Last week, I received a wonderful gift from my Platonic Life Partner Don - the Kiswahili translation of Mariama Bâ’s So Long A Letter (translated by Prof. C. Maganga) and it might have set the stage for a week of thinking about relationships and love (Valentine’s was coming, too) and the forms it takes.
This goes out on Valentine’s Day so of course everything is encouraging that line of thought - the music on the radio (I got a Bluetooth speaker/ FM radio - my Digital Sabbath will be a pleasure going forward), tweets, you name it - and the only book I finished last week was just the thing.
How to Not Die Alone: The Surprising Science That Will Help You Find Love is by Logan Ury, a dating coach who gives some practical tips on using dating apps with assignments and psychological insights that the therapised among us (everyone who spends more than a few hours a week on social media) will find familiar. I am back on the apps (it’s really just Bumble1) and it was something to listen to someone speak to my situation.
Ury says to tell people in one’s community what they are after with regards to a dating prospect so here goes:
I’d like to date someone
. One who
. A person who
loves the environment
has a rich life
, and (
) someone who has, or is willing to make, room for someone in their life.
My brand, if I have one, is filtering the world through books. I chafe against the idea of people as brands and consumption as being key to one’s identity but we all live under late stage capitalism - these ideas seep into the way we speak to ourselves and each other. I found myself telling someone I was talking to over the weekend that “I can never be a brand” but I wonder how much of that work is already done. I’ve talked about this before - being afraid of turning into virtual dust when I’m struggling to read. This was one of those weeks.
We, the Survivors by Tash Aw continues apace (MJ reminds me every day why I love reading with a buddy) but I only finished the one audiobook (How to Not Die Alone). I started Horrorology: The Lexicon of Fear (edited by Stephen Jones) and The Yacoubian Building by Alaa Al-Aswany (translated by Humphrey Davis, read by Fajer Al-Kaisi - listed as read on Goodreads but evidently not previously read judging by the surprises it threw up) and the latter went back to the library unfinished. The former is proving to be something other than horror and I feel like I should start looking up more recent books on Goodreads before I check them out at the library after this one.
Last week was intensely bookish with the Twitter Space on Thursday (it was such a pleasure being more an agent of chaos than a co-host; Gathoni is a star. You can listen to it here) and a meet-up with someone from a community library2 that primarily serves low income children (Badili Zone, which would love book and cash donations!) on Saturday. Grateful, with regards to these events, for Gatwiri, a connector par excellence. The Space had some delightful cross-continental conversations and yielded expansive ideas of what constitutes community.
This week, I plan to finish We, The Survivors and start in on Nairobi’s set book The Sex Lives of African Women by Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah. I hope it brings with it much more reading than weeks past and if not, here’s a dedix to reading :)
I hope you have a great week and a lovely time reading. Talk to you soon!
Please send me your descriptions of me so I can beef up the apps haha. TYSMIA
My beloved KNLS needs to do a better job of placing libraries in communities (or at least letting folks know the extent of its remit). And yes, I acknowledge its constraints.