reading list

Taking Stock – Seven

Making: A weird amount of gift bags… way behind on my gift giving these past few months, just playing catch up with all these birthdays that have passed and those coming up!

Cooking: Also a weird amount of cupcakes haha. Started selling these yummy babies and I seem to be baking every other weekend now.

Drinking: Green tea:)

Reading: All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. Check out my Spring reading list below!

Wanting: Well my prayers were answered and I got my Iphone 6! So yeah, that is what I really wanted. I don’t really want much right about now…

Looking: For my next travel plan, that wanderlust bug is itching real hard

Playing: Solitaire

Wasting: A lot of time watching Pretty Little Liars. Like I gave this show so much of my patience and even in this finale we STILL don’t know who A is, damn!

Sewing Creating: Nothing in particular

Wishing: Growing up didn’t have to be so damn hard sometimes, but alas it is the only way to do it.

Enjoying: The alone time I have forced myself to take of late, solitude is really good for the soul.

Waiting: For the week to end. Yeah I know it’s Monday but this is a short week and lord knows I need that Easter Break coming up!

Liking: The risks I am taking. Never been a risk taker before – first time for everything!

Wondering: Why I seem to have the most icy fingers on the planet. As in seriously.. I have the coldest hands and I have no idea why

Loving: That I have stuck to my diet for more than 21 days, woop woop! My friends @Sab_G and @a_wanjirum are my accountability partners on this lol, thanks for the motivation guys!

Hoping: That despite the rainy season creeping up, that I don’t give up on my running, been consistent with that too, believe it or not. Like @nassstro1 always says – Health is Wealth.

Marvelling: At the Rolls Royce convertible I saw last Friday, that car is utter luxury on wheels. Not my style at all, but still good to look at.

Needing: A manicure. Easter Break come soon please.

Smelling: The freshly printed Yummy Magazine sitting right next to me. I like the smell of new books, magazines etc. Weird right?

Wearing: Leggings! Haven’t been able to wear anything this body hugging since October last year? For once I am fully pro cold weather now because that summer really tried it with all that heat.

Following: @shaym! My new obsession because she is a wanderlust addict just like me, her instagram feed gives me so much life.

Noticing: How quickly people change.

Knowing: That all will be well. I will still keep telling myself that.

Thinking: About mother dearest who is away on a work retreat. I have been her unofficial nurse for over a month now and for her to travel without anyone coming along to help her out is really frightening me but she’s gotten stronger over her recovery period, so I know she will be fine. I can’t help but worry sometimes though.

Feeling: Bitter Sweet.

Bookmarking: @CarolineMutoko’s YouTube page. Her videos are so very insightful!

Opening: My water bottle… Still can’t get 1 litre down, sigh.

Giggling: At my brother @tom_odero. He is a lot to handle in one tall skinny package lol.

Typewriter Tuesdays – Addicted

New Year calls for a whole new review!! How is 2015 treating ya’ll?? Hope good so far despite the usual broke spell we all suffer from in January. It’s sad that my birthday month is associated with brokeness including my own haha… Well the holidays have been nothing short of fantastic as you could tell from the travel post I put up last week:)

 

First book of the year, will be a book I read on a 20hr flight from Atlanta heading home. Best time to read is on long haul flights guys, trust me, all those hours disappear in an instant! The book is Addicted by Zane – yes I took on the book before watching the movie. Not making that rookie mistake again, watching Gone Girl before reading it taught me better.

Addicted was… addictive to say the least. And the only thing making that book addictive that I was done reading it within 9hrs of my flight, was the ridiculousness of the protagonist, Zoe Reynard. It was not until the end that I realized she actually had a serious problem. I really don’t understand sex addiction so I dismissed her all throughout the book until I got to the end and realized it actually came from a deep rooted traumatic experience she had gone through as a child… My bad.  

The book is as poorly written as the mess that was 50 shades of grey but makes for a good way to pass 10hours of flight time. Not too dense, not too critical… Just plain easy fiction with a moral lesson at the end. Ms Zoe Reynard had a perfect family, a man who adored her but she soon found him ‘too boring’ and went in search of ‘excitement’ in other men. If you have watched the film you can’t really blame her for getting with the 2 other guys, I mean, Tyson Beckford ladies??? Even you know you wouldn’t say no to that lol…

Turns out Quentin and Corey (played by William Levy and Tyson Beckford respectively) were a) a psychopath and b) a former inmate and so ex girlfriends were brought into the mix, near death situations as well because neither man wanted to see Zoe with anyone else yet she had told them she was married from the very start.

