Earlier this summer, in June, I maxed out my library card.
The box which usually holds my borrowed books was so full that it was bookish-Jenga to remove one (and forget trying to add one).
A neighbouring table was also commandeered. Even, for a time, the floor space between box and table.
It’s no exaggeration to say that it’s taken all the weeks between then and now to get that sorted.
It’s also not rocket science to posit that I’ve learned nothing from that experience.
For the time being, I’ve got a (relatively) tidy stack.
Nazanine Hozar’s Aria (2019) is in my stack because Margaret Atwood tweeted that it’s an Iranian Doctor Zhivago. Earlier this year I spent some time with Iranian women writers’ works, inspired by Nilofar Shidmehr’s Divided Loyalties (link to my piece in The Temz Review) and I’m looking for more.
Tope Folarin’s A Particular Kind of Black Man (2019) is here because he won the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2013. (So have No Violet Bulawayo, E.C. Osundu, Brian Chikwava, and Leila Aboulela, among others.) He’s also a judge for a short story contest I’d like to enter: it’s important to have a sense of what a judge might value in fiction.
Aminatta Forna’s The Memory of Love (2010) has been on my TBR since it was longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction. After that, she attended the International Festival of Authors in Toronto and I still didn’t get to her work. Recently, I heard her interviewed on the Guardian Books podcast and was re-inspired. Podcasts are great for fanning a dimming flame.