Tag Archives: reading

I Got You Friend

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!!

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I read some good books last year

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!!!

My reading wish list (on Amazon)

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).

Askari by [Dlamini, Jacob]

 

  1. 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.
  2. I hope the Couple Next Door does not disappoint like The Girl on the Train did. The story sounds intriguing though so hopefully not.
  3. I can’t remember where I saw Lauren Groff’s book but it remains relevant.
  4. There was a time all I heard was Angela Duckworth. Also, I am curious about nature of nurture so this sounds intriguing.
  5. I love this author, so hopefully Askari delivers.
  6. A friend recommended Isabel Wilkerson’s book.
  7. Anthony Doerr’s book seems to be highly acclaimed so I would of course love to read and tick it off.
  8. I listened to Sheena’s TED Talk and loved this topic.

Once read these books, I will post the reviews.

 

Sunday Reads

  1. Do this to improve your potluck hosting game.
  2. Important subject matter (slavery in literature) and I definitely want to read the book, The Underground Railroad (Colson Whitehad)
  3. Interesting thoughts on appropriating food from another culture. Not unexpectedly, I am more chilled about it provided you show respect.
  4. So much I didn’t know about one of Brazil’s most iconic landmark.
  5. Green bean stir fry.
 

Sunday Reads

  1. Very similar education issues (SA) (USA)
  2. Teaching parents to become better parents for better outcomes.
  3. Dealing with your partners’ anger.
  4. So grateful for my upbringing.
  5. Recently finished God Bless the Child – Toni Morrison
  6. This first chapter of this book looks very interesting.
  7. Nothing says winter like wanting to bake bread.
  8. Falling in love and staying with your (long-term) partner.
  9. All things meatballs.
  10. There are two kinds of people – those who take restaurant menus as a given, and those that think its a suggestion.
  11. Read this article on the relationship between graduation rates and socio-economic backgrounds and I must say I have very mixed feelings because I know of so many local rick kids that do not finish school and seem to be able to do that because they have a safety net.

Reviews of Books I have Recently Read

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?

 

Book Review: Happiness is a Four Letter Word v Men of the South

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.

 

 

 

 

How to Read More Books

how-to-read-more

Source

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?

Sunday Reads

  1. The pitfall of comparing yourself with others Sad smile 
  2. More on female economists and their returns to solo vs group publishing of papers (Hint: publish solo or with mixed genders)
  3. and a follow up of initial thoughts and opinions on the article.
  4. A healthy alternative to eating wraps!
  5. Slay Taraji, slay!!
  6. As a follow up to last weeks post on what the Brady/ Bundchen bunch eat, here is a list of recipes to adopt.
  7. Free downloadable calendars: one and two.
  8. The NYT recently published a list of 100 Notable books for 2015.
  9. Good to know that Uganda doing well on the front of palliative health care – effectively and cheaply.

First Sunday Reads

Welcome back and I pray that your new year has started off with a bang!

  1. I always knew the Russian Maffia doesn’t play!
  2. Clap back of the century! Pow!!
  3. Because mothers greatly influence their daughters sense of style. I certainly know mine did!
  4. Did you know there are surrogacy agencies and they have annual fairs? Well there are …
  5. I can actually taste this dish 🙂
  6. This one too!!
  7. The Atlantic lists their 50 best episodes for 2015 and has quite a few goodies.
  8. Wonder what the cause of death by age and country would reveal for Africa.
  9. Thoughtful reflections for anyone contemplating a PhD.
  10. Fantastic seeing how a doodle artist does her work.
  11. This article proves to me how women perpetuate patriachy.
  12. Wonder whether this niche, sells a single book at a time bookstore will take.
  13. What’s it like to be a private chef?
  14. I have never really thought about the professionals that have to work on rape cases. Till now.

 

Reviewing 2015 through posts

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!

  1. My theme this year was on obedience.
  2. Listened to great music too!!
  3. Took care of myself!!
  4. Really got into podcasts.
  5. Ten little things I enjoyed this year (the first of many similar posts)
  6. I hurt when the Xenophobic attacks broke out! In February. Twice.
  7. Read a lot about women struggling with infertility.
  8. Cooked some nice things.
  9. Read some good and bad books!! The invention of wings was easily my book of the year.
  10. Made a personal announcement too!!

Enjoy and looking forward to 2016!!

Sunday Reads

  1. Must make this recipe – Lentil and Basmati salad 
  2. This recipe too! Pumpkin Risotto with prosciutto
  3. I definitely want to start a Cookbook Club – would be so awesome!! Anyone keen in the Cape Town area?
  4. If only I had money to assist to bring this service to scale.
  5. Sir David Attenborough narrates the intro to Adele’s Hello. Interesting!
  6. I enjoyed watching these two sisters on Masterchef SA and I am equally happy for them on this venture. If you can check out their launch, go ahead.
  7. THIS all sounds good but I am not sure that this is the best way to educate children or spend these large sums of funds.
  8. Manufacturing and the state of industrialisation in Africa.

Enjoy!!

28. Another Daily Prompt : Bookworms

September 14
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:

  • Comfortable
  • Source of Warmth
  • Stylish
  • 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

Book review: The Invention of Wings

 Buy here

I love Sue Monk Kidd and have read all her earlier works and so when I heard she had a new book out, I thought yay!! Good stuff. BUT, I wasn’t prepared for the beauty and the magic of The Invention of Wings. Just beauty.

