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).
- 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?
Superman, Batman or Scooby-Doo? He silently asked himself, trying to decide.
And for the first time that day, a smile broke over his face. Anyone listening would have thought he was trying to decide on which cartoon to watch. However, before him lay a shelf lined with packets of potato chips that had some of his favorite cartoon images imprinted on their packets.
Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, Sylvester & Tweety – that gave a devious connotation to the ‘perfectly salted’ flavor – came in a close second but Marvel won over Warner Brothers any day.
Ten minutes later he walked out of the supermarket. The smile was gone and a dark somber mood had replaced his demeanor.
Even on sale, he still couldn’t afford a simple packet of chips.
A lone cotton seed bur made it’s way across the living room floor and came to rest just beneath the television stand. The front door was open and blown by the wind, it had strayed directly into the house.
How peculiar. She thought.
The great escape. The words that emerged silently from the foreground of her mind.
And with that promptly submitted the script with it’s newly found title – a screenplay adaptation of the old war veteran’s account.
Little did she know or even expect, “The Night Of The Great Escape” a work which she had labored and toiled over for many years would go on to win 7 Academy Awards. One of which would be best screenplay adaptation.
“Remember. One more lillypop and then you all go home!”
The imagery struck Tom at once. Is that what he was doing? Appeasing the enemy? All he earnestly sought to do was bring peace to the situation. So yes, concessions had been made. “…for fear of consequence.” echoed the voice from within.
And looking at the caricature, cast his actions in a different light. In horror he then understood that concessions had been granted at the expense of principle. In the attempt to pacify one of the parties – a known enemy – he and his team at the UN had deeply compromised their mission. And the decisions would prove to be fatal.
I stood there …momentarily transfixed.
For before me was the life that I had left behind for the sake of the corporate world.
This woman. A veritable stranger, carting her shopping trolley, in the middle of the day with her little girl trailing behind her. Crisp, cream pant-suit, navy blouse; black pumps, nails polished. Not a hair out of place. Slowly making her way towards the household goods section.
Her presence defied all that I knew to be true.
And it was then that I understood.
That I had believed in a lie.
I heard her long before they both came into view.
“I like kinder. I like kinder…” went the sing-song voice of a little girl from the other side of the aisle.
“You can’t afford it. You can’t afford it…” came the teasing refrain – the voice of a older woman, her mother.
“I like kinder. I like kinder…” she re-bounded with her single-line song. And from all indicators, she was more happy with the chorus that they were having than harboring any serious hopes of the chocolate she professed to like.
It was then that they came into view. The little girl – a six year old – by the looks of it. “May I?” she asked, looking up at her mother.
“Please do.” Came the reply.
And as she politely stepped over my basket, the world around me came crashing down.