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Books

We had a few hours to burn at Ataturk Airport, Istanbul. The chap I was travelling with, Shukri Adan of Turkish Airlines, looked at his watch and said, “I will be at the bookstore, D&R, down that way. Si you find me there when you are done?” I took off in the opposite direction to go admire Patek Philippe timepieces because a man is allowed at least one big dream a day.

“How much is that?” I asked the attendant with a ginger beard and blue eyes.

“640 dollars.”

I regarded the timepiece with awe.  My old self would have thought of that in terms of school fees or rent but someone, a much older man who has found success,  told me never to equate the things you want with other things or you will never be able to buy anything that makes you happy.  “Don’t negate your aspirations.” He said.

“What about this one?” I pointed at another.

A bored voice came out of the ginger beard: “ 815 dollars.”

Sometimes I suspect that these shop attendants just throw figures at customers they know aren’t going to buy these luxury products, just so that they can see their reactions which is shortsighted because I could be Nigerian and buy three of those watches AND leave him a tip for his beard. If I wore an $815 timepiece on my left wrist, I’d never use it for anything unworthy. In fact, I’d insure the whole hand.

I found Shukri at the bookstore. The air in the bookstore smelled of words and paragraphs. A cash register machine opened with a clang. Airport bookstores are bliss, except JKIA Terminal 1A, which is a few rows of books that don’t surprise. (Is the size of an airport’s bookstore an indicator of the reading culture of that country?)

Shukri held up a book like he was swearing under oath in court and said with glee, “I have been looking for this book for ages.”  I took the book from his hand: “A Brief History of Humankind” by Yuval Noah Harari. (Best Seller). I turned the book over and read the blurb. It’s about biology and history and how those two have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be human. There were six species of humans on earth 100,000 years ago, yet today there is only one – homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And will the same fate befall us? The book seeks to answer these questions that Shukri was dying to know. Shukri wants to know what happened to the other five species. I bet it gives him sleepless nights thinking about the fate that befell homo erectus.

I make fun of him now but I was impressed by his cerebral choice of literature which compared to mine makes me look like a complete eejit.   

I was embarrassed to admit my choice of literature because I would have picked The People I want To Punch In The Throat by Jen Mann or Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh over some book on the history of the China Wall. I read for knowledge like everybody else but mostly I read for entertainment and to learn as a writer. I like silly books that make me laugh out loud in the middle of the night when I lose sleep. I don’t want to read books that have footnotes and references. I don’t want to stop reading a book to let my brain cool down. I want to read with a smile or a smirk on my face or a deep frown when the heroine is sitting on the edge of a ledge contemplating suicide. I don’t want to read some erudite thing about what happened to the other five species. I obviously feel a moderate level of remorse for those five human species, I do. I empathise that they didn’t make it here to this golden age of Instagram and Tinder, but that’s life, isn’t it? Some will miss the train. Homo habilis, I’m sorry you are not here to enjoy pizza on Terrific Tuesdays.

“Do you really enjoy heavy books like these?” I asked Shukri.

“Well, yeah,” he said. “I think it’s fascinating to understand the history of mankind and what evolution means to us, because we are still evolving, I believe. I think this book is very thought provoking.”

I also think the price of a Patek Phillippe is thought provoking, I wanted to add. I pictured Shukri losing sleep at 3am and reading about the “cognitive revolution, the emergence of fictive language or the human dispersal” and enjoying it immensely in that pre-dawn silence. Oh well, to each his own.

I looked at this list he has on his phone of books he’s looking for:

The Complacent Class – By Tyler Cowen.

The Sellout – By Paul Beaty

Freakonomics- By Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner

The Africans – By David Lamb (Read this one, great book)

Sapiens – By Yuval Noah (What is it with Shukri and early man?)

Republics – Plato

Capitalism and Freedom – By Milton Friedman.

“Are you looking for a book yourself?” He asked.

Was I going to admit that I might have been on the look out for You Are Only Old Once, by Dr Seuss? A book that has a blurb that reads:

Is this a children’s book?  

 Well…not immediately.

 You buy a copy for your child now

and you give it to him on his 70th birthday.”

I wasn’t. Not to someone who reads Freakonomics.

We later strolled to our gate to wait for boarding as we talked about the speed of reading books: He’s a fast reader, he can read a book in a couple of days. I take three weeks with a book. I soak in a book, I go back to read paragraphs and chapters. I sometimes read a great paragraph and I just sit still, savouring that feeling of having consumed something magical. But I’m also easily distracted. If I want to eat a banana in the middle of a riveting story, I will stop and go look for a banana. Words are not perishable, bananas are.

Here is my (not so cerebral) reading list of the books I have consumed lately.

 

LUNCH WITH THE FT: 52 CLASSIC INTERVIEWS- LIONEL BARBER

The Financial Times picked 52 greatest interviews they have ever ran on ‘Lunch with the FT’ column. It’s journalism on a different scale. It’s writing like you have never read; captivating prose, cutting-edge writing and the skill to capture the essence of subjects in a way that is as far away from the financial times DNA without it being too far off. I loved it since it’s in my line of trade because I do business profile interviews weekly and every time I always ask myself, “How can I best tell this person’s story differently?” And what better way than to look for inspiration from the men and women of FT who write so beautifully?

ME BEFORE YOU, BY JOJO MOYES

This book kept popping up in various articles I was reading online. Amazon kept telling me, “You might also like this,” or “The customers who bought this book you have just bought also bought this book!” It seemed like a love story and I’m averse to love stories because people always end up together forever and there is nothing more boring than knowing the end of a story. Anyway I bought it and it wasn’t too bad because there was a  guy on a wheelchair, paralysed neck down and the girl who he fell in love with, she had a lousy fashion sense but made up for it with her brilliant wit. So wit and wheelchair. Witchair. Decent story.

Quote:“… if you’re going to wear a dress like that you need to wear it with confidence. You need to fill it out mentally as well as physically.”

A MOVEABLE FEAST, BY ERNEST HEMINGWAY

Recommended by my friend PG because any “self respecting writer has to have read Hemingway.” This was before Hemingway made it, when he was in France, drinking wine and whisky, cultivating his budding arrogance and artistic aloofness and loving his then new wife while living in the shadow of a persisting struggle and the grit that comes with fighting the ensuing indignity. The book didn’t go anywhere though, it felt like watching a dog race. Read it only because Hemingway invented the turn of phrase.

Quote: “You should only read what is truly good or what is frankly bad.”

MY GRANDMOTHER SENDS HER REGARDS AND APOLOGIES, BY FREDRIK BACKMAN

I read his earlier book A Man Called Ove because Kindle was flogging it for a song. It was like eating funeral food. I read three chapters and tossed it out the window because life sometimes is too short to read a book you don’t connect with.  It has not too shabby reviews on Amazon, though.

ROGUE LAWYER- JOHN GRISHAM

For the longest time I thought Grisham was the holy grail. Then I outgrew him. After many years I went back and gave this one a crack and it felt like sitting with someone who starts their stories with, “Let me me tell you something that will make you laugh…”

Quote: “…everything is carefully designed to make people crave the food that looks far more delicious on the walls than on the tables.”

GIRL ON THE TRAIN- PAULA HAWKINS

The heroine drinks. And forgets things. She wakes up with a hangover and the taste of sickness at the back of her throat. There is a manipulative man and a house that overlooks the railway tracks. There is blood and romance – sometimes at the same time. People beg. Some die. A kind-hearted roommate presides over this tale without being a part of it. It rains often.

Quote: Life is not a paragraph, and death is no parenthesis.”

KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL- ANTHONY BOURDAIN

Wonderful book even if you don’t care too much about restaurants and food. Fast paced and full of texture and aroma. Bourdain gives everybody who struggles hope. He doesn’t care because there are a lot curse words. It’s a great book. Also try his other book, Medium Raw, also a good read full of pace and literal panache. His books have done very well.

Quote: “Writing anything is a treason of sorts.”

HOW TO BE A HUSBAND- TIM DOWLING

I discovered Tim in The Guardian. He writes a weekly family column, quite eccentric, self deprecating. His writing is deceptively simple. His wife is the heroine in his stories by her relentless capacity to be mean and  nasty towards him. She’s British, he’s American, so I guess he deserves it a little. I read all his old articles then I was left with that feeling when you don’t know what to do with your life when you have read a writer’s every work. When you vaguely recall how you you used to fill your time before your started reading them. Then I discovered he had written a book, I bought that also. It starts great until he starts feeling like a handbook. Towards the end I couldn’t wait to finish it so that I could read something else. You might like it, he’s funny and a bit of a coward. Plus he plays the goddamn banjo. In real life. Like I said, he deserves a nasty wife.

AN EDUCATION- LYNN BARBER

She’s over 70, Lynn. Writes for the Sunday Times and has written for the Guardian and a bunch of other publications. She’s been interviewing celebrities close to four decades now. A real pro. She is unconventional, has no sense of filter, asks rude questions in interviews, writes honestly and without favour. She’s a brutal and honest writer. Smokes a lot. I just bought two of her books; this one and A Curious Career. I don’t know which one to start with. It’s like deciding between fish and chicken. I just finished Dowling’s book and now I’m preparing to dive into one of Lynn’s books. There is a sense of anticipation and excitement.

Tonight I will start with one after I have done pinki-pinki-ponky. I will pick one when I’m showered and it’s quiet and the sheets are clean against my skin. I hope it rains. It’s nice when it’s raining and you are reading a book you love.

Very quickly, this is my editor, Yvonne’s, list:

The Ghosts of 1894- Oduor Jagero
(http://www.books.magunga.com/store/the-ghosts-of-1894-by-oduor-jagero/)

Cutting for Stone – Abraham Verghese

Born a Crime – Trevor Noah (Everybody says this book is a hoot).
(http://www.books.magunga.com/store/born-a-crime-by-trevor-noah/)

When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi

The River and The Source – Margaret Ogola

The Man Without a Face, The unlikely rise of Vladimir Putin – Masha Gessen. (I’m a Putin fan, I have to read this).

There, what are have you been reading lately? Please share it here with a para about why we should read it?

253 Responses
  • Ngeshlew
    11.04.2017

    I shall read after commenting! I know it will never disappoint.




    0
    • John Kiragu
      12.04.2017

      really Ngethe really




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      • Ngeshlew
        13.04.2017

        The thing I like about this article is the fact that there is no mention of a book by a Kenyan writer. Is it really that we aren’t that creative or just no one bothers to find out…Or we are still mentally enslaved…




        1
        • Nava
          15.04.2017

          I though Margaret Ogola is Kenyan?




          1
          • Kat
            01.05.2017

            * eternally silenced *




            2
        • Flo
          02.05.2017

          Oduor Jagero is Kenyan




          1
  • Evans
    11.04.2017

    Books. Am loving the piece. I appreciate your work Biko.




    0
  • Pharik
    11.04.2017

    Nice Read




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  • Mark
    11.04.2017

    Haha.
    I agree. Bananas are perishable.
    Also Me Before You and Girl on the Train are movies now. In case you wanted to get the plot and not necessarily the story.

    https://thispostisabout.wordpress.com




    1
  • eric
    11.04.2017

    Kinda sad that the only book I have read herein above is The River and the Source. I’m actually a fan of John Grisham Robert Ludlum, Jeffrey Archer et al. But as they say ones man’s meat is another man’s poison.