Synopsis

From the celebrated author of The Secret Life of Bees, a #1 New York Times bestselling novel about two unforgettable American women.

Writing at the height of her narrative and imaginative gifts, Sue Monk Kidd presents a masterpiece of hope, daring, the quest for freedom, and the desire to have a voice in the world.

Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.

Kidd’s sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid. We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.

As the stories build to a riveting climax, Handful will endure loss and sorrow, finding courage and a sense of self in the process. Sarah will experience crushed hopes, betrayal, unrequited love, and ostracism before leaving Charleston to find her place alongside her fearless younger sister, Angelina, as one of the early pioneers in the abolition and women’s rights movements.

Inspired by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke, Kidd goes beyond the record to flesh out the rich interior lives of all of her characters, both real and invented, including Handful’s cunning mother, Charlotte, who courts danger in her search for something better.

This exquisitely written novel is a triumph of storytelling that looks with unswerving eyes at a devastating wound in American history, through women whose struggles for liberation, empowerment, and expression will leave no reader unmoved.

First off, I must start with the fact that I loved this cover and the fact that when you start to read about Hetty, you will see how the image on the cover totally resembles her. I totally judge a book by its cover and this would have piqued my interest even if I did not love the author.

My other overarching thought was how this book has such beautiful imagery, it must be converted into a movie or a series for TV. It simply must for the following reasons:

  • I mean if all these Vampire things can be adapted, why not such a beautiful story?
  • Without spoiling too much, quilting and dressmaking is a central theme in the story which I would love to see on screen.
  • Although painful, I would also like to see how they stage the beatings and the diverse relationships between the slaves and the relationship between them and their Owners.
  • Sarah is also a pivotal character and I would love to see who is cast to portray her and then how she develops over time.

All in all, the language was beautiful and it told a very emotional topic in a nuanced and sensitive manner which appealed to me greatly. I found out at the end that it was based on a historical figure, Sarah Grimke, and was slightly embellished. It was the best piece of writing on feminism that I have come across in a loooong long time.

I would definitely recommend this book as well as watch the movie when it comes out.

Gnovembers favourite things list

Currently listening to this album and loving it. A bit late but it’s been my work jam for some time now!

Recently read the following book: Review here.

Recently shopped at The Space in Rosebank. I love the shop, often has lovely clothes but of a larger size. Check it out!

Currently drinking Ginger Glace tea from Tea Merchants

Ginger Glace

I have enjoyed eating Tapas at Doppio Zero in Rosebank. My favourites, Chickpea fritters, fried haloumi, the calamari and chicken livers. Just yum and not too filling if you are having an early dinner.

I am ashamed that I watch the following reality shows but I so do love them:

Also, do reach out to a friend and enjoy the little moments. Life is too short and great friends are hard to come by so keep the few that you make

*All views my own

Sunday Reads

Sent from me on a particularly long drive so enjoy!

  1. Very sad story about the depths that refugees take to get to better opportunities in the West. Particularly following the news of the two South African stowaways.
  2. Some beautiful musical sounds! h/t Miss Milli B
  3. Marriage is so many things but this is a choice that my mind cannot fully wrap itself around. I can’t even …
  4. Simple explanation(s) why there are fewer women in Tech and possible solutions.
  5. In case you ever wondered about cooking and what they eat in Space!
  6. Bye bye SOTRU! I actually feel like I am saying goodbye to a good friend.
  7. I was just speaking to a colleague about how to make good food cheap for the poorer folk to be able to eat wholesomely.
  8. A better question to ask in life: What did I learn rather than did I win?
  9. No more sorry for me!
  10. I literally licked my lips as I read this recipe for Morccaan Spiced Pumpkin and Chickpea stew 🙂
  11. YUM!!! And this Coconut Quinoa bowl.
  12. I have enjoyed reading about this project – to read across the world in one year – over the years and the preparation for the Audiobook is no differen​t.
  13. ​I love this DIY Activity and would love to try it one day

A week in pics

A few weeks back, I decided to try and take pics to showcase my week so here goes!

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Tuesday– messy desk at the end of the week. My staples, earphones and a cuppa tea Smile

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Wednesday – I had training in this room that had beautiful art work all around.

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Thursday – I read through four books in those three weeks so I went to the Library for four more. Tihiii, it helps that they were heavily Chick Lit Smile with tongue out

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Friday: I got some beautiful scented candles from Mr P home. They are set against a khanga I received as a gift when my sister got married. It now dabbles as a table cloth in the kitchen as a touch of home!

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Saturday: I took my nephew to the Ditsong National Museum of National History in Pretoria CBD. We walked for almost 2.5h and he had such a blast. He is ten years old, loves animals and is learning about some of them at school and so it helped for him to see them in their natural habitat.

Enjoy!

Sunday reads

Some Sunday reads, enjoy!

Aside

I have so many good books to read at the moment and the only way I can accomplish that is if I go straight to my room after getting home and limit my telly viewing to my one guilty pleasure: … Continue reading

hello, over here!

Hello old friend, how are you? Do you remember me? I used to write here, would share a lot of stuff about me. No? Must quickly change that now.

I am currently reading (listening to) two books: Hope and The Italian Wedding respectively. Very engaging. Must say, I have recently discovered Lesley Pearse and this is my second book of hers. For some reason, I am in a chick lit sort of mood and I have gone through Elizabeth Noble and now Lesley (coz we on first name basis like that) and hopefully Cathy Kelly and Nicky Pellegrino.

Will try and post more stimulating things soon.