First Reading Challenge of the Year – Africa Reading Challenge


Last year, I narrowed my reading focus on Japan . I enjoyed the books I read a lot, but I am thinking I want to focus on another geographic location as my theme for 2014.

I just started reading We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo, and was thinking I just don’t read enough books on Africa, when bam, I thought I bet there’s a reading challenge out there on African literature, and guess what? I was right. There is one hosted by Kinna Reads.

As per the reading challenge, I need to read at least 5 books on Africa. Of course, the first book on my list is going to be We Need New Names that is based in Zimbabwe, and which I just started reading now.

I have made a preliminary list of other books/authors that I have been interested in reading but never actually got around to doing so. It’s pretty fluid though, and I may almost definitely change my mind during the course of this challenge.

  1. Any book by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – author from Nigeria
  2. A book by Abraham Verghese – from Ethiopia although Cutting From Stone, a book I read last year seems to be his only book based in Africa)
  3. A classic set in Africa (so that I can club this with my Classics Club reading challenge) I am thinking I could reread Heart of Darkness and the Congo Diary that is set in Congo by Joseph Conrad.
  4. I’ve heard good things about So Long a Letter by Mariama Ba that is based in Western Africa, and this is another book I could club in my Classics Club reading challenge

So, there, some of my reading for 2014 is already sorted 🙂 .

What reading challenges are you signing up for? Would you like to join the African reading challenge with us?

  • dreamzandclouds

    Good luck with the challenge! I am getting inspired by you to do something similar 🙂

  • Kinna

    Thanks for joining the challenge. I like the fluidity and potential diversity of your list. My fav among Chimamanda’s books is Purple Hibiscus. Enjoy your reading.

    • Nishita

      @disqus_p42f9rYv7Y:disqus Thanks very much for hosting it. I’ve heard great things about Purple Hibiscus and I would like to try it too. I am also interested in Americanah. I am curious how it will compare with We Need New Names.

  • Verity from Lilolia

    So Long A Letter is new to me, thanks! I couldn’t narrow down 5 books for this challenge so I posted my Africa reading wishlist, It’s fairly long but if you’re interested you might find some others there that take your fancy in case you can’t get what you want where you are. 🙂

    • Nishita

      @Verity from Lilolia Oh, I should check it out. Thanks 🙂

  • Oh that’s such a great idea! I need to expose myself to unfamiliar book territory too. So far, the only challenges I’ve signed up for involve the number of books read annually on Goodreads. Focusing on countries sounds splendid. I’ve always wanted to read Murakami – he could be the start of a self-made Japanese literature challenge. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Nishita

      @parinitashetty:disqus if you are looking for company to read Japanese books, you should try the Japanese Lit reading challenge. It’s hosted by

  • Too Fond

    I’m really looking forward to this challenge! If you’re looking for a great African classic, I would highly recommend Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, which has probably the most devastating ending of a book that I have ever read. It’s absolutely brilliant.

    I look forward to talking about African lit with you this year! 🙂

    • Nishita

      @toofond:disqus Yes, I read the book quite some time back. The memory is very vivid in my mind, and it’s one of my all-time favorite books.

      Looking forward to all the great discussions too 🙂

  • Good luck! This is a nice challenge

    • Nishita

      @Melinda @ The Book Musings:disqus: Thanks, Melinda. I am really looking forward to exploring a new continent through my reading 🙂 Also, do you have any reading recommendations for me? I don’t know too many contemporary authors.

  • Didi B.

    Nice challenge! I’ve already read We Need New Names and Cutting for Stone. Really enjoyed them both. Two really different types of novels but one can learn something from both since one is in Zimbabwe and the other Ethiopia. Enjoy!

    • Nishita

      @didib:disqus Thanks. I enjoyed Cutting for Stone a lot when I read it last year. I am looking forward to reading more Abraham Verghese books.

      I really know very little about African writing, so I am looking forward to it 🙂

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