Thursday, 25 September 2014

TCWT: What are your favorite book beginnings and/or endings?

Salutations TCWT community. This may be my shortest post yet owing to the fact that I have been having one crazy week but I will have you know that this is the highlight.

When I saw this prompt I was honestly rather excited but since books form a major part of life, at least in the recent past that is, it was like telling me to choose who my favorite child is except if you are a book lover like me, you will probably admit that you do have a favorite.

So my favorite book beginning, I have to tell you that this, this my friends was a no-brainer. The book, The House at Sugar Beach by Helene Cooper. At first I didn't understand a word of the first chapter given it was in Liberian pidgin English. It basically revolves around Helene Cooper, her family and her country before, during and after the Lliberian civil war. The best thing though it shows what she was going through as a tween, teen and a relatable adult during this tumultuous time.

The very first time I read it, the beginning had me nearly giving the book away but then I decided to give it a second chance, this time reading it slower. Having watched enough West African films which use nearly the same pidgin, the first chapter turned out to be rather funny and relatable. Helene's mom is on the verge of firing one of her house staff who really needed to hit the road ages ago but stays on because sometimes you really are at your help's mercy other than the other way round. It's quite hilarious how the member of staff pleads for his job back, a security bloke who sleeps on the job even before the youngest of Helene's sister's bedtime.

As for my favorite book endings, well that was the real challenge. More like the ghost of Christmas past had come to haunt me, reminding me of all the unfinished books I have read. I was able to settle for what is now my second favorite book of all time, "The Help". I would encourage you to read my book review on it  here     .

Its ending though is all types of beautiful. Take for instance Aibileen whose life seems to be beginning just when she thought it was ending in the most unlikely of ways, Minny who finally sums up the courage to do what she needed to do ages ago and finally Ms. Skeeter who gets her shot as a writer finally. All this with the villain, Ms. Hilly thinking she got them and she got them good when really, they all got her good if you know what I mean. (Hint: Terrible Awful).

No spoiler here(so proud of myself) but I will apologize for being uber late on the post. Be sure to check out everyone else's blog posts on the same prompt and feel free to leave a comment.

(Yes, I realize this may not be my shortest post yet.)

7th –
8th – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
22nd – – –
25th –
26th –
27th –
28th –
29th – –
and (We’ll announce the topic for next month’s chain.)

Don't be a stranger!

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Surviving College:#Freshmen'sFreshTips

I don't know if you read my last post here, but I hope you felt my pain and more so walked in my shoes because boy, didn't I need some moral support. Clearly, the day was more than memorable but not the memories I'd like you or any other individual planning to join university to have.

To save you the trouble, I have come up with a couple of pointers to prevent you from experiencing the first day of university from hell, you can thank me later or now, my postal address, just kidding. 

This is mainly for those in Kenyan universities but may be applicable all across the world, I wouldn't know if indeed they are applicable elsewhere but who knows? A tip or two may be of help.

1. Get your letter of admission as soon as it is out. This will lead me to maybe the most important tip, tip number two.

2. Once you get your letter of admission and the documents that come with it, fill them immediately. Especially those that need the involvement of another party other than you and your sponsor. From the medical to the legal documents... everything.

3. Double check and triple check the forms you filled have been filled correctly.

4. Pay your tuition do not want to be a sequel to my story here.

5. If there's anything that can be done online do it. I t will probably save you some trouble somewhere.

6.  Have one or two passport photos of yourself even though it's not been indicated. I should let you know, that if you  own a wallet or purse that should be a staple by now.

7. Dress pretty, top half at least, you deserve a nice school identification photo.

8. This may not be highly advised because apparently now you are an adult and you should be responsible, independent and all that mumbo jumbo but rebel to this specific extent: go with your parent(s) or guardian , have them close by at least. They can bail you out of every speed bump incurred, save you a spot an a queue, keep you company, get you food and/or drink at their expense of course while you stand on the line, raise their voice at a couple of individuals on your behalf, the list is endless. Just don't let them do any of the dirty work. 

