I can’t be trusted in a book shop. I won’t steal the books. Not at all. I’ll stroke them and talk to them out loud perhaps scaring other shoppers. Or try hiding them somewhere no else can find them so they’re safe from abduction by a rival customer until I return with money to adopt them. I have strong opinions. If I don’t like a book or worse an author that is (in my view, unjustly) popular, I’ll whisk them to the bottom of the pile and replace them with a better book.
I’m a menace. Shop assistants glare at me. And cough loudly. I have been known to take multiple books off their current shelf and put them in the genre where I think they belong. Once I was told, “To stop harassing the books, ma’am.” I can’t help it.
I’m also a menace to my bank account. The books and all their beautiful covers call out at me and before I know it I’ve spent my rent on books.
So for a long time I stopped going to bookshops, to rethink my life choices and reform my wicked interfering ways. Also because I simply didn’t have the time. So I started shopping for books online. There’s something quite fun about receiving a gift from your past self for your future self. Sometimes, in the rush of life you even forget you ordered them and then it’s a wonderful surprise when they appear.
So in lieu of Book of The Week, I can talk a bit about the books I’m anticipating.
Fairytales for Lost Children by Diriye Osman
Diriye Osman is a British-Somali author and artist. His first book is about young LGBTQ people navigating the immigrant experience in Somalia, Kenya and the UK in a series of short stories. My interest was piqued when Fairytales for Lost Children won the 2014 Polari First Book Prize and it got a number of favourable reviews from readers within Africa as well as overseas. And since in many African countries, forms of love that exist outside heterosexuality are looked down upon or fiercely banned I was interested to read a novel written by an African in the wake of this climate.
“The only seed that needs regular watering is our imagination.”
― Diriye Osman,
Then I ordered another…
Tram 83 has been described as a cacophonous but rewarding, poetic read with its non-linear narrative taking place in an unnamed African city in the Congo.
It follows two friends, Lucien and Requiem, in an almost Gomorrah-like modern city, through the political thicket of it, a gold rush, the crush of people and their schemes. Like Osman, this also Mujila’s first book and it is heartening to see African writers taking risks with their first published book instead of playing it safe.
I can’t wait to read them! I’ll be reviewing both after I’m done.
Have any of you read either of them?