Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Jungfrau is this book i was reading... Its a compilation of short stories for the Caine prize for African writing and its one of the best books i have read in a while. I would suggest that anyone who is inspired by great writing should read it... I love African writing... from the days of 'Things fall apart' by Chinua Achebe and the ' The river between' by Ngugi wa Thiongo to things more recent such as 'Half of a Yellow Sun' by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and 'The infidel' by Ayan Hirsi Ali which i have mentioned several times before, African writing inspires me. I remember when i was still in Kenya i liked talking about the intellectual societies in Africa [here is an instance] and i was always emphasizing on how well people spoke and wrote, of course back then i was very naive and i had no idea what i was talking about, but looking back its great works like these that made me think that an intellectual societies had to exist, after all with so many great minds in Africa there had to be some sort of outlet or channel through which they would get to express their ideas.

Now maybe its just me but doesn't it seem like the best writing or perhaps the most outstanding books come from every where but America? I have always wondered about that... is it perhaps that school systems in third world countries are more rigorous than school systems here? Is it because we read more? Is it because our native languages have more expression so that challenges us to string words together more fluidly? Im sure alot of people will not agree with me, but to me it seems to me like this is true... Look at books like 'Brother im dying' by Edwidge Danticat from Cuba or 'Kiffe Kiffe tomorrow' by Faiza Guene from France... all these are exemplary examples of contemporary, well written books from elsewhere [not America]...but then again i am biased when you stay here for long enough you start looking for anything that reminds you of Africa...

I am seriously considering writing a book but i have no idea where to start so if you guys have any ideas let me know... Otherwise feel free to show me Examples of good writing from America, i am talking about fiction here of course but along the lines of the books mentioned above...I beg you to challenge me! Of course, if you have any other great reads that you would like to share let me know, Im always a sucker for a good read...


Acolyte said...

I'll be honest, I havent read in a minute but there are great American classics like Grapes of Wrath and such. But I am sure if I look around I know there are some latter day American classic intellects. It's just the crap that rises to the top usually.

Anonymous said...

I just ordered 'Jungfrao' - thanks for sharing (am always looking for a good read)
I read quite a bit but i tend to lean towards memoirs, dunno why, i just do - am fascinated by people's lives i suppose.
Some authors i have read & enjoyed are Maya Angelou, jeannette walls, augusten burroughs, james frey, david sedaris etc.

Of late i have had a huge interest in immigrant authors like Khaled Hosseini, Firoozeh Dumas, Jhlumpa Lahiri etc

My favorite author is english(UK) - Alan Bennett, he is hilarious!

Have you read the alexander mccall smith's No. 1 ladies detective series? if not, try's sumptuous (can i say that about a book:-)


Mwangi said...

Hmmm, here sadly I am about as useful as two left feet at a salsa comp. I think the last book of fiction that I read was Harry Potter (not the last one but the one before that). I have been an autobiography, personal development, memoir junkie for years and read all the fiction that inspired me predominantly in my youth. One book that did amaze me though was THE GREAT GATSBY. When I first read that book (F. Scott Fitzgerals) I was bored out of my mind. But once I understood the subtext and the context and discussed it with people who read into the layers of the book, I was absolutely fascinated by the book.