‘Here’s to us being afraid and doing it anyway’ – Gabrielle Union
‘Whether you’re an awkward black girl or an irritated disabled stripper, everyone should have the opportunity to feel represented in some way.’ – Issa Rae
‘Privilege comes in many forms, and being popular is one of them.’ – Luvvie Ajayi
After about four months of barely reading anything I’m finally back on my usual routine of actually completing a book before an entire month expires. With time I’ll soon be back on the one book per two weeks steeze too – watch this space. But I digress…
‘The truth is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution.’ – Dumbledore
“You can learn anything when you have to learn it. You could learn to fly if it meant you would live another day.” -Maame
It’s been more than a minute since I shared a book review I know… Apologies. School took over and my New Years resolution of reading one book per month didn’t really work out like I thought it would. BUT here I am, review in hand just in time for some summer reading!
First book review of the year and it’s actually in January and not three months into the year… Yay! Started 2016 on a good, strong writing note, love it.
My last review of the year is here and of course it had to be a book by Chimamanda Adichie! She is after all only one of my favourite authors of all time but I digress. Some of you (read my friend Mumbe) may be wondering why it took me so long to finally read this book. In all honesty, I actually never paid it any attention. Well not until I started getting into a lot of African literature reading earlier this year. I had already read all of Adichie’s other books before this year began but since this was her very first novel, decided to finally give it a chance this year. I’m really glad I did.
This book was gifted to me by my mother a day before I moved to London and once I started reading it, I understood why she gave it to me – it’s a story based in London, about a young woman living in London… Thanks mum, I see what you did there.
Been a minute fellow bookworms!
Today’s review will be a tad different as I am reviewing my very first poetry book. And not only is it a poetry book filled the most amazing collection of modern day poetry but it just so happens to be written and published by one of my favourite bloggers turned friend, Abigail Arunga
Akello is the title of this anthology. For those not familiar with the Kenyan culture, Akello is a name that comes from one of our many tribes, luo to be exact and it means to bring forth. Miss Akello for sure brought forth some amazing pieces in this book I must say.
The backstory to how I met Abigail is quite a weird yet funny story actually. She doesn’t know all this either but she will as soon as she reads this. I met her at a club, Mercury at the Junction Mall to be exact. So I’m at the club with my best friend Sonnie, her boyfriend and his friends… I’m having tea (don’t ask why) and just chatting and I see Abi walk in with her friends. I already knew her by face having followed her blog religiously since my uni days – I know I sound like a stalker, please don’t report me. I told my friend about her and how I had been looking for her new book for so long but couldn’t find it and she prompted me to go up to Abi and say hi but for those who don’t know me… I am very very shy. I couldn’t do it. So I just said I’d tweet her the next day that I spotted her.
So as we were leaving Mercury for Qz, guess who was outside the club taking a breather? Abi! I don’t know what made me do it but I just went up to her and said hi, told her I’m a huge fan, told her we were twitter friends and that I really want to buy her book but couldn’t find it. Abi for some reason, just had a bunch of copies with her – in her bag – in a nightclub. So not only did I get the book I had been looking for for ages, but I got a signed copy and got a meet & greet with author all in one night. Talk about a turn of events. The rest of my night went amazingly after that encounter, so Abi, thank you. You were my lucky charm that night and to repay you, here is a review of what is one of the best anthologies I have ever read.
I’m not going to talk about my favourite poems in this book so as not to make this review ridiculously long. Abi basically compiled most of the poems she had written while still in school and after school and I must say, that’s quite a collection she had. Her writing is raw, open, deep and yet straight to the point with hints of humour here and there and bits of emotional spells in each piece making you learn her as a person, a writer, as a woman, a lover, a sister and a friend.
I related to most of the poems in this book because I started reading it at a time when I wasn’t feeling at my best and I was in such a dark space. The poems brought back some memories I had locked away for a long while… Her words, her feelings, her thoughts touch the reader with an intensity like no other. I’m not sure how else I can explain it. Some poems were a tad bit graphic but hey… if that’s your style Abi, I’m not judging.
I’m going to conclude by copying one of my favourite poems off this book below; if you want a taste of some raw, beautiful poetry – get a copy of Akello for you and yours, you will not be disappointed.
how to bare my heart
so that you can touch my vulnerability
with your lips
and I won’t cringe under the
spotlight of honesty
and your lips will stay.”
Until next time, Happy reading!
P.S: To get a copy of the book please go to www.akello.co.ke