Readers Share Literature that Gets Them Through the Holidays with Family
Books thin enough to slip into your bible
When I met the writer Taban Lo Liyong in Kampala, he gave me his most "carefree" book called Christmas in Lodwar. "It was the book where I was enjoying myself the most. You can read it by opening any page and it will make you feel better," he said.
Christmas in Lodwar was written about a Christmas Liyong once spent north of Lordwar, Kenya in 1979 when his Volvo Saloon broke down on his way to South Sudan. Open any page and you will find him meditating on leather aprons, political Jesus, learning pidgin, or village gossip. I decided to wait until the end of the year to read it because it was perfectly sized to fit into my bible, and I knew I'd need something to read through all the New Year's and Christmas services my family would take me to.
Sometimes you need an escape from the craziness of being with family during the holidays and reading provides that distraction. I asked some people what literature gets them through the holiday season at home.
Here is what they suggested:
Lucy by Jamaica Kincaid
"A small book to read when you're feeling disillusioned with parents is Jamaica Kincaid's Lucy. It's scorching and engrossing."- Kanyin Ajayi
Finding Kennedy by Jacinta Howard
"Black indie romance writers have the best pen game. Nia Forrester and Jacinta Howard are two of my favorites—I'll read anything they write. Jacinta Howard has a New Adult series called "The Prototype" about members of an alternative hip hop/rock band. My favorite from that series is called 'Finding Kennedy.' I read on my phone using the Kindle app. Your phone can fit into a bible." -Sarah Yerima
Les Soleils des Indépendances by Ahmadou Kourouma
"I read Les Soleils des Indépendances by Ahmadou Kourouma because of the dark humor."- Chrystel Oloukoi
Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth by Warsan Shire
"Shire's book is a contemporary classic. It imagines the subjectivity of your mother, your African mother, as the human being beyond the swarthes and definitions of motherhood. Do we not as children and the adults we become, conveniently imagine our mothers only within the dimension of motherhood? This book teaches us to look beyond that." -Gbenga Adesina
Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde
"Audre Lorde's Sister Outsider helped me this week, especially the travel writing bit of that book. She helps me when I think, 'Am I imagining this or is this actually happening?' 'No, it's real,' Lorde's voice says. The clarity of her writing is exactly what I need to face the trolls in my family." -Michael Kebede
What is Not Yours is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi
"So my holiday reading list has had The Hundred Wells of Salaga which I'd high key recommend because you can have conversations about it with your family, and they can let you in on some family history. I'd also recommend What is Not Yours is Not Yours for escaping. It's the kind of book that'd make you hide somewhere so you aren't disturbed."-Esther Mirembe
House of Spirits by Isabelle Allende
"It's like petty inter-generational family drama but elevated because of magical realism. Perfect for break from African parents reading."-Myriam Amri