At the beginning of 2019, to encourage the reading culture several Nigerians have begun to imbibe, BellaNaija decided to start naming one book every month a BN Book of the Month.
The best thing is how publishing in Africa has begun to thrive, publishers pumping out book after book. Our reading culture has gone through the roof, with book clubs meeting in bars and even on social media every weekend.
So, yeah. We thought: Let’s bring to the notice of people across Africa and outside all the wonderful books that are being published in Africa that may not come to their notice otherwise.
For January, we had Tunde Leye‘s Afonja: The Rise. We said about it:
Historical fiction that takes you into the heart of the Ọ̀yọ́ empire through the lens of dynamic characters. Led by the Àfọ̀nja, the array of personalities in Tunde Leye’s novel will make you wish you had first-hand experience.
In February, we moved away from fiction and settled on Elnathan John‘s Be(com)ing Nigerian:
A Guide. The publishe’s website said:
Be(com)ing Nigerian: A guide is a satirical collection that takes a searing look at how different forms of power are abused, negotiated and performed both in the private and public realm.
Through attempting to satirise those who abuse privilege or power, it recognises that power can be found everywhere: in politics, business, religious institutions and in homes.
From the exploration of religious hypocrisy in How To Worship The Nigerian God, to A Letter to My Future Kidnapper which tackles the growing scourge of kidnapping, the collection is a jab at Nigerian society and what it means to be a Nigerian. Beyond poking fun at the holders of power, it is a summon, a provocation and a call for introspection among all levels of society. As it is often said in Nigeria, when you point with one finger, there are four others pointing back at you. This is an engrossing read for Nigerian watchers, and strangers to Nigeria alike, with its tongue-in-cheek look at Nigeria’s relationship to the world, both culturally and politically.
In March, we looked outside Nigeria. We settled on the Kenyan author Jackson Biko‘s Drunk. We said about it:
In Drunk, Jackson Biko tells the tale of Larry, a Kenyan man whose uninhibited propensity for alcohol consumption takes a disastrous toll on his life.
Through the lens of Larry’s life, Biko takes us through the streets of cities and small towns in Kenya. It is a very small book that takes on the big task of breaking down alcoholism. It is for this reason that Drunk is the BellaNaija Book of the Month.
We’ll continue to bring more books to your notice and make sure that you read at least twelve books this 2019. Also, what books would you like us to feature as Book of the Month. Let us know in the comment section.