9. Get their early it will only pay off if your documents are in order of course.

10. Start enjoying freshman year.

Happy Freshman Year !!!

Friday, 19 September 2014

Back to school

I never imagined that my four no, five month holiday would ever come to an end. I'm a nay sayer when it comes to the all-good-things-come-to-an-end saying but as usual the joke was on me because yes, all good things do come to an end.

You would think that my "summer" which is winter on this side of the globe, was filled with lazing around and getting together with an amigo or two, quite the contrary. In fact, I saw less sleep while I was on "break" than when I was in school.

Enough with my moping already, more with my moping.

Why I thought my first day of law school would be any different from all my other first days of school, beats me. Maybe it was the fact that despite getting a mere five hours of sleep, I still beat my alarm clock to it or maybe it was my bangin' back-to-school outfit (it was pretty killer) or maybe it was the sun that shone oh so well, a sign I read it to be, registration was going to be a piece of cake.

Nothing, and I mean nothing could have prepared me for the hours head.

A recap of my first days of school. Kindergarten, my uniform infested by ants while I was still in it. New high school, got on to the bus, stuck out like a sore thumb, a sore hand is more like it, unpacked my book bag only to be brutally informed that I was in "her" seat (let the records show, I have no hard feelings against "her"). University (diploma course) ratio of boys to girls 10:1 can someone say, uncomfortable. University(undergrad.), all in good time.

With such a pathetic history the odds were clearly never in my favor, nonetheless I thought otherwise. Nothing like foolish positivity.

A standing ovation is in order for getting to school on time, I'll give you a minute to do that. That is probably the only thing I managed to do right that day.

There were signs that a couple of things would go south, but the optimist in me ignored them. Nearly everybody around had tuition receipts. I on the other hand still had the cheque, meaning my fees was yet to be paid. Non-payment means no registration number, no registration number means no registration, period.

And so, my misery began.

Do you know what the worst part was? I'll tell you what the worst part was. That cheque was sitting in an envelope for nearly two weeks as I sat pretty and convinced that I was indeed set for school.

Emotionally, I was doing pretty good. Still no tears or vented frustration. Naturally I thought getting tuition matter handled would be just a minor speed bump and headed to the bank to handle it myself.

Another sign, never mind locating it wasn't a walk in the park and it opened later than it's supposed to, but I am duly informed to take it to the school's account office.

Now, I'm playing it cool. I end up walking in circles in the name of finding the shortest route in the sweltering Nairobi heat only to arrive there to be told they don't accept cheques anymore.

At this point I'm a mess. Dripping in my own sweat, frustrated, wearing a turtle neck in this furnace we call Nairobi (the things I do for fashion).What's keeping me sane at this point? Besides my future being at risk, all my dreams and aspirations could be gone just like that.

My only hope is to got to the bank that issued the cheque. After a minor cardiac arrest when the cheque temporarily disappears in my bag. You can only imagine my disbelief when I was told that only the account holder, mom, can make the transaction, get this, at the home bank which happens to be all the way across town.

I troop my what used to be feet to the bus station and I got to start my field trips to the banks all over again.

Eight hours later, tuition handled, now all I need is to get my registration number, be registered and Presto! Registration successful. Yeah, that would happen in a parallel universe with my crummy luck. Turns out it takes between three to five hours to reflect on the system. (Darn computers!)

A few choice words were exchanged between  1)myself and the facilitator 2) mother and the facilitator 3) myself, mother and the facilitator. That didn't change but a thing except I would have to come back the next day.

You can only imagine my delight when the system hang literally immediately after I got my business handled the next day. I just want to give a big shout out to my homie karma for coming through, allowing those who will have the pleasure of being my classmate...LOL to experience a smidgen of my pain.

Picture from

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

#BookReview: The Help

Hello you who has stumbled upon this delightful piece of work, I trust you are having an exceptional day or night and I sense that you need a touch of awesome in your life and I'm happy to inform you, you're in the right place.

