Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Hate bugs.  Hope to be back to posting in two or three more days.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Recipes as Sacred Texts?

There's an interesting brouhaha going on over at Alosha's Kitchen having to do with how Cooks Country  responded to Alosha's posting of a recipe she found at Cooks Country and credited, but then altered.  I certainly understand CC's attitude towards having permission to post, but can only wonder about its attitude about others altering its recipes.  Are recipes revelations of gustatory  truth that must be adhered to as divine doctrine lest one incur unexpected visitations from the Culinary Inquisition?  St. Julia protect us. 

(There's more here on Kalofagas's blog.)

* * *

On the other hand, there's the whole issue of posting someone else's e-mails to the internet without permission.  That's a legal and ethical  quagmire, to say the very least.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Some Poems From First Collections

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Eight Thrilling Words

Friday, July 18, 2008

ARC 1: "The Fate of Africa"

My first review for the African Reading Challenge:

The Fate of Africa:  A History of Fifty Years of Independence by Martin Meredith, 752 pp., published by PublicAffairs, 2005.

This lengthy volume, by a journalist and historian who has spent much of his life in Africa, provides an excellent introduction to post-colonial Africa.  Beginning with a brief survey of the "Scramble for Africa," the European rush to claim territory in Africa during the late 19th and early 20 centuries, Meredith traces the 50 plus years of post-colonialism by focusing on individual countries and detailing what has happened in many of them.  Although it would not be realistic to cover each of Africa's 56 countries  in a single volume, he does deal with many of them, enough to provide the reader with a remarkably clear and  surprisingly comprehensive view of current Africa.  Among the countries covered in some depth are Ghana, Egypt, Algeria, Cote d'Ivoire,  Senegal, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, South Africa, Libya, Zambia, Congo, and Zimbabwe.  In the process, the reader is introduced to the major figures who have shaped contemporary Africa, including Kwame Nkrumah, Gamal Nasser, Leopold Senghor, Felix Houphouet-Boigny, Julius Nyerere, Jomo Kenyatta, Patrice Lumumba, Joseph Mobutu, Haile Mariam Mengistu, Robert Mugabe, and Nelson Mandela.  Meredith has a remarkable ability to present concise but detailed portraits of both individuals and countries; it is this ability that makes this work so successful at informing the reader about Africa, allowing him to have a good understanding of what has happened as well as why.  I cannot recommend this book too highly to anyone who wants to learn about contemporary Africa.

Monday, July 14, 2008

My African Reading Challenge List

A tentative first version of my list of books to read and review for the African Reading Challenge:

The Fate of Africa:  A History of Fifty Years of Independence by Martin Meredith
God's Bits of Wood by Sembene Ousmane (Seneghal)
Harvest of Thorns by Shimmer Chinodya (Zimbabwe)
Kicking Tongues by Karen King-Aribisala (Nigeria)
The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born by Ayi Kwei Armah (Ghana)
A Question of Power by Bessie Head (Botswana)

This list may change somewhat; there are several others I'd like to include, among them Wole Soyinka's Death and the King's Horseman and Ngugi wa Thiong'o 's A Grain of Wheat.

African Reading Challenge

I've just discovered the African Reading Challenge that's been going on all this year, which originated over at Siphoning Off a Few Thoughts. There are over 50 participants, each reading and blogging about 6 African books. Though I'm late (as usual), I'll be joining in and starting to post my reviews shortly.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

My New African Fiction Shelf

I have recently developed an interest in the work of African writers, particularly (although not exclusively) fiction and have been attempting to build a collection of such work.  Some of these I've mentioned before in earlier posts.  I haven't read all of them as of yet by any means, although I'm working on it.  Those I have read and particularly liked and recommend are marked by an asterisk.
 The list is organized by countries, in no particular order.

*God's Bits of Wood By Sembene Ousmane 

The Palm-Wine Drinkard and My Life in the Bush of Ghosts by Amos Tutuola

*Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
No Longer At Ease by Chinua Achebe
*Arrow of God by Chinua Achebe
A Man of the People by Chinua Achebe
*Anthills of the Savannah by Chinua Achebe

The Joys of Motherhood by Buchi Emecheta

The Famished Road by Ben Oki

*Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

*Weep Not, Child by Ngugi wa Thiong'o
*The River Between by Ngugi wa Thiong'o
A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi wa Thiong'o
Petals of Blood by Ngugi wa Thiong'o
Wizard of the Crow by Ngugi wa Thiong'o

The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born by Ayi Kwei Armah

The Dilemma of a Ghost  and Anowa (two plays) by Ama Ata Aidoo

*When Rain Clouds Gather by Bessie Head

Zenzele:  A Letter for My Daughter by J. Nozipo Maraire

Without a Name and Under the Tongue by Yvonne Vera
*Butterfly Burning by Yvonne Vera

Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga

South Africa:
*Waiting for the Barbarians by J. M. Coetzee
Life & Times of Michael K. by J. M. Coetzee
Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee

The Conservationist by  Nadine Gordimer
*July's People by Nadine Gordimer

*Midaq Alley by Naguib Mahfouz
The Cairo Trilogy by Naguib Mahfouz:
*Palace of Desire  
*Palace Walk
*Sugar Street
*Arabian Days and Nights by Naguib Mahfouz

Saturday, July 05, 2008

A Few More Food and Gardening Links Added

Thursday, July 03, 2008

New in "Jackdaw's Nest"

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Some New Additions to My Blog-Roll