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    • Anastasia
      12.04.2017

      i am also a fan of John Grisham Robert Ludlum and afew others. i read for pleasure with much preference to conspiracy and humour.




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  • Sylvia
    11.04.2017

    Can’t seem to choose a specific book. I’ve read several great ones.




    0
  • EggLayet
    11.04.2017

    Tell me the chronometer is clang on your wrist.




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    • Sang
      11.04.2017

      Yes that’s what I am keen on. Bikoo you had the card for where Jesus ascended to sake




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  • Maxwell Munene
    11.04.2017

    I obviously feel a moderate level of remorse for those five human species, I do. I empathise that they didn’t make it here to this golden age of Instagram and Tinder, but that’s life, isn’t it?

    Yeah that’s life.. Good read Biko




    0
  • Martin M
    11.04.2017

    Mark Gimenez. The Perk…
    Because we all should read one legal thriller that is not John Grisham. And we all want our heroes to fall before they triumph.




    1
  • Penzi
    11.04.2017

    I read Grisham all the time, currently trying to give others a chance. Frank McCourt, Angela’s Ashes
    had in me in tears and laughter at the same time. I also read for entertainment also but I like biographies
    once in a while, Steve Job’s became laborious after a while but it’s worth getting into the mind of the guy.
    Next biography is Sir Alec Ferguson’s, I’ll tell you how it goes.




    2
  • Kevin Mwangi
    11.04.2017

    Through my African eyes – Jeff Koinange. Riveting stories,wonderful prose that sounds and feels very Kenyan. Surprisingly (at least to me) really good.




    0
    • Kim
      11.04.2017

      Knew I’d find you here.




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  • wambui
    11.04.2017

    haven’t read something yet that exciting apart from your articles mr biko i think i will copy your editor’s list.




    0
  • Hadi
    11.04.2017

    Currently reading,” All The Bright Places” by Jennifer Niven because everyone deserves to be all the colors in one at full brightness.




    1
    • MukuiyaR
      11.04.2017

      I loved this among my top 10 favourites though it’s sort of like The Fault in our stars




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      • Hadi
        11.04.2017

        Yes. There is something about tragic love stories.




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    • Jay
      11.04.2017

      All the bright places left me in tears.
      Check out her latest book Holding up the universe (got it @ Textbook Centre-Junction)




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  • pmakau
    11.04.2017

    Any book by G.K. Chesterton.
    Below is a quote from one of his books:
    “I cannot understand the people who take literature seriously; but I can love them, and I do. Out of my love I warn them to keep clear of this book. It is a collection of crude and shapeless papers upon current or rather flying subjects; and they must be published pretty much as they stand. They were written, as a rule, at the last moment; they were handed in the moment before it was too late, and I do not think that our commonwealth would have been shaken to its foundations if they had been handed in the moment after. They must go out now, with all their imperfections on their head, or rather on mine; for their vices are too vital to be improved with a blue pencil, or with anything I can think of, except dynamite.”
    ― G.K. Chesterton, All Things Considered




    1
    • Hadi
      11.04.2017

      Sounds like pretty much all assignment.




      0
  • @clif_the_tall
    11.04.2017

    I must admit that am a sucker of Jeffrey Archer. Archer’s books have got absorbing plot that keeps you glued to the content and the way the lead characters are built, from completely contrasting backgrounds who finally end up at crossroads presents forward a scintillating tale of glory, vengeance and power.

    You’ll find struggle as well as comforts, success as well as failure, friendship as well as enmity and hatred as well as love. In my opinion once you start reading his books there is no letting go. Just finished reading Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult. The mix of family emotion, medicine and courtroom drama in Lone Wolf will leave you with a lump of disbelief lodged in your throat.She gives each character a whole chapter of their own and introduce them to the world in a very captivating manner. I totally loved it.




    0
    • Wesh - Peter Wesh
      11.04.2017

      So you really changed your profile picture? I bet you have two more to go – because a man uses about three profile pictures throughout his lifetime – anything over that is girly.




      0
      • Rael
        11.04.2017

        But this guy is tall, see how close his head is to the ceiling :). By the way Wesh – Peter Wesh, we have been nominated for BAKE awards (Fashion/Beauty/Hair) ;)… we need to bring the title home.




        0
        • Wesh - Peter Wesh
          11.04.2017

          Awesome. I agree the title needs to come home. Tulenge juu.




          0
        • Anne Komen
          16.04.2017

          hahaha he really is tall. He needs to take a selfie with a short person so that we see the contrast




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      • Cess
        11.04.2017

        Wesh-Peter Wesh you are next.




        0
      • @clif_the_tall
        11.04.2017

        Hehe “change is good as rest.” Aminata.




        0
        • Raha
          12.04.2017

          mabadiliko ni aushi – Ken Walibora




          0
    • Nyar Oyando
      11.04.2017

      Lol, so you paid heed to Biko’s advice, nice profile picture btw.




      0
    • dove
      12.04.2017

      I noticed the change,nice pic.




      0
    • mimi
      12.04.2017

      Jeffrey is Brilliant. Currently reading the Clifton Chronicles. I can hardly wait to get my hands on book 7




      0
    • Ngendo
      25.04.2017

      I am currently binge reading Archer’s Clifton Chronicles.




      0
  • Kate
    11.04.2017

    Just finished “The Girl Before” by JP Delanay… must be the most horrible book i have ever had the misfortune of finishing! Now reading A man called Ove… cos life is too short not to read books that make you laugh out loud :)! Born a Crime – Trevor Noah… five stars all the way!!




    0
  • Angela Darcy
    11.04.2017

    Nice article Mate. I like Yvonnes choice. I have read The River and The Source by Margaret Ogola. My favourite phrase is ” A house without girls is like a river without a source.”




    0
  • jerry
    11.04.2017

    Biko, i can point out new vocabulary and phrases you recently ‘acquired’ cause you use them wek in week out




    0
    • Msaff
      14.04.2017

      E.g. Deprecate




      1
  • Switch
    11.04.2017

    man, you are ageing.




    0
  • @Renete7
    11.04.2017

    A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini;

    Favourite quote: Like a compass needle that points north, a man’s accusing finger always finds a woman.

    That quote kind of summarises the book




    0
    • Sheila
      11.04.2017

      Awesome book,sad story though. Khaled has also done a good job on THE KITE RUNNER.




      0
      • Rael
        11.04.2017

        This I was lazy to read, watched the movie instead…




        0
        • Sheila
          11.04.2017

          Wait,there is a movie??? mimi huyooo off to look for the trailer




          0
      • Jetoloxd
        14.04.2017

        A thousand splendid suns broke me; the kiterunner too ,khaleed tells heartbreaking stories




        1
    • wa Nyaga
      11.04.2017

      aaaah this was/is an awesome read




      0
  • Joanne
    11.04.2017

    Hey Biko; The Art Of Seduction by Robert Greene, and ooh how nice it is until it gets to the last pages where you feel that Greene himself has no clue at what he is talking about. Repeats his points; you may fail to get the difference.
    Then there is Robert Frost Poems. Now this is a book you can’t read at one go, the poems are complex and not understandable in one read, but they are amazing! Not giving up on it.
    Then Mann!! The Catcher in The Rye ooh this book, I love. And the book I have is the yellow pages, the smell of it… and the writing, the story. The starro’ is a fun guy, I would date him.

    I read the Outcast too this year by Sadie Jones. It’s her first book so I understand where she comes from. The book is so sad, I was tired of crying by the time I turned the last page I was so relieved. But I loved it, it was deep.

    Then Summer breeze by a writer I can’t recall… It takes you to Bermuda, introduces you to the people and the culture, but the story is so shallow. Writing good.

    My Next is Probably ‘The Notebook(I want it so much), Her needs his needs, Me before you by Jojo Moyes,




    0
    • crappywriter
      11.04.2017

      i am also currently reading the art of seduction. it was awesome till i read your review just now ha ha. but i have to finish it.




      0
      • Cera
        13.04.2017

        Am also reading the art of seduction by Robert Greene and still planning on reading his other book, the 33 strategies of war. There’s always something intriguing to me in his books




        0
  • A
    11.04.2017

    The Harry Potter series. I read it during my childhood, and up till this day, I still read it when I need an escape. J.K. Rowling created such an intricate fictional world, that each time I read it I discover something I missed the first, second or even seventh time.
    It certainly speaks to an author’s greatness to have books that appeal to such a large audience (children and adults like), and that’s why I’ve chosen to recommend it.




    0
    • Lither
      11.04.2017

      Now..this. I have even decided to buy the whole series and have it in my house.




      0
  • Nick26
    11.04.2017

    Nice read.I winding up on. Paulo coelho’s -The pilgrimage
    The reading list u have is wide and wild,from Financial maths to organized crime




    0
  • Mark
    11.04.2017

    W. Somerset Maugham’s ‘Mr. Know-All’ : I was prepared to dislike Max Kelada even before I knew him…
    His stories are told with a certain verve that leaves you in wonder… http://www.zurikiki.com




    0
  • Githinji Mwaniki
    11.04.2017

    Am looking for;
    1. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman
    2. Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal
    3. Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

    I survived through ‘ A man called Ove, And ‘My grandmother told me to tell you she is sorry’ by Barckman
    Please don’t ask how I did that, you just have to find out for yourself. Love of reading makes you do that noe and then, before you find something you like so much it takes you a week to recover after you finish.
    Nice compilation Chocolate Man




    0
    • Eve
      11.04.2017

      I’m looking for ‘A Man called Ove” please….I buy tea,whisky or food for book lovers 🙂 mwendaeve@gmail.com




      0
  • Wesh - Peter Wesh
    11.04.2017

    I read anything with words on it. If nothing captivates me by the second page, or paragraph sometimes, I stop and move on. I am a bit of a slow reader. A book a month maybe. Currently reading The book thief by Markus Zusak. Been reading it for a while and boy ain’t life in this city busy. Between working, reading, writing my blog and eating mutura pieces I can barely find time to breathe. But again mostly because the magical prose in that book is taking my breathe away. Read it if you haven’t. And go read Magunga’s pieces on ‘This is how it ends’, some are good, really good, like more cheese on Pizza kind of good.




    0
    • Wesh - Peter Wesh
      11.04.2017

      Where is that chic who corrects my use of ‘breath’ and ‘breathe’ 🙂




      0
    • bikozulu
      11.04.2017

      We are doing a final series next week!




      0
    • mimi
      12.04.2017

      Read the book but don’t watch the movie, it dilutes everything




      0
      • Riz
        24.04.2017

        Read the book, awesome and was looking forward to the movie but look what you did mimi..




        0
  • MukuiyaR
    11.04.2017

    Currently reading Steve Jobs’ autobiography, very insightful on his feud with Bill Gates.
    However, the best book that I would most definitely recommend to anyone would be Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt, he really gets you in his world and his humorous mother despite all their poverty makes the book worthwhile.




    1
  • Maiki
    11.04.2017

    I bet it gives him sleepless nights thinking about the fate that befell homo erectus.

    Enough of that already. I read boring books like your friend Shukri Adan. Any literature that touches on the history, traditions, culture, folklore and ways of life of the Gikuyu people, be it an autobiogaraphy, thesis, novels like Ngugi wa Thiong’os ‘A Grain of Wheat’ and ‘The River Between’, short stories, traditional folklore stories (in Gikuyu) is a favourite of mine.