On wards then.

Yet again I have been able to come across another more than impressive book, The Help.

This one has you from page one literally. My first encounter with The Help was of course the movie, which came outwhile I was in high school. Since it features Emma Stone, I was pretty much sold on it due to her stellar performance in Easy A, which may I say was a hell-of-a good movie. So good that up to this day, I can hardly sing "Pocket Full of Sunshine" with a straight face this scene right here.

So turns out The Help was nothing close to Easy A and once that discovery was made, I paid little or no attention to it. Turns out I was missing out.

Fast forward three years later, yes it took me that long to realize that The Help would become one of my all time favorite books.

Set in the sixties in Jackson, Mississippi when racial tension was probably then at an all time high, three ladies, two colored Aibileen and Minny, one white, Skeeter, decide to do what was then considered unthinkable.

Both Aibileen and Minny are maids who've been working for white folk since their teens. With such vast experience, they could only have millions and millions of stories. Until Miss Skeeter, a struggling writer who is looking for THE STORY comes in, they never thought anyone would ask for their stories much less want to read a compilation of their stories.

Kathryn Stockett could not make this book any more crystal clear than she already did. Dividing the book such that Minny, Aibileen and Skeeter each have an individual section in nearly every chapter really connects you to each character intensely.

These ladies couldn't be more different from each other but that's what makes them so similar , captured by Stockett, "We are just two people. Not that much separates us. Not nearly as much as I'd thought."

The beauty in this book is that it's not only Aibileen and Minny's stories, but nearly every maid in Jackson who were reluctant at first but after an unfortunate turn of events jump in, both feet.

You would think that nothing but name tainting of their former and current bosses would be the order of the day, but you will be quite surprised at what is in their testimonials, I sure was.

An array of emotions overcomes you as you read you this book. One moment you will be stifling a laugh, the next I guarantee you will be laughing out loud, forget the LOL you are used to while texting, this here will be the real deal. The next moment you will be fighting back tears eventually leading to down right bawling, which I suggest you do in your own company, we can't have you scaring away potential suitors if you plan on reading it in public. Moments like these are rather intense and wide spread in the book. Forget TFIOS when Gus,no, Augustus Waters died and you sobbed. The Help has you closing the book, having a moment, pulling yourself together and getting into it all over again. It is safe to say that emotion is one thing this book is not lacking.

It doesn't stop there. The writer is not black and it is a completely fictional story but the authenticity will have you second guessing the fact I made right there. It's beyond amazing how she did it. Stockett, a cyber high five is in order.

There is so much I would love to say about this book, a single post seems like an injustice, I may probably do another one in the near future. My advice, don't walk you're butt to the bookstore, run it 'cause Law it's good. (Read the book if you wanna get that line).

I just wish it didn't have to end.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

#BookReview: Tell the Wolves I'm Home

I think it's pretty insane how out of all the books I'm reading, none of them are a disappointment and Tell the Wolves I'm Home is no exception.

First up the cover.

May I just first say that the illustrators did an amazing job and  these guys rarely get the credit they deserve, especially in  a world where we are allowed to do the otherwise frowned upon judge-a-book-by-its-cover move.

It's pretty hard to choose which is the best out of the two because once you've read the book, each cover effortlessly tells the whole story, of course one more clearer than the other but you be the judge of that.

The book is about June who is not your average teenage girl, for one she's mesmerized by the whole medieval era and has a negligible social circle. As if things cannot get any worse the apple of her eye, her uncle Toby cum godfather is dying of AIDS. June's world literally comes crushing down on her once it sets in that Toby won't be around much longer.

Toby happens to be a renowned artist and his last work would be a portrait of his nieces, June and her sister Greta who also happens to be going through a lot but hides this by pushing everyone around her away, mostly June.

The portrait and Toby's inevitable death serve as tools that will open chapters in June's life that she didn't even know existed.

