#Spotlight on Makeda - Something Bookish Interview

Welcome to #Spotlight. If you are new to the blog, this is the interview series where you read about the most amazing humans who love books and all things bookish.

Today’s #Spotlight is on Makeda. You’re about to find out why in a bit. She is one of the people I share bookish tastes with. Going through her page just helps me eradicate the books I shouldn’t waste my time on and the ones I absolutely have to get.

Even when she doesn’t like a book, she is very objective and gives reasons so that you can make independent decisions. This is also someone you need to be following if you want to diversify your reading life. Imma stop gushing now, let’s get to meet her.

 Where did your love of books /reading come from?

I’ve been reading books for as long as I can remember – some of my fondest memories involve visits to the library to check out 12 books at a time (haha!).   Reading has always been my go-to form of self-care when times were tough I found solace in books. 

Which genres do you especially enjoy reading?

Historical fiction, Dystopian/Post-apocalyptic, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Thrillers. To be honest, I like most genres bar Romance.

What moves you most in a work of literature?

Complex and layered characters. I’m definitely driven by good characterisation.  I specifically enjoy books with characters who I can feel equal measures of loathing and pity (Delores from ‘Here Comes the Sun’ by Nicole Dennis-Benn springs to mind).  

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“Margot was astonished by how the wealthy in Jamaica live; how for them, the island is really paradise – a woman who offers herself without guile, her back arched in the hills and mountains, belly towards the sun. For even in this drought her rivers run long and deep; her beaches, wide and tempting” pg 76 – #HereComesTheSun by @ndennisbenn. . . Say hello to another debut that exceeded my expectations. I’d heard good things about this 📚 but had no idea I’d enjoy it as much as I did. The story centres on Margot, her younger sister Thandi and their mother, Delores. Each character is complex; I felt equal measures of pity and loathing for them. . Margot is an opportunist and manipulator – using her sexuality to progress in her job at the fancy Montego Bay resort. She is deeply flawed and you’ll empathise with her once you understand her backstory. She justifies her behaviour with claims that everything she is doing is to ensure her sister gets a better start at life. Thandi is insecure and spoilt; consequently she has no real sense of identity. Spending years doing as she is told, she starts to stand up for herself and follow her own path. Delores, 😤😤😤 where to start….try as I might I could not find an ounce of empathy for this vile character. A victim of circumstance she treats Margot like 💩 and tries to redeem herself as a mother with Thandi. . The above descriptions merely skim the surface of this book; subjects such as prostitution, colourism, regeneration (aka gentrification), homosexuality all get a look in and the plot twists will leave you 😲. An amazing debut from a talented writer 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟(5/5) #DiasporaLit

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What’s the last great book you read?

‘The Nickel Boys’ by Colson Whitehead

Is there a classic book you never got around to reading until recently?

I guess it depends on what you determine a ‘classic’ to be. I don’t subscribe to the view that old books written by  white, English (or Russian) authors = a classic. I find those books boring, they are revered because of who they are written by, I’m all for the decolonisation of the literary canon 🙂

If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you choose?

Probably Japanese. I’ve read a few translated Japanese texts and really enjoyed them.  I’m fascinated by the different character sets (Hiragana, Katakana, Kanji) and enjoy a challenge!

What’s the most interesting thing you learned from a book recently?

That traditional black hairstyles incorporate fractal patterns (maths/geometry/etc.) Too long and complex for me to explain but covered succinctly in ‘Don’t Touch My Hair’ by Emma Dabiri. 

Genre you rarely read (but wish you did)?

Hmm…not really a genre but non-fiction books.  I have a ton at home and just can’t seem to find the motivation to pick them up.  I said at the start of the year that I wanted to get through more non-fiction but I’ve only managed to read four. 

What is your policy on book lending?

Happy to recommend and even buy someone a book if necessary, however, my personal library is not a lending one. I’ve had too many bad experiences on that front in the past (I’ll lend to immediate family only).

How do you like to read? Paper or electronic? One book at a time or simultaneously? Morning or night?

Paper / Monogamously / Throughout the day if I can (I find it difficult to read in bed when I do I always fall asleep).

What book might people be surprised to find on your shelves?

The Twilight Series

What’s the best book you’ve ever received as a gift?

A signed copy of ‘An American Marriage’ by Tayari Jones. Best in the sense that it was a lovely gift from an American bookstagrammer (Anna @never_withouta_book) who went out of her way to get it signed and sent to me in the UK.

