Thursday, January 18, 2018

Madeline's Must-Read List for 2018

I need to read more. Seems like a strange comment to come from a book blogger. But contrary to what you might imagine I don't spend all my time pored over a book. Also, if I am going to produce lots of great content for you, I feel I may have to step up this year.

So today I am sharing a short list to which I have added to my "to be read" pile. This compilation consists of books that have been released in the last couple of years and books that will be available to read this year.

1. Hold by Michael Donkor. TBR July 2018
I remember when I used to travel to Ghana for the holidays as a child. My aunt had a 'house help' (call it domestic staff) called Abena. Abena looked after my cousins and I, served us our meals and did everything else that was asked of her. But other than responding to questions and requests, Abena hardly spoke. As a child, I remember feeling sad about this. My aunt no longer has this kind of help, but I know they still exist in other homes. It must be why I am quite excited about Hold, a story about a domestic worker called Belinda whose journey carries her from Kumasi in Ghana to South London, where she lives with well to do Ghanaian expats Nana and Dr. Otuo. What adventures and stories await her once she is in London?  Not only am I excited to finally hear the voice of one of these silenced individuals, I am also a big advocate of Ghanaian authors seeing as I am Ghanaian myself!

2. This Mournable Body by Tsitsi Dangarembga. TBR August 2018

I remember picking up a copy of Nervous Conditions from my university's library. (Anyone attended Queen Mary, London?) This was the first time I had read anything of this Zimbabwean author. I remember being totally drawn in by the novel which told the story of Tzambudzai, a young Zimbabwean lady who uses education as a vehicle to break out of a life of poverty and lack. She faces many challenges on the way, including her own resistance to change. I absolutely adored this book which is why I am waiting in excited expectation of This Mournable Body set in Harare, Zimbabwe and continues the story of Tsambudzai.  She is still on her quest for a better life but eventually has to face the reality of her dream life being so far removed from her present situation.

3. Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi. TBR February 2018
I always look forward to reading material from new authors. You are exposed to a new writing style, a new genre of storytelling, a new way of describing characters,  events and places. And it is no different to my anticipation of Freshwater by Nigerian author Akwaeke Emezi. The story follows the life of a Nigerian born young lady, Ada, who appears to be a little strange. But when she travels to America, this "imperfect persona" of hers transforms into something more sinister. Ada's consciousness is taken over my alternative versions of herself. What will happen to this fractured soul?

3. Dear Ijeawele by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Released in March 2017
I almost cannot believe that I have not read everything by my all time favorite author! But I vow to do better this year and download a copy of Dear Ijeawele asap. A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions is its subtitle - I can only imagine it to be an extension of her non-fiction essay, We Should All Be Feminists. (Read review here). According to Goodreads, in this book, Adichie responds in letter form, to a friend who asks for advice on how to raise her daughter. The review will definitely be up soon!

5. Swing Time by Zadie Smith. Released in November 2016
I hang my head in shame as I confess that I have not read White Teeth or NW by this British female author. But I will do that this year, right after reading Swing Time! This one is about two girls growing up on council estates in London, who meet and form a friendship at a dance class. One of the characters is clever but lacks self-confidence whilst the other is on a path to self-destruction. One is prematurely sexually active, rebellious and from an unruly home, whilst the other is determined to work herself to a better life. We are invited to follow these girls' stories. Smith also has a collection of essays coming out this year entitled Feel Free. Please look out for it!

6. An American Marriage by Tayari Jones. TBR in February 2018

Love can be a complicated thing, right? I think the theme of complicated love is clearly and brilliantly told in An American Marriage. Celestial and Roy are the much in love newlyweds - an embodiment of the perfect American dream. But when Roy is given a jail term for a crime he didn't commit, Celestial is left with no one else to comfort her but Roy's best man Andre. What happens when Roy's conviction is unexpectedly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta to resume his life with his wife who has learned to live life without him for so long?

Have I piqued your curiosity with any of my descriptions?
Which one from my list are you most interested in?
Which should I review?
Are there any that I haven't listed that you'd love to read this year?

Comment below. Happy reading!

Images courtesy of Google



  1. Hold by Michael Donkor sounds like a fascinating read. And how lovely you picked up on how unsettling the 'house help's silence was, even as a child :) It looks as though you have a great year of reading ahead of you!

    1. I agree, it does seem fascinating. I can't wait to get a hold of a copy. To be honest, a lot of these helps, might no be "treated badly" as such, but what is sad is how much their basal position in the hierarchy of the household has been laid out for them.

  2. I'm excited to check some of these out this year! Have you seen "This Will By My Undoing" by Morgan Jerkins? It comes out January 30 and I really want to read it. I'm also in the process of reading Hunger, by Roxane Gay after finishing Bad Feminist last year.

    xo, Erin || Coffee Meets Polished

    1. Hi Erin. Many thanks for visiting my blog. I have not heard of This Will Be My Undoing, but I will go and check it out straight away. I am yet to read anything by Roxanne Gay but hopefully this year will change that!

  3. I do love to read! Shall pop a few of these on my wishlist and send some samples to my kindle!
    Kate x

    1. Thanks for reading. Please do download some of these as and when they are released. I'd like to know what you think about some of these titles once you start reading!

  4. Oooh you've inspired me to do a post like this for my blog! I actually saw Saving Time in the bookshop and read the back and was like I HAVE to read this - it looks so interesting!

    1. Thank you! I'm glad I have inspired you. I'll have to look up Saving Time. What is the name of your blog? Would love to pay you 'a visit'.

  5. I didn't hear about adichie's book. Would love to read it!

    1. Just finished reading it and it did not disappoint at all! It can easily be read in a sitting.

  6. You know Albert Einstein. World’s most famous scientist. Bushy head of white hair. Big mustache. E = MC2. Well, now you can feel sorry for him too. Poor Einstein’s eyes were stolen during his autopsy (aahtop-see)—a medical study of a dead body—in Princeton, Electrical Installation


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