This book did nothing for me at all as you can tell from my bland review… I think I just got caught up in the movie hype and just had to read it for myself first and now that I have, I doubt I’ll bother watching the film at all. If you like bland erotica type novels then this is the book for you but if you have no patience for such esp after E.L. James wasted all your time in 2012 then you’d rather just watch the film and get your fix and keep it moving.

Typewriter Tuesdays – David and Goliath

This month’s book review is of Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘David & Goliath’, one of the best books I have read this year no doubt.
 
Malcolm Gladwell, for those who don’t know is a world-renowned author with several international bestsellers under his belt, the most popular being his book Outliers. Outliers and David and Goliath are albeit a tad bit similar in that they both dwell on the underdog coming out on top but each describing the process in a different way. 
There have been mixed reactions to David & Goliath, which is Gladwell’s most recent work. Critics both love it and are frustrated by it and by this I mean they love its message, which of course is always something one wants to hear, but they also cannot stand the repetitive stand he has slowly started taking in his books. Mixed reviews are expected though; he would not be an international bestselling author without them! I on the other hand particularly learned a lot from this book. Gladwell tells his story as if teaching a class. He actually talks to us readers and his skill at that makes one glued to every single word he writes. David & Goliath was obviously titled as such as there is a lot of allegorical references to the biblical story of the boy shepherd and the giant. It all boils down to one simple fact: being the weaker one in the ring doesn’t always constitute failure. In fact it sometimes assures the very opposite.
David had nothing going for him when he had to face Goliath except his speed thanks to his small frame and his sling. Goliath on the other hand was fully armored and built to kill yet somehow he was defeated by those two things that everyone thought would be David’s downfall… ‘More is not always better.’ Malcolm Gladwell.
A chapter in this book talks about turning your disadvantages into advantages. Gladwell introduces it quite precisely by saying, “We have a definition in our heads of what an advantage is and the definition isn’t right. And what happens as a result? It means that we make mistakes. It means that we misread battles between underdogs and giants. It means that we underestimate how much freedom there can be in what looks like a disadvantage.” He goes on to explain this chapter by using dyslexia as the main focus. Certain difficulties we may involuntarily have may work for us than against us. Gladwell refers to these as desirable difficulties, such as in the case of British billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson, Big time trial lawyer, David Boies, and Goldman Sachs president Gary Cohn all of whom are dyslexic. They did not let that hinder their hunger for success in life. They are innovators, who Gladwell describes as people who have to be able to imagine things that others cannot and be willing to challenge their own preconceptions.
A good local example of one such innovator is self-made multi-millionaire, Heshan De Silva. He is not dyslexic but he did have some ‘desirable difficulties’ of his own as well. Heshan’s story is one that will be told for generations to come especially because he is part and parcel of today’s generation; he is only 25. He suffered from drug addiction, alcoholism and even attempted suicide after seeing his life spiral down the way it did. He dropped out of college and tried to start over. No one gave him the time of day and job rejections were in the bucket load until he decided that if no one will open a door for him, he would make his own door and open it himself. With only less than 150$ to his name, he started a small insurance business. Today, the 25-year-old venture capitalist and founder of the De Silva Group, is worth over $10 million. Just like David, he was the weaker one in a sea of huge white sharks, but he did not let himself get eaten. Instead he taught himself how to swim even faster, without a single university degree to his name.
David and Goliath is made up of these types of stories and more. Though repetitive, due to its similarity to Outliers, it’s not such a bad thing to be reminded that the Underdog actually does always win.

Typewriter Tuesdays – Unaccustomed Earth

Back with a bang! This book took me particularly long to complete as I mentioned in the previous post just because I never had time to read or rather didn’t make that time lol.

