Book recommendations

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My happiest childhood memories involve reading. Books seem to have a magical aura. I loved sitting outside in the garden my father patiently tended behind the large stone house we rented in a suburb of Paris (he was posted to France by UNICEF).  Receiving a gift and knowing, even before tearing off the wrapping, that it was a book filled me with barely contained excitement. At the end of the school year, it was a huge honor to walk past the rows of parents and be solemnly handed a book (like a children’s edition of Les Misérables) as a prize by the Directrice of the French school my sister and I—we were the only foreigners—attended. And nothing beat saving enough pocket money to purchase a volume from the so-called “Pink Library” (Hachette’s Bibliothèque rose collection of hardcover titles with a pink spine, aimed at girls aged 6-12; it celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2006) from a remarkable bookstore that doubled as a candy shop.

As an adult, I find the next best thing to a book gift is receiving a recommendation from a fellow reader. I’ve been planning for some time to add a menu tab about my favorite set-in-Africa books but I never got around to it. A lovely tweet by author Amy Sue Nathan (you’ll find her @AmySueNathan and AmySueNathan.com) with the “3 R’s of helping an author: Read-Recommend-Review” finally gave me the push I needed to announce, via Twitter, my New Year’s Resolution to write enthusiastic reviews of books that have given me hours of joy.

The books you’ll find here won’t be rated, for the simple reason that I am only going to mention books that I adored. Books that make me want to say, “Have you read this? If no, go and buy it. You won’t regret it.”

I hope that you’ll fall in love with some of the books featured here, starting with THE SECRET LIVES OF BABA SEGI’S WIVES by the lovely Lola Shoneyin and that you’ll go out and spread the word … and cheer on an author.

Happy reading and take good care.