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).

Advertisements

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.”

 

 

 

A Silent Petition

gandhi-library-new-administration-block
2nd Floor, UoN Bookshop {Previously Ghandi Library}

The next time you pass by the University of Nairobi, Main Campus do me a favor and stop by the bookshop.

[You see, i’m hoping they’ll put the little penguins back on the shelf at the same incredible student price I enjoyed a couple of years ago. And as long as we’re there, we might as well re-arrange the place and do a little bit of re-decorating.]

Ask where the English Literature section is. Go have a look and if you’re unable to find it go back to the man who assisted you and clarify that no, it’s not African Oral Literature that you were looking for but rather Classic English Literature. When he shakes his head in apology and tells you that they no longer stock them, that’s your cue to look plaintively into his eyes and with a disappointed tone remark how much you enjoyed the books and although you haven’t been there in a while, were looking forward to buying one or two today.  Complete this lament with a sigh.

[Gentlemen, you will of course need an alternative course of action – earnest instead of plaintive and assertive rather than disappointed, I believe?]

This next step is going to need a bit of expert maneuvering and one level up in acting skills. You’ll need to be at the center of the bookshop floor to pull it off, or at the very least at the point at which the ceiling opens up again beyond the lower level of the ground floor.

Look up and act surprised. [This shouldn’t be hard to do, after-all, other than in a cathedral, where do you get such magnificent floor to ceiling windows?] Turn your attention to opposite side.

Are there are more books up there?” you’ll ask wonderingly, pointing to the 2nd floor.

Answer notwithstanding, promptly jump in and give your thoughts on what a great space that would make for a reading lounge – in addition to the bookshop. And what a luxury it would be to buy a book and have the option to sit upstairs quietly sipping coffee after class or in-between lectures.  Then look at him and firmly state “You should think about it!” Affirm these words with action and so continue by adding, “Does the bookshop take feedback?” write this suggestion down (don’t forget the request for a return of the Penguin Popular Classics collection) and drop it in their customer feedback box. And then walk out. Past that bronze life-sized statue of Mohandas Ghandi, and back out into a bustling world, knowing that you have made a difference. A seed has been sown and a foundation is being laid.

The best (and ultimately the quaintest) reading spot in all of Kenya is yet to be. It lies covered in layers of dust, doors shut and it’s rooms forgotten save for the suns rays that filter in through pairs of phenomenal window panes. And it’s as though – as long as it is day – they point to a hidden treasure. A secret haven for readers and book lovers of all ages patiently awaits. It now remains for the ‘crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the square pegs in the round holes’ to take their stand.

And so we make this silent petition.

 

 


 “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

– Mohandas Karamachand Ghandi

 

 

30 Day Book Challenge |30

Your favorite book of all time.

“Cry, the beloved country, for the unborn child that’s the inheritor of our fear. Let him not love the earth too deeply. Let him not laugh too gladly when the water runs through his fingers, nor stand too silent when the setting sun makes red the veld with fire. Let him not be too moved when the birds of his land are singing. Nor give too much of his heart to a mountain or a valley. For fear will rob him if he gives too much.”

– Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton.

30 Day Book Challenge |29

A book that everyone hated, but that you liked.

– Again, not a book but a genre. Christian books; not inspirational, not motivational. Christian.  I rarely come across people who read and genuinely enjoy non-fiction Christian literature.

Honestly it would never have occurred to me to read them either if a friend had not only recommended but also handed me a copy. So I suppose it’s not so much a case of hate as it is unaware.

Cue time for me to pay it forward?