Anyway, lets get right into it shall we? This week’s (rather this months, as I don’t know when I’ll be reading my next book…) book review is on Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth. Shout out to my pal Mumo who contributed some tidbits to this review as well:)

 

“Ferociously good. Acutely observed. In exquisitely attuned prose, Lahiri notes the clash between generations… She is emotionally precise about her characters and the way the world appears to them. These are unforgettable people, their stories unforgettably well told.” Oprah gave this strong statement in her monthly magazine about an author who has proved herself time and time again with her riveting literary works.
Jhumpa Lahiri is no stranger to the world of fiction. She has written several books, most of which have earned her worldwide fame and accolades such as the Pulitzer prize for Fiction that she won for her debut short story collection, Interpreter of Maladies in 2000.
An Indian American born in London and raised in Rhode Island by traditional Bengali Parents, Jhumpa was no ordinary girl. Her parents made sure she was connected to her Indian roots and she uses this upbringing in her writing as most of her stories and perhaps very much like her own, revolve around Bengali families in foreign countries.
Unaccustomed Earthis her second short story collection. These short stories revolve around the elements of race, religion, and love and identity issues as the characters search for a sense of belonging in their different situations. Lahiri’s stories seem linked to her own personal life or at the very least, how different her life could have been, because, as mentioned above, she is of Bengali descent and raised in the United States by her Bengali parents and throughout her stories you can see this underlying theme repeated with seamless precision. She seems to want to tell her story to the world through different and random characters who at the end of it all gravitate towards a truth that perhaps she herself has found in her own life: The truth that home does not necessarily have to be where you were born and that home is actually the place that allows you to fully find yourself. This place is not necessarily tied to a particular spot on a world map, or to your past or indeed to your future.
The eight stories within the book all have Bengali American characters as the lead/narrator throughout the story, showing their different lives in America as compared to that of their parents back in Calcutta. Lahiri expertly portrays how the characters mature within their new environments but are not exempted from the many uncontrollable events that can happen to any human being such as tragic accidents, failed love affairs, alcoholism, addiction, broken marriages etc. The stories though supposedly ‘short’ can take you more than hour to read yet it will feel like a couple of minutes flew by, perhaps this is what makes Unaccustomed Earth one of those books you never want to put down. One story ends just as another begins barely giving you enough time to reflect and digest on the last one but one never seems to forget it either because the characters all seem familiar to you, as if it could be your story told from the eyes of someone who knows you very well
My favorite story, ‘Only Goodness’ is one that follows a small family of four. Sudha, the narrator, is the older, more accomplished sister to her younger brother Rahul who is an alcoholic incapable of making something out of his life. Sudha feels responsible for the unfortunate turn his life took while in college as she would engage his drinking while he was still underage. Her parents depended on her to deal with her brother so much to the point she could not take it anymore. Sudha moved to London to pursue her Masters and hopes this will help her brother follow suit in the academic trail but instead, her absence makes it much worse.
He flunks out of Columbia University, resorts to waiting tables to make money that he in turn uses to consume even more alcohol. Sudha soon washes her hands of her brother’s life but secretly hopes for a miraculous change. She then finds herself falling in love and eventually marrying a much older professor. Rahul, (whose character seems to always be on the verge of bursting in and disrupting her convincingly normal and happy life) has at this point disappeared for a year and a half only to show up (as feverishly expected) for the wedding reception but in his usual drunken stupor. He then, embarrasses his entire family and disappears once again, and the build up to his impending return begins again. In this length of time, Sudha bears her first born son and I do not know if it’s the maternal instinct in her that lets her forgive her brother or a simple change of heart but she eventually informs him of his nephew and invites him to London to visit them and just when you thought that perhaps things have changed and Rahul has pressed the refresh button in his life, he lives up to his past and shows that he has clearly not changed his ways. This story for a while may seem like a story about family bonds and how difficult they are to sever, but in actual truth and depending on which side you look at it, it indicates just how much power a family member’s influence can have on those around him/her.

As Lahiri writes, she allows her characters to grow in a very non-traditional manner, as if unguided and not training them throughout her narration. Her stories flow along like a simple cycle of growth… As time lapses, the characters in each story either bloom or weaken but eventually all disintegrate back into the earth.
Have you read the book? If yes, let me know your thoughts on it! If not, you should get on it when you can, you will not be disappointed:)