I read 38 books in 2018 but with the birth of my daughter I only made it to 21 last year which I am very proud of.
See the full list below.
Key: *** Highly Recommend ** Yeah, why not read it *Nah, only read if you have nothing else (No star) I have no feelings on the book
- The Believers – Rebecca Makkai ***
- Becoming – Michelle Obama *** I initially feared that the hype would be larger than the content of the book so I read it much later and I loved it. My only regret was by then all the book clubs had already met and discussed it.
- The Year that Changed Everything- Cathy Kelly. First of her reads and I loved it.
- It Started with Paris – Cathy Kelly.
- The Storyteller- Jodi Piccoult **Do terrible deeds define us or can we be someone else with time?
- Secrets of a happy marriage – Cathy Kelly
- Homecoming – Cathy Kelly.
- Dead to Me – Lesley Pearse. Love that it was about strong female friendships and personal endurance.
- Without a Trace – Lesley Pearse
- Just Mercy- Bryan Stevenson *** There is now a movie being made on this book, check it out.
- A River of Stars – Vanessa Hua. What a dud, don’t bother.
- Me and my Sisters – Sinead Moriarty
- The Secrets Sisters Keep – Sinead Moriarty
- Between Sisters – Cathy Kelly
- This Child of Mine – Sinead Moriarty. Skip it at all costs, this could have been a short story or a novella at best.
- Our Secrets and Lies – Sinead Moriarty
- Unnatural Causes – Richard Shepherd. This helped with my morbid fascination with dead bodies.
- The House on Willow Street – Cathy Kelly
- I owe you one – Sophie Kinsella
- Washington Black – Esi Edugyan. This was certainly an over hyped book, I wouldn’t recommend it.
- Home Fire – Kamila Shamsie *** I simply loved it, check it out.
My book of the year was The Great Believers. This book deals with the burden of being left behind to confront the memories of a sad time. Also, just how far we have come since the first days of the AIDS scourge. Please do yourself a favour and also read it.
Notable mentions were: Home Fire: A Novel and Becoming.
Books I wanted to like but just.did.not: Washington Black
How many books did you get through last year?
Posted in books, Heart matters
Tagged 2019, Becoming, books, Books reading, Cathy Kelly, Home Fire, Kamila Shamsie, Michelle Obama, reading, Rebecca Makkai, Sinead Moriarty, The Believers
Today, I want to focus on my parents and the values they have imparted in me that I admire and hope to replicate with my children.
- Their work ethic. My parents inspired my sisters and I to work hard, to be our best and not to be limited by gender, our circumstances or other life setbacks. They themselves came from such humble beginnings and accomplished so much that by their actions and choices, you were inspired to try your best.
- Their relationship with money. As far as I know, my parents never bought anything on credit. If they couldn’t save and get it, they did not get it. Also, to save all your money, save even if you have no immediate plans, just save.
- Family first. My sisters and I always knew (know) that we were important and that we mattered to them, that they gave us their best and withheld nothing from us. They loved and even, liked us, and we never doubted this. We are our parents best investment and choice and there is something comforting in that.
- I love that their parenting style did not require them to compare any of us. To them, we are unique, we are individuals and each success was celebrated on its own and each failure dealt with separately. As a result, all five of us are friends and continue to do the same thing with each other to date.
- Faith and the role of God. He is over and above all things, always has and always has been.
- Choice. Marry when you want, there is no pressure to marry or in fact conform because we are women. Study what you want at school – whether Physics or Home science. Learn how to slaughter a chicken or change a tyre, just because you are only girls, you still need to know.
- A love for books. Yes!!!
Posted in books, Heart matters, home, Motherhood/ Parenting
Tagged about me, books, family, finances, life, life lessons, parenting, parents, reading, saving, tribute, values, women, work
Posted in Heart matters, home, marriage, Motherhood/ Parenting
Tagged Christianity, eggplant, faith, Heart matters, homosexuality, Johannesburg, marriage, Podcasts, reading, recommendations, Sunday Reads
You know those books that everyone raves about and then try as you might you just can’t get into them and then when you do it just feels like they will neither start nor end? Well, these are mine, now I just stop and move onto the next book
- My Brilliant Friend – Elena Ferrante
- How to Read the Air – Dinaw Mengistu
- All the Light we cannot see – Anthony Doerr
- Their Eyes were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurston
- Rachel’s Blue – Zakes Mda (South Africa)
And then there is Open City by Teju Cole that I hated but had to finish so I could hate on it 🙂
The finalists for the 2018 Caine Prize for African Writing were announced earlier this week. The Caine Prize for African Writing is a registered charity whose aim is to bring African writing to a wider audience using our annual literary award. The finalists hail from Kenya :), South Africa and Nigeria and here are their short stories:
I wanna challenge myself to read them all and then guess which one will win. Join me?
