Book Review: Kintu

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I didn’t really think my first post for the #UgBlogWeek would be a book review but I’m all about that ‘Hype your writers like you do your rappers‘ life. So here goes nothing.

The question for the person who has not read this book is whether it is worth it. Because if your acquaintances, like mine, are voracious readers, then they have surely read it and incessantly make references to it. The natural response, if you are noncomformist or pretend to be, is to assume you’ll never read it because really, why so much talk? Okay, this applies to those who have not(and obstinately refuse to) watch Game of Thrones. Otherwise, the normal response is FOMO.

Sigh. It is with a heavy heart that I say, yes, it is worth it. (Now I am like everyone else who has read it, can you believe? I need to spend some time in the company of the good people at Kampala Express.)

The story of Kintu is a very stunningly disturbing one. I don’t know, are you superstitious? Coz damn, this story made me believe all kinds of things. But you know what they say, nothing imagined is too far from the truth. Joel actually believes the things in this book to be true, and not just myths or nice stories. *shiver* It sort of traces a curse from the 17th century to well, the 21st century. I really hope that’s a neat one line representation. But if it isn’t, read the book πŸ™‚

The thing about literature, I have come to learn, is that it plays an important role in decolonization of the mind because it makes you ask yourself questions(right? Right? Yea, we good). Kintu is such a powerful book in this sense. I want to add especially for our friends with fragile masculinity but I don’t have the energy. Anyway, in a way we have ‘culture’ to blame for this. My very brilliant friend, Sunshine, likes to say that if you are going to throw the word ‘culture‘ around, be sure you are not picking out only the parts of it that serve you. And it seems like we are always trying to reconcile this culture Β with who we are. You know, like Faisi’s family who are Christians and want nothing to do with any of their ‘pagan’ ways or the atheist and believes in neither the ‘pagan’ nor Christian ways. It’s really interesting, the way Jennifer deals with these characters (yes, first name basis what about? Lol, I’m wanting.)

Anyway, do you think if black people had colonized wypipo we’d all be worshipping Jjaja Ddungu or whoever else? Like, I mean the mainstream religion.

P.S: don’t read the book at night or just before you sleep πŸ™‚

P.P.S: The background in the photo is the place the book is about. Coooool, right? Yes, that excited me.

Book Review: Penumbra

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“The worst form of dying is to drown. You go through all the emotions, and think you are going to survive, only to die.”

Perhaps that is the one thing we all have in common with the protagonist in Penumbra. But as forlorn as that sounds, it actually a funny book even though it is not supposed to be. In fact, it isn’t. But it is. Does someone catch my drift? It is a story about mental illness, I suppose. Drug addiction, maybe. Unrealized dreams. Finding Jesus in a very comical way. I don’t really know how to say a book is about this one particular thing because I guess it’s all life really.

“I think each person has their journey and that’s it… It becomes yours and no one else’s. This world has this way of measuring people… but time lapses and there’s nothing you can do about it, I think the biggest lesson to be learnt is that of being a person… and that exists outside all these schools.”

Manga is one of those people who are seemingly ‘behind their time'(if ahead of time is a thing then this should be the antonym, no?) And so throughout the book, he is trying, like most of us, to figure out this life thing. I relate with him so much on this. It’s like being the lost sheep. You know how everyone else seems to have it all figured out and you are just constantly asking yourself what’s going on. Okay, I’m losing the point but you get the point. He loses his mind in this process of trying to piece it all together. But what’s interesting is being in his mind throughout the whole dilemma. From when he is a sober human, to when he becomes an addict and when he finally decides to quit in the process changing from agnostic/atheist to believer. It is very melodramatic I tell you.

I think at a point, we are all Manga except we are only bordering on this insanity because we manage to stay afloat. Which is unfortunately not the case for everyone and also something we fail to recognise till it’s too late. Okay, I’m not supposed to be delivering a lecture on mental health. Long story short, I enjoyed the book(3.5/5). And it was especially funny being in Manga’s head. Also sad. Oh yes, and isn’t it ironic how many books there are about someone’s struggle to become a writer?

“The world has created it’s many chains: selling ideas to each other. The selling point for all these things is idolatry. Even for us who wanted to write, certain authors become our gods.” (This particular line reminded me of this story.)

At a point I feel like this book is spiritual, whatever spiritual means. There are some lessons to learn though and for me, it is that whatever does not serve me need not be in my life😊.

