This series is continued from here.

Marziya Mohammedali: Minaret by Leila Aboulela

A book I would definitely recommend is ‘Minaret’ by Leila Aboulela. The story focuses on Najwa, a Sudanese woman living and working in London. The narrative swings between Najwa’s younger days at Khartoum University and her previous life as a government official’s daughter, to the present day where she works as a maid for a rich Sudanese family. Aboulela successfully intertwines real events – the coup in Sudan; the arrival of Ramadan in London; and Eid prayers in the park – with Najwa’s story, giving a face, a voice, a name to those who live through them.

Along the way, we meet other characters who represent a spectrum of Sudanese experiences in the diaspora. They are all recognisable, and  have an impact on Najwa’s life: her brother Omar, a drug addict, winds up in prison; Anwar, a fellow student at Khartoum University and a harsh critic of her father and the government, becomes her support and then a nightmare in a dysfunctional relationship; Tamer, the son of her employer, rediscovers his own faith and identity as a Muslim as he struggles with his feelings for her. Najwa’s own transformation is brutal – she loses everything and everyone dear to her, but finds herself through religion, humility and grace.

Frankline Mwenda: Personality Plus by Florence Littauer

We have three types of personalities: Sanguine, Phlegmatic, Melancholic and Choleric which are all distinct.

There is need to know your personality and others’ so as to co-exist with them and this book provides you with valuable insight into appreciatingyour special God given personality. The book states that all personalities are treated equal and there is not a single personality that is much superior than the other. All personalities have their very own strengths and weaknesses.

This Personality Plus book also thoroughly guides you and explain in ways on how you can improve upon your strengths and correct your weaknesses.

Finally, by reading this book, you can find out what your personality type is and understand and know why you are wired that way. Personality Plus book is definitely worth checking out! Trust me.

Warhia: Chicken Soup For the Woman’s  Soul by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Jennifer Read Hawthorne Marci Shimoff

I read at least three books in any given month. Mostly inspiration, biographies and occasional novels.

I stumbled on Chicken Soup for The Woman’s Soul at a friend’s house which I conveniently borrowed. It is a compilation of stories from various women who have shared seasons in their life – from Love to overcoming obstacles, from attitude and esteem to marriage and aging, on motherhood to living your dream. In a nutshell, it summaries life across the generations.

It begins with a favorite piece done by Maya Angelou, Phenomenal Woman.

I set on a journey for self –healing back in 2006. I had battled with post abuse stress over the years. Suppressing childhood trauma experiences have a way of sneaking into your adulthood. True, words never break bones but verbal abuse especially by people close to you work feed on one’s worth faster than healthy cancer cells. Physical abuse has a way of numbing one’s emotions and if such skeletons are never dug out of the closet it starts to ooze till the closet cannot hold the stench and its content no more. Hello malfunctioning relationships – significant other, family, friends etc.

I have read Chicken Soup for The Woman’s Soul  thrice now. I keep learning something different with every read. I have learnt a couple of lessons from it; that life is a season, a cocktail of events. Sometimes we dream big and have no clue how to achieve the. Dream anyway. At times things would work in our favour, most times it wouldn’t. There will always be good, maybe some bad and definitely downright ugly. Even then,

Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.

Pamella Vaull Starr

Irene Kinyua: Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I found the book very intriguing. If focuses on the lives of five individuals – two foreigners, who felt Biafra was their home, two sisters, twins and a servant boy

It demonstrates in vivid details how war can bring people closer despite wrongs done among them – affairs, sibling rivalry, disobedience and the inevitable poverty that plagued them… Even the servant boy becomes a valued member of the family as well as a child begot from an affair.

Adichie also takes us into the life of a boy forced to be a soldier to fight for ‘the cause’. How sometimes we are forced by situations to do things we would never ever do because of having to prove oneself among other soldiers. We realize that even the crimes committed by soldiers during times of war are a way of fitting in with other soldiers-in this case raping a bartender. This however does not make it acceptable or tolerable.

The book however ends in suspense and for a curious mind, it is a torture of sorts.


Linda Musita: Mr. Punch in Bohemia

I got three hard cover volumes of the Punch Library of Humour for free and with the help of Lady Luck and all her worthy impostors. An avid reader, I heard later, had left them there (the place where I found them). He said he would come back for them later. No one told me that he had called dibs on the books so I took all of them. He complained, ranted, kicked his feet and threatened to break my right pinkie if I did not give them back. Well, “Cha kuokota si cha kuiba,” I am not giving them back. Ng’o!

The three volumes I have are Mr. Punch in Bohemia, Mr. Punch on the Continong and Mr. Punch on the Warpath. The books contain very good illustrations, humorous poetry, limericks and journal entries by Mr. Punch.

One of my favourite jokes/illustrations is on page 61 of Mr. Punch in Bohemia; the illustration of two men, an Englishman and a German Herr having a conversation.

“Look here, Schlumpenhagen, you must help us at our smoking concert. You play the flute, don’t you?”

“Not ven dere ish anypotty apout.”

“How’s that?”

“Dey vont let me”

The Punch books are an excellent collection for artists and writers. A mix of laughter, satire, knowledge… and those absurd ideas, common to creative minds. The Punch collection is written and illustrated by various authors and illustrators.