Valerie Brandes shares the books that shaped her

What are the books that shaped you? What is the book that most affected you and made you realise something? We all have that book.

For Valerie Brandes, Jacaranda’s founder, books have been important in shaping her persona and as a build-up in her journey to establish Jacaranda, to give an output to UK minorities to express themselves. 

The Joys of Motherhood book cover by Buchi EmechetaThe Bluest Eye book cover by Toni Morrison

Those books include James Baldwin’s Going to Meet the Man with his short stories about men and women who try to stay afloat in a world that wants them to drown. Nnu journey of survival with her children after her husband left them in Lagos during the First World War in Buchi Emecheta’s The Joy of Motherhood. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison in which we follow African American Pecola Breedlove and her dream to have blue eyes to be ‘as beautiful’ as the other white, blue-eyed American kids, before everything comes crashing down and the blue eyes might not be as beautiful as she thought. And lastly Jagua Nana by Cyprian Ekwensi where we follow Jagua Nana in her journey to find what she is missing in a Nigeria in the 60s.

Jagua Nana book cover by Cyprian EkwensiGoing to Meet the Man book cover by James Baldwin

For how these books impacted Valerie, check out the London Library Podcast below. 

What books shaped you? Follow us on Instagram and let us know.