Hi Brittle Paperians! We have just the thing to get your summer off on a high note: 41 unputdownable books. Whether you’re traveling, sitting at a restaurant, or vacationing at your favorite spot, pick up any of these books for a fun or deeply moving read.
We have a good mix here. Most of the books on the list are either published in 2023 or forthcoming in a few weeks. But we’ve also added some contemporary classics like Namina Forna’s The Gilded Ones, Chimeka Garricks A Broken People’s Playlist, and a few others. Some of our 2023 favorites are Chikodili Emelumadu’s gripping mythological thriller Dazzling, Wole Talabi’s sci-fi heist story Shigidi and the Brasshead of Obalufon, and Ani Kayode Somtochukwu’s searing queer debut And Then He Sang a Lullaby.
We know not everyone likes fiction, so we included a few memoirs. Black Girl from Pyongyang is the astonishing story of Monica Marcias, daughter of the late president of Equatorial Guinea, who moved to North Korea at the age of seven and lived there for most of her life, while morning the death of her parents, attending military boarding school, and, later in life, struggling to come to terms with the negative perception of a country she’d come to see as home. There is also Ike Anya’s riveting medical memoir Small by Small, Olabisi Ajala’s delightful travel memoir An African Abroad, and Clarkisha Kent’s Fat Off Fat On, a beautifully outrageous feminist anthem about a woman who loves herself unapologetically.
If you love short stories, check out No Edges, the first ever collection of Swahili language short stories translated in English. Yvette Lisa Ndlovu’s southern African mythology-infused Drinking from Graveyard Wells and Dare Segun Falowo’s Caged Ocean Dub are great for readers who like reality-bending stories.
Efua Traoré’s Children of the Quicksand and Tola Okogwu’s Nneka and the Academy of the Sun are our picks for YA lovers.
If you’re into crime thrillers, we did not forget about you. Last Seen in Lapaz by Kwei Quartey continues the story of Accra-based Private Investigator Emma Djan. This time, she is off to solve a missing-person mystery. The newest addition to the African crime writing scene is Adam Oyebanji. We’ve included his recent book A Quiet Teacher, about a British Nigerian high school teacher with a dark and mysterious past.
We hope you find something you like in this carefully selected list.
Happy summer! Happy Reading!