WOULDN’T TAKE NOTHING FOR MY JOURNEY NOW by Maya Angelou

Title : WOULDN’T TAKE NOTHING FOR MY JOURNEY NOW

Author : Maya Angelou

Genre : Essay

Pages : 139

Maya Angelou“Life is a pure adventure, and the sooner we realize that, the quicker we will be able to treat life as art: to bring all our energies to each encounter, to remain flexible enough to notice and admit when what we expected to happen did not happen.”

Wouldn’t take nothing for my journey now is a compilation of tidbits of wisdom that Maya Angelou collected throughout her life. The book is concisely written, and I read it in bed on one Sunday evening.

It has so much magnitude, and the anecdotes impart essential life lessons that I almost underlined every sentence. Wouldn’t take nothing for my journey now is about life. It passes the sage advice in the form of brief stories, poems and life situations.

“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.”

The range of topics covered is extensive and riveting such as sweetness of charity, sexuality, feminism, respect, death and being bold to change and making the best out of the life we have. She has an idiosyncratic way of approaching the high and the low moments in life.

“It is time for parents to teach young people early that on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.”

This is a book I can recommend to (almost) everyone because there are lessons to learn from several stories if not all. The wit of Maya Angelou will blow you away and leave you reflecting about how you live. I found the randomness of the topics to be fascinating. The book is enough proof that for literature to be impactful, it doesn’t have to be lengthy.

Let’s rush to the nearby store for a copy or head to kindle right away. Shall we?

 

WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR BY PAUL KALANITHI

TITLE: WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR

AURTHOR:PAUL KALANITHI

GENRE: AUTOBIOGRAPHY

PAGES:228

RATING: 4/5

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“And even though I no longer really knew what it was, I felt it: a drop of hope. The fog surrounding my life rolled back another inch, and a sliver of blue sky peeked through.”

 

When breath becomes air is a gasping and profound memoir that can easily turn one into a sad sobbing mess. Honestly, I had to give myself a break before writing the review of this exquisite read to pull myself together.

At the age of thirty-six, Paul Kalanithi who is nearing completion of his training as a neurosurgeon realizes that he is skating on thin ice after being diagnosed with an aggressive stage IV lung cancer.

The reversal of fortune from a healthy physician to a patient makes Paula reassess on how he would spend the rest of his time, alive.

Paul Kalanithi had previously pursued English Literature and acquired a Master’s of the same. He considered books his closest confidants from a tender age. But he dithered between being a writer and a doctor.

He later applies for medical school as he desired to impact in the real world directly. Although he still holds onto his dream of becoming a writer later in his life. The later time turns out to be when he is in the hospital bed.

“We all have a notion of what it means to be good, and we can’t live up to it all the time.”

The book has four parts. In the first part, Paul Kalanithi describes his diagnoses. The second part talks about his change of careers from a writer to a doctor. The third part he describes what it feels like being in the shoes of a patient as a doctor, being a father and his deteriorating health.

Finally, the epilogue is written by his wife, a physician, who they went ahead to have a baby with after his diagnoses. She talks about her husband’s death, his journey of writing and their relationship.

I find hard to fathom how fast life was cut. Yet, grateful that Paul wrote such an insightful memoir in his last days. Life is worth living, regardless of how truncated it is.

Mood while reading this gem. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WATU WA MAANA CHILDREN’S HOME BOOK DRIVE

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As Bellapacebooks, we have a place in our hearts for institutions that go out of their way to support children from wanting backgrounds. The most striking feature is how ardent the institutions are to educate the children besides providing the basic of needs. Watu Wa Maana Children’s Home at Ruiru is no exception. On 11th March 2017, Bellapace books partnered with Maktabas Inc, an organization based from California with a mission of promoting the reading culture and we had our debut book drive at the Home.

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Our experience on a Saturday crispy morning was awe-inspiring. As soon as we passed through the gates, we were welcomed with a rush of jovial, bubbly and playful kids anticipating hugs and who looked grateful we found our way there regardless of what package we had brought along. We donated 50 hardcover kid’s books and we were keen to ensure each child at the children home can get a variety of books to read despite their age.

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Watu Wa Maana Children Home was founded in 2002 as a feeding program, and it was not until 2003 that it converted into a boarding home. Their primary target was the children from the streets, and their initial number was nine children. The number has since escalated, and currently, they are supporting four university students, 29 high school student and 41 in nursery school and primary school level. They have five workers and eight volunteer students from United States International University(USIU).

