Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 5,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."

san-francisco-8

ONE LITTLE READING pleasure of mine is the moment I finally know why a book is called what it is called, or the moment I find the title buried in one paragraph, smiling and winking up at me.

We all love titles that work, and African writers do an especially good job coming up with these.

In appreciation of these authors’ spectacular naming abilities, here are six African books titles we love:

san-francisco-3

Everything Good Will Come is a coming-of-age novel by Sefi Atta about a young girl, Enitan, in post-colonial Nigeria and the ordeals she faces on the road to womanhood. I find this title dazzling because it is everything I want to believe to be true about life (and I don’t think I’m alone). The only way to describe this title is that it is, in itself, a timeless satisfaction. The gentle optimism and the firm assuredness of it draws you to the book, carries you through it, and lingers.

san-francisco-4

The Thing around Your Neck is a short story collection by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. This title builds anticipation: What is the thing around your neck? Do I have a thing around my neck? The short stories in this collection prove that the answer to the second question is this: At some point, we all do.

san-francisco-5

We Need New Names  is a coming-of-age novel by NoViolet Bulawayo. This title prepares you to meet our precocious heroine, Darling. The importance of names and how profound they are is something that you discover as she navigates life, from Zimbabwe to the USA. The seamless incorporation of this theme into the title is nothing short of brilliant.

not-all-of-me-is-dust

Not All of Me Is Dust is a poetry collection by South African author, Moira Lovell. This title in itself is poetry. It’s a profound statement that unfurls your imagination and sets the tone for the probing, reflective poems included in the collection.

san-francisco-6

Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth is a poetry collection by Warsan Shire. It explores love, loss, womanhood, and the brutality of transition. The title can mean any number of things and has a vaguely unsettling quality that sets the tone for the profound emotional journey that is this collection.

san-francisco-7

What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours is Helen Oyeyemi’s collection of short stories. It revolves around locks and keys. This title, a question of property and possession, kicks off this theme in a perfectly poetic way. The individual stories in this collection are also uniquely named, from “Is Your Blood As Red as This?” to “If a Book is Locked, There’s Probably a Good Reason for That Don’t You Think.” The universe Oyeyemi creates with her stories is expertly unlocked with this clever title.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

About Tiwaladeoluwa Adekunle

View all posts by Tiwaladeoluwa Adekunle
Tiwaladeoluwa Adekunle is a creative writer and a student of International Studies and English. Some of her work has been published by Shale, Limestone, Indiana Review and Brittle Paper. She is passionate about language, stories and Chipotle, and would almost always rather be writing.

One Response to “Do Judge These Books by Their Titles | By Tiwaladeoluwa Adekunle” Subscribe

  1. Gwen S. November 26, 2016 at 3:27 pm #

    Thanks for this!

Leave a Reply

Welcome to Brittle Paper, your go-to site for African writing and literary culture. We bring you all the latest news and juicy updates on publications, authors, events, prizes, and lifestyle. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@brittlepaper) and sign up for our "I love African Literature" newsletter.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."

Archives

Petina Gappah to Write Play About the Censorship History of Dambudzo Marechera’s Novel Black Sunlight

Untitled design

Petina Gappah recently announced that she was writing a play that focuses on “the 1982 banning and unbanning” of Dambudzo […]

Oh, Blessed Bri’Land | Jedah Mayberry | Fiction

fiction brittle paper Jedah Mayberry

Bri’Land glistened at me, her brilliant display of pink sand shimmering in delight.  It would seem that I had finally, […]

Books That Go with Wine and Books That Don’t

literary lifestyle wine and books

The beverages most associated with reading are tea and coffee. But many readers love to cozy up in bed with […]

In This House | Inok Rosemary | Poetry

poetry brittle paper inok rosemary

  In this house, we sift our words, Never letting the walls hear what they shouldn’t. The fear of their […]

Statement: African Authors Sans Frontieres in Solidarity with African-Americans

Untitled design - 2020-06-02T091026.887

As African writers without borders who are connected beyond  geography with those who live in the United States of America […]

#SaveLambdaLiterary | Leading LGBTQ Literary Organization Needs Your Help

save lambda literary (1)

Lambda Literary is struggling under the devastating financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic. On April 17, the organization launched a […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.