    I am currently reading ‘With A Prehistoric People – The Akikuyu Of British East Africa’ by Scoresby and Catherine Routledge. I have just finished reading ‘Transformation Of Kikuyu Traditional Architecture,’ a thesis by Joseph Kamenju on the factors that have influenced the built environment of the Gikuyu in the last 100 years.

    Guess you can say it gives me sleepless nights thinking about the fate of homo sapere (insert appropriate emoji here).




    0
    • Nelson
      11.04.2017

      Hahaha. You’re a true Homo Sapere.




      0
    • Christine
      11.04.2017

      Hey Maiki where do you get these ‘sapere’ books? been looking for a while,Thanks




      0
      • Maiki
        11.04.2017

        Christine, some of these books are hard to find but if you find someone having it, asking nicely goes a long way. It has worked for me even with total strangers. Also some are archived in the free internet archive, archive.org (I got the Routelege book here, and there are more, even on Kambas, Masais etc). Drop me your email I can send you some of the material I have in my collection.
        Hard copies are even harder to find, and the people who have them rarely lend them out. You can find ‘The Southern Kikuyu Before 1903’, which is the most comprehensive anthroplogical work on Gikuyu by Louis Leakey, at the National Archives. Or if you have some Kshs20,000 to spare you can buy it at the Leakey shop in Karen.




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        • Christine
          12.04.2017

          Maiki thanks for the heads up will try ‘asking nicely’ tricks hehe.I agree the hard copies are just scarce!For starters,i would’nt mind some of your collections.My email is kwamuyu88@gmail.com.Thanks in advance.




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    • Ndiransh
      12.04.2017

      Hey, Maiki, can I get in on this action? I feel it’s unforgivable most of our history beyond a century past is foggy at best. Would appreciate anything you can share at ndirangugichohi@gmail.com




      0
  • Agnes Muthoni
    11.04.2017

    I reread the note on Lynn and I resonated 100%
    I want such a description when I’m 40




    0
  • Peter
    11.04.2017

    Is Girl on the Train any closer to this movie by the same title?
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3631112/




    0
    • Reen
      11.04.2017

      Best thing to ever do is read the book first, before you watch the movie.
      There is something about reading Girl on the train and then watching. I read it first and then ‘tried’ to watch. The movie doesn’t do any justice to the book. While watching, i kept on shouting, ‘No, its not like that in the book’ HAHA!! I gave up watching it half way.
      The book is great, the movie is just meh..




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      • Tina
        15.05.2017

        I am of the opinion that you watch the movie first then the book. Coz the movie takes less of your time and you know if you want to spend money and several days maybe weeks on the book. And again if you liked the movie, it feels so good to savour all the lovely details in the book at your own pace – I really like to go over a paragraph over and over again.




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  • Beth Waithaka
    11.04.2017

    “I take three weeks with a book. I soak in a book, I go back to read paragraphs and chapters. I sometimes read a great paragraph and I just sit still, savouring that feeling of having consumed something magical” I am exactly like this… unless the writing isn’t all too fascinating.

    Thieves of Heaven by Richard Doetsch. All time favourite book. I have read it and re-read it. Beautifully written, awesome particularity in detail, makes you feel like you know Rome inside out, makes you empathise with the characters and be them, literally!

    Me Before you too, because it’s the saddest, most awesome, most unpredictable love story I have ever read.




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  • Magunga
    11.04.2017

    Been running an online bookstore for African books for the past one and a half years (ahem!). Last year, we did an article “Readers’ Choice: Our Favourite African Reads of 2016”
    http://www.magunga.com/readers-choice-our-favourite-african-reads-of-2016/

    Our favorite was Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. Two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, unknown to each other, are born into different villages in 18th-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and will live in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle, raising children who will be sent abroad to be educated before returning to the Gold Coast to serve as administrators of the empire. Esi, imprisoned beneath Effia in the castle’s women’s dungeon and then shipped off on a boat bound for America, will be sold into slavery. Stretching from the wars of Ghana to slavery and the Civil War in America, from the coal mines in the American South to the Great Migration to 20th-century Harlem, Yaa Gyasi’s novel moves through histories and geographies and captures – with outstanding economy and force – the troubled spirit of our own nation. She has written a modern masterpiece.




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    • Reen
      11.04.2017

      This is how it ends sequel/series is just amazing.Great job on your blog.




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      • Magunga
        11.04.2017

        Thanks, Reen!




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        • Diana
          12.04.2017

          Thanks to your list I picked up a few. The Homegoing was beautifully written. Lined up are Season of Crimson Blossoms, Men of the South and The Woman Nexr Door.




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    • Kemunto
      18.05.2017

      I was about to comment the same thing. Homegoing was an amazing book. The kind of book you want to share with a friend but also don’t just in case they don’t appreciate it as much as you did. I think the way the author literally took us through generations without it sounding like we are reading a boring history text book is what blew me away the most.




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  • Sheila
    11.04.2017

    I love west African writers.My favorite is Chimamanda.I have read all her books and keeping them all for my future daughter(s).My current read is Chika Unigwe’s ‘On Black sisters’ street.It is a sd story on how four ladies move form Africa to Brussels to find ‘greener pastures’.




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    • Susan
      11.04.2017

      Chimamanda! Discovered her in 2015, and bought all her books. Didn’t I laugh and connect with everything.




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    • Eshiombo
      12.05.2017

      I adoreee Chimamanda,I have read all her books too,she’s brilliant.You should see how my face brightens when I meet people who like her work.




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  • Wanjiru Gathuru
    11.04.2017

    Born a crime-Trevor Noah. Best thing I’ve read in like two years…. Currently reading Dream Psychology by Sigmund Freud. Because after reading Trevor Noah, I felt like I needed something abit more intellectual and mentally stimulating to read…




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    • Chrenyan
      12.04.2017

      Ala – what do you usually call intellectual and mentally stimulating? Born a Crime wasn’t that bad, surely… (cringe: I made notes).




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  • JB
    11.04.2017

    I have read Freakonomics. AMAZING book! The part that stood out for me was that legalizing abortion in the states led to reduction of crime… because fewer unwanted kids were born and those who kept kids were somehow able to give them a decent life. Ponder on that… Read it if you can.




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    • JB
      11.04.2017

      Also, please look for ‘The subtle art of not giving a f*** by Mark Manson. In summary, he challenges us to decide what to give a f*** about because in his words, people give too many f***. If you can pardon the curse words, it is quite humorous and a very riveting read. After your twitter fiasco, this will come in handy for future dramas 🙂




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      • Christine
        12.04.2017

        The subtle art of not giving a f***,totally changed my outlook on stuff.Loved the humour and the wit.




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  • Dee
    11.04.2017

    I am a sucker for African Authors; Arrow of God by Chinua Achebe is one book i have read a dozen times and happens to be my curren tread again. His wise african sayings are full of humour and gets me each time.




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  • Kwamboka
    11.04.2017

    Am reading From the Borderlands-Stories of Terror and Madness- a collection of twilight zone stories by various writers including Stephen King. Woman and Power in History- by Amoury De Reincourt- tracing the position of woman from primitive societies to modern age and Otherland- Mountain of Black Glass by Tad Williams which is volume 3 in a 4 volume Sci-Fi series




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  • Roland
    11.04.2017

    Homo erectus, ISWYDT.

    Most recent book I read is a short book written by a real life Princess in Saudi Arabia. Well, she narrated it and some muzungu lady wrote it. I forget the title. I suck at titles and names. She is balling in the wealth of Saudi Arabia royals and trying to be a feminist at the same time. It’s the second book about her, the first being about her upbringing in a moslem world and the process of getting married to a man who has an option of marrying other wives kumbe your feminism rejects the very idea. I say her feminism because feminism is dynamic like that. If you are cool with sharing your wives with other chicks, then that’s your brand of feminism. If you are cool with sharing your husband, but it’s because centuries of culture dictate that you should be cool with it, then maybe it’s not really your feminism and you need to be more woke. I got that vibe at a certain point in the book. Anyway, it’s a conflicted tale. Wealth grants privilege and it can be hard to sympathise with this hot-blooded lady’s woes while at the same time reading about the extravagances of her family’s lifestyle. Raising rich kids sounds like a hell of a task. Anyway, read the book for insights into the fascinating lives of the Saudi royals.

    Before that I read an Indian rags to riches story called White Tiger. Slow pacing, but nevertheless gripping. The description of India’s poorest leaves you horrified. Poor chaps are at the same level as animals. Even worse sometimes considering cows are considered sacred. And the rise to the top is not exactly done in the cleanest of ways so it kind of leaves you morally conflicted on whether you fully support the main characters actions. Anyway, read it to get a better understanding if India’s class structure and how bad mental slavery, even by your fellow countrymen can be.

    Next up, Quiet, a book, with a clever cover, about introverts and why everyone wants to identify as one of recent.




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    • Shiku
      11.04.2017

      Hehehe Sultana is the name. Get to read the sequel, Sultana’s circle




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    • Reen
      11.04.2017

      Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia.
      Looking forward to reading the sequel.
      Regarding introverts, seems like it’s the in thing now. What do we say, the real and true introverts who get so tired from Peopling. (Yes, peopling is hard haha)




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    • Gladys
      11.04.2017

      Oh my goodness! I am not alone when it comes to reading books and forgetting the book titles and authors’ names! I have read a whole lot of books but I don’t seem to remember the titles! I can narrate the stories though.




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    • Air Hostess
      03.05.2017

      I feel it’s a crime to read a book and forget its title leave alone the author 🙁 Whenever i read a book and get bored midway, I will look up the author’s biography and find out as much as possible about their lives. Then all through the period am reading it people will of course ask me which book am reading at that moment and i will keep saying the title so it gets entrenched in my mind. And even if no one asks which book am reading, i will find myself making conversation about the book nevertheless




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  • Kendi
    11.04.2017

    Ask Yvonne if “The Man Without a Face” is available locally and where?




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  • May Kitawa
    11.04.2017

    Read “me before you” Jojo Moyes and “after you” same author,
    hopeless romantic here.
    “Eat Pray Love”Elizabeth Gilbert alo a good read.




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  • Ginger
    11.04.2017

    Thrift Books sell books for a song.
    I’m reading Jürgen Habermas, Chantal Mouffe, Arendt..because I’d love to earn an A on my transcript.
    I’m a few pages into George Orwell’s 1984. I’d recommend it because why not?




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  • Reen
    11.04.2017

    I recently got a hold of The Goldfinch and, i must say, it’s the kind of book you read, pause and hold it to your chest. The sorrow of the terrorist attack that killed Theo’s mother, the friendship between Boris and Theo. How Hobie just seems like this old man-angel. P.s Morgan freeman comes to mind when i read on Hobie.
    Lovers of a love story with a twist, add some jealousy and a touch of psycho-woman should read You belong to me – Samantha Hayes. The ending has a twist. Great Read.
    Reading Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum new book: ‘Reflections on Happiness and Positivity. For the women who read Lean in by Sheryl Sandberg, this is another book you want to be diving in.