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🥁 Presenting (in no particular order) my 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 reads of 2018🥁: . 📚 Their Eyes Were Watching God by #ZoraNealeHurston 📚 Sister Outsider by #AudreLorde 📚 Beloved / The Bluest Eye / Song of Solomon by #ToniMorrison 📚 The Fifth Season / The Stone Sky / How Long ’Til Black Future Month by #NKJemisin 📚 The Book of Night Women / John Crow’s Devil by #MarlonJames (both re-reads) 📚 The Underground Railroad by #ColsonWhitehead (re-read) 📚 Akata Witch by #NnediOkorafor 📚 Come Let Us Sing Anyway by #LeoneRoss 📚 Heads of the Colored People by #NafissaThompsonSpires 📚 How to Love a Jamaican by #AlexiaArthurs 📚 Brother by #DavidChariandy 📚 Children of Blood and Bone by #TomiAdeyemi 📚 A Small Place by #JamaicaKincaid . These are the books I: (1) enjoyed the most; (2) will definitely re-read (over and over 🤷🏾‍♀️); and (3) regularly recommend to others. Spot any of your faves? . I mentioned in my InstaStories a few weeks ago that I’ve been tracking my reads with @bookriot’s fab spreadsheet. As 2018 comes to a close I thought I’d share some of my stats: – Total 📚 read: 65; – 49 (74%) were authored by women; – All authors = POC; – 55 (85%) 📚 featured POC’s as the main characters; – 19 (30%)📚 were published in 2018; – 52 (80%) were fiction / 13 (20%) were non-fiction (I need to do better on this front in 2019); – The most 📚 I read in a month was 7 (in March, October and November). . Logging my reads this way has proved really useful as it’s shown the gaps in my reading – as noted in my earlier post I want to be more purposeful with my #tbr’s in 2019. To that end I’ll be attempting to read more non-fiction’s and will try to resist buying too many new releases (FOMO is real)! . Have you set any #readinggoals for 2019?

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You’re organizing a literary dinner party. Which three writers, dead or alive, do you invite?

Toni Morrison, Marlon James, Jesmyn Ward

How do you decide what to read next? Is it reviews, word-of-mouth, books by friends, books for research? Does it depend on mood or do you plot in advance?

I pull together a loose TBR (‘to be read’) list of what I’d like to read, a few months in advance, but I rarely stick to it and will pick up whatever I’m feeling in the mood for. 

If you could be born into history as any famous person who would it be and why?

Oooh, this is hard. I’m sure in a former life I was filthy rich so I’d probably go with Beyonce, Oprah or Steve Jobs.  The latter because I’m fascinated at how he was able to present himself publicly as a likeable CEO yet allegedly act like an egomaniac dictator in private.   

What do you want your tombstone to say?

I’ll leave that to my family to decide 🙂

You discover a beautiful island upon which you may build your own society. You make the rules. What is the first rule you put into place?

This question has me stumped tbh as I know I’d probably go mad with power and become a despot, so perhaps the best thing for humanity would be for me to live on said island alone with an endless supply of books, music, food, home comforts, plus the ability to periodically ship in friends and family (and a hottie) when I find myself craving human attention!

Would rather sweat mayonnaise or have cheese for saliva?

Cheese for saliva. I love cheese and could always use gum/mints to mask the smell!

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#JulyWrapUp – it’s been a v long time since I did one of these (last one was in March according to the grid 😬). Summer is in full swing, the ☀️ has blessed us in the 🇬🇧 and now it’s countdown to the next bank holiday (which dovetails with mine AND Elijah’s birthdays 🎈🍰🥳). — July was a really slow reading month for me. I took a break from the 📚 and watched more 📺 (hello #LoveIsland 😬). Here’s my round up: ▫️ 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 (5/5): . #TheNickelBoys by #ColsonWhitehead (reread) – I read this back in March but didn’t write a review (I’ve finally done one, check the grid 🙌🏾) a second read was therefore essential. I’m going to go out on a limb and declare this as my favourite 📖 of 2019…it’s that good. ▫️ 🌟🌟🌟(3/5): . #Lot by #BryanWashington – I posted a review for this one earlier this week, go check it out (I’m trying to regain my posting momentum 🥳) . #TheAutobiographyOfMyMother by #JamaicaKincaid – I’ve decided to pause my #YearOfKincaid; I’m not in the right headspace for her works. They are v introspective and the non-linear nature of this one made me disconnect (I fell asleep 😴 reading it a few times). I’ll pick back up in 2020 – or maybe 20never 😬🤷🏾‍♀️. . . . . . #BlackLiterature #BlackAuthors #BlackWriters #BackList #WellReadBlackGirl #Goodreads #GoodBlackReads #Bibliophile #BooksAreMagic #Bookstagram #DiasporaLit #DebutAuthor #2019Books

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What is your guilty pleasure Disney movie?

Bambi – every time I watch it, I cry.

If you were known as a strain of cannabis, what would your name be?

Lol. Another challenging question. Maybe ‘Earthbound’ as the handful of times I’ve smoked weed it’s mellowed me, plus I’m a Virgo, which is an Earth sign! 

Don’t you want to be best friends with her already? Follow Makeda @colourlit_uk on Instagram, it’s a treasure trove of book recommendations and stimulating reviews. Also, check out her website, follow her on Twitter and GoodReads. Thank me later.

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