If you thought this week would be discourse-free, all I can say is… Twitter is still up and running. So we found ourselves in the perfect holiday moment: an aunt was concerned about what her niece is reading and tweeted about it then a librarian said that’s what kids are reading anyway so let them at it; including A Little Life. It's been such a whiplash to see folks say “I counter your concern about books that include unhealthy dynamics being aimed at young people with the fact that I came out ok despite reading some traumatic nonsense as a teen.” It feels too much, to me, like the boarding school conversation Kenyans have every so often - “What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger” is not what we want for kids, I’d hope. I look forward to hearing from teens and adults who work with them about what constitutes “good YA” soon.
The reading I thought I’d do during this time hasn’t really happened. Instead; I’ve had a marathon viewing of The Office with YB, watched a few films at home & at the theatre (one, Avatar 2), slept in and spent time with friends. I’d started to feel a way about not having read a book every day but Amyn’s latest newsletter arrived just on time. In it, she reminds us that we can find reading time and that we can do that without putting our noses in the air. It’s not for nothing Brittle Paper named her its 2022 Social Media Influencer of the Year; she’s amazing on all the platforms where one has had the joy to interact with her.
Returning to The Office, it’s been quite something to witness how accurate office work is portrayed. We recently watched an episode that alluded to workplace wellness, as did a recent episode of the Maintenance Phase podcast that addresses this very issue. As a person who enjoyed the Making series and thought they’d make a season of Kenyan cinema first, I think work (books, films, podcasts, documentaries) will make for my first season. This might be a way to enter the new year; contemplating work in all its permutations.
As you may know, I have been putting away 2 USD for every book I’ve completed at the day’s USD-KES rate to donate to my library branch. YB asked earlier this year or late last year at Kenya National Library Services (KNLS) and they’ll accept books as long as they were published 5 or less years ago so even with these limits the $350 or so I’ve saved will go some way. Next year, I hope to go the way of this Bookstagrammer who went on a book buying ban and save the cost of each library book I finish less $2 for my annual KNLS donation as well as 1,000 KES for book purchases (I love kids’ books too much!). Before then, I intend to share the pile I get for KNLS (or buy items from their wishlist if they have one).
Some things I’ve enjoyed or come upon lately that are interesting:
Sonaksha’s Self Care In Distressing Political Times zine, a copy of which I found as I did some end of year tidying
Finding out that Meg-John Barker, whose Sexuality: A Graphic Guide was the first book I finished this year, makes zines. This self-care one (are you sensing a theme?) is how I came upon them and it’s quite the experience
Baking - YB asked for pastries over Christmas and we baked potatoes a lot (I am, after all, a Kinangop potato) and it reminded me how much I like firing up Ye Oulde Oven while we make things together. Next year will see me borrow more cookbooks for sure
Remembering my Kindle (now in its 7th year!)
I put out two videos since I last wrote. The latest video features the 3 books I finished during that time: Blood Feast by Malika Moustadraf (translated by Alice Guthrie, read by Amin El Gamal & Lameece Issaq), Refusing Compulsory Sexuality: A Black Asexual Lens on Our Sex-Obsessed Culture by Sherronda J. Brown (read by Yu-Li Alice Shen) and The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman. I also finally shared the books I bought in November.
As ever, please write back to me and tell me what books you’re reading or looking forward to reading this week — it’s always a great time talking about books.
Enjoy the rest of the week and have a lovely time reading. Talk to you soon!