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    • Lily
      11.04.2017

      Loved the Goldfinch as well. Hobie was just one of a kind-rare gem.I kinda have a picture of how he looks like in my head .Wouldn’t mind re-reading it again Currently reading Small great things by Jodi Picoult




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    • Kay
      11.04.2017

      I thought the Goldfinch was a good book but 300pages too long.took me foooooorever to finish it.Even though the story was good.it was just too long




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    • Dan
      30.05.2017

      Hi Reen,
      Where can i find that book, ‘Reflections on Happiness and Positivity’




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  • Kemunto
    11.04.2017

    You know how Magunga did a piece where he told his favorite writers to write their best quotes from there favorite books, you should let your followers a Tuesday to write there favorite quotes. From most of this comments apart from those “first to comments people” people have epic quotes to share to everyone




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    • Magunga
      11.04.2017

      Ah, this was fun. And Biko took part in it too! http://www.magunga.com/sentence-i-wish-i-wrote/




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    • Chrenyan
      12.04.2017

      Alternatively we can just do that right here! Here’s mine, on how civilizations fall by Henry George in “Progress and Poverty”:

      “Where there is anything like an equal distribution of wealth—that is to say, where there is general patriotism, virtue, and intelligence—the more democratic the government the better it will be; but where there is gross inequality in the distribution of wealth, the more democratic the government the worse it will be; for, while rotten democracy may not in itself be worse than rotten autocracy, its effects upon national character will be worse. To give the suffrage to tramps, to paupers, to men to whom the chance to labor is a boon, to men who must beg, or steal, or starve, is to invoke destruction. To put political power in the hands of men embittered and degraded by poverty is to tie firebrands to foxes and turn them loose amid the standing corn; it is to put out the eyes of a Samson and to twine his arms around the pillars of national life.

      Even the accidents of hereditary succession or of selection by lot, the plan of some of the ancient republics, may sometimes place the wise and just in power; but in a corrupt democracy the tendency is always to give power to the worst. Honesty and patriotism are weighted, and unscrupulousness commands success. The best gravitate to the bottom, the worst float to the top, and the vile will only be ousted by the viler. While as national character must gradually assimilate to the qualities that win power, and consequently respect, that demoralization of opinion goes on which in the long panorama of history we may see over and over again transmuting races of freemen into races of slaves.

      …where there are no hereditary distinctions, and men are habitually seen to raise themselves by corrupt qualities from the lowest places to wealth and power, tolerance of these qualities finally becomes admiration. A corrupt democratic government must finally corrupt the people, and when a people become corrupt there is no resurrection. The life is gone, only the carcass remains; and it is left but for the plowshares of fate to bury it out of sight.”




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  • stella
    11.04.2017

    Let,s just say it wasn’t pretty-Diane Keaton
    A walk across the sun-Corban Addison
    A thousand splendid suns- Khaleed Hosseini
    Confessions of a socialpath- M.E Thomas
    Why i recommend is because its the sort of books you never want to put down, you read a few chapters every chance you get. Books that come to life and you live in them .




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  • Stella Riunga
    11.04.2017

    I am reading ‘Surprised by Joy’ by C.S. Lewis, which is an autobiography of his life, telling the story of his journey from Atheism to Christianity. I love C.S. Lewis’s writing. I’m struggling with the language (1955 English) but it’s worth it.
    On the side, because I have never managed to be that person who reads one book at a time, I am reading ‘A Suitable Boy’ by Vikram Seth, which my brother bought for a long journey. (He doesn’t know that so far I have spilled tea and water on the book, woi!)
    It’s set in India, freshly independent and post-partition. It’s basically about Mrs. Rupa Mehra’s efforts to find a suitable groom for her 19-year old daughter, Lata. It’s fascinating, and 1, 488 pages long! I don’t even think I’m quarter-way through.

    PS: Ally Brosh is hysterically funny.




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    • Reen
      11.04.2017

      The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men, and His compulsion is our liberation
      I Came across CS Lewis on Pinterest quotes and on my bucket list for books to read, i have ‘surprised by Joy as numero uno.




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  • Kevine
    11.04.2017

    Reading Wahome Mutahi’s “How to be a Kenyan.”




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  • cathy
    11.04.2017

    just so that they can see their reactions which is shortsighted because I could be Nigerian and buy three of those watches AND leave him a tip for his beard.

    Hmmmm, Nigerians???




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  • Sanyak
    11.04.2017

    First article of yours that I’ve found boring.




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    • Air Hostess
      03.05.2017

      How now?!? Definitely not a book enthusiast




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    • Air Hostess
      03.05.2017

      How now?!? Definitely not a book enthusiast. The content is great and with great humour as usual, like that ‘Homo Erectus’ part 🙂




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  • Joseph
    11.04.2017

    I am currently reading “The Man Without A Face”This book is awesome. Because it’s not Biased. There’s the good side of Putin and the bad side of Putin.I am one of those people who’d read Sapiens too.




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  • Onyango Ongoya
    11.04.2017

    Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky




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    • Lipesa Wanyonyi
      13.04.2017

      Book of books! In my treasured collection.




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  • “The book didn’t go anywhere though, it felt like watching a dog race. Read it only because Hemingway invented the turn of phrase.”
    A Movable Feast was published posthumously like a few of Hemingways’s works so maybe that’s why readers feel like they are wandering in-between.




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  • Chepkonga
    11.04.2017

    I have been reading an old book which is perfect for an introvert who is scared of talking to people or anyone really who wants to influence the people he interacts with. The book is called How To Make Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie… It really works.

    I then got sucked into this other book, The Power of the Pussy… Vulgar title, so I honestly expected an intriguing feminist view on how to get on top of men in every situation… Honestly, the bookis just a sad rant, and like Biko said, “life sometimes is too short to read a book you don’t connect with”… Now I am starting on Purple Hibiscus:)




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  • Juggling a couple of books presently because attention-span.
    1) The life you’ve always wanted by John Ortberg. An interesting yet humorous guide to christian living. The author calls us back to the dynamic heartbeat of Christianity-God’s power to bring change and growth; the how and why of transformation.
    2) The Fault in our stars. Loved this book, it was riveting book..hard to place down, I would read it again. Sympathized alot with the characters, especially with Hazel when she loses Augustine and says ” then I realized there was no one else to call, which was the saddest thing. The only person I really wanted to talk to about Augustus Waters’s death was Augustus Waters.”
    2) Robert Ludlum – The Tristan Betrayal. Wading through this book at a snail’s pace. Feel like it’s a throwback to 2nd World War and the ensuing Cold War era. Ccringe-worthy this one is.
    3) The Power of Now – Eckart Tolle. Slowly going through. I like that she insists we should live in the present and be mindful rather than living in our future or our past. I dislike the emphasis on the soul (mind), it sounds too new-agey. If I would have tea with the author, I would advise her to pick up ‘The Spiritual Man by Watchman Née’ he gives a good breakdown of all three; Spirit, Soul and body…hard read though as he wrote it in Chinese and we are reading the translated English version and you have that lingering feeling that alot was lost in translation.
    4) The Weight of Glory- C.S Lewis. A very short read/sermon with gold nuggets therein. His wordplay is special.
    ” It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilization—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendours.”




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    • Loved ‘Nanny diaries’ the movie so much that I’m going through the book now…




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      • Jetoloxd
        14.04.2017

        The fault in our stars was a rollacoster of emotions for me, hilarious yet sad




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  • Gladys
    11.04.2017

    I am reading Chinua Achebe’s ‘Things fall Apart’. This is a book that I never really read because my mum read it to us when I was only 7 years old. The story stuck with me for a long time and I just realized that I was beginning to forget it. So, I am finally reading it for myself! I think it’s a brilliant narration as the writer has the ability to transport the reader to the story set. I feel as if I am a member of Umuofia and like I grew up with Okonkwo…haha. It’s really amazing. I love African writers, I have read all of Chimamanda’s and most of Ngugi wa Thiongo’s books. I also have a liking for books that explain human behavior and emotional intelligence. I did my fair share of romantic books in high school. Wah, we’d cut up a Mills and Boons book into three pieces, even starting the book from the middle or 3/4 way. I’m glad that my mum introduced me to reading. It’s really a beautiful thing.




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  • crappy writer
    11.04.2017

    currently reading the art of seduction by George Greene. at first I was skeptical about it too until I decided to have an open mind. this book starts by telling us how people in history seduced their… victims, if I may. how akina Cleopatra, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, JFK, and so on made people to fall madly in love with them. I love the book because those stories take me back in time to the 17th century, other times to the 19th and so forth.

    have an open mind and read it Biko, it’s a nice read, at least thus far I have reached.

    i still can’t open it in public haha. I mean, what will people think? the pink on the cover doesn’t help my case either.




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    • crappy writer
      11.04.2017

      two of the many great paragraphs I got from the book

      “there was something terrifying about her embraces. looking at you with her radiant blue eyes, she would say ‘the reception of the semen is for me the height of ecstasy.’ and she had an insatiable appetite for it”

      another one

      most of us are a mix of the devil and the saint, the noble and the ignorable, and we spend our lives trying to repress the dark side




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    • Rose
      11.04.2017

      Ooh,I have a copy of this book.And at some point i thought of putting a cover on it,because i mean, could only open it in the comforts of my house.It’s like a stolen item *insert eyes rollings*.




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  • Mitani
    11.04.2017

    Books are magical and reading is therapeutic. Currently reading Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg and Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden.( Yeah, I read two books at a given time)




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  • Steven Nsubuga
    11.04.2017

    Outliers by Malcom Gladwell. Talks about the true origin of success. It puts a new angle to “genius”




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  • kennedy
    11.04.2017

    “I swear by Apollo” by Margaret Ogola
    This is a continuation of the river and the source




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  • Wakweika Felix
    11.04.2017

    Currently reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain. It’s a great read especially for introverts. I connected with this book after reading the first ten pages. Reading this book feels like reading a diary of an alternate me. It reminds me of the daily silent struggles I have to fight simply because I live in an extroverted world where activities and policies are largely based on extrovert values. Reading this book gives me hope that things will get better regardless of the unconventional paths I choose to take.

    Quote from the book -At the onset of the Culture of Personality, we were urged to develop an extroverted personality for frankly selfish reasons—as a way of outshining the crowd in a newly anonymous and competitive society. But nowadays we tend to think that becoming more extroverted not only makes us more successful, but also makes us better people. We see salesmanship as a way of sharing one’s gifts with the world. This is why Tony’s zeal to sell to and be adulated by thousands of people at once is seen not as narcissism or hucksterism, but as leadership of the highest order.




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  • mukiri
    11.04.2017

    Great piece. I have a small library inside my daughter’s bedroom and it got about 157 books. From Kiriamiti’s,John Grisham Rogue( nobody can beat that). Stories about personalities litter my collection, am currently reading the Hard Tackle,the story on Uhuru Kenyatta. I like books I can read in two days,mostly Saturday and Sunday,when wife is out and my atheistic self just want to sit on the balcony railings and laugh at amazing pasts and present,lessons unknown and secrets unspoken.




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  • Kat
    11.04.2017

    Kaleidoscope by Danielle Steele
    Like all her other books it’s not just romance… It goes deeper than that and touches on so many things.
    I cried so hard yaaaaani!Then I had to explain to people how/why a book could make me cry . Danielle Steele always does that though, I read her books knowing a character I love is going to die and it’s always not going to be a happy ending.
    Nora Robert’s books are also pretty good.




