Books: DARKNESS VISIBLE by William Styron

Title: Darkness Visible
Author: William Styron
Genre: Memoir
Published: 1990

This was a short read about a terrible illness. Styron writes consciously and matter-of-factly about his depression. Consciously because even before he had given it a name, so unaware of the extent to which the disease could be debilitating, he was well aware of his progression into the darkness of it.


Title: The Association of Foreign Spouses
Author: Marilyn Heward Mills
Genre: Fiction
Published: 2010

After having recently read Ghana Must Go, The Association of Foreign Spouses, a book based in Ghana, transported me right back to this country which holds a special place in my heart. Reading it was like reliving my years there, without the themes of domestic abuse and isolation, but with memories about the awkwardness of being a foreigner.

Books: THE COOKED SEED by Anchee Min

Title: The Cooked Seed
Author: Anchee Min
Published: 2013
Genre: Memoir

Anchee Min has written extensively about her life in China in the years prior to the Cultural Revolution, when she was chosen to be the star of propaganda films , and subsequent to that when China underwent a revolution that saw all and everything ever associated with Chairman Mao be destroyed. In The Cooked Seed she writes of the arduous journey from life as a peasant in the countryside; to a stint in a labour camp; to her years as a star of the propaganda machine; to her escape to the US as an art student to the Chicago Art Institute after the death of Chairman Mao and overthrowing of Madame Mao.

Books: GHANA MUST GO by Taiye Selasi

Title: Ghana Must Go
Author : Taiye Selasi
Published: 2013
Genre: Fiction

Ghana Must Go centres around the Sai family; Kweku Sai, his wife Folasadé and their children. Theirs is a love story of two young, confident and ambitious Africans – he is Ghanaian and she is Nigerian – who move to the United States where he studies medicine and goes on to become a renowned surgeon, and she gives up on Columbia Law in order to support him and raise their children.
It is a story about a family, and secrets, and issues left unresolved that manage to finally tear the family apart.

Books: THE BEAUTIFUL STRUGGLE by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Title: The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons and an Unlikely Road to Manhood
Author: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Published: 2008
Genre: Memoir

I read this in two days. I enjoyed it that much. I had also wanted to go to a reading that the author was giving at the American Library of Paris, and thought it best to at least attend the reading, having actually read the book. I did not make the reading however, but I learnt a great deal about what growing up in the West Baltimore, in the years post the civil rights era was like.

Books: POWDER NECKLACE by Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond

Title: Powder Necklace
Author: Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond
Published: 2012
Genre: Fiction

Powder Necklace tells the story of 13/14 year old Lila who is uprooted without warning by her mother from London to Ghana. Although Ghanaian by birth, Lila has never lived in Ghana. She is at the cusp of her teenage years, and although she is not an out-and-out rebellious teenager, her divorced, single and overwhelmed mother, wanting to remove her from the influences of London and ‘needing a break’ sends her to a girls’ boarding school in Ghana.

Books: ON BLACK SISTERS’ STREET by Chika Unigwe

Title: On Black Sisters’ Street
Author: Chika Unigwe
Genre: Fiction
Published: 2009

As is often the case, my reading choices are made fairly haphazardly. Chika Unigwe’s book must have come recommended by someone, somewhere because I have it on my Kindle. I read it in less than a week.
On Black Sisters’ Street is a story of four African women: Sisi, Efe, Ama and Joyce all living in Antwerp, Amsterdam working as prostitutes.

Books: BLACK ORCHIDS by Gillian Slovo

Title: Black Orchids
Author: Gillian Slovo
Genre: Fiction
Published: 2008

I enjoyed Black Orchids, a story dealing with race and set in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and England from the 1940s through to the 1960s. It is a story of the white Evelyn, raised in the then Ceylon as a child of a diplomat father. Her family’s life changes when Ceylon is granted independence – leaving the family with having to return to England.

Books: THE BUDDHA IN THE ATTIC by Julie Otsuka

Title: The Buddha in the Attic
Author: Julie Otsuka
Genre: Novel
Published: 2011

Julie Otsuka’s book is written in the first person plural –  a style I have never seen used before. It was at first distracting as I thought it was simply a foreword and the style would change. Not the case. By the time I was into the second chapter I had started imagining the women in the story as a collective.
The Buddha in the Attic traces the story of Japanese women that make their journey from Japan to San Francisco as picture brides in the early 1900s. She starts off with the first section catchingly- titled, Come, Japanese!

The books opens with a quietly steady chapter that begins:

Books: THE POISONWOOD BIBLE by Barbara Kingsolver

Title: The Poisonwood Bible
Author: Barbara Kingsolver
Genre: Novel
Published: 1998

The Poisonwood Bible is the story of the Price family, an evangelical Baptist family that moves from America to Belgian Congo in the years preceding independence. It is a tragic story of a family living under a very religious – almost fanatical husband and father, who sole mission is to save the heathen Africans from themselves.