With sunny morning skies and heavy afternoon showers.

With running into the supermarket only to find a fellow book-lover sheltering out the storm at the book corner.

With an earnest reminder from a local book club to take up this year’s Goodreads challenge.

With an uncommon resolve to actually finish those left unfinished last year (and work towards completing the 54 books – even though it means being on overtime).

And so the year begins.


May it be a successful one (no matter the weather or challenge) for both you and I.


An Added Advantage & A Missed Opportunity

There’s something calming about being in a bookshop on a Saturday afternoon. It’s as though the world slows down and time outside freezes but for a select few. And we book lovers inside the store are allowed to leisurely go about our business of browsing titles, reading synopsis, admiring covers…

I stumbled upon this at the checkout counter of Text Book Center, Sarit Center. There was a stack of them at the cashier’s desk but the title ‘Privilege Card‘ discouraged me from asking. (Having automatically assumed it would be a high-flying, high-priced, VIP book buyers card.) However, my predilection for wanting to save while I shop quite honestly, would not let me overlook this find – no matter how daunting the title.

I’m glad I didn’t – the card is free, open to all, with an earning scheme of 1 point per 100 shillings spent. It’s activated 24 hours after application …quite unfortunate for someone who’s spending just under 3,000 shillings worth of last minute high school text books).


The Bookstop [Used Book] Sale

A simple white poster with black typography boldly saying “Bookstop Used Book Sale” greeted me as I came round the corner. And with those few words, I turned left to walk in – what I considered a necessary detour before getting to where I was originally going. Used books for sale at Bookstop? That was worth investigating.

The entire back wall of the store, from floor to ceiling, wooden shelves packed with every kind of work of fiction imaginable. The attendant simply stated that they were looking to get rid of all the used books. So the sale is on for as long as the books are there. And ends when they end.

I must confess, I have no titles to share with you. The soft sounds of jazz coming through the overhead stereo had a big part to play in it. They lulled my senses and I found myself casually browsing the shelves, picking up an odd title here and there, putting it back in it’s place in the stack. I made my way all the way to the end of the wall and halfway back again before pulling myself away from the music bookshelf.

(I do have the price range for you though, the copies I picked up read Ksh200, Ksh250, Ksh300, Ksh400 and Ksh500. And as far as I could tell, you can expect that the more recent the book, the higher the asking price and vice versa.)

For those unfamiliar with Bookstop or in case you haven’t visited in a while, i’d like to encourage you to head on over there and have a look. Find yourself a good read (…or just listen to some great jazz music).

The Bookshelf At Archives

  • Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles, Richard Dowden
  • Why We Can’t Wait, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – a title I didn’t know existed.
  • King Leopold’s Ghost, Adam Hotschild – the title and cover art make for an incredibly striking pair
  • Queen Of Katwe, Tim Crothers – the true story from which the movie is derived.
  • Steve Jobs and The Innovators: How a Group Of Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created The Digital Revolution,  Walter Isaacson
  • This Child Will Be Great, Ellen Sirleaf Johnson
  • The Diamond Queen, Elizabeth II And Her People, Andrew Marr and Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother – An Official Biography, William Shawcross
  • Operation Thunderbolt
  • Team Of Rivals: The Political Genius Of Abraham Lincon, Doris Kearns Goodwin
  • Margaret Thatcher: An Authorised Biography, Charles Moore
  • Slave, Mende Nazer
  • Cutting For Stone, Abraham Vergehese
  • The Return: A Memoir Hisham Matar
  • The Garden Of Burning Sand, Corban Addison
  • The Looting Machine, Tom Burgis
  • Until We Are Free, Shirin Ebadi
  • No Higher Honour, Condoleza Rice
  • Conversations With Myself, Nelson Mandela
  • Infidel, Ayan Hirsi Ali
  • Left To Tell, Immaculée Ilibagiza
  • Desert Dawn and Desert Children, Waris Dirie & Jeanne D’ Haem
  • Six Months In Sudan, James Maskalyk
  • Replenishing The Earth and The Challenge For Africa, Wangari Maathai


The Mad About Books section at Tusky’s Archives has brung it!

From Zambia to Sudan and back to South Africa. Nigeria, Kenya and Libya. Authors that include a former fashion model and an African woman president. Various book to movie adaptations. Quite a number of prize winners. Autobiographies, memoirs and stories from all over the African continent that would make any book lover’s heart leap with joy.

I must have (inadvertently) spent over half an hour there going through titles and sampling their synopsis’s, as the rains pounded down outside. What better way to spend a weekday afternoon, at the onset of the October rains than amidst books?

30 Day Writing Challenge |Day 30

I did some of my best writing while waiting in queue at the banking hall that year. 

There wasn’t much else to do. So, with one ear listening for the automated teller to call out my number, i’d take out my notebook and begin to write what I saw. The 20-something year old guy in all white and neon yellow high-tops, the bang of windows shutting from my left on the far end of the banking hall. The two AP’s seated at the entrance. The fiber-glass lions on either side of the customer service desk. 

And, as it often happens, a story began to emerge around those individuals and circumstances.

For an hour, all I did was watch and write. And somehow, at the end of only two such sessions i’d not only had my banking issues resolved but also walked out with what I hoped was a viable manuscript for the movie.

To see what it’s materialized into is surreal. To join you all here, is unbelievable. And there are no words that I can use to describe the feeling of seeing the award I now hold, made out in my name and titled for my manuscript. All I can say is… thank you.”




Excerpt of the Month < September

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of the easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

-Robert Frost, Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening

30 Day Writing Challenge |Day 29

I stepped out of the gate to the scent of cold night air imbued with dry earth.

A few steps ahead told me why – the fibre optics team had been here. Unlike previous occasions where their efforts had mauled the earth on the opposite side of the street (right next to the neighbours’ newly planted hibiscus and leleshwa bush). They had now invaded the plots of garden directly outside our door-step. And in their wake had left over-turned earth, broken rocks – their white chalky bits strewn along the road – broken branches and bruised cactus leaves.

Cordoning tape, it’s yellow and black stripes fluttering in the light wind – blocked off an open man-hole, where the cables converged.  “…Safaricom.” The streetlight illumined the green portion of a logo as it cascaded down from above. “…Safaricom.” Read the writing on a small board tucked behind the tree.