Following this summary of what is currently on my to-read bookshelf I have a couple of books that I would like to review.
Happiness is a Four Letter Word – Cynthia Jele
I loved this book, it deals with two things that I am particularly passionate about: Johannesburg and female relationships.
- The book is what would happen if Sex and the City had been cast in a cosmopolitan African city. If you would love to see that, check out the YouTube series, An African City.
- The themes are easily recognisable: love, family, beauty, work/ career advancement, marriage, female friendships.
- The book is a really easy read, I started on Friday at 7 and finished the next day by 12.
- Having said that, it is definitely a conversation starter and will have you thinking deeply about some of the issues dealt with for instance, what would I tell a dear friend that was cheating on her husband because she did not exactly marry him for love? Or a friend that rekindles communication with an old ex?
- Only concern and I guess because of my personal views, I feel like the author portrays a very negative view of (Black) relationships and someone that is not acquainted with any Black people might take it as a given that this is how our love dynamics play out. Yes it’s a novel, but their portrayal is definitely very one-sided, what happened to “normal“?
- Would I recommend it? Definitely yes!! I actually cannot wait for the author to release a second book.
Men of the South – Zukiswa Wanner
A bit of a preliminary disclaimer is that I read this book on the back of Happiness and the after-glow it gave me.
- The book’s main theme is love and relationships (gender dynamics, hetero- or homosexuality, family and friendships) and it definitely deals with each of these in turn.
- The book is set in Johannesburg and Cape Town, cities that I can safely say I am familiar with which makes the reading that bit enjoyable when I can understand the physical setting.
- The book provides an entry point to have some difficult conversations for example, being a Black homosexual in a culture where one is expected to get a wife and settle down or what if I earn more than my husband and can take care of him, should he stay home while I work?
- However, I think it attempted to do too much in a few pages and fell short. Hence, it was not as memorable as it could possibly be. I also felt that the first person reportage was not too helpful either.
- Overall, the book was quite predictable and I would not recommend it unless you maybe had a few hours and did not want to be wowed but wanted to tick a book off your reading list.
Rachel’s Blue – Zakes Mda
I tried to read this book and failed to get into it despite trying. In light of my recent advice on how to read more books, I am giving up and will mark this is a non-read on my part. My biggest issue I suppose is that I love it when he writes about various aspects of South African people and the setting of this book was too different for me to adjust my expectations accordingly.
Posted in books, Heart matters, home, life, marriage, working
Tagged being gay, Being Zulu, books, Books reading, Cynthia Jele, female friendship, friendships, Heart matters, home, life, love, marriage, reading, relationships, working, Zakes Mda, Zukiswa Wanner
Moving towns is not easy, least of all one that you have lived in 20+ years and love dearly. The following is a list of things I first compared between the new home and old home. Enjoy and take it in the spirit it is intended.
- Being able to read books and newspapers at the bookshop. And not have to pay for them. Oh and no one looks at you funny or tries to intimidate you.
- Funeral cover advertising. Like regular health insurance except they pay for the costs of your burial. Ah, Ok!
- Openly gay people. My sisters and I kept saying there must be a third gender because of these men and women that proudly embrace their “other” sex and take it on full-on. One of the leading local soapies even has an openly gay married couple. Yeah, let’s see that on ANY Kenyan station, public or privately owned!
- Street fashion. It’s interesting to just stop and stare at people’s unique interpretation of fashion. Very colourful and unique.
- Understanding the phenomenon that is “excess”. Why am I paying for insurance if I must cough up the first X thousand of any claim I make????? Just sounds like daylight robbery.
- That motor insurance is optional! In Kenya everyone must have insurance whether comprehensive or third-party. Not so here.
- The prevalence of Afrikaans and Afrikaners. Coming here I knew South Africa has eleven official languages I just didn’t think it had been integrated and people could openly speak of it or that some people were comfortable with and proud to be culturally Afrikaner!
- I liked the fact that many people my age spoke an African language. As we all know that’s one thing I sorely regret not being able to partake in.
- Churches having braais with beer/evening events with sherry and beer! And that after the service you can decide to light up your cigarette and no one will kick you out.
- Leaving handbags on chairs during communion in church and that no one steals the bags.
- How people combine traditional and modern/traditional and religion and they just know when to do so.
- Almost all Black names will have a meaning. Nice!
- The fascination with race – like never knowing I was Black till I came here.
- Being told the scope of an exam. How’s about reading the whole semester work and then being surprised coz it is called an exam, right?
- Calling lecturers by their first name to their face. Yeah!
- Drinking tap water! In Kenya that’s asking for death right there.
- The number of well-maintained public parks for recreation. I keep expecting someone to grab that land and construct a house or school.
- A public transportation system that actually works and/or cheap cabs.
- I love(d) that any Church service had people from all racial backgrounds.
- The difference in pronunciation between stuff I knew from home: Panado v Panadol, Weetbix v Weetabix.
- Butternut and pumpkins are always sweet. That and the introduction to food stuff like “dombolo” (dumplings) and samp. YUM!
Posted in books, home, school
Tagged being gay, books, church, home, lifestyle, misc, motor insurance, race, school, street fashion, theft/crime