Americanah

I just finished reading Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I have to say this is a book that kept me up at night, a book that spoke to my heart. It was as if Chimamanda was writing on behalf of the African woman in the diaspora. I know this woman’s writing exceeds my expectations, never fails. Here is a piece that I loved

Dear American Non-Black, if an American Black person is telling you about an experience about being black, please do not eagerly bring up examples from your own life. Don’t say “It’s just like when I …” You have suffered. Everyone in the world has suffered. But you have not suffered precisely because you are an American Black. Don’t be quick to find alternative explanations for what happened. Don’t say “Oh, it’s not really race, it’s class. Oh, it’s not race, it’s gender. Oh, it’s not race, it’s the cookie monster.” You see, American Blacks actually don’t WANT it to be race. They would rather not have racist shit happen. So maybe when they say something is about race, it’s maybe because it actually is? Don’t say “I’m color-blind,” because if you are color-blind, then you need to see a doctor and it means that when a black man is shown on TV as a crime suspect in your neighborhood, all you see is a blurry purplish-grayish-creamish figure. Don’t say “We’re tired of talking about race” or “The only race is the human race.” American Blacks, too, are tired of talking about race. They wish they didn’t have to. But shit keeps happening. Don’t preface your response with “One of my best friends is black” because it makes no difference and nobody cares and[…]”

Excerpt From: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. “Americanah.” Alfred A. Knopf, 2013-05-14. iBooks.
This material may be protected by copyright.

Please read this book y’all!

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Into the Wild

If you have not read this book, please do. I would like to tell you the story, but I’m not one to abdridge anyone’s writing. So, please find the book and read it. You may shed a few tears.

 

Totally unrelated song here: One of the surgeons had this playlist going the other day, and it was such a throwback day for me. It was a long case, so the music sounded even better. But this song, I had to blog about, because I know every girl in my class (in standard 5), had written the words to this song (and other hits) in an exercise book.

 

How I Learned English

There are days when this question really irritates me -” Did you speak English in Kenya”

Some days, I have really “smart” answers. But today I thought about this question in a different perspective.

This was one of the first books I ever read: The Ladybird series. I just bought my nephew a set of these books and I pray that he falls in love with reading as I did when I was his age.

 

“Here is Peter. Here is Jane. I like Peter. I like Jane. Here is the dog. I like the dog”

Then there was Janet and John

Obviously, the kids got boring after a while. So, I made other friends in my teenage years. The Hardy Boys,  Nancy Drew, and The Sweet Valley Kids. I remember we would sneak into Text Book Center in Sarit Center after school, and ready the Sweet Valley series, until we were done with most of the books. There were, of course, other books I read, but these are the ones that came to my mind. There was an African series about a student named “Moses”, who was in a boarding school, but I cant remember the name of the series (Goodness, Im aging!)

Memoirs of a Geisha

I just finished reading Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, and I am left wanting more. That was a very well written book, and I thank my sister for suggesting it. If any of you have read it, Id love to hear your views. If you haven’t, please pick up a copy and start reading it, now.

So, I finally recovered from reading textbooks and I have to say, I’m enjoying reading so much lately. I’ve read the following books this month and I’d like to recommend them to you .

1) Memoirs of a Geisha- Arthur Golden

Tells the story of a young Japanese girl who finds herself in Kyoto after being detached from her family in the most cruel of circumstances. The story of her training as a geisha leaves you wanting to cry with and for her. It definitely changed my perception of what I thought a geisha was and did. This is a story of pain, suffering, betrayal, endurance, with a very interesting twist.

2) Rooftops of Tehran- Mahbod Seraji

The story of Pasha, a teen growing up in Iran during the rule of the Shah, prior to the Iraninan revolution. Pasha is in love with his neighbor, Zari, but doesn’t do anything about it because Zari is engaged to Pasha’s mentor, Doctor. One night, Pasha unknowingly assists the Shah’s secret police, leading to events that will forever change his life and Zari’s forever. I love this book because it tells the story of Iran’s history and the political climate during the Shah’s rule.

