When I’m sitting on the train travelling to or from our institute in Berlin-Buch, what I want is a novel that will not only transport me to a different place (no offence to the Berlin S-Bahn), but also teach me something new, either historically or culturally. One of my all-time favourite books, “Half of a Yellow Sun" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, does just this. This Nigerian author has unsurprisingly already been recommended before in the MDC “What are you reading?” series for her other award-winning novel “Americanah” that traces the American immigrant experience. ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ tells a much darker story. It is set in the Nigeria-Biafra Civil War which took place in the 1960. I had admittedly been completely ignorant of the conflict before reading this book. Adichie brings her readers through this horrific period of Nigerian history by focusing on the experiences of three characters, the poor houseboy, the middle-class female academic and the British expat, whose lives intersect. This book will give you goosebumps and stay with you for a long time.
In our series "What are you reading right now?" MDC staff members give you book recommendations. Anita Waltho is a PhD student in the research group of Thomas Sommer. She also writes for the Helmholtz Association's blog “MDC Voices”. She prefers to read when she is on the road and would never touch an e-book.