I couldn’t brag as among the best readers in town, but damn, a good book can get me locked up in the house big time. I’m among the minority who ask, ‘do they have a book for that?’ whenever a good movie comes out. Yes, I believe a book helps you get into the plot in a 3D version of 3D itself. Good writers who know their way around words should be considered VISAs because they take us around the world.
This post goes out to all my friends who have walked into my house, stolen a book, and not returned it. It’s also a shout out to those who come for a book and leave another behind (none so far). It also goes out to Evelyn, whose books I never returned, because of the first bunch of people I mentioned. The last bunch of people the post goes out to is those who believe that it is unfair that this blog has gone for over 6 months with no work. I know Kennedy, Theresa, and Peter, am a bad person. Deal with it.
This post is about Collins Sakwah Ongoma’s ‘Premium Tears,’ The Novel. Now, shall we blow the dust off this blog and indulge?
As I said above, I can get a bulge off a good book, quite figuratively. I was once challenged on Facebook to share a book that has changed my life, and like other Facebook challenges, I ignored it, well, because it is a Facebook challenge. Not by ignorance, but because I don’t think I’ve come across a book that has changed my life, and I don’t think they meant the Bible or Quran (both of which have played a part in my life). I know and believe there are motivational books out there, which are awesome, badass even, but I don’t believe in diving into a sea of words telling me about life. I respect and tip my hat to motivational writers, a bunch of brains there, but find it hard digging into their work. It’s what it is. I live for books that thrill, books that keep me at the tip of my seat. Books that speak to me in the backpack.
‘Come on man, yank me out and get your eyes all over me, you piece of awesome…!’
‘But am in a matatu, and people will think am either bragging or ignoring them….’
‘So? Come on, tell me, what would you rather do, huh? Run your eyes over me or care about these people? They don’t care about you. Look at that one not even wearing a mask. You think they care about you?’
‘Okey, id rather read you than care about them…!’
‘Good, now pull me out and let’s roll!’
A good book pulls your leg and forces you to read it. And that is why I still believe reading through a crime thriller on a deserted beach at the coast with only a towel and a smile on, as the hot sand burns your ass is the best vacation ever.
Mostly, I read writers who would be considered ‘underground’ since they don’t have a big name to fill. I believe they write with a freedom that gives their work a literally perfect touch. That aside, I’ve read a lot of John Grisham, Nora Roberts, and Stephen White, who I believe is quite good. The good deals for me though, are our African authors. Damn, do these people have magic brains!
If I were to list my favorite writers, among the top would be, in no order, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Meja Mwangi, Chimamanda Ngozi, Bivinyanga Wainanina, Grace Ogot, me, Ken Walibora, Wahome Mutahi (read OG), Chinua Achebe, John Kiriamiti, etc. There are many more, don’t kill me. I am referring to those whose work I’ve read. This is the reason why I get ecstatic whenever a new author rises from mama Africa.
With everyone’s interest taken over by other forms of art, literature has slowly become the deserted kid left behind as the others go out to play. In the words of my old man, ‘if you wish to hide something from a Kenyan, hide it in a book.’ Writing is no longer considered a ‘wow’ thing to do.
A friend of mine recently finished writing his second novel, ‘Premium Tears,’ and I was overwhelmed by emotion as he invited us to his book launch. Finally, I won’t have to whine when I walk into a supermarket bookshelf and not see young Kenyan authors. Finally, my personal library actually has a signed book. A book I can identify with. It stands out like a sore thumb. I’m yet to start reading it, but according to the blurb, it is a book based in Kenya (goosebumps already). It’s about a Canadian woman who is sold the idea of a Utopian Kenya on YouTube, plans a safari, and when she gets here, we all know what happens. It ends in Premium Tears. Cheeky, right? The twist am looking forward to chewing through is when she goes all Robin Hood in her father’s company and proposed betrothal since I am a sucker for rebels. To me, it promises more twists and turns than The Bold and the Beautiful.
I love Kenyan writers because, like Jackson Biko, we have a way of describing situations that makes you feel like you are walking into the scene. There is this one post I ever read from Biko, where he used wet coal to describe some dark thing, and to me, that was the best twist to an idiom I had ever experienced. Skimming through this book, I have come across several such situations. I have to say, even without reading the book, Collins has done a pretty good job on this one. Ooh, and it is a good volume of words, so you have yourself locked for a good time.
His other book, ‘The Campus Exile’ was an awesome read, and am sure this one will be thrilling since writers are like good wine.
I believe the best way we can grow our readership is by encouraging our writers. And the best way of encouraging our writers is by buying their work. Come on now, get your ass off the couch and order your signed copy too! Please don’t ask for my copy. It belongs to me and the products of my gonads! Get your copy today by `calling or Whatsapp message to 0728 962819.
To Collins, beat the dew, the flock is coming.
Leave a comment below about the best book you’ve read and the author.
- Wamugi Gichuri