alligator legs' book picks


i buy far more books than movies or music. and what with all the hole-in-the-wall bookstores and book festivals around, i've amassed a collection of novels now sitting on my desk waiting to be read. they’re some new and not-so-new titles from emerging and established authors, several published by cassava republic press or farafina, and i'm excited about each one. wish i could provide photos and links to all these, but my internet connection and i are engaged in a very epic battle this morning. happy reading! --AL.


Everyday is for the Thief//Teju Cole

read this in one sitting and emailed teju, saying, 'let's be friends.' he lives in brooklyn. can hardly believe we'd never met before. the pace, the tone, he hits lagos on the nose, but never heavyhanded.

Waiting for an Angel//Helon Habila

the caine prize-winning novel that meets and surpasses all expectations. my favorite chapter is alice, about love and longing; my second favorite is the first lomba chapter, about a political prisoner/poet who helps the warden woo a woman with his poetry. even in this second read, i still find myself in awe of habila's originality. moreso after taking his writing workshop at the garden city lit fest.

As the Crow Flies//Veronique Tadjo

poetic prose that soars and dips as the crow does. tadjo breaks all boundaries of the form, freeing the art to express itself unconstrained, as it wills. in her words, i take courage and inspiration for the writer within.

Heart Songs//Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo

prof adimora-ezeigbo was awarded the ana/cadbury prize for this book of poetry i stumbled across in the unilag bookstore. the verses spoke to me, especially the 'songs in pidgin' about sex, exploitation and immigration. then to see the woman in flesh, with wise and elegant demeanor, as a panelist at the garden city lit fest. the moderator spoke nothing of her poetry, only her children's books, which i've yet to read.

A Heart to Mend//Myne Whitman

i've been hearing about this romance novel for ages on myne's blog, myne whitman writes. got to buy a copy at the gclf and spend some down time chatting with the naija blogger extraordinaire. she is an absolute force and delight.

In Dependence//Sarah Ladipo Manyika

i've had the pleasure of emailing and chatting with sarah over the past year since she found my blog post about hedgebrook (i attended in 2009; she in 2010). her novel about love in the time of civil war has been on my wish list, but i found a copy here that makes me feel better about buying naija.

Imagine This//Sade Adeniran

this commonwealth prize-winning novel was recommended to me by cassava's bibi bakare-yusuf. she's brilliant, so i bought it, have yet to unwrap the plastic binding.

Weaverbird Collection//Edited by Akin Adesokan, Ike Anya, Sarah Ladipo Manyika, Ike Oguinea

a collection of short stories by (mostly emerging) contemporary nigerian writers with contributions from e.c. osondu, tolu ogunlesi, ayodele arigbabu and khalidah bello. a dish for every palate.

Tour of Duty//Pelu Awofeso

awofeso is a travel journalist who documents, with impressive and engrossing detail, his sojourns throughout nigeria over the course of a year. he captures both the ordinary and extraordinary, chronicling a lifestyle that is as peculiar as those of the characters he meets.


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  1. I loved Everyday is for the Thief, I read it in one sitting as well. If Sefi Atta makes me nostalgic for a Lagos that is gone, Teju Cole makes me want to get on a plane and go back home right now. And Waiting for an Angel is an absolutely amazing book. Tour of Duty sounds interesting. I'll check it out on Amazon.

  2. You gat it good. I thought i had the tallest pile of Nigerian literatures waiting to be read, but i can see now who's gat it standing on those Alligator Legs- You. I can only look up in envy at your pile. Enjoy.


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