While reading this book I could not help but think of other published works such as RENT and Philadelphia that address the same issue; AIDS. But what makes this book stand out, is that its from a whole new perspective. RENT and Philadelphia show AIDS from the perspective of the patient; the physical and emotional and any other type of pain these people go through as they die while Tell the Wolves the type of pain the affected go through. Not the wife or partner we are used to, although that too is there, but immediate family who usually in my opinion are painted out to pick up the pieces and move on or are not painted out at all.

Yet another thing that sets this book up there is that Toby had a life before and during his diagnosis. He had a story, a life. He didn't let the disease become him., if anything he put it aside.

But what took it all though was that all this AIDS stuff is seen through the eyes of an American teenager. This may sound rather odd, but when you are African or living in Africa, it's mostly made out to seem that this type of stuff only happens in the doomed-from-day-one dark continent and it's rather eye opening to see that this type of thing affects everyone and anyone.

If I was to sum it all up, raw would be the word. The ignorance at the time in regards to AIDS was at an all time high and Carol Rifka does a rather commendable job in showing that. The rawness is portrayed in all aspects, from June's teenage thoughts to Greta's downright mean attitude to the characters' lives the good and the bad.

I could go on and on about how intriguing this book is, but honestly you just have to pick it up and feel it for yourself. Through it all, I thought that it just was another documentation about someone with AIDS when really through June and Toby I understand that a person is a person despite their pasts or imperfections.

The only let down was that it left me with quite a number of unanswered questions, but what good book doesn't?

********* Thought that I'd just slip this in,  listening to the RENT soundtrack would be the best soundtrack to this book but "Who you love by John Mayer and Katy Perry" just took it all. But don't forget RENT's "Seasons of love".******

Okay bye! And Happy reading!

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

#WomanCrushWednesday: Malala Yousafzai

In all honesty this article was meant to be a book review but in the spirit of honesty, "I am Malala" is not an easy read, most especially if you were on a young adult binge like I was.

The beauty of having to pump the brakes on the young adult genre and delving into biographies and autobiographies, a much needed reality check is received.

So without further adieu my #WomanCrushWednesday goes to a seventeen-year-old who is right up there with Nobel Laureates and nominees. I'm talking Wangari Maathai (I jut had to start with her cause well...Kenyan!) Nelson Mandela, Barrack Obama, Desmond Tutu among others. She's had a sit down with the Obama's at the White House, rubbed shoulders with Queen Elizabeth, has been nominated and won countless awards; the Nobel Peace Prize, U.S. Glamour Award for Woman of the Year. The list goes on and on and on and on get the idea.

She's even got her own day, dubbed, "Malala Day".

If you have not caught on by now even with the obvious "Malala Day" hint and the title of this article, I am talking about none other than Malala Yousafzai.

Until I began getting to know Malala through her book of course, Mondays were associated with school and work, code name for doom and gloom. But it never really dawned on me that women somewhere were and in some places are still being robbed of both an education and a career. In Malala's case it is/was the Taliban.

As a mere teenager Malala chose to stand up to one of the most wanted terrorism groups in the world. Spreading awareness on women's rights defiantly was her weapon of choice, tenacity and endearment her fuel. The Taliban would not take this lightly, being challenged by a fifteen year old girl who did not budge even when they sent her and her family death threats.

On the ninth of October 2012, the Taliban had had enough and retaliated by attacking her school bus, shooting her,  injuring her friends in the process and leaving her for dead. Many thought it was the end for Malala and that she had finally lived up to her name that means "grief stricken" but if anything, thanks to the Taliban, what did not kill Ms. Yousafzai definitely made her stronger.

Though the climate in Malala's life is far from the land of milk and honey and what not , she does manage to give you insight to her typical life. For instance her choice of wardrobe, jewelery, BFFs and her love for the Twilight saga (I wonder, was she Team Jacob or Team Edward?).

She simply does not stop this girl even influencing her once illiterate mother to learn English. Doesn't she just want to make you start singing Beyonce's Run the World?