Spain Book Haul
As some of you may know, I’m based in Moscow, Russia. Finding books in English is not always easy. Most of the mainstream titles do become available a few months after their release in the U. S., but they invariably come with a higher price tag. The biggest disappointment, however, is that the kind of literature that I most care about—books by African and African American writers, feminist and LGBTQIA+ literature, works by authors of color, and other diverse reads from all over the world—are few and far between on the bookshelves of Moscow. Ordering online also comes with caveats—not all stores deliver to Russia, and if they do, you’re gonna have to pony up, plus it can take ages for your book mail to travel all the way here.
But before this post turns into a bookstagrammer’s nightmare, there’s a gleam of hope—vacation! My girlfriend and I traveled to Spain for a few days, and I couldn’t miss this opportunity to stock up. There’s a lovely cozy bookstore called Come In that exclusively sells literature in English. It’s not big at all but they offer so many great books. Let me repeat that—so many! After carefully picking only the best ones, I narrowed my wish list down to just about 50 books. But who am I kidding, I’m not gonna buy 50 books! Neither can I afford them (the prices are still way higher than in the U. S., and even if they weren’t, come on, do some math), nor am I excited about the idea of dragging so many beautiful, voluminous and extremely heavy tomes to another country.
So I had to cut it down to four—only four, sigh. Plus my girlfriend picked up two more—and I really liked her choice, so we can both enjoy them. And now I proudly present to you the fruits borne of this 3-hour-long strenuous decision-making session. And just like in the previous book haul post, I’ll try to explain what made me choose each of these books.
Barracoon | Zora Neale Hurston
This book, subtitled as The Story of the Last “Black Cargo”, is probably one of the most important books that came out in the past few decades. I haven’t read it yet, but I’ve read a lot about it. It’s an intimate and immediate account of the last known survivor of the Atlantic slave trade—the living, breathing history of the not-so-distant past looming over the not-so-healed present.
Dear Ijeawele | Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie
I first read this book back when it was a Facebook post, but I couldn’t resist buying a physical copy as well. If you’ve been following along, you probably already know that I’m a huge fan of Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie—you’ll definitely see her name coming up on Along My Lines time and time again. This is an unbelievably quick read, but full of wisdom and literary beauty nonetheless. I already read it and will write a review sometime soon.
Born a Crime | Trevor Noah
Honestly, Trevor Noah is such an inspiration! I’ve been a fan since before he first appeared on The Daily Show as a correspondent and became more widely known in the U. S. I saw a bunch of his comedy videos on YouTube and was blown away.
He is insanely talented—hilariously funny, speaking God knows how many languages, doing spot-on impressions of famous people, effortlessly putting on accents from all corners of the world—and, above all, always smart and thoughtful. I was really happy to see him rise to worldwide fame as Jon Stewart’s successor in hosting one of my favorite shows. And I was also really happy he decided not to wait until he gets old to write a memoir.
This story is about his humble beginnings, his years growing up in South Africa during Apartheid as an illegal child of an interracial couple, about his brave mom and the kind of man she raised him to be. I think it’s a book everyone should read.
Under the Udala Trees | Chinelo Okparanta
I learned about this novel from the bookstagram community, missed a buddy read because I didn’t have the book, and now I can’t wait to start. All I know is that this story is about two Nigerian girls who fall in love with each other amid the civil war. And I definitely want to see where it takes them.
Crazy Rich Asians | Kevin Kwan
This book has been coming up on my Instagram feed all the time too. Now that the movie came out and even more people are talking about it, it’s definitely time to check it out.
The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin | Masha Gessen
It’s not a bad idea to learn a little more about the man who runs the country I live in and seems to be increasingly interested in exerting control over the rest of the world. Who is he? What makes him tick? How far is he prepared to go? What would it take to stop him?
Stay tuned for the upcoming book reviews! Also, I hope you got to appreciate how beautiful that cloth we bought for the beach is. And here's a photo of me in the bookstore, clearly I'm really happy to be surrounded by all these books!