There are fewer things that give me joy than attending jazz gigs at night away from home while also lazying in hotel rooms all day and popping into bookshops to pick up random books when I manage to get out of the hotel room. Away in Johanessburg, I had one of such weeks while attending the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz festival.
I wondered into a branch of Exclusive Books and came out with Travellers by Helon Habila. He is one of those solid African fiction writers and I quickly grapped a copy. It is yet to appear in paperback (and I hate hard copies as they are often more expensive) but I still grabbed it. I follow Fred Khumalo on twitter, have enjoyed every one of his other 3 books I have read and intense awareness he has created in recent weeks meant I could not escape The Longest March.
Weeks back I had ordered online The Thunders that Roar, Our Lady of Benoni and Gang Town and used a local South African address. I picked them up during this trip.
While out doing a little shopping in the Mall, I wandered into yet another branch of Exclusive Books and came out with A Thousand Tales of Johannesburg. I had read its synopsis a while back when it was shortlisted for some award.
Days later when leaving the country, it dawned on me that my flight was actually in the early hours of the morning and virtually every duty-free shop was closed and I still had quite some South African rands left on me. The only shop that I found open (apart from the Mugg & Bean coffee shop) was a bookshop. I lazied around and came out with July’s People and The Ones with Purpose. The former made sense as it was missing from my Nadine Gordimer collection at home and the latter has had sterling reviews from persons who share my kind of taste when it comes to African fiction. Luckily, most of my books were in my checked-in luggage so I still had space and strength to add these two to the haul.
Interestingly, apart from the set ordered online, not one of these purchases were planned or on my radar when I set out on this trip. They were all products of lazy shopping and a very late departure flight.