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    • Miss Adeny
      11.04.2017

      Read this book when i was in class 5 and i have never forgotten it. In fact, it’s the best i have read from Danielle Steele collection.




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  • Olive
    11.04.2017

    playing Botticelli by Liza Nelson.

    “just because people aren’t unhappy in the exact way you are(you in the general sense, I mean, not that you are personally unhappy) doesn’t mean they’re happy.”

    “is there such a thing as safe, some way to ensure that your child will grow up without encountering injury or evil? I’m no longer certain there is.”

    this book is a must read for any parent(to be, or already is) and child. it’s eye opening. makes you understand your parents and children the more.
    Dylan and Godiva.
    thank me later




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  • Grace
    11.04.2017

    I just finished reading The Book Thief after it was recommended by Biko.
    Life has not been the same after I read it. The narrator takes you through the full range of emotions. The power of words to build or to destroy is brought to the fore. The most favorite quote: “The question is, what colour will everything be when I come for you, what will the sky be saying?”




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  • Khami
    11.04.2017

    I read this book and I honestly relate it with BikoZulu… Too hilarious and smart.

    The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

    To choose a suitable wife, Don designs a detailed questionnaire that filters out unpromising candidates:
    women who are unpunctual, overweight, vegetarian; who drink or smoke or have STDs. And then he meets Rosie, who fails on almost every score (except BMI and, one hopes, the STD criterion). Although, on past form, it looks like there is no chance of love blossoming.
    Don rejecting the advances of a sexy French nymphomaniac on the grounds of her drinking and smoking), when Rosie enlists Don’s genetic expertise to help find her natural father, otherwise known as The Father Project, the two are thrown into an entertaining series of comic set pieces and occasionally life-threatening situations.




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  • abdullah omar
    11.04.2017

    of what use reading them books with the speed of summer lightening and at the end find nothing is retained?




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  • Doreen
    11.04.2017

    I like silly books that make me laugh out loud in the middle of the night when I lose sleep. I don’t want to read books that have footnotes and references. I don’t want to stop reading a book to let my brain cool down. I want to read with a smile or a smirk on my face or a deep frown when the heroine is sitting on the edge of a ledge contemplating suicide.

    Well aren’t you so much like me on that.
    I just finished reading The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown, haven’t decided what to read next




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  • Eugene
    11.04.2017

    Stuart Neville – The Twelve
    The Fault in our stars – John Green(current)
    Half of a Yellow Sun – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (current)
    1984 – George Orwell (pending)
    Mortal Instruments – Cassandra Clare (pending)




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  • Kababy
    11.04.2017

    Yaa Gyasi- Homegoing
    Yaa provides a glimpse into how ancient Ghana (the Asante and Fante) and how slavery changed the destinies of the country’s people and generations after. Fiction but makes you think about alot of what ifs, especially for a people who were also colonised by the Brits.

    Abubakar Ibrahim- Season of Crimson Blossoms
    Through its characters, Ibrahim looks at modern-day relationships (cougar, somebody?) in an extremely conservative society. Set in Northern Nigeria, it’s definitely a breath of fresh air and a glimpse into the lives of ordinary people without all of this Bokononsense.

    Nadhifa Mohamed- Black Mamba Boy
    Because Somalia (and the whole of the Horn of Africa in general) is/ was more than just the post-Siad Barre mess! People with struggles, hopes, dreams, beliefs and most of all, HISTORY live there..




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  • Wilma
    11.04.2017

    Marian Keyes- Rachel’s Holiday. A hilarious /heart wrenching story about addiction.




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  • Maureen
    11.04.2017

    How do you get access to some of these books I’d love to read Kitchen Confidential by Tony Bourdain among other books. I don’t have a Kindle.




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  • Ophelia
    11.04.2017

    I recently read Philippa Namutebi’s “Flame and Song”. Loved it. Before that, I was struggling to complete Michela Wrong’s “In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz”. It is one of those books you mentioned that you have to think about as you read, but it is the best expose about Mobutu, I believe. I love how she writes about facts with an entertainment quality. Reading it, I keep thinking “Reality really is stranger than fiction!”




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  • Esthea
    11.04.2017

    The Kite Runner is traumatising. A horribly good sad story.
    Biko darling, all I want for Easter is the softcopy of ‘When Breath Becomes Air’ and I will love you forever.




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  • Josiah
    11.04.2017

    I am always the last to comment coz I read a lot. I read through the post like 4 times before coming down here

    https://doinsights.wordpress.com/2017/04/10/my-nocturnal-delirium/




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  • Shiraku
    11.04.2017

    I read the entire Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, then The Infernal Devices and currently looking to illegally download her first book to the Dark Artifices series. The Shadow world is a great place to escape to.




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  • Flora
    11.04.2017

    On that story of outgrowing Grisham,i don’t like to judge but when you say you like reading and are above 30 then mention authors like John Grisham and sijui Dan Brown, i have to wonder where you were when everyone else was reading them. On books, A man called Ove was a good laugh, i was going to get the second book but i trust your reviews. Then i bumped into a Spell of Winter by Hellen Dunmore late last year, so beautifully written, one of those books you read a paragraph then close your eyes to take in those lyrical words, then re-read again with a smile. It’s one of those dark stories about incest and a bunch of other screwed family secrets that everyone knows except them. The end is not so exciting but for the style, i’d read it again, well if i didn’t have a pile of other books waiting to be read. Then i finally joined the Goldfinch party, nothing i can add here really, read it if you haven’t, worth missing work for (i did cos i was up so late reading it i had to be sick the next day). Then i read Nene Ndioma’s ‘Strange women and other stranglehoods’, i’m not one to read memoirs but i read this one because when your supervisor buys you book and keeps asking if you’ve reached chapter 5 you have to read the book. It’s not my usual cup of tea but it was worth reading. Basically summaries all this things we see women going through in the quest to stay married, even when sometimes the marriage died years ago. It’s written like a big sisters journal, simple and easy to relate.




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  • Susan
    11.04.2017

    Thanks Biko. I have noted several that I need to read, and from the gang’s comments too. The saddest I have so far read “Murder in the Name of Honour” by Rana Husseini.




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  • Kamore
    11.04.2017

    So from your recommendation so far I’ve read “The fault in our stars”, have searched everywhere for “Goldfinch by Donna Tart” but no one seems to have it…any recommendations. Thanks for the new list




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    • mary
      11.04.2017

      Hey kamore.I bought mine at prestige bookshop Mama Ngina street




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  • Shiraku
    11.04.2017

    The Fault in our Stars by John Green. I have reread it so many times I can practically quote Hazel Grace and Augustus word for word. John Green shows us cancer and the brave warriors who fight it, their families, their hopes, dreams, fears, he then makes it more tragic by having them fall in love and become star-crossed not because authors are cruel but to show us how cruel cancer is and what it takes from people.

    Currently reading:
    The Stand by Stephen King. King is the King of horror.

    Harry Potter and The Order of The Phoenix.

    Books I bought in March and I’m yet to read:
    To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

    Catcher in The Rye by J.D Salinger.

    The Kite Runner by Khaled Hoseini.

    Emma by Jane Austen.




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    • Jetoloxd
      14.04.2017

      Good list ,kwanza the mystery in to kill a mockingbird,curiosity lead me on




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  • lloyd
    11.04.2017

    Lawrence Block and just discovered Mark Gimenez, probably Grisham’s replacement.




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  • Kababy
    11.04.2017

    Send me your email address I send you a soft copy.




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    • Kamore
      11.04.2017

      okamore@gmail.com




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    • Regi
      11.04.2017

      On 27/10/2014 you wrote ‘And here on this blog there is always some cat willing to email a copy of a book to anyone with an email address. You can do that if you want, but not on this platform, so I’m afraid I won’t be approving comments encouraging this type of interaction.’

      Biko – how did this get past you?




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    • dinah
      15.04.2017

      hey,here too if you dont mind
      dinahkemunto53@gmail.com




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  • Joseph
    11.04.2017

    Try reading James Clavell Shogun or Noble House its about japanese culture:- Samurai, Lords, War, romance.




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  • joseph
    11.04.2017

    Try James Clavell Shogun or Noble House its about Japanese culture.




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  • Brian
    11.04.2017

    I am currently reading (more like scribding) ‘Notorious RBG- The life and times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’. RBG’s story is told by two self-described fanatical Millenials. Usual ‘Started from the bottom now she here’ kinda story addressing RBG’s contribution to the SCOTUS bench and ‘Notorious RBG’- the cultic icon
    also cued up are Simone de Beauvoir’s ‘The Second Sex’ and Trotsky’s ‘History of the Russian Revolution’




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  • weke
    11.04.2017

    You never get to know the much things n our life mean,until we really need them.Bathng in the river stops being fun when done out off neccesity.Curtons are awesome when used to box stuff but extremly uncormfortable when used as beddings.Everyone should atleast own a sweater,they proof extremlycrucial when sleeping out n the cold…….




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  • ivann_o
    11.04.2017

    …I read all his old articles then I was left with that feeling when you don’t know what to do with your life when you have read a writer’s every work. When you vaguely recall how you you used to fill your time before your started reading them.. this is how we feel in between tuesdays, waiting for that biko book.




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  • Kadonye
    11.04.2017

    I wouldn’t suggest the books I read…let’s say they do not edify the soul or the mind. Should probably change that. Maybe Amy Harmon, The Law of Moses “A story of before and after, of new beginnings and never-endings. A story flawed and fractured, crazy and cracked, and most of all, a love story.” (my kindle’s right here)




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  • Mwende
    11.04.2017

    The Law of Attraction by Michael J. Losier. Recently I sat down with a person and in the midst of our conversations he said that he could tell that something was missing in my not so exciting life. He got me this book and am learning, once am done, I hope to share it in detail on why somebody else should read it. Cheers to books!!




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  • Jay
    11.04.2017

    I’m currently in the middle of Olivia Laing’s The Lonely City.
    March reads I thoroughly enjoyed:
    1) Anansi boys: No idea why it took me this long to get to it.This hilarious book had me at ‘god is dead. Meet the kids.’
    Gaiman is an auto-buy for me. I push The Graveyard book, Stardust,The Sandman comics & his commencement speech to first-timers
    2) Something wicked this way comes-Ray Bradbury. Reading this had me thinking of HBO’s Carnivale. It thoroughly spooked me & I loved every moment of it.
    I recommend it to fans of Stephen King
    3)Certain dark things-Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Confession: I grabbed this because of its cover. It did not disappoint. The book is set in Mexico, it has Revenge, Narco Vampires (just go with it),a street kid who needs to work on his sense of self preservation & A vampire girl on the run I found myself rooting for.
    Awesome, fast paced read with the kind of final showdown that had me swearing in agitation
    4)The scandalous sisterhood of Prickwood place: A ridiculously funny murder mystery. Finished it in 2 days. Perfect pick me up on a stressful day
    5) Yes, my accent is real-Kunal Nayyar: I highly recommend it to fans of Big Bang Theory (It’s Raj, people!).




