I read a book once and loved it

We travel through reading books
We travel through reading books.

I never used to read,operating word here is ‘used’. I would see people read novels out of the own volition and I would cringe and grunt and look at them like they are crazy. Why would you add yourself extra reading material when you have 8 subjects you are already failing. Instead of reading, I day dreamt and day dreamt a lot. I could actually write a whole novel with the plot of my daydreams. All these happened before I started writing/blogging.

I went to university and decided I can run my own blog. This blog was a joke. I would post today and then again 4 months later. No one read it because no one knew I had one. Then my classmates found out and I would have 15 people read it and a fraction of joy would creep up. I usually went to a Tech event called WananCHI. On this day people did not turn up so we were only 5.

Because of this there were a lot of non-tech stories being shared that to me felt a lot like goals. Goals for my life. How I want my life to look. I was the youngest and I was allowed to feel this. I was also the quietest and they had to nudge me to share. So they ask me what I do with my spare time and gossiping was not an option so I said I have a blog. They asked me to share my URL with them and I was scared and promised to send later. I never did.

They gave me a simple advice, start reading if you haven’t. And if you have, read some more, read a variety of genres and you will see your vocabulary grow. Pffft!! Who are you to tell me where to get my English. I watch too many TV series and I learn enough English to last me a lifetime. That’s what I thought and that thought was wrong but I had convinced myself that it works.

It wasn’t until I started calling people boo boo kitty and doing the double negation nonsense that I really came around. I started reading, I still fear big books like Ludlum. I have The Parsifal Mosaic on my table but just staring at the size gives me the hibby jibbies. I plan to read it because it seems like a good book with a really good story line.

Parsifal Mosaic front cover
Parsifal Mosaic front cover

We Kenyans do not like reading. I think its something to do with 8:4:4 but that should not be an excuse. Start with a 250 page novel and work your way up. I started with a 400 page novel and I make a point of reading a whole book a month. That is not impressive but it is where I choose to start. You always have time to read. Traffic is your friend, lights out is also your friend, a lazy afternoon is your best friend. I still watch my gazillion series but I complement them with books. I have found my English coming back to me. Your mind tunes itself and sort of finds the English words you had forgotten and brings them to the forefront.

My astonishing English word that I waved around every chance I got was tenacious. It’s a big word and after saying that, people would be afraid to speak to me in English. This was just a method to cope with my bad English. I would go to interviews and would use words like ‘nini’ and I would use signs to communicate. For some, this was cute and I would get the job but for most of the others they were like “Was that girl having a seizure or something?” Now I jump into conversations more freely. I startle myself when I use a nice English word that I forgot I knew.

Not much is being asked of you. Read, develop a reading culture and you will find yourself interacting with people much better. Books aren’t expensive, every where in town there is a book stand that sells at prices ranging ksh 100 to ksh 350. What is your excuse???

Books you can find from a street vendor (Image credit www.wamathai.com)
Books you can find from a street vendor (Image credit www.wamathai.com)

8 Replies to “I read a book once and loved it”

  1. I love this. How was Americanah? It’s the book on my desk that am giving a side-eye

    1. It was really good. Stop giving it a side eye and get to it. I was adviced to also check out purple hibiscus and half a yellow sun.

  2. Beautiful piece…and your tenacity has held. I wait for every single piece and read religiously

    1. Thank you Miriam!!

  3. I didn’t know , you never used to read .
    I have judged you and doubted our friendship..
    Your posts are becoming better and better btw .

    1. You don’t go around airing your ignorance and stupidity. It does not look good on anyone.

  4. Another lovely post from one of the best blogs that I discovered this year. And you say you thought it was a joke and that when you first started you used to post only once every four months!
    I can only repeat what you have said here. Read more and read more widely and on more varied subjects. You speak about having a good command of the English language. That is useful as a communications tool; how else can you send the desired message. Read books by authors who write in different languages – Kiswahili, Arabic, Russian, Spanish, French, Japanese, Chinese. Read the translations of such authors. You will be amazed at what you will discover.


    1. Thank you. I will also follow the advice of trying to read books in other languages. I know a bit of french and I would like to improve it by reading childhood books in French.

What say you?