Sarah Ladipo Manyika is the author of the charming book (with the most delightful title) Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun. I read her book this year (and highly recommend it!) and she sent me the sweetest message on goodreads (follow me to see what I’m reading!) after I reviewed her book. She was glad to oblige my interview request for BOOK’D and her book recommendations have been so eye opening! Is it obvious that I’m a bit in love with her? Enjoy!


 1.What are you currently reading?

I’m usually reading more than one thing at a time. Right now, if I only have small snatches of time then I’m reading a poem from Suheir Hammad’s, Born Palestinian Born Black, or an article in The SUN Magazine. When I have longer stretches of time then I’m reading Making Race and Nation, A Comparison of the United States, South Africa, and Brazil by Anthony Marx and The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, by Arundhati Roy. Lila, by Marilynne Robinson also sits wistfully in my pile of books waiting for me to re-read it, but only when I move every other book out of the way.

2. Have you always been a reader? What is the first book you remember ever reading?

The first book I remember “reading” was probably Eric Carle’s, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Well before I could actually read, I remember pushing my fingertips through the cut-out holes that the caterpillar has eaten its way through.

3. What is your philosophy on reading? (for example, some people have to finish every book they start)

I read what I find compelling and never worry about not finishing a book. I have often returned to books that I once abandoned so I never view the act of leaving a book as giving up on it forever. It’s often the case that I don’t finish reading a book because it’s not the right time for me to be reading it.

It’s often the case that I don’t finish reading a book because it’s not the right time for me to be reading it. Click To Tweet

4. How often do you read? And how do you fit it into your day?

I read every day, but almost never as much as I’d like to.

5. Where do you like to read? Where’s the weirdest place you’ve ever read a book?

I like to read wherever it’s quiet. One evening, not realizing that I had gone into premature labor, I tried reading a book to fall asleep. I have no recollection now of what that book was, only that it wasn’t powerful enough to stop my contractions.

One evening, not realizing that I had gone into premature labor, I tried reading a book to fall asleep. Click To Tweet

6. What makes a good book, in your opinion?

A good book is one that I want to re-read as soon as I’m finished.

7. Who are your favorite authors to read?

My list of “favorite authors” grows each year. Current favorites would include Yemisi Aribisala, Toni Morrison, Marilynne Robinson, and Mohsin Hamid.

Sarah Ladipo Manyika

8. What is a book or who is an author you feel is very underrated?

Peter Orner’s Am I Alone Here? is a book that I think all writers should read.

9. E-book, audiobook or paper? How do you feel about making notes/highlighting books?

I love making notes in the margins of my books. It drives some of my family crazy.

I love making notes in the margins of my books. Click To Tweet

10. Fiction vs Non-fiction?

There’s no versus. I love both.

11. What happens to you when you read a good book? (at the beginning, during and after the experience?)

If it’s a really good book I want to tell everyone about it.

12. Do you reread books? Why?

Yes. Good books will continue to delight with each re-read.

Good books will continue to delight with each re-read. Click To Tweet

13. What book do you wish you could experience again for the first time?

There is a children’s book series that I’d like to re-read, but I can’t remember the title or who wrote it which of course makes it challenging for me to find and re-read. I only remember that the book was about two best friends (one black one white) who lived on a council estate in England. But it has been so long ago now that perhaps I’ve begun to make it up.

14. What was the last great book you read?

Beloved by Toni Morrison.

15. If you had to choose three books that everyone should read, what would they be?

I would ask people what sorts of stories they were dying to read and then make suggestions based on people’s interests.

16. What book(s) are you embarrassed to have read? What books are you embarrassed to still not have read?

I don’t think there are any books that I’m embarrassed to have read. I’ve never read or seen Romeo and Juliet. I’m sure that’s embarrassing.

17. How do you feel about ‘classic’ literature?

The most interesting thing about the “classics” for me is how they change over time.

18. How do you feel about book clubs?

I love the idea of book clubs but don’t belong to any.

19. What book(s) have changed your life, and how?

No one book has changed my life but most books touch my life in some way even if it’s just momentarily.

20. How do you choose books to read?

Usually impulsively.

21. What book are you currently DYING to read?

I’m looking forward to reading Olumide Popoola’s, When We Speak of Nothing.

Sarah Ladipo Manyika was raised in Nigeria and has lived in Kenya, France, and England. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and for several years taught literature at San Francisco State University. Sarah currently serves on the boards of Hedgebrook and the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco. Sarah is a Patron of the Etisalat Prize for Literature and host to OZY’s video series “Write.” Her second novel “Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun” was shortlisted for the 2016 Goldsmiths Prize.




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