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  • Pumbaa
    11.04.2017

    1. Shantaram -Gregory David Roberts
    2. The Mountain Shadow- sequel to Shantaram
    3. Cutting for Stone- Abraham Verghese
    4. Kerry Stokes: The Boy from Nowhere- Andrew Rule
    5. Dust- Yvonne Adhiambo Awuor
    6. Deep Work- Cal Newport
    7. The Kingkiller Chronicles – Patrick Rothfuss
    8. American Gods- Neil Gaiman
    9. The Magicians- Lev Grossman
    10.The Cartel- Don Winslow
    11. Shoe Dog- Phil Knight




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  • Kay
    11.04.2017

    Currently reading”memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden.its been on my reading list for a while.I’ve watched the movie but curious abt the book
    Last read”it ends with us by Coleen Hover.its a nice read and makes u think abt domestic abuse esp if ur the judgy type but she dsnt write it in such a way its depressing and heavy
    Recommended read:Wild by Cheryl Strayed.its abt loss of a loved one and losing yourself because of the loss and finding yourself eventually. Its an autobiography and its awesome and raw and real.plus she is a writer and the books she reads on her journey are great as well..
    As for the list above.The river and the source is still one of my favourite books.maybe coz its by a Kenyan so I can relate.
    I hated me before you. I found the writing so shallow no depth despite the story line.did not even bother reading after you.She shld have borrowed a leaf from the fault in our starts.its a tween romance but so well written with such depth you almost want to highlight some sentences coz they are so good.




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  • Rae
    11.04.2017

    Just finished reading “The Book of Memory” by Petinah Gappah,current read is “Changes” by Ama Ata Aidoo next on my list is “White Fang” by Jack London .




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  • Tonton Tosh
    11.04.2017

    James Rollins Blood Gospel. It’s blood curdling.




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  • Mugabi P
    11.04.2017

    This may seem strange,
    but it’s also the collateral beauty of one female power is multitasking.
    I’m currently reading an autobiography by Edward Kanyesigye entitled Ndyamuhaki.It is a tale about prominent figures in the Ugandan society.He tells his story passionately and one of the stars that features is the man behind the {Pairofbuttockstrending hastag}..It is punctuated with rich heritage in the post colonial period.

    My eyes are also feasting on Half of a yellow sun By Chimamanda .A captivating tale about the Biafra tale and twin sisters with revolving twists in business , family and romance.




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  • Miss Adeny
    11.04.2017

    The River and the Source is a book you want to read. I would also recommend “The verdict of death” by Onduko Atebe and “Shame” by Jasvinder Sanghera. Her true life story on escaping an arranged marriage at 14yrs. Why? Because you will never look at life the same way again.




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  • Miss Adeny
    11.04.2017

    Also, Bel Canto by Ann Patchett.




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  • Anne
    11.04.2017

    BIKO,

    NO AFRICAN AUTHORS? AMA WESTERN BOOKS ARE THE HOLY GRAIL?




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  • Agina Rashid
    11.04.2017

    I feel really jelous seeing that people are really reading books while i seem never to have the time or the books to read. My best read to date is Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers. I read it three times only stopped when a friend made away with it. Somehow I have never read a book again (and thats like 5 years ago)! Can I get those book guyz who give them put at 50bob or 100bob for 2 weeks somewhere in this thread? I need to start reading again.




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  • Rusty
    11.04.2017

    Great post, I’ve read more than three books on the list and they are awesome.Biko it up




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  • J0J0
    11.04.2017

    And I thought Kenyans never read! All these comments above,some trying to be witty and all,others just stating the obvious.I tell people I save to buy MY own books so that I stop borrowing people and libraries and they give me such long faces.Oh well!




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  • Shiro
    11.04.2017

    Try “The Signature of All Things” by Elizabeth Gilbert. Kept me captivated for a while…




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  • KINOTI
    11.04.2017

    currently reading The Sorrows Of Young Werther By GOETHE




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  • Sang
    11.04.2017

    Guys are dropping big titles and in here and I am just sitting here wondering where people like me who still enjoy Barbara Kimenye’s Moses series ‘tutajitetea tukiwa pande gani’. Anyway there is also a piece in Encounters from Africa (short stories) by the same author. Her stories always leave a sweet taste in my mouth. That is after mursik I must state though.




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    • Sang
      11.04.2017

      *big titles and names (for fear of grammar nazi)




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    • Rose
      11.04.2017

      LOL!!! Moses and Mildred & Moses and the Ghost –
      I remember those. Very funny!




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    • Prince Hanniel
      12.04.2017

      Thankyou Sang, been trying to remember the name of the writer who did the Moses Series… Ah Barbra Kimenye. Thanks again for reminding me. See umejitetea at the right place.




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  • jmutono
    11.04.2017

    My life in crime and Duniani kuna watu.Both for the hundredth time or so.




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  • kOnan
    11.04.2017

    Onanicharia@live.com




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  • Rose
    11.04.2017

    Read all three or least one of them.
    1. The Harder They Come by T.C. Boyle – Plots around a veteran who has a schizophrenic son. Father and son have a strained relationship. Dad always trying to reach out to the now adult son, who drifts further and further away, especially after he hooks up with a girlfriend. She is much older than he is. Girlfriend is everything anti-law – always having run ins with law enforcement – driving license, animal welfare etc. Adam – that’s the son’s name- ends up tipping over, killing two people and fleeing. A huge manhunt is mounted and dad is racing against time to save is son from himself and from the local law enforcement who are ready to shoot at first sight. It is fast paced – you won’t keep it down.
    Gone Girl by Gillian Flynne (there is a movie too, but I have not watched it). What I loved most about this book is how brilliantly the author tells the same story from two polar-opposite sides. Main characters are a man and wife – Nick and Amy. The wife tells her story in a journal format – how Nick is this manipulative husband, uncaring and selfish. She is believable. Nick tells of Amy as irrational, stubborn and unloving. Turns out that the whole purpose of Amy’s journal was to frame Nick for her murder… And when she disappears on their anniversary, the police are buying it. Nick smokes her out of her hiding. And he tries to expose her for who she truly is. He is not only unsuccessful, but he has to go on living with her.
    The Swimmer – Joakim Zander. This book was this author’s first. Hard to believe. It is full of suspense. It is very fast paced. If you have watched the Homeland series, the story is along the same lines. Only more complex. The kind of book where you think you know who the bad guy is, and it turns out you are so wrong. Or when you want so badly for the good person to survive, they get killed! It plots around a CIA agent who narrowly escapes suicide bombing in Syria. He lives behind a lover ( whom he doesn’t actually love – he is using her) and a daughter, a little baby with a fever at the time. The rest of the novel is this father running from operatives out to silence him, and running to find his now grown up daughter. And you don’t even get to know who this agent is until the very end.




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  • Ndiransh
    12.04.2017

    You can catch Yuval Harari’s A Brief History of Humankind on you tube and it’s worth watching




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  • Prince Hanniel
    12.04.2017

    #The_Human_Temple by Ernest Wamboye
    You are standing on a precipice, the curtains are drawn back and from your vantage point you get to watch the most intriguing story unfold.

    Forget Jack Bauer and 24…. As you read the first page of this book then you know you are going to have breathtaking action.

    #Cameron_King a US Army doctor is parachuting in North Korea when his parachute fails to open. The next moment a blind light, his chute opens and he lands in the unknown.

    #Hank_Wyde and #Victoria_Williams AKA Tori are leading a deadly squad of US SEALS across the war torn Korean Desert…. They seem to have gained the upper hand until the Korean General #Seo_Chulsoon sets a trap for them and they find themselves outnumbered, outgunned, and exposed to firepower of gun barrels of a trigger happy Korean army that seems to only understand the words…..
    “Seen an American? FIRE, FIRE… Fire At Will.”

    Unknown to all these, an elite squad of Israeli Commandos led by #Jacob_Gabrian sneaks up to the Korean army creating a standoff… Then the amazing happens a blinding flash, guns fail to work and one by one, Hank, Tori, Seo and Gabrian are sucked into nothingness and in the ensuing confusion the bewildered army almost swear that these guys disappeared into thin air.

    #Juma_Anderson is a Kenya Defence Forces Captain. He’s keeping watch over a military base in Somalia with two colleagues after a deadly battle with the Alshabab militia earlier in the day. They are reminiscing about the battle earlier in the the day and how Alshabab were given “Mbaara ya gíthigithanio” (a bloodbath thrashing) when a blind light appears in the sky scaring the living daylights out of them. Before they can even blink, the guns choke and Juma disappears into a chasm of white light.
    These six find themselves in what is called The Human Temple and as they’re bickering amongst themselves over what’s going on.
    Suddenly, they are attacked by deadly shades. (Oh you just got to read what shades are)
    They received unexpected help and the shade is knocked out. As they argue over who’s really responsible for this Juma finds himself at the rear end of the gun since the rest of the guys all came for Korea and he claims to have come from Somalia… Then a crash is heard and on investigation they find a woman in a night dress.
    #Leila_Abidaah looks harmless in a night gown . She’s the odd one out since the rest are all in military fatigues and she’s in sleeping attire. The six realize she’s a deadly warrior when she disarms a Korean general before he can even say Seo. Turns out she’s a highly trained and skilled operative who was a military attaché and personal bodyguard of the late Muamar Gaddafi. She’s from Libya and the light came for her as she was preparing to sleep… Thus her attire.

    From there it’s a rollercoaster as these seven battle waves and waves of Blizzard attacks from shades. They realize they have to put aside their differences and work together if they are to survive this.

    They also have to battle their inner wars which is paramount if they have to win this.

    This book is amazing. Honey if you think you got this figured out, think again dearie because just as you grasp the edge of the story line BAAAAAM!! The story line takes an unexpected twist and you’re frailing in the wind on a freefall of new adventure.

    Ernest Wamboye writes beautifully and captivatingly…. He builds a great background for these seven characters that explains how they approach their battles. Some of them even have intertwined pasts which makes this plot even thicker than blood lines.

    The book moves beautifully between time frames. One moment you are watching an event in 1945 which allows you to understand what’s happening now in October 15 which was triggered by an event in 1800 which all began before Genesis 1:1.

    Oh time fails me to talk about Michael, or the ever smiling light or the conniving Mayor Belmont of Belmont town. What about Stella or the 98 US embassy bombing, or a crazy man who has come back from the dead with news that saves the US President from an assassination attempt by the Russians who were collaborating with the White house chief of staff.

    Earnest develops Christian themes in this book so in very innovative ways. If you have ever read:
    # Lights_Of_10th_Street by #Shaunti_Feldhahn or

    #This_Present_Darkness and #Piercing_The_Darkness by #Frank_Peretti or

    The book series of #Sword_Of_Wormling by #Chris_Fabry and #Jerry_BJenkins

    Then you will immediately and immensely enjoy #HumanTemple. You will sitting on tenterhooks thinking come on come come one come on OH COOOOOME ON what on earth just happened there….

    On the downside, one or two typos may have escaped the editor. On a scale of 1-10 i would give it 9.89 and I refuse give a 10 because earnest kills Tori in the Epilogue and 10 minutes thereafter Rapture happens. I look forward to Rapture but I was hoping the book would have a sequel.

    Oh one final thing… This book would make a great great Movie.

    Now dearie go to Amazon.com and download it on Kindle. If you like a good old hardcopy… Keswick book shop will definitely have it. I am also sure if you Hustle Ernest Wamboye on the inbox (Like I did) he can organize one for you. Alternatively you can follow him at his blog

    http://www.penstrokes.co.ke

    Now go get the book.

