First of all, allow me to go backwards and start without much ado because I am just itching to express my thoughts on Americanah. I know I said I’d never read it but one Sunday evening I was feeling like I had nothing else to read (which was obviously not true) so I reached out to the book and turned the pages that looked like they had been turned by 20 people before me. Chimamanda got my attention on that first page when she talked about braiding and on the second page, where she mentioned that Ifemelu had a blog. Just because she captured me with this character with a blog, I hang on when she started making it look like women who straighten their hair have a missing part of their africanness than those who braid theirs. I always get pissed off at people who want to make one way of maintaining African hair superior to the other. At this point, I would rather Njoki Chege than Chimamanda. Okay, maybe I have gone too far but you get my point.
I also kept reading because the book is very relatable, even though I am neither Nigerian nor have I ever stepped foot out of this beloved Kenya (except a few days ago when I was walking in that depressing Namanga town). And that’s what got me hooked. You will not believe this but the one part that will forever remain etched in my brain is the part she talks about how she had come to see as normal the piling up of underwear in a basket and throwing them in a washing machine on Friday evenings. Back in Nigeria, she’d hang her underwear in a discreet corner of the bathroom. That made me feel so good. Like I had been struggling with this thought all my life. How Americans treat their underwear after use. And then someone just writes that in a book out there for millions to read and I felt like I could find Chimamanda and kiss her for speaking for all of Africa. The tiny things that disturb us in multicultural environments. Also, she is very descriptive, this time not as annoyingly descriptive like in the previous books. Just enough.
And then there is the way love is portrayed in this book. Hata sasa afadhali Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Who in the world ignores the “love of her life” then reappears many eons later to break up a marriage and still be all high and mighty about it? Why do you have to be so fairy tale about it? After cheating on her other boyfriend and lying to her other one in the meantime? Like why do all her female characters act the way they do in her books? I give up. Maybe I just don’t know what love is.
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
I mentioned this book before too. This book almost made me think of becoming an iSheep. Seriously. It makes me see what drove Steve to do what he did. Why iPhones and Android phones can never be compared. Why Macs are as awesome as people claim they are. Almost. Keyword. The fact is while a lot of blood and sweat went into these products, they are still as exclusive as it gets. I had never heard of Apple until I was probably an adult. But I knew Microsoft alright. So I wondered to myself, why be so proud of producing such exclusive products? Such controlled products. I will give Steve one thing though. iTunes. iTunes is the reason I am no longer a music thief. Yeah, he made it available to Windows just so that iPods could sell, but regardless of his motive, he and Apple did revolutionize that industry. And did I mention Pixar? Pixar is the reason we have cool Disney animations nowadays. And the reason Dreamworks produces rival stuff that matches up. Intriguing story, I am telling you.
This one is Steven King’s. I mentioned it in an earlier post with Steve Jobs and The Martian. While it’s not the most memorable novel I have read this year, it is vivid. You can see yourself standing in that queue when Mr Mercedes drives over living human beings. You feel completely grossed out by this culprit and his mother. It’s like watching a horror movie. Then the black kid and the mental woman swoop in with the retired detective and make you feel optimistic about the world being a better place.
The Martian by Andy Weir
You want to laugh while getting confused by actual science? This is your book. Plus you will feel guilty for laughing at some unprintables Mark writes. He says stuff like:
“I could cut off my arm and eat it, gaining me valuable calories and reducing my overall caloric need.
No, not really.”
“If the RTG ever broke open, it would kill me to death.”
“As you can see, this plan provides many opportunities for me to die in a fiery explosion.”
Okay fine. Not sure why all the funny bits I picked are about him dying but let’s face it, the whole book is about him trying not to die in Mars. It ends very nicely btw. Like hanging. So I guess I can watch the movie now.
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Easily the most thrilling book I read. Loved it. It was a Text Book Centre book of the month in September. It won in its category on Goodreads books of the year 2015 too. Totally worth it. Not a fairy tale.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia, #1)
I was one of those kids who never read Chronicles of Narnia. Sigh. So I made it my goal to buy the books for my sister and read them. So far, we have two, this and The Magician’s Nephew. I just love how C.S. Lewis did his thing. So natural. When I grow up, I want to write like him, for both the young and old.
An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, Book 1)” by Sabaa Tahir
I got this Kindle edition amidst drama. KCB wouldn’t let me buy it so I still owe my boy some cash, the one who comes through when I need to go around Amazon restrictions. I talked about this drama sometime btw. Anyway, I came to the conclusion that I am not into fantasy unless it’s a movie. I read it alright and finished it, but it did not strike a chord as such. Too much fake stuff. Fake stuff is allowed if it’s grown-up. This was teenage. Still stuck in teenage btw, even though I turned 26 yesterday.
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Finally, a teenage book that made sense. It made so much sense, I wrote a whole post because of it.
Paper Towns by John Green
The only reason I read this is because I thought it would be as awesome as The Fault in Our Stars. It was just plain stupid. Yet I kept on reading it. So perhaps I just don’t know what I am talking about. Or I just don’t like spoilt teenage girls. Also another movie. The only other reason I found the book in the first place.
The Customer Support Handbook: How to Create the Ultimate Customer Experience for Your Brand by Sarah Hatter & CoSupport
I read this book to embrace the new role I took up this year. Sometimes you get this title that you don’t necessarily like but learn to love in the process. This book was part of the process. I loved that it opened my eyes to the beginning when Mr Selfridge made customer service a thing. Gotta love some history. He is, apparently, he originator of the phrase “the customer is always right.”
Out of Africa
Again, history. Kenyan history. Kikuyu history from a not-so-biased white. I would read it again if the bug hit me. I am still very interested in anything Karen Blixen at the moment.
Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal by Nick Bilton
Another book that made write a whole other post. Fascinating stuff.
The rest not mentioned are books I started reading and didn’t finish e.g.
#GirlBoss – currently reading.
The Personal MBA – I was really psyched about this one, then stopped midway.
The Screwtape Letters – another book I was really into until I got to the middle and found another.
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood – kinda gave up.
Animal Farm – I should probably give this another try now.
Things Fall Apart – this too.
The Godfather – eeerr, I don’t really think I am a mafia kinda chick.
The Maze Runner – got real pumped about this one, reading it on a comp but I guess the format made me forget about it.
Gray Mountain – I just could not get past the boring countryside. Sorry Grisham. Same thing with Sycamore Row.