“I remember beautiful artists. They have a gift of seeing beyond conditions, and draw us to the blackness of uncertainty. That’s what art should achieve: point out the other side. Art is not there to unearth any truths, but rather to show the multiplicity of the nature of things.”

Oh yes, I was also excited because this is my first read by aSouth African author πŸ™‚

What have y’all been reading?

This or That Book Tag

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Dhebbie, this choco skinned andro book nerd who thought I was Nigerian for God knows what reason nominated me for this tag. Of course we all know what follows this is a link to her awesome blog, so check it out here.

And, there are rules to these things you know. Rules to pretty much everything so;

1. Thank and link the person who tagged you.
2. Answer the questions asked.
3. Tag other 10 bloggers to do same .

READING ON THE COUCH OR THE BED?

I’d say couch because it sounds like something organised people do(Not that I am not, but er…) When I grow up, the answer will be couch but as of now; bed all day, bed all day(I know the song playing in your head right now πŸ˜‰ Seriously though, why would you want to fall asleep on the couch? That is, if you suffer from the ‘one more chapter syndrome'(I promise to get a cooler and more complex name for it) before you sleep.

MAIN MALE CHARACTER OR FEMALE MAIN CHARACTER?

I had never thought of that before this question. Maybe because it does not matter really, but if the main character is female she should be kicking ass. Wait, what I’m I saying? Yes, it does not matter.

SWEET SNACKS OR SALTY SNACKS?

I’m just too predictable here. I have a sweet tooth. The tooth fairy never ever came for it.

TRILOGIES OR QUARTETS?

Twilight is a Quartet, right? Well then, quartets before…(failed to find a word that rhymes.) Though I am not much of a series fan. Divergent sucked it right out of my system.

FIRST PERSON POINT OF VIEW OR THIRD PERSON POINT OF VIEW?

First person is so awesome and feels so personal but then third person is umm…more objective than subjective so you get to choose a character you like with no bias. That does not make much sense, does it? But I like those books where the author is sort of an observer narrating the happenings…

READING AT NIGHT OR IN THE MORNING?

Are you kidding me? Reading in the morning sounds like a massive privilege. Something people that retire at 30 do when they don’t feel like golf or watching the news channel on stock markets. The rest of us, I believe, can only conveniently read at night and sneak some hours in during day. Still, reading at night is better(or maybe it’s just my mediocre mindset #MillionaireGoals: reading Dostoevsky at 8am on a Monday morning.)

LIBRARIES OR BOOKSTORES?

Like where do I prefer to hang or which would I rather own? Oh, or which would I rather raid? Duh, book store! Free things are not attractive (okay nobody should ever quote me on this one. A cat walked over the keyboard thank you.)

BOOKS THAT MAKE YOU CRY OR LAUGH?

I’m raking my brain for a book that has made me laugh and my memory falls short. Because tears are memorable yo! hihi cry, cry, cry! I’m just a sentimental person sometimes.

BLACK BOOK COVERS OR WHITE BOOK COVERS?

Have you seen the cover of Salt by Nayyirah Waheed and Semicolon by Naveed Khan? Then the cover of Milk & Honey by Rupi Kaur and Love in my Language by Alexandra Elle? No, I’m not choosing.

 

CHARACTER DRIVEN STORY OR PLOT DRIVEN STORY?

Plot driven.

So my nominees;

@DiamondKarine because I read once, on her blog, that she does not remember book titles or authors. She just reads.

Umar at Write Thing because I’m a kind person, even to people who don’t take my photography lessons seriously.

Tricia the Ugandan chic. I kind of think she has my dream library. Talk to her nicely.

Joel B. Ntwatwa of the Nevender fame. I’ve always intended to ask the story behind the Nevender name. (yeah baby, I just rhymed! Okay, ignore my cringe-worthy rhymes)

Vicky. If you’ve been to her blog, you know she has a few off wires. Oops! I’ve never told her that, but it’s the good kind I swear.

Elijah, because he exists.

Phyllis, for her amazing literal mind which is also very practical. She’s a keeper.

Joel who insists that sleep is for the weak. Being the kind person that I am(hekekeke), I presume he reads during his sleep hours.

Sunshine because well…what’s a nomination without Sunshine?

And finally, Colin.

No, you don’t have to give reasons for nominating anyone I just used it as a perilous excuse to be wordy.