A few days before the end of 2014 I stumbled across a #2015ReadingChallenge and thought this would be a good idea. Essentially 50 books in 52 weeks.
In 2014 I had challenged myself to 20 books and failed dismally but that is because most of my time was spent trapped in the National Archives of Namibia and rummaging the internet for journal articles, a slave to my Honours research project.
First up for me on the challenge is “a memoir”. One Day I Will Write About This Place – Binyavaga Wainaina
Binyavanga is a Caine’s Prize Winner and founder of Kwani? I had only ever heard of him once through a post by Petina Gappah on Facebook. The book was suggested to me by someone on Twitter who I can’t quite remember though I am grateful to them.
I really enjoyed this my first read of 2015 as Binyavanga is a master of imagery and took me on a journey across the continent. He writes about growing up in a middle class Kenyan family, his mother however is originally from Uganda. The writer takes us through what life was like for him, the challenges he faced a different stages of his life.
He speaks of culture and politics and although he writes about Kenya, as an Zimbabwean the themes are familiar to me.
What I can single out about Binyavanga Wainanina’s memoir is how exquisitely he describes the different African countries he visits, his time in South Africa is interesting but the most striking for me is how he describes the scenery, events and atmosphere when he travelled with his family to Uganda.
One minor let down is how he does not talk much of his personal and intimate relationships aside from his immediate family. That said it certainly was a great read to start the year.
Next up, #2 – A book with more than 500 pages.