Books & Writing

Book Love: “Americanah”

July 28, 2014

Before Beyoncé sampled Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED Talk (We Should All be Feminists) in her song “Flawless”, I was her fan. I remember watching the 2009 TED Talk “The Danger of A Single Story” feeling inspired as a writer, as a woman, and as a black woman writing stories. Chimamanda is known for her feministic views and her openness about the male dominant culture she grew up witnessing in Nigeria.

In a world where women writers and writers of color are still marginalized, it’s important for me to read as many female writers  and writers of color as possible. I selected this book because I realized the last FEW book recommendation I got were older white males. Now, let me say this before it becomes an issue, I do not have a problem with white males, white male writers, or older white male writers. What I do have a problem with is the underexposure women writers receive in literary journals, magazines, and among publishing companies.

When I skim through the tweets or website of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts I’m shocked at how few women are published by popular magazines and literary journals per year. In fact, I’m more than shocked, I’m disgusted. It’s 2014 and we’re still fighting against sexism. Thankfully, organizations like VIDA are taking a stand to speak out on this issue of creative and social injustice. But, I can’t leave all the work to VIDA. I decided to take my own stand.

Why might you ask? It’s simple. We have to pay attention to the culture we live in every day, the culture we will be defined by 200 years from now. I’ve thought of ways to speak on this issue in a meaningful way not only because it directly effects my life but, because it’s the right thing to do. When I look at the little girls in church who look up to me and mimic what I do, when I think of the teen girls I’ve mentored, when I consider my female peers, I feel the weight of responsibility and though it’s heavy, I welcome it.

I want to be able to say to my daughter I challenged to myself even when the society I lived in didn’t challenge itself. To do this, I’m going to read and blog about women writers for the rest of the year. All of the book selections I choose will be written by females. (Sorry to the men on the New York Times Bestseller list but, you won’t find a home here.) The point of this is to challenge my audience, family, and friends to look for quality writing in between the covers of books they normally wouldn’t. I have a voice and I have influence. It may not be the loudest voice or the largest source of influence, but it’s something. I hope when people see the amazing books and chapbooks written by women (and women of color) they’ll think twice about the conventional publishing trends that are old, bias, and close-minded.

If you want to join me in reading “Americanah”, please do it! I’d love to hear your thoughts on this book. I literally am starting it after I post this. What better person to start this book challenge off with than the self proclaimed feminist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie?






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  • Reply
    Katherine Dering
    July 28, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    I am also trying to read mostly female writers. I will move it up to almost exclusively, cuz I still have to finish a couple – Going Clear being one – written by men. I am also half through The kashmiri Shawl – written by Joanne Dobson.
    I am reading two female poets right now – I love Jorie Graham.
    I’m going nuts doing book readings and trying to market my book; poetry keeps me sane.

    I will put Americanah on my list. I can probably get to it in September.

    • Reply
      Erika Kimberly
      July 30, 2014 at 9:07 am

      Glad to hear you’re on tour with your book & that you’re enhancing your reading of women as well!! I will check the books you listed on Amazon.

      Happy Reading and thanks for commenting 🙂

  • Reply
    LaNeshe (
    July 31, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    I really enjoyed that book. Good luck on your challenge!

    • Reply
      Erika Kimberly
      August 4, 2014 at 4:00 pm

      Thank you LaNeshe!!! I’ll circle back with you once I’ve finished it. I’d love you to guest blog about your perspective on it. 🙂

  • Reply
    Victoria Rosa
    August 1, 2014 at 12:51 am

    Wow. This is an extremely eye-opening issue because it lingers in the silence, like a silent prejudice that I don’t even think people are aware of. Definitely challenges me to be more aware of what I am reading and WHO is writing.

    Thanks for being you.

    • Reply
      Erika Kimberly
      August 4, 2014 at 4:03 pm

      Thank YOU! It is a very serious issue. Glad it gave you some food for thought! :-)I think I’m going to blog about it more often because this post has generated such interesting convo between women our age.

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