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Or, Which Part of Wakanda?
I listen to a few audiobooks a year and love to hear a story read to me as I walk (more on that below) so one could say I have a taste for them.
I also have a thing for accents, which have been on full display this week.
Should I keep this section?
I walked to Lucky Girl by Irene Muchemi-Ndiritu (read by Musu-Kulla Massaquoi) and The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg but not much else to report.
I think there’s a shortage of readers who aren’t from West Africa when it comes to audiobooks - or maybe nobody knows what East Africans sound like. Either way, it was jarring to listen to Lucky Girl by Irene Muchemi-Ndiritu and hear the narrator take on all manner of accents for the African characters in the novel.
I hate to be a hater (do I?) but this is also a factor in my inability to get into Things They Lost by Okwiri Oduor - the narrator was doing a less than stellar job of pronouncing some Kenyan names. It feels almost silly to be griping about this (and who is to say that the books I read from, say, West Africa have narrators properly pronouncing names?) but it really ground my gears.
Also, as someone had pointed out on Instagram, it didn’t help that the mother (whose strong accent belies her class and education) is written as the sort of extreme Opus Dei member who self-flagellates on the regular. She was painted as a freak and the things her accent would deliver (switching among multiple accents in a statement sometimes) were enough to confuse one.
I make jokes about this every so often but we (readers) are begging publishers to please hire voice actors who have a handle on the accents of a country’s (or region’s!) people - we’re not from Nowheresville, Africa.
Quick news/ things that may be of interest:
Over on Twitter, a weekly library TBR thread; if you’d like to know what titles to expect in the read books section
Dracula Daily, which I mentioned in a past entry, continues apace. Jump on if you’re keen
You can send me books, postcards, letters, and assorted gifts via PO Box 102439, Jamia Posta 00101, Nairobi, Kenya
I have finished three books since I last wrote to you - hybrid reads of Lucky Girl by Irene Muchemi-Ndiritu (read by Musu-Kulla Massaquoi) and Counterfeit by Kirstin Chen (read by Catherine Ho) as well as the physical edition of Dying to Meet You (43 Old Cemetery Road) by Kate Klise (Illustrated by M. Sarah Klise) and my latest video is from 2020 (you can watch it here). To catch the videos I’m working on when they’re done, subscribe to the channel if you haven’t yet!
As ever, please write back to me and tell me what books you’re reading or looking forward to reading — it’s always a great time talking about books.
Enjoy the the week ahead and have a lovely time reading. Talk to you soon!