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Africa Reading Challenge! (Hosted by Kinna Reads)

January 19, 2012 7 comments

Map of AfricaI’m super-excited to get to participate in a reading challenge this year that I heard rumblings about and was announced this week.  The Africa Reading Challenge!  Hosted by Kinna Reads.

According to Kinna, the rules are:

Challenge Period
January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012

Region
The entire African continent, including its island-states, which are often overlooked. Please refer to this Wikipedia “list of sovereign states and dependent territories in Africa”. Pre-colonial empires and regions are also included.

Reading Goal
5 books.  That’s it.  There will be no other levels.  Of course, participants are encouraged to read more than 5 books.  Eligible books include those which are written by African writers, or take place in Africa, or are concerned with Africans and with historical and contemporary African issues. Note that at least 3 books must be written by African writers.

Why this challenge?
Getting to know Kinna and Amy in 2011 connected me to African lit and showed me the uniqueness of it.  I enjoyed reading it, so of course I want to read more!  Plus, participating in this challenge will hopefully call attention to this whole other world of books that is so frequently ignored in the book blogging world.  Also, reading is how I travel, and I just love visiting Africa through a writer’s eyes.

My (tentative) reading list:

  1. Music and Dance Traditions of Ghana: History, Performance and Teaching by Paschal Yao Younge (current tbr pile) Ghana
  2. Yellow-Yellow by Kaine Agary (current tbr pile) Nigeria
  3. The Chicken Thief by Fiona Leonard (current tbr pile) Ghana
  4. The Rabbi’s Cat 2 by Joann Sfar (current tbr pile) Algeria
  5. His Treasure (Men of Valor) by Kiru Taye (current tbr pile) Nigeria
  6. The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna (wishlist) Sierra Leone
  7. Twenty Chickens for a Saddle: The Story of an African Childhood by Robyn Scott (wishlist) South Africa and Zimbabwe
  8. Death of the Mantis: A Detective Kubu Mystery by Michael Stanley (wishlist) Botswana
  9. Woman at Point Zero by Nawal El Saadawi (wishlist) Egypt
  10. The African American Odyssey of John Kizell: The Life and Times of a South Carolina Slave Who Returned to Fight the Slave Trade in His African Homeland by Kevin G. Lowther (wishlist) Sierra Leone
  11. Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (wishlist) Nigeria
  12. King Peggy: An American Secretary, Her Royal Destiny, and the Inspiring Story of How She Changed an African Village by Peggielene Bartels (wishlist) Ghana

I’m hoping to read all of these, but obviously the only ones set in stone are the ones I own.  Suggestions, both from my list and not, are welcome!  I’m excited by the new variety this challenge will bring to my blog and also for the camaraderie innate in reading challenges.  It’s gonna be a fun year. 🙂

Friday Fun! (Reading Goals for 2012)

January 6, 2012 6 comments

It’s that time of year again!  Time to think about my reading goals for the year.  Reading is one of my main passions in life (I’d say the others are writing, fitness, and animal rights).  I love it, but I also like to see how I change and grow and provide myself with a bit of direction, especially now that I’m out of school. (YAY).  To that end, let’s first take a glance at my goals from January 2011 and see how I did.

Successful:

  • Read 100 books. I am so freaking HAPPY to say that I not only met this goal but surpassed it! Yay me!
  • Frugality.  I had a hard time deciding if this was actually a success or not, after all I DID purchase a kindle.  However, buying my kindle opened up a whole world of cheaper books for me, including eARCs and the land of 99cent kindle sales.  I also completely stopped using PaperBackSwap and found a library branch convenient to my lifestyle.  By some odd combination of all three of those, I’d definitely say I drastically improved in this area, so I’m counting it a success.

Unsuccessful:

  • Travel the seven continents. HAHAHAHA. This wasn’t just a fail. It was an epic fail.  My first book for this goal set me off on a Chinese lit tangent and then getting to know Amy and Kinna got me onto Nigerian lit and Ghanaian lit and then The Real Help Project got me onto black lit and um….yeah.  One thing I realized about my reading style is I get into things and read everything I can get my hands on in one fell swoop.  That means these challenges that cover large areas are just not for me.  I’m still happy with the new places I visited via my reading though.

Goals for 2012:

  • TBR Pile Challenge with Amy.  Amy was doing a challenge with her roommate, and I elbowed my way in. (Thanks, sweety!)  As of January 1st, I had 47 books that I acquired before 2011 still unread.  My goal is to finish them all this year and hopefully faster than Amy can finish hers (47 from before 2009).  Whichever one of us finishes first gets a kindle book courtesy of the other.  I obviously wanted to read these books at some point, so I may as well do so sooner rather than later!  I mean, goodness, they were on my shelf over a year without being read? Oh dear.  See the whole list here.
  • Diet for a New America Reading Project.  My passion for health and a reversion of the American health crisis and obesity epidemic led me to create this project.  Every month (we hope) on the third Saturday I’ll be reviewing a pre-determined book and hopefully at some point each month at least one fitness book or cookbook.  See the list of planned books and more details about the project here.
  • One historic nonfiction book a month.  Memoirs do not count, unless they are written by critical figures.  Biographies do count.  Preferably about: time periods I know very little about, history of non-whites in the US, socialism, animal rights, etc….
  • Read 110 books.  100 books was such a challenge that I’m just going to push myself a tiny bit, haha.
  • Finish catching up with my accepted ARCs.  This was a goal in December, and I did a pretty good job with it.  I’m almost caught up, but not quite yet.
  • Read six environmental nonfiction books.  The count last year was kind of sad for someone whose life goals involve minimalist living, positive or at least neutral impact on the environment, etc…  Vegetarian/vegan/animal liberation books do not count in this category.  Preservation of endangered species does.

Phew!  I think that’s more than enough goals for me for the year!  What do you guys think of them?  Any plans for your reading for this year?