Since I joined the two Classic Challenges, Back to the Classic Challenge and the Classics Club, I’ve been wondering whether I haven’t bitten more that I could chew, for the simple reason that in Ghana, getting Classics to read may be a problem. The only consolation is that with the, five (5) years is long enough to get all the fifty books that I listed to read.
Most of these Classics were read in schools years past, and with the exception of the Shakespeare’s works, schools might not have these Classics on their reading lists today, well maybe some of the more popular ones (in Ghana, at least) like Wuthering Heights and Lord of the Flies would feature, but then I may be wrong. However, all in all, full unabridged Classics could be difficult to come by. Our libraries may be of some help, though, but I can’t be too sure; besides, I would want to purchase them and keep them as mine, rather than having to borrow them from the libraries. As for ebooks, I don’t know why but I prefer to have a big fat novel or book in my hands, curled up in bed or in an armchair, reading it than a Kindle. So I had made up my mind to search the bookshops when I get the time, to buy some good old Classics, and get me some other books that I had intended to purchase to complete my reading list for the Africa Reading Challenge and to top up my TBR. I had also planned on getting some YA lit for my boy who is about to complete JHS (Junior High School)
So, this weekend off I went with the three boys in tow, to some selected bookshops around my vicinity. We started with the Treasure Hunt and I never realised until then, though I had suspected all along, how difficult it is here to get some good YA lit, devoid of too much sex, violence and well, the occult. I could not lay hands on any of these science fictions either. The good thing is that the bookshop had in stock, abridged versions of the Classics, oh yes! Kidnapped, Treasure Island, The Count of Monte Cristo, David Copperfield, Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, Jane Eyre, Around The World in Eighty Days, Mobi Dick, the stories of WWI and WWII, and even Dracula, all by Usborne Publishing Ltd, London, Uk. These publishers also have series on Leonardo Da Vinci, Winston Churchill, Florence Nightingale, and many more historical figures all in the abridged form. This is so great. I had, some time ago, bought quite a number of the above mentioned books in abridged form from a different bookshop for the oldest boy and so this time I got those that were not in our home library for the younger boys. The oldest was interested in broadening his outlook beyond these. And I could not get him a single YA lit.
But surprise of surprises! After combing through the stacks of books on the shelves, I got the full unabridged versions of Silas Marner, (by George Elliot) Great Expectations, (Charles Dickens) Bluest Eyes by Toni Morrison and the Kite Runner by Khaleed Hoseini. I also got the following African lit: Buchi Emecheta: (The Bride Price, The New Tribe), Thomas Mofolo (Chaka), Bessie Head (Tales of Tenderness and Power), Amma Darko (Not Without Flowers) Mia Couto (Voices Made Night) and Contemporary African Short Stories (edited by Chinua Achebe and C L Innes)
We had to suspend the spree, since the boys complained of being tired and hungry (spending about two hours in the bookshop). We would probably tour the Legon bookshop (University of Ghana campus) next weekend for some more Classics, hoping that this time we may also get some YA lit.