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. The cashier had a stack of them in front of him but the title ‘Privilege Card‘ almost dissuaded me from asking. I automatically assumed it would be a high-flying, high-priced, VIP book buyers card, however, my predilection for being able to save while I shop, quite honestly, would not let me have done otherwise. No matter how daunting the title.
I’m glad I did – 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 (unfortunate for someone who’s spending just under 3000 shillings of last minute text books).
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
(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).
- 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?
“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.”
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
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.
“The bondage of the rosary.”
What strange words the old woman had spoken, what a queer turn of phrase.
There had been no malice in her tone, no intent to harm. Just a simple statement. Her eyes, sharp with the clarity of perspective had looked earnestly at me. There was something about the piteous look she gave and the sadness of her tone that had alarmed me – much more that any word of disapproval could ever had done. It was as tough she was privy to a truth that I was not aware of. But something inside of me rose up determined to defend my faith and find out what that was.
“You wouldn’t be defending your faith, but rather your religion. Works, that’s all that it is. And terrible works at that.”
I sat there, cup and saucer in hand, flabbergasted.
“To repeat the rosary and to pray are two very different things.” she ended.