Top 8 of the best books to read in 2023
Find here the top 8 of the best books to read in 2023 and navigate the African imagination without knowing the limits. Are you ready? Let’s go to the rankings…
Top 8 of the best books to read on 2023
Vagabonds! – Eloghosa Osunde
One city. An array of characters. Countless stories. Osunde brings the reader snapshots of life in Lagos, its outliers, the marginalised, the disenfranchised, and those from other worlds. Vagabonds is a novel filled with energy, capturing the chaos of Lagos life in a fresh and mesmerising writing style. Sex, greed, lust, love, power are all present, underneath which individuals are trying to survive systems in Nigeria that seek to destroy them.
Things They Lost – Okwiri Oduor
A debut like no other, this book not only showcase Odour’s talent but serves as a dazzling reminder of the wealth of literary talent Kenya has to offer. At the centre of this spellbinding and goosebump-inducing story is 12-year-old Ayosa and the three generations of women who came before her. Through magic, mysticism, and folklore, Odour weaves a tale that explores mother-daughter relationships, grief, sorrow and loss, and serves as an ode to girlhood.
Honey and Spice – Bolu Babalola
Every so often a writer will come along who takes your breath away with every page. Bolu Babalola is that writer. Honey and Spice is her debut novel following the success of her short story collection Love in Colour. It does not disappoint. The novel has all the ingredients for a hot and hilarious rom-com; take two students and a dash of chemistry, and mix in a hugely entertaining plotline, topped with a few spoons of passion and there you have it. Perfection.
Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head – Warsan Shire
One of the greatest poets of our time, Warsan Shire’s highly anticipated poetry collection does not just meet expectations but exceeds them. She writes about love, war, migration, sex, culture, womanhood, heartbreak, pain, and joy. Shire’s ability to articulate emotions and experiences through her poems is unrivalled. Her words have the power to dismantle you in minutes, only to find that you are suddenly stronger than before.
Glory – NoViolet Bulawayo
The renowned novelist is back with a cleverly told story that echoes events in her homeland of Zimbabwe. An “old horse” is removed from power in the animal kingdom of Jidada. There is much celebration as fellow horse and Vice-President Tuvius Delight Shasha is set to take over. But alas, things take an all too familiar turn as Tuvius’s promise to “make Jidada great again” ends up being just that: a promise. This is a hilarious and heart-breaking work of satire that neatly sums up the workings of an autocratic regime.
Strange and Difficult Times – Nanjala Nyabola
The incandescent Kenyan writer is back with a sobering collection of essays featuring her observations on the Covid-19 pandemic. She writes of how the crisis exposed the global inequalities and served as a reminder that, despite what global leaders may tell us, all lives are not equal. This is not a Covid-19 diary or a re-living of the pandemic. Rather, it is an important body of work that highlights unforgivable injustices and the courageous systems and voices trying to counter them.
Africa Is Not A Country – Dipo Faloyin
With a riveting title with substance to match, Dipo Faloyin’s non-fiction offering smashes through the many stereotypes that surround the African continent while also providing great insights into its rich history and current realities. This is not only an informative read but a funny and entertaining one too, focusing on everything from authoritarian role to the jollof wars.
You already know these stereotypes. So often Africa is depicted simplistically as an arid red landscape of famines and safaris, uniquely plagued by poverty and strife.
In this funny and insightful book, Dipo Faloyin offers a much-needed corrective. He examines each country’s colonial heritage, and explores a wide range of subjects, from chronicling urban life in Lagos and the lively West African rivalry over who makes the best Jollof rice, to the story of democracy in seven dictatorships and the dangers of stereotypes in popular culture.
By turns intimate and political, Africa Is Not A Country brings the story of the continent towards reality, celebrating the energy and fabric of its different cultures and communities in a way that has never been done before.
Black and Female – Tsitsi Dangarembga
She wrote one of the greatest novels of our time. Now, the Zimbabwean author, filmmaker and activist Tsitsi Dangarembga brings us a collection of essays, heart wrenching in some places and triumphant in others. She reflects upon her various roles and identities, saying that “to be a feminist while black and female in Zimbabwe is to live at the epicentre of structural racism and a brutal militarised patriarchy”. Effortlessly bringing together the personal and political, Dangarembga provides an insight into her life and how the systems in which she exists have impacted her as a woman and a writer.