3)The God of Small things- Arundhati Roy

This story is set in Kerala, India, in 1969. It tells the story of Rahel and her twin brothre Estha, whose lives are changed and innocence lost in a single twist of fate. It is an interesting read and it reveals alot about the Indian Caste system. You will not be disappointed.

4)An atlas of Impossible longing- Anuradha Roy.

In the day and age when people never moved far from their families (early 1900s), Amulya moves his family from Calcutta to a tiny town in Bengal. Here, their lives are impacted by the people they meet in this small town, including their next door British neighbors. It is the story of change, struggle, heartbreak, and finding love in the most unexpected of places.

Books I Recommend

1. The Blood of Flowers– Anita Amirrezvani. This book is a great insight into the history of old Iran, and a story of a woman’s strength. It is based in seventeenth century Iran, and it is the story of a woman who ends up living as a servant after the death of her father. Her life is changed when she becomes a carpet maker.

2. Finding Nouf- Zoe Ferraris. The sixteen year old daughter of a prominent Saudi Arabian  man goes missing , and the search leads to the revelations of some family secrets. It is an interesting insight into Saudi life, and Zoe Ferraris spins this story into a shocking conclusion you would have never guessed was coming.

Photo Credits http://blog.lib.umn.edu/jrock2/tulip/2007/04/digital_carpet_assignment.html

Four Books

1. The Alchemist- Paulo Coehlo. This was my first Coehlo book, introduced to me by a friend. I read it in one sitting, reread it, ordered copies for my friends, and fell in love with Coehlo’s writing, One of my favorite quotes in the book:

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”   – Paulo Coehlo

I have read every book Coehlo has written, except Aleph, which I ordered when I was in grad school, and I’m about to start reading. Other favorites from his writing: Veronika decides to die, The witch of Portobello, Eleven Minutes, and By the river Piedra I sat down and wept.

2.  A Thousand Splendid Suns- Khaled Hosseini. This book was such a tear jerker. I have to say that Khaled is one of those writers who takes you to the scene of the book and makes you feel connected to his characters. I also would recommend his other book The Kite Runner. I loved the kite runner too, but since I’m only supposed to say my four faves…

3. Half of a Yellow Sun- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. This woman is the 21st century’s Chinua Achebe. She is a great writer, who writes so descriptively that you can smell egusu soup and gari when she describes it in the book. She is my second favourite writer. Thanks Wamakeri for introducing me to her writing. I can’t wait for her to write her next book. Proud to report I have read all her books.

4. Unbowed- One woman’s story- Wangari Maathai. This is a MUST read for every Kenyan. It is an interesting history lesson, and an instrumental key to understanding Kenya’s political history. This excerpt is one of those things anyone who speaks a language other than English would understand. Literal translation.

” On one occassion, a girl wrote a letter to a friend in which she included this piece of news: “Here in St Cecilia’s we are fine, still eating fire”. Sister Christiana read the letter and was appalled and angry. The girl had lied and scandalized the school. ” Now look at this girl!”, she said. ” No shame whatsoever telling lies that we are feeding them with fire!”. That evening in the dining hall, all the girls had food on their plates, except the girl who had written the letter. On her plate, she found pieces of charcoal. After we had said grace and sat down to eat, Sister Christiana explained that the girl had told a lie that the nuns were feeding us fire. “So that is fire,” she thundered at the gil. ” Eat!”. Well, we could barely stifle our laughs- even the girl herself found it funny. Quite obviously, Sister Christiana had missed a very important point.: The girl in her letter had taken a Kikuyu saying (no turaria mwaki) and given a literal translation in English. ” We continue to eat fire”  is a Kikuyu colloquialism meaning ” We’re having a great time” . But given that our English skills were quite rudimentary, the girl had rendered this expression in English, where it had no obvious meaning”- Page 58-59

I hope that you are continuing to eat fire! Have a great day!

This blog post is dedicated to the legacy of Nobel Laureate  Professor Wangari Muta Maathai (1940-2011).