or read during this crazy year, I doubt I’d have coped. So, below are some of the best books that kept me company, this year:
Original Skin by Phillipa Yaa De Villiers
De Villiers is a South African poet and playwright whose work touches deeply. This book is a written version of the author’s autobiographical one-woman show, her story of adoption during the apartheid era, which she has performed widely.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
A both harrowing and an extraordinary story! I couldn’t think of anything else for days after reading this book. This quote from the book captures what it’s at its core: “Since at least the 1800s, black oral history has been filled with tales of ‘night doctors’ who kidnapped black people for research. And there were disturbing truths behind those stories”
The Spy by Paulo Coelho
Coelho needs no introduction. But this book is a keeper; an intensely fascinating story set in Paris that can be read over and over again. If you’re a fan of historical fiction. I highly recommend it.
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
Noah is one of my comp authors. I delayed reading his book because I had already guessed that his story might be similar to mine. It is, indeed, similar in many respects to many non-white South African children’s stories. I cried and laughed as I reminisce about my own childhood.
Each year, I always feel as if I haven’t read enough books of poetry. But I realise that I also consume a lot of chapbooks, which are not listed in any of the big book retailers.
But this anthology about poetry and poets featured in it, Our Words, Our Worlds edited by Makhosazana Xaba, was the best gift to myself.
It’s a collection of personal essays, interviews, literary critique, feminism, etc., that adds to the decolonising literary culture discourse. Even if you are not a poet or poetry reader, topics covered in this book might be of interest and more so, if you feel left on the margins.
You’re Not listening: What You’re Missing and Why It Matters by Kate Murphy
I pride myself on being a good listener. This book helped me put my “great” skill under a microscope. I seriously needed a reminder that listening is a muscle that needs constant strengthening, after I failed a loved one. All they wanted was for me to listen. All I wanted was to fix the problem. I cannot recommend this book enough, if you care about the quality of your relationships with others.
That’s my short list for this year. I bet we’re all tired, I know I’m fried! So, you won’t see me pop up in your inbox, though I’ll continue to catch up on your blogs.
But before I go, I’d like to share this well crafted list of Notable African Books of 2020, an inspiration, as you plan your TBR for 2021, to go beyond the familiar. I too, plan to stretch myself by finally reading Proust as seen below.
So, a big THANK YOU to you all my wonderful blogging community for your support, inspiration, fun and gift of words throughout this challenging year.
If you sometimes hang around Instagram or Facebook, we might bump into each other. Otherwise, I wish you and yours a peaceful holiday season. See you in 2021!