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The gleam on the kid’s faces and the management upon handing them books was nothing to hide. We went further and had a reading session where our members read aloud to the children as well as some of the children willingly reading a story to the rest. The epitome of our day was when the children declined in unison when we informed them the reading session was over. They will since have an hour of reading per week! That was impactful. No?
Till our next book drive, keep spreading positive vibes and love to be the change you seek.

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THE GOD OF SMALL THINGS

 

TITLE: THE GOD OF SMALL THINGS

AUTHOR: ARUNDHATI ROY

GENRE: FICTION

PAGES: 340

RATING: 4/5

god5Perhaps it’s true that things can change in a day. That a few dozen hours can affect the outcome of whole lifetimes. And that when they do, those few dozen hours, like the salvaged remains of a burned house—the charred clock, the singed photograph, the scorched furniture—must be resurrected from the ruins and examined. Preserved. Accounted for. Little events, ordinary things, smashed and reconstitutred. Imbued with new meaning. Suddenly they become the bleached bones of a story.” 

 

Tony Mochama mentioned some time back about The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy, and the mention came with a jacket of praise. Being on my radar for quite some time, I decided to have it as my first 2017 read. Yes it won the Man Booker Prize, yet it drowned me, I was engulfed by the swelling waters of intolerable sorrows, the word shaped eyes thrashed me with each page I leafed. However, the same book gave me life after killing me hundred times in waves of piercing beauty. The words were remarkably written to bring out profound humor and themes like communism, tension in religion, colonialism, culture and forbidden love. “And the Air was full of Thoughts and Things to Say. But at times like these, only the Small Things are ever said. The Big Things lurk unsaid inside.”

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2017 READING CHALLENGE

readingchallenge4“Books are the ultimate Dumpees: put them down, and they’ll wait for you forever; pay attention to them, and they always love you back.”

― John Green,

 

Happy New Year Fam bam! Honestly, I missed you all and the rousing news is that I am back and I feel more perked up. Who isn’t?  The year is still young anyway. How many books did you thumb cover to cover in 2016? Did you hit your booklist target? Are you one of those who leafed through a single book the entire year and to add fuel to the flames, you were nowhere close to the back cover. Well, we all prepped resolutions as 2017 dawned; feeding our brains,  ought to be one of them. Let’s do this bibliophile!

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Nice Girls Don’t Get The Corner Office

TITLE:NICE GIRLS DON’T GET THE CORNER OFFICE

AUTHOR:LOIS P. FRANKEL

GENRE: SELF-HELP

PAGES: 288

RATING: 4/5

nicegirls3They need to tread waters beyond the limits that the society has set, to stand up for their rights, to take up top notch career roles, to say no without apologizing, empower other women and get rid of emotional retardation.

 

 

After reading this stunning book I feel like every bouquet of flowers offered to a lady upon graduating from the University should be accompanied by a copy of Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office by Lois P. Frankel. The book with the tacky title is a revelation of a bunch of mistakes we make as ladies in our career. There is quite a good number of tips that any lady can glean from the book especially subtle actions one can accommodate in their daily routine quickly.

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Ng’ang’a Mbugua: writing is a passion

mbugua-authorI used to write on exercise books and my classmates looked forward to reading the stories  before I completed writing them. At one time I wrote a story and all the ladies in class fell in love with a particular male character.

Ng’ang’a Mbugua is the award-winning Kenyan writer of Wahome Mutahi Prize 2016. His novel, Angels of the Wild, saw him win the honorable prize which to him was a great stride in his writing career. He Has previously scooped Wahome Mutahi’s Literary Prize for his books Terrorists and Different Colours in 2010 and 2012 respectively. His book, Different Colours was further chosen as a course book by Daystar University.

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READING CULTURE IN KENYA

 

reading-culture2Have you heard about schools where it is illegal to be found with novels, biographies or self-help books?  The furthest the students can go with reading beyond the mandatory subjects is reading the specified set books, biographies of leaders in History and the Bible.

What is the rate of the reading culture in Kenya? Kenyans read, but, the reading habits only transcend to educational materials more so when the examinations come calling. Beyond  the classroom walls, a good number, though not good enough take it upon themselves to leaf through a book.