    This book review first appeared here
    https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1141635559297810&substory_index=0&id=1137730443021655




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  • Ivaline
    12.04.2017

    “me before you” by jojo Moyes. there’s a movie about this book




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  • Morine
    12.04.2017

    Am currently reading When Breath becomes Air…amazing book.




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  • Kim
    12.04.2017

    was also my man when it came to coart sGrishamcoartA good storyteller the msnmsn. s. When it comes to conspiracy I went to Lundlum but nowadays we have authors who make them look old though old is gold.




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  • makobu
    12.04.2017

    Guy read Kwani series. Specifically Series four (4) and Kintu. Thanks me later.




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  • Kim
    12.04.2017

    I am typing and my phone is changing what I have written. I meant to say that Grisham was also my man when it came to coart issues. If I wanted conspiracy I went to Lundlum.
    Lundlum has a way of making you suspicious of everything that happens in life.
    I will check that Rogue Lawyer today.




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  • Landila
    12.04.2017

    I am currently reading LEAN IN by Sheryl Sandberg and I am addicted to Sidney Sheldon’s books.
    I think I have read 90% of his books 🙂




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  • Renèe
    12.04.2017

    After You- Jojo Moyes
    The afterlude to Me before you.




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  • Wambui
    12.04.2017

    I read all his old articles then I was left with that feeling when you don’t know what to do with your life when you have read a writer’s every work. When you vaguely recall how you you used to fill your time before your started reading them.

    Biko, some of us are at this point with your work. Where is the book I am yet to discover?




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  • Eric
    12.04.2017

    “Tropic of Cancer” by Henry Miller

    Actually rereading it. I first read it when I was in campus, a young writer. This is the book that gave me the permission to experiment with language, to write simply because I enjoyed it, to not give much of a big damn about the reader. There are lots of pages in this book that you will find tiring, where it will feel like you are in a tour bus driving through acres and acres of boring landscape, places where the writer goes into flights of fancy to show of his language, his skill, his imagination, but mostly because he enjoys digressing. And then there are pages which will stun you, sentences you will inscribe in your mindheart, paragraphs you will hope you remember when you you are eighty. He’s a wonderful raconteur. This isn’t a story with a story. It is really a collection of anecdotes in the writer’s life, and most of them are funny. Plus, no one can write sex better than Henry Miller (he wrote a book called Sexus, I used to reread the sex parts aggressively). Not everyone will like this book. Most people won’t like the first few pages. If you do read it, wait until you are like ten or twenty pages in before you make a verdict. At some point, it will start to blow your mind. It will start to pour fire into your belly.

    Here are some sample sentences to give you a taste:

    “This is not a book. This is libel, slander, defamation of
    character. This is not a book, in the ordinary sense of the word. No, this is
    a prolonged insult, a gob of spit in the face of Art, a kick in the pants to
    God, Man, Destiny, Time, Love, Beauty … what you will. I am going to sing
    for you, a little off key perhaps but I will sing. I will sing while you
    croak, I will dance over your dirty corpse….”

    “If there is anything worse than being a fairy, it’s being a miser.”

    “Only the killers seem to be extracting form life some satisfactory measure of what they are putting into it.”

    “I have a bottle between my legs and I’m shoving the corkscrew in. Mrs. Wren has her mouth parted expectantly. The wine is splashing between my legs, the sun is splashing through the bay window, and inside my veins there is a bubble and a splash of a thousand crazy things that commence to gush out of me now pell-mell.”




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  • Martin
    12.04.2017

    Sidney Sheldon “tell me your dreams“ is an awesome read. Someone should try “the alchemist” by Paul Coelho. This is for anyone who reads not only to escape reality but also understand reality




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  • Mwende
    12.04.2017

    On Black Sisters Street
    This book can’t be summarized in a paragraph..but I did a review of it https://mmercymwende.wordpress.com/2017/03/18/on-black-sisters-street/




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  • Chrenyan
    12.04.2017

    Books! We have a book thread on an email group I’m on, and it’s one of the best threads ever. Lot of this is from that thread.

    I made a decision to stop reading fiction, believing that real life stories are more riveting than fiction. The first books I read after that were Unbroken, Seabiscuit, and The Boys in the Boat: these are true stories that are as riveting as fiction (it was hard to make the break).

    Unbroken is about an American athlete whose career was interrupted by World War II. Their plane went down over the Pacific and he and two others spent nearly 7 weeks at sea battling hunger, thirst and sharks trying to overturn their raft… only to make land and fall into the hands of the Japanese. He became a prisoner of war under a merciless officer called “The Bird”. The Japanese visited unspeakable horrors on their prisoners. The story of his experience as a PoW and his inner redemption is amazing. And you might never think of Billy Graham quite the same way again.

    Seabiscuit is about “the little horse that could”. More heart than athlete, this little horse from nowhere achieved so much. The film is not as good as the book, I like Secretariat the movie better than Seabiscuit the movie. But the book is really, really worth a read. And the audio books really make the characters come to life (it is possible to use time stuck in traffic productively!).

    The Boys in the Boat is about 9 young men from the University of Washington rowing team and their epic journey to the 1936 Berlin Olympics. It includes a biography of Joe Rantz – one of the men – which I can only describe as a man from nowhere with nothing who had to overcome poverty and himself to get where he got in life. His Mum died when he was young, and then one day his Dad, step-Mum and their kids walked out and left him when he was 15 and still in school. I might have listened to that final race 3 times. What a climax.

    I also highly recommend Trevor Noah’s autobiography, “Born a Crime”. Fascinating, illuminating book. It has its tragedies, but what a triumph the man is. You can’t really say “ametoka mbali” as it should be said until you read this book. If a man can be judged by what he has overcome, I think Trevor has overcome a lot to get where he is.

    Also allow me to suggest Phil Knight (Chairman of Nike, Inc)’s autobiography “Shoe Dog”. The fascinating, knife-edge, rollercoaster story of Nike’s founder, CEO for about 40 years, and now Chairman. His regrets about his sons and not having made more time for them. How Nike came back from the dead. Again. And again. The triumphs, the losses, the betrayals. And most of all the nike… the sweet, sweet victory. He loves stories about war, and agrees with the premise that business is war without bullets. He actually admired General Vo Nguyien Giap (I had to Google him, too). I do not know of a man who has lived such a life that he regrets that he cannot do it all over again. Yet this is Phil Knight’s regret. Such a story cannot be about money, it is about something higher – a calling. This is a man who saw 1980 China as a nation of two billion feet. And yet… like Wangari Maathai – his regrets were about his children. And that there is a lesson about mission vs family for all of us…

    For those with a taste for economic development, I heartily recommend “How Asia Works” by Joe Studwell. I admit that I came across it through Bill Gates’ list of great books he read in 2014, but it was also cited by The Economist as a book of the year. I had not properly formed a note-making habit by the time I read it, but I recall its key ideas as being:

    1. That land reform (redistributing land fairly) presaged economic success in both Japan (twice: under the Meiji Restoration in the late 19th century and after World War II) and Taiwan;
    2. That agricultural output is higher when agriculture is carried out by smallholders as to when it is mechanised;
    3. That high agricultural output is the first rung on the way to development because it creates a surplus that can be used to industrialize;
    4. That in the pursuit of development protectionism is definitely in order (and in fact that all developed countries used it). This idea alone is worth exploring, and an entire book called “Kicking Away the Ladder: Development Strategy in Historical Perspective” by Ha-Joon Chang has been written about it, though I haven’t read it. In short, it appears that the advocates for free trade and other harmful policies (e.g. the infamous World Bank Structural Adjustment Programmes) used protectionism to grow their industries and now advocate free trade yet our economies are not ready to compete;
    5. That protectionism for protectionism’s sake is not enough (Mumias Sugar, anyone?). That you only nurture the child with the aim of it becoming an adult. Both Japan and Korea ruthlessly culled under-performing businesses and the litmus test was those businesses’ ability to export, because if you can sell on the global market, you are able to compete with the best in the world for both cost and quality. The dictatorial South Korean leader Park Chung Hee was probably the arch-exponent of these methods. He may have been dictatorial, but I wonder whether there would be Daewoos and Hyundais on our roads (and many other roads) if he had not taken power in a bloodless coup. As you can guess a book about him is on my future reading list;
    6. That you have to control the flow of capital into and out of your country.

    Come to think about it, the great book on the harmful policies of the World Bank is “Confessions of an Economic Hitman”. This one is almost a tear-jerker (a feeling I appreciate others may not have) because of the frustration about how the progress of people has been systematically blocked by organisations like the World Bank, chiefly by the use of debt. The World Bank sells debt to countries, and by the use of this debt keeps them in servitude (Proverbs 22:7 The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.). In fact, the World Bank inflates projected growth rates to enable them to lend more to these countries.

    My own history of Iran, before I read this book, began in 1979. But I did not understand that the 1979 “Islamic Revolution” in Iran was actually presaged by the CIA-sponsored coup of the rightly- and democratically-elected government Mohammad Mossadegh and the imposition of the rule of the Shah of Iran upon the people of Iran in 1953. So much for the US “exporting democracy”! As always, it was about oil. The U.S. has been playing its dirty games for a long, long time. Anyway, it is this Shah who was overthrown in 1979. “Confessions of an Economic Hitman” also set me on the path of looking at President Rafael Correa’s policies in Ecuador (his term ended earlier this month). This great man got into power and stated that he would not pay the odious sovereign debt accumulated by puppet Ecuadorian leaders in the past. The value of Ecuadorian bonds plummeted on the world markets, and he bought the debt up at a third of the value. That to me is Napoleonic financial strategy. Of Rafael Correa one may say that “his supporters formed an organisation Rafael Contigo Siempre (Always with you Rafael) to campaign for a constitutional amendment to allow him to run again. With signatures from 8% of the electorate required to hold a referendum (929,062), a total of 1.2 million were collected. However, Correa stated that he was planning on retiring from politics and would not run again.” Anyway, I cannot recommend “Confessions” highly enough.

    Finally, I have just finished reading what is most likely the greatest secular book I will ever read. If you’re into economics and economic empowerment, look for “Progress and Poverty” by Henry George. I have been pursuing a degree in Economics. I found myself frustrated with the way economics disproves itself (e.g. man is a rational creature acting purely in his own self-interest, but no, he is not), and the tendencies to which President Harry Truman famously alluded to when he asked for a one-handed economist. In a search for this one-handedness/clarity I came across “Progress and Poverty”. I was immediately struck by the clarity of thought that said that if the factors of production are land, labour and capital, the wealth that results from production must be shared among the three in rent, wages and interest (profits). This to me is economics in a sentence. I have finished reading the book, and I doubt it’ll ever get better than this book. It will be loved by the lover of logic, the lover of language, but most of all by the lover of justice.

    It’s all out there, if we’re willing to read…




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    • Ythera
      13.04.2017

      Long read.




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  • lian
    12.04.2017

    Good read try uprising by Margaret peterson it’s about the fire that changed America a story retold by three young women.




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  • Nandla
    12.04.2017

    Amazing!Kenya has a reading culture.