So I recently had occasion to reflect on the past year and to start planning for 2018 and decided to close out the year by reading ten books until the end of coming February. SO here is my reading list (the ones struck off are already complete):
Kintu – Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
- All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doer
Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng
Her Body and Other Parties – Carmen Maria Machado
The Leavers – Lisa Ko
Pachinko – Min Jin Lee
A Column of Fire – Ken Follett
Negroland: A Memoir – Margo Jefferson
Dear Ijeawele or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The Warmth of Other Suns – Isabel Wilkerson
- Their Eyes were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurston
- Between the World and Me – Ta-Nehisi Coates
- The Gene: An Intimate History – Siddhartha Mukherjee
- Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind – Yuval Harari
Always Another Country: A Memoir of Exile and Home – Sisonke Msimang
Posted in books, life
Tagged books, Books reading, Celeste Ng, Chimamanda, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, essays, fiction, goal setting, goals, Isabel Wilkerson, Ken Follett, Kintu, Negroland, non-fiction, Pachinko, reading, Sisonke Msimang, The Gene
I miss my gal pals the most when I see stuff like this that we could do together .
I particularly think of the things that I have missed out on with my better female friends: baby showers, bridal showers, high tea, being able to do random things together, road trips, dinners, first homes, come meet my new guy, the new baby, watch a new show together and laugh about it – just a lot of stuff. Yes, IRL I have friends and people I do this but it’s also different.
From the blog post:
I particularly love #2,6, 9 and have done #3 – adult baking dates are awesome – 10, 13.
The comments as usual provides such gems and so here is my to do with a friend list.
- Volunteer together at a cause that’s meaningful to either or both of us.
- More concerts – I watched John Legend with a pal and her cool mom and it was awesome!
- Coworking sessions. Yes to these.
- Sit together and read dates.
- Sleepovers with no husbands or kids.
- Pottery / learn something class.
- Try and commit to an exercise class together.
- Talk about podcast episodes we both love. Tried to get so many pals into this that I am glad I can do it with my sister and partly with The Mr.
- Watch TV shows together and make comments in between, ideally together or even if separately, concurrently.
- Same day road trips and do stuff along the way or at the destination.
- Supper club where each person brings one.
In fact, I decided to have a little snacks and games afternoon at my place next month! Done!!
Posted in Heart matters
Tagged baking, books, classes, Cup of Jo, exercise, female bonding, female friendship, food, friendship, Podcasts, reading, TV
Both of these books have a similar theme and I read them back to back which made me so angry. But, they are well written and I loved them equally and would happily recommend them.
I love both of these ladies and so it goes without saying that I would enjoy their writing.
I love Jhumpa Lahiri’s writing. It’s simply beautiful. I have to say that anytime I say I read short stories, it’s obvious that I love the author.
African literature is doing SO WELL. SO WELL. Both of these books are so well written, you just have to go out and get them and savour them for yourself. Yum!!!
Posted in books
Tagged 2016, books, Books reading, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Colson Whitehead, Dinaw Mengistu, Imbolo Mbue, Jhumpa Lahiri, reading, Shonda Rhimes, Yaa Gyasi
I have this Wishlist off Amazon with a list of books that I would love to read (click on the book to the Amazon link).
- I am not a Zadie Smith but I find that this book appeals to me and I’m anxiously waiting for it to be released.
- I hope the Couple Next Door does not disappoint like The Girl on the Train did. The story sounds intriguing though so hopefully not.
- I can’t remember where I saw Lauren Groff’s book but it remains relevant.
- There was a time all I heard was Angela Duckworth. Also, I am curious about nature of nurture so this sounds intriguing.
- I love this author, so hopefully Askari delivers.
- A friend recommended Isabel Wilkerson’s book.
- Anthony Doerr’s book seems to be highly acclaimed so I would of course love to read and tick it off.
- I listened to Sheena’s TED Talk and loved this topic.
Once read these books, I will post the reviews.
I had a few books that I needed to get through and here are my thoughts on some of them.
Coconut by Kopano Matlwa
- The story talks about identify, self expression and family as well as issues of class and wealth and post-colonial African societies.
- Made me ask myself what makes me African. Is it my dreadlocks, my clothing style, the language I speak or not speak. My race perhaps? Africans come in many moulds and it is fine because we build up each other and our environment.
- It’s critically acclaimed and I agree that it’s definitely an important piece of literature for our time.
- The writing style is not great and it was very confusing to know when it was a thought or the actual storyline and a good editor would have helped with this. But its a few pages so you could quickly get past that.
Spilt Milk – Kopano Matlwa
- I quite liked this book, slightly better written but it definitely had more promise than it finally delivered because it just ended abruptly. To be honest, it also started just as abruptly so maybe this is a stylistic feature?
- Can’t really say much about the other themes but the theme of education and a School that influences young African minds and philosophy personally appealed to me.
