A Silent Petition

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 |20

Favorite romance book.

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. It took a few readings for me to finally get it, definitely not your a-typical romance. This is a story of sacrificial love, the hardest to come by yet one of the most poignant (and powerful). We need to learn of  it once more.

30 Day Book Challenge |18

A book that disappointed you.

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen.  And I quote, “Scarcely had he done regretting Mary Crawford, and observing to Fanny how impossible it is that he should ever meet with such another woman, before it began to strike him whether a very different kind of woman might not just do as well, or a great deal better; whether Fanny herself were not growing as dear, as important to him in all her smiles and all her ways, as Mary Crawford had ever been;  and whether it might not be possible, a hopeful undertaking  to persuade her that her warm and sisterly regard for him would be foundation enough for wedded love.”

There’s nothing natural about marrying your cousin (incest). And I wish a different idea had struck him at this point.

30 Day Book Challenge |15

Favorite Male Character

– Passepartout in my just finished read, Around The Word In Eighty Days by Jules Verne. Until about four days ago, I had none to share. But Mr. Fogg’s servant endears himself time after time in this account. With his open, forthright reactions to his new master’s mission impossible and hilarious observations taking in the sights and sounds of the places they visit. Above all, his escapade trekking through the jungles of India.

Now that i’ve found him, Passepartout is going to be a difficult one to supplant.

30 Day Book Challenge |2

A book that you’ve read more than 3 times.

Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray. “A novel without a hero.” How can you not want to pick up and read that? I fell in love with Thackeray’s wit from the get go.  And it was because he wrote so well that I decided to fight through the unabridged language to understand more of what he was saying – it took me three reads over the course of as many years.