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WHAT DJs READ

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DJ Pierra Makena

The adage LEADERS ARE READERS will never be erstwhile. Professionals doing exemplary in different fields have relentlessly evidenced that to remain relevant, our brains need to be constantly fed. Books are immensely helping in bridging information gap, books,  in this case, entail a hardcover book, a multimedia book application, or an audiobook. The pleasure of reading comes from what we read and not what we read on. ‘A book is a device to ignite the imagination,’ Alan Bennett

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WE NEED NEW NAMES

TITLE: WE NEED NEW NAMES

AUTHOR: NOVIOLET BULAWAYO

GENRE: FICTION

PAGES: 298

RATING 4.5

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“When Godknows starts singing Jobho, Sbho joins in and we listen to them sing it for a while and then we’re all scratching our bodies and singing it because Jobho is a song that leaves you with no choice but to scratch your body the way that sick man Job did in the Bible, lying there scratching his itching wounds when God was busy torturing him just to play with him to see if he had faith. Jobho makes you call out to heaven even though you know God is occupied with better things and will not even look your way. Jobho makes you point your forefinger to the sky and sing at the top of your voice. We itch and we scratch and we point and we itch again and we fill the shack with song.

Bulawayo got me fumbling around on how to go about the review. Her message is potent and fiercely honest to gainsay my long lived prejudices and treasured misconceptions, the raw work, and the unique language held me spellbound. The picturesque fictional memoir had me relate to so much, and it is a typical story of any individual who was brought up in a developing country. It evokes the traditional songs, the games such as ‘Find  Bin Laden’ and the communal beating on our chapped buttocks. ‘I’m not talking to you, chapped buttocks and I don’t need any kaka school to make money, you goat-teeth.’

Darling is a ten-year-old from a shanty town bitterly named as Paradise. Her childhood revolves around her gang of friends with amusing names ; Stina, Chipo, Bastard and Godknows, seemingly innocent beings in a harsh environment of Zimbabwe.Around 2007/2008 the country falls apart, citizens are murdered and the white Zimbabweans are not spared either. Darlings lavish lifestyle comes to a halt when their prestigious home is bulldozed, and they leave for the village. The Chinese are haste to ceremoniously reap the benefits of a nation in despair and dire poverty.The leadership has been accused of rigging polls and orchestrating violence.

Darling and her crew are regularly hitting Budapest which is a nearby town of the well off. Like any child, they are eager to know the other side of life but primarily to fill their ever grumbling stomachs.  We didn’t eat this morning, and my stomach feels like somebody took a shovel and dug everything out. A simile you can feel. They enjoy climbing walls, peeking into gardens and their dream houses and heave themselves into trees to steal guavas. The fruit tranquilizes their hunger temporarily, but they get to pay for it later. Their childhood is full of mischief that is breathtaking, at some point, they want to help Chipo get rid of her big stomach with a wire. In another instance, they find out  Darlings absentee father has shown up,they forcefully get in their shack and intuit he is dying of AIDS yet poor darling had not yet grasped that. ‘He feels like dry wood in my hands, but there is a strange light in his sunken eyes like he has swallowed the sun.’ Their worship, play, illiteracy, home leaves one feeling explosive and dreading their next move.

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Darling’s dream of going abroad comes true, and she is uprooted from her witty friends and wretched country. Like so many immigrants, she is disillusioned with her exodus in search of a better life and education. Life is not as easy as she thought it would be in the United States. The jobs aren’t much for the immigrants who found their way illegally. ‘You think watching on BBC means you know what is going on? No, you don’t my friend, it’s the wound that knows the texture of the pain; it’s us who stayed here feeling the real suffering, it’s us who stayed here who have the right to say anything.’ Darling has to do odd jobs of sorting out waste plastics and bear the pain of not visiting her home country because she is an illegal immigrant. She is bereft in her dream country where minds are more isolated, unlike her motherland.

The book vividly displays the impact of colonialism and imperialism in the eyes of a minor and the disillusion of an immigrant. Honestly, I am the audience targeted by  Bulawayo, and my enthusiasm is skewed. Her work stuns as it captivates and she flays the skin with issues such as AIDS, teenage pregnancy, rape, and politics. I doubt my capability to do justice describing it, so I won’t.  I definitely recommend this vibrant read from high school onwards. It is the closest you might come to someone’s else life.

 

 

 

 

 

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