What you need to know:
Joan Mero, book reviewer
Book reading: Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones
I don’t know if I should call myself a late bloomer but I started to take interest in books about eight years ago when I got an internship opportunity that gave me a monthly stipend. Growing up, I was not much into leisure reading.
When I got my first pay, I didn’t have many bills to settle so I had quite some money to spend on myself. I remember taking myself out for lunch and thereafter popping into a bookstore. The attendant recommended A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, a book that I really loved and was a favourite until 2018 when I chanced upon Kintu Novel by a Ugandan author, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi.
The book is a multigenerational saga about a curse that follows descendants of a particular family. Kintu explores how each of them experiences the curse and later, invites us to a reunion to break it. I loved that the book was very relatable. I felt like I was reading about my village.
When you ask most people about why they read, they will tell you that they read to find motivation and all that inspirational stuff. For me, I read because I enjoy literature. That said, I mostly read fiction books and memoirs about people that I am interested in. I try to read at least four books every month. Because of my busy lifestyle, I ensure that I start my day with a book in case I don’t get time to read in the course of the day.
Also, I am part of a book club called indulgent bibliophile. I joined it last year and it has exposed me to authors and books unbeknownst to me. It was started by a Nigerian bookstagrammer, Amyn Bawa-Allah. We are 123 participants drawn from all corners of the world. Our discussions are online.
Besides the book club, I hold a monthly event for book lovers in Nairobi. We meet at Soma Nami book shop on Ngong road where we discuss books and exchange banters. We also provide snacks to the attendees. This year, I intend to bring in the element of music so it will be books and music. If anyone is interested to join, they can reach out to me on Instagram, Joanzoya for more information.
My read for this month is the bluest eye, silver sparrow, Pleasantview (book choice for the book club), and How Beautiful We Were by Imbolo Mbue. Silver sparrow, which I have just finished reading is about two sisters who are leading different lives —one is a legitimate child and the other one a secret child. Their father is a bigamist and the girls don’t know about each other. It’s an emotionally intense book that is packed with very beautiful quotes.