- I also loved that she paid homage to all the (black) African greats and it was very encouraging to see this greatness that has gone before us. Led me to ask myself, who is writing the African story? My story, your story?
- Loved the story and would definitely recommend it.
Under the Udala Trees – Chinelo Okparanta
- I love, love, love this book. Love the author and her previous collection of short stories. So before you ask, I will recommend this book.
- Themes: love, marriage/ relationships, family, homosexuality, loss, identity.
- I love here writing style and the language she uses also how she develops her characters. You get to really understand them and start to root for them.
- The novel is extremely complex and multi-layered and is not something you read casually.
- I have shared before my thoughts on homosexuality and fully stand by the fact that the action is sinful but the individuals are beloved of God and so I read the story more for the literature but not because I stand by or believe in it.
- Nigeria has the Biafran War that has been included in a lot of literature. This made me think of what contemporary Kenyan or Ugandan writers talk about as that definining moment of our history.
Dust – Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor
- This book is a historical account of Kenya as a novel. It takes us through the history of a nation through the story of a house and a family from 1963 to 2007/8 when the post-election violence happened.
- If I had to give any criticism, its that the book has two very distinct parts and only the very patient will see it to the end and enjoy it. It starts slow and seems patchy and disjointed in certain places then it picks momentum and takes off. Beautiful work!!
- There are a lot of characters, yes, but they are all interconnected so its quite easy to lace through them.
- The books themes include: nationalism/ identity, love, passion, corruption, leadership, art/ creativity.
- Must read to anyone wishing to understand Kenya or planning a visit there.
Have you read anything interesting recently?
Posted in books
Tagged Africa, Biafran War, books, Books reading, Chinelo Okparanta, coconut, Dust - Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, identity, Kenya, Kopano Matlwa, reading, Spilt Milk
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
I agree with most of his recommendations but I find I struggle with Number 4, I tend to finish the book just to whinge about it OR, I keep coming back to it, read a page, struggle and then leave it till next time. BUT for the second time in recent times, I have seen this somewhere, if I am not enjoying a book, quit already, life is too short for this level of bother!!
Also, while I do not schedule a specific reading time, my night time routine is a final cuppa with a good book.
What about you, what’s your reading routine like?
- The pitfall of comparing yourself with others
- More on female economists and their returns to solo vs group publishing of papers (Hint: publish solo or with mixed genders)
- … and a follow up of initial thoughts and opinions on the article.
- A healthy alternative to eating wraps!
- Slay Taraji, slay!!
- As a follow up to last weeks post on what the Brady/ Bundchen bunch eat, here is a list of recipes to adopt.
- Free downloadable calendars: one and two.
- The NYT recently published a list of 100 Notable books for 2015.
- Good to know that Uganda doing well on the front of palliative health care – effectively and cheaply.
Posted in books, design, home, school, working
Tagged books, calendars, design, economists, Feminism, Gisele Bundchen, goals, health, healty eating, home, life, palliative care, reading, school, Seth Godin, Taraji P Henson, Tom Brady, Uganda, working
Posted in books, design, home, life, school, working
Tagged books, cooking, design, home, life, motherhood, Nidhi Chanani, PhD, Podcasts, rape, reading, recipes, Russia, school, surrogacy, The Atlantic, working
I have enjoyed posting so much this year and pushing myself to write more, write in different formats or on different topics than the typical ones I would. Thanks for the reads, sharing and comments!
- My theme this year was on obedience.
- Listened to great music too!!
- Took care of myself!!
- Really got into podcasts.
- Ten little things I enjoyed this year (the first of many similar posts)
- I hurt when the Xenophobic attacks broke out! In February. Twice.
- Read a lot about women struggling with infertility.
- Cooked some nice things.
- Read some good and bad books!! The invention of wings was easily my book of the year.
- Made a personal announcement too!!
Enjoy and looking forward to 2016!!
Posted in books, design, good, Heart matters, home, life, madness, marriage, school, working
Tagged about me, books, Cape Town, cooking, design, dot, good, Heart matters, home, life, little things, madness, marriage, motherhood, music, Podcasts, reading, school, theme verse, working, xenophobia
Posted in home
Tagged Adele, Africa, childhood, Clubs, Cookbook clubs, cooking, Development, education, Hello, home, industrialisation, manufacturing, Masterchef SA, parenting, reading, recipes, Sir David Attenborough
Bookworms grab the nearest book. Open it and go to the tenth word. Do
a Google Image Search of the word. Write about what the image brings to mind.
Jackets was my word and it brings to mind:
- Source of Warmth
- Expensive – particularly for Winters
This was not part of it but here is an image that is exciting me at the moment! Enjoy!!
I love the colour, the fit and the cut of the jacket
Posted in design, life
Tagged bloggng, books, Bookworms, Daily Prompt, design, fashion, jackets, life, reading, style