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  • Martin Oluoch
    12.04.2017

    The conversations in this book, i have to savor them, roll them around my head, feel their twang and bite.
    THE BOOK OF NEGROES – Lawrence Hill
    -“Aminata,” he whispered.
    “Chekura,” I said.
    “You do not hate me for bringing you here?” he asked.
    “It is too hot in here for hate,” I said.
    “You will not tell anyone what I did? Before they trapped
    me?”
    “No. I want you to live.”
    He repeated my name over and over, and then added, “I
    must hear you say it. Please. Say it. Say my name.”
    “Chekura,” I said.
    “Someone knows my name. Seeing you makes me want to
    live.”
    I wondered if there was a way for me to bring him water.
    “Now we must all live,” I said. “Who wants to die in the
    anus of a lion?” –




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  • Victoria
    12.04.2017

    Current reads: The upside of Irrationality & Irrationally yours, both by Dan Ariely.
    Behavioral economics, explains the irrational side of human decision making through social experiments. Find both books informative and very interesting. Irrationally yours is a collection of his wall street journal advice column “Ask Ariely”




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  • Jen
    12.04.2017

    (Is the size of an airport’s bookstore an indicator of the reading culture of that country?)
    Maybe




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  • Leeken
    12.04.2017

    Well while you all are reading books, you could try check out thing blog
    leeblogscom.wordpress.com




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  • Leeken
    12.04.2017

    While you are reading books you could check out this blog too
    http://leeblogscom.wordpress.com




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    • Rose
      13.04.2017

      Hi Lee,
      thanks.
      Can I make a suggestion – roho safi. If you can break down the paragraphs for your blogs, it would make it easier to read. Also the choice of font and font size can be improved. Just my two cents. Please keep writing.




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  • Paula
    12.04.2017

    11 minutes by Paulo Coelho




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  • Ythera
    13.04.2017

    Esio Trot by Roald Dahl.
    This guy wants to hit on his downstairs neighbour who has a tortoise. He devises a plan involving the lady’s tortoise changing size and weight and in the end gets the woman. You must have already surmised that ‘Esio Trot’ is ‘tortoise’ in reverse. Great book.




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  • Christine
    13.04.2017

    Nice read Biko.My favorite books that have read this year
    would be by the Afghan author ‘KHALED HOUSEINI’ who puts fiction stories sound so real. I. Believe he gives us a feel of what Actually happens in Afghanistan. A must read for you Biko.




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  • Christine
    13.04.2017

    Try reading’A thousand splendid suns’ and ‘the kite runner’…by Khaled Houseini.
    I want to read more of his books




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  • Gathoni
    13.04.2017

    Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. If you have never read Mark Twain as a child it is legitimately why your life sucks.
    Angela’s Ashes and its sequel ‘Tis by Frank McCourt. Alcoholic and irresponsible father. Very fertile mother. Irish Catholic upbringing. Poverty. A grown man laughing as he kneels besides his dead father’s coffin.
    Tough Choices, a memoir by Carly Fiorina. A moment of truth, women the world over have to deal with the same same bullshit as they climb up the career ladder. Also, the most important career decision a woman makes is the man she marries.
    I saved the best for last – all the literary works of Chinua Achebe. Enough said.




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  • FBwonda
    13.04.2017

    I sometimes read a great paragraph and I just sit still, savouring that feeling of having consumed something magical.

    Hmm..that makes two of us. Currently I’m obsessed with the 1963 play “The Lion and the Jewel” by Wole Soyinka. Talk about magical books.




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  • Lynn
    13.04.2017

    Always a pleasure reading your pieces Biko… my suggestion of a book is The 4 agreements by Luis

    the blurb on that book is that we take life way too seriously yet it is never that serious!!




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  • wayward foe
    13.04.2017

    I read Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga. beautiful book, based right next door and then next door centuries in the past. Read it and you feel like you know the Baganda and the recent history of Uganda. Read it for a ten page conversation amongst a group somewhere in there that is hilarious all through and captured better the atmosphere of a happy party than anything I’ve read recently. Read it because your heart will beat faster and you will actually miss the people and believe the magic. R




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  • Amanda Akatukunda
    13.04.2017

    I just love Abraham Verghese

    Paul Kalanithi(RIP)…he left a masterpiece behind




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  • Lipesa Wanyonyi
    13.04.2017

    Is there a bigger name on history n biology than Jared Diamonds? He of ‘The Rise and Fall of The Third Chimpanzee’ fame? I have read books but Executioner Pierrepoint, an autobiography of Albert Pierrepoint, the last British hangman, stands out for uniqueness. First time reading it, I had to take a break to avoid throwing up. Waah! Human beings do have stories!




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  • Barnabas
    13.04.2017

    Nice read biko,,,,The air in the bookstore smelled of words and paragraphs. A cash register machine opened with a clang…..exactly how it is. Shukri Platos the republic..very interesting read plus i suggest you add Apology by Plato you wont regret. i Could offer to get him both But he has to read within 14days..




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  • Nancy Mutekwa
    13.04.2017

    an offer you cant refuse by Jill Mansell
    Mansell is quite a creative author whose genre is mainly drama and romance if you are a love fanatic grab any books by Jill and you will not regret it xo




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  • Norah Orina
    13.04.2017

    Also, “THE SUBTLE ART OF NOT GIVING A F**K. Mark Manson. Good book!




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  • Jay
    13.04.2017

    We want to bring back the reading culture https://t.me/joinchat/AAAAAEE5xJ3JR6GsTqR_8A For book requests https://t.me/joinchat/AAAAAEGo0Z1DulQu7XuRhw Erotic Books Books, Magazine & Novels only Rated R. https://telegram.me/errotic




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  • Alysha
    14.04.2017

    Hi,
    I work at a bookstore and i have plenty to read.
    Good books.
    1) Who will catch us as we fall-Iman Verjee
    2) The Obsession by Nora Roberts
    3) So long a letter by Mariama ba
    4) Joy of Motherhood by by Buchi emecheta
    5)The Spy Of Castro by Marita Lorenz
    6)THE WOMAN NEXT DOOR by Yewande Omotoso
    7) BLACKASS by Igoni Barret




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    • Meg
      25.04.2017

      Which is the best and the biggest? I loove big books..




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  • Jay
    14.04.2017

    Follow that telegram link to make your book request. We have a beutiful liblary that grows everyday. All are welcome. Happy reading!




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  • Jetoloxd
    14.04.2017

    Tales of ordinay madness_ charles bukowsy




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  • Simon
    15.04.2017

    C’mon Biko 840 dollars ain’t that much if timepieces make your blood run u’d have bought that one in a heart beat. Check out audermans piguet next time you travel(which is soon).




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  • Wamalwa Erick Wamalwa
    15.04.2017

    Comedies and Tragedies,4now I’m trying to cover all William Shakespeare’s work . Romeo and Juliet, merchants of Venice, otthelo, measures for measures, Julius Caesar, King lier… Very wonderful indeed.




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  • Anne Komen
    16.04.2017

    To my surprise a lot of guys read books even after school. I used to think that reading books to them was so annoying. Mostly from the attitude they had in school while reading set books haha. Anyway I am an avid reader but it’s been a while since I read like daily. I think I will steal some of the books people here have read. Lovely post Biko as always…




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  • S A
    16.04.2017

    Hope your travels and reading help make your views on
    people and life less myopic/insular.

    I wont hold my breath though….




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  • Miriam Mwangi
    17.04.2017

    Excellent piece!!!!




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  • Mildred Akoth
    17.04.2017

    I’m currently reading Mistral’s Daughter by Judith Krantz.




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  • Ciikù
    18.04.2017

    Shakespeare’s Othello and Wangari Maathai’s Unbowed




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  • Renee
    22.04.2017

    The river and the source in 21st century?




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    • Njeri
      25.04.2017

      I have read it a couple of times and it still surprises me everytime I read it. I love that book!




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  • Wanga
    22.04.2017

    Amazing that people read so much…will look for “Surprised by Joy” and “Born a crime” after such strong previews on this platform. Reading is liberating!




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  • Wanga
    22.04.2017

    Reviews not previews




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  • Njeri
    25.04.2017

    I am re-reading the Godfather. I just can’t get enough of this book. But then again, I re-read Jodi Picoult’s Story Teller so maybe I take too long to move on. My favourite quote in Godfather is “I don’t trust society to protect us, I have no intention of placing my fate in the hands of men whose only qualification is that they managed to con a block of people to vote for them,” which aptly captures my feeling about the upcoming election.




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  • Meg
    25.04.2017

    Please do read CUTTING FOR STONE… Amazing is an understatement! I go back to it anytime I don’t have a good book. Damn!!! Having a bookhangover just thinking about it




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  • Janees
    25.04.2017

    Coincidentally (I regularly run two reads concurrently; one hard and one soft) cruising through the minds of two ‘independent thought’ women; classic, Jane Austen (Emma) and contemporary, Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat Pray Love-I got inspired to read for a planned Bali trip). Let us see where the two meet. Let us see where the two meet. So far favorite Quotes:
    “I always deserve the best treatment because I never put up with any other.”
    ― Jane Austen, Emma

    “Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.”
    ― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
    ** I can throw Shukri a soft Freakonomics and The Republic.




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  • Joss
    25.04.2017

    Born a crime -Trevor Noah.
    This book takes you through a journey of sorts. It is one of those books you absolutely do not want to end, the few days that follow after the finish feels like you lost touch with a part of your (book)family. A few more days later, you find yourself marveling and laughing silently at something that was said in the book. The book is witty! Funny! Savoring! Enormously raw and breathtaking, literally.




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  • Nyams
    26.04.2017

    Just finished Rogue lawyer. i like the pace of it… and the fact that it’s like someone telling you these riveting stories.. with no break. love the wit in it.
    I’m now on to ” To kill a mocking bird” by Harper Lee. just started it this morning… so far so captivating..
    for ardent readers, do please check out bookdepository.co.uk… they do free worldwide delivery




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  • Frank Kimiri
    27.04.2017

    Tried reading this too and I couldn’t finish..have read it before so i knew I’d enjoy it again *this damn font*




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  • smuthami
    03.05.2017

    Currently reading “A time to kill” by John Grisham. Captivating courtroom drama!

    I love it when you write about books Biko, it helps me set up my upcoming books list.




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  • Maureen
    05.05.2017

    This is a good read indeed.
    “I sometimes read a great paragraph and I just sit still, savouring that feeling of having consumed something magical. But I’m also easily distracted. If I want to eat a banana in the middle of a riveting story, I will stop and go look for a banana. ”
    Haha! happens to me all the time.




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  • Njeri
    18.05.2017

    Wow, I have I have just discovered your work and I really like. You have a great style of writing!




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  • daniel
    22.05.2017

    so long a letter by Mariama Ba is a wonderful piece




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  • DAUDI
    23.05.2017

    I am reading one done by Margaret Thatcher. Her biography, I don’t quite recall the title. But the damn thing is like a thesis for some doctoral subject. I wonder what the old mzee on those brown notes that I sued to buy it would say to me if he woke from his eerie quiet-noisy resting place at parliament grounds!




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  • lrange
    31.05.2017

    I love David Baldacci, anything crime and investigations and am SOLD! Used to love John Grisham and Jeffrey Archer till i discovered him but now will look for Rogue Lawyer.




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  • […] “Tonight I will start with one after I have done pinki-pinki-ponky. I will pick one when I’m showered and it’s quiet and the sheets are clean against my skin. I hope it rains. It’s nice when it’s raining and you are reading a book you love.” http://www.bikozulu.co.ke/books/ […]




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