Welcome to another exciting episode of #Spotlight, our guest today is a voracious lover of life from Kenya. Her Instagram feed is goals, she has great taste in wine, her love for books is contagious. I don’t want to give too much away, you have to read the interview below so you can fall in love with her just like I have.
Where did your love of books /reading come from?
From childhood. When I was about 5 or 6 years and discovered the Ladybird series, my life as I knew it then changed! Haha! Sounds profound for a 5-year-old but I kid you not – those books gave me such a hunger for reading and stories and books. I would go through them faster than my mum would buy and when I was done with the series, I moved on to more complex reads. I’ve been reading since.
As a book reviewer, do you feel pressure when you read books?
I never used to feel the pressure. I would pick the books I wanted to read and buy them myself and then read at my own pace. Easy. No pressure. When I started putting out my reviews on my Instagram and Facebook, I got a lot of interest, with people asking for recommendations or asking me to review this and that book and the pressure sort of started piling up. Right now I’m getting requests from publishers and authors who want me to review their books and I must admit there is a bit of pressure there. I have to remind myself however that I do this for the love of it and hence I don’t let the pressure get to me. I will pick what interests me.
What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?
Misrepresentation of Africa in a book. That really gets to me.
The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?
About 500USD, when I was buying books for kids I mentor with my Beyond the Book Initiative. It’s an initiative aimed at equipping school going children with storybooks. I must admit, however, some of it was from donations from friends.
Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?
Dust by Yvonne Adhiambo Owour. She’s Kenyan but the book – I just couldn’t understand what she was saying. It was too poetic and complex. I hung my boots in shame and DNF’d it.
What’s your favourite under-appreciated novel?
Daughters who Walk this Path by Yejide Kilanko. Hands down!! I absolutely loved this book and don’t think it has received the accolades it deserves.
If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you choose?
Spanish. Soooooo sexy! Si?
How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
I don’t really consider it a bad review per se when writing. When I read a book, I will write down my thoughts exactly as I experienced the book, whether positive or not so positive. I never set out to give books ‘bad/negative’ reviews. I just give them reviews. See how I circumvented that question?
I, however, try to be honest and even when I didn’t enjoy a book, I will try to point out at least one or two things that I liked about it. It surely can’t be all bad.
Have you ever read a self-help book? Did it help?
Is ‘Think Big’ by Ben Carson a self-help book? If it is, then that’s the last time I read one, many many years ago.
To be honest, I find self-help books a bit condescending and really, they don’t tell us anything that we don’t already know. Whenever I feel I need some motivation or inspiration, I watch TedTalks. I find the videos much more useful, short and succinct.
Genre you rarely read (but wish you did)?
Ever since I read Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, I feel like the Fantastical/Mystical/Magical/Futuristic realism genre is one I have been missing out on! I’m actively searching out more of this and can’t wait for the next book (CBB) in March 2019. I also have my sights set on Nnedi Okorafor – Akata Witch Series! FYI – I am accepting gifts. Thank you.
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Now that I am already obsessing over this book- one day in, I’ll just be moving around like this…holding it up to my face and telling everyone about Orïsha😍. It’s too big to fit in my bag anyways…. #captivatingread #childrenofbloodandbone #tomiadeyemi #africanliterature #bookstagram #thisbookishgirl #bookworm #bookaddict #becauseiread #books #weekendreads #bookfies #bookselfie 📷 #mine
What is your policy on book lending?
I am a huge lender. I always lend out my books. You only have to provide;
- A recommendation letter from your local chief and pastor
- Two recommendations from people who have previously borrowed and returned said books in good condition
- A copy of your birth certificate
- An original and copy of your ID
- A refundable down payment of 100USD to be reimbursed once the book is returned in good condition
- Regular updates on how the reading is going.
Least favourite book you read this year (so far)
City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson.
The book is written by a former aid worker (see where I’m going with this right?), based on a fictional Sangui City in Kenya (eyes roll). I found the writing lazy- the author could not be bothered to do any research and made up a fictional city to avoid being questioned on the veracity of her writing. Suffice it to say, the misrepresentation here…..refer to Que.3
If you could be born into history as any famous person who would it be and why?
I don’t know who I’d love to be born as, but if I were to go back in history, I’d love to go back and find Marjorie and Marcus from Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi and tell them about their family history and that their great great great grandmothers (Effia and Esi) spent time in the castle they were visiting – one as a wife and the other a captured slave.
I’d also love to go back and find Kainene in Half of a Yellow Sun. Whatever happened to her? Is she alive? Was she captured? Was she killed? Chimamanda please, help me out here!!
What do you want your tombstone to say?
“All those ideas she had, she let them live. She gave them life”
You discover a beautiful island upon which you may build your own society. You make the rules. What is the first rule you put into place?
Everybody MUST read a book and drink wine. And be kind to each other.
I want to live on this island!
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The two days a month my hormones and skin are friends and I have to have me a photo shoot to carry me through the rest of the month!! Anyone else have these kinda problems?? #hormonalproblems #agirlslife #breakoutfree #pimplefree2days #selflove #photoshoot #selfies #thisbookishgirl #flawless #iphonephotography . 📷 Forografi by @kellythairu – #iPhone7plus
Would rather sweat mayonnaise or have cheese for saliva?
Neither. I can’t have Mayo or Cheese.
What is your guilty pleasure Disney movie?
Beauty and the Beast
Would you rather have free wifi wherever you go or be able to drink unlimited free coffee at any coffee shop?
Free wifi any day any time!! Who needs food when there is internet available?
If you were known as a strain of cannabis, what would your name be?
What is the colour of your toothbrush?
Is there anything you would like to add?
Thank you so much Amyn. You’re awesome!!
Thank you so much!
And that’s it, folks! Don’t forget to follow her for more bookish updates.
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Upon very wise counsel, I am embarking on this read – Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward. I am usually weary of overhyped books so my fingers are crossed that this will not be a disappointing one. #currentlyreading #singunburiedsing #jesmynward #becauseiread #bookstagram #africanliterature #goodblackreads #bookworm #thisbookishgirl
I hope you found the post interesting. Let’s connect more on social media.