Wilfred Mhanda, whom I had the pleasure of meeting in Harare last year, pens a detailed and intriguing account of the the guerrilla war in Rhodesia, Zimbabwe’s subsequent independence, the rise of the ZANU party, and the rise President Mugabe. This is a must-read narrative containing first hand accounts of political rivalries and perhaps the most in-depth account of President Mugabe’s rise within the ZANU-PF party.
I tagged this one as “Afro-European Lit” because Andrea Levy is perhaps one of the most well-known Afro-authors and pioneers in the United Kingdom. However, this is an Afro-Caribbean epic about slavery and the struggle for abolition in Jamaica. Following a young slave woman named July, The Long Song weaves in and out of history telling a story that is at times engaging and suspenseful but at other times painfully slow moving. Honestly, I’m still trying to decide whether I will read her entire body of work this year as planned as I am not completely blown away this far. Stay tuned . . .
In a modest effort to increase my monthly nonfiction intake – and also taking advice from this helpful article on enhancing the reading experience http://myhometableau.com/the-one-thing-ive-learned-to-help-me-read-more/ – I’m continuing to experiment with reading two books at the same time.
Book 1 – “The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell
I read and loved his in-depth analysis of the patterns of success in “Outliers” and heard great things about this book as well. I’m 155 pages in and so far am not in love with it yet. The stories are interesting (of course) but a few conclusions seem to be drawn from relatively weak links (Paul Revere vs William Dawes and the New York phone book “test” particularly). So far, this book doesn’t seem to be as tightly woven as it’s predecessor but many of the concepts Gladwell presents are – even when seemingly simplistic – paradigm shifting. This is one to check out.
Book 2 – “Wizard of the Crow: A Novel” by Ngugi wa Thiong’o
This novel has been on my ‘Book Bucket List’ for a few years. To put it simply, the story surrounds a fictitious country in Africa called “Aburiria”. Aburiria, like many countries in the region, is torn by political parties fighting for control of the country and it’s resources. This satire is loaded with symbolism surrounding political and humanitarian themes. I’m only a few pages in but can already sense that I’ll be writing a separate post on this one. Stay tuned; this story is epic.
Kaffir Boy – My never-ending search for auto-ethnographic texts (stay tuned for a post on this in the future), led me to this classic. Inspired by Richard Wright’s Black Boy, Kaffir Boy is an autobiographical narrative that explores Mark Mathabane’s childhood during South Africa’s apartheid. Introspective and analytical, this novel is simply captivating.
Philosophical Meditations on Richard Wright – Written by one of the authors of this blog *winks and looks over at him*, this text explores Richard Wright from a philosophical, psychological, and sociological perspective. Although this book is written for academics, I found it to be very engaging and even paradigm shifting in terms of perspective on Wright’s work.