Hello, Do You Read Me?

Picture of Books In a Pile
Ladder of Knowledge

If you are Kenyan and you read books, you probably have poor reading habits in my book, don’t take it personal it’s just a personal opinion. After about two days of contemplating what I should write about to make my much anticipated comeback to the blogosphere (I have fans who read me, what?), and because I just finished reading a book I would describe as quiet riveting, I decided I might as well teach folks good reading habits. Here are my fundamentals that I think everyone should abide by;

1. Ditch The Novel

Rule number one, if it’s a novel it’s a waste of time! You get much pleasure when you read but once you close the book there’s not much to show for it. It’s not how much you read, it’s what you read, can I get an amen? Okay, so you read for pleasure only, see that right there; that’s a bad habit. I do not refute, there are some good novels worth reading like I read Paulo Coelho again recently, good read, there is something more to gain than just pleasure in some of these novels but if you make novels your habit, you know what kind it’s going to be.

Novels’ shortcoming for a curious individual like me is that I’m compelled to take everything that the author writes as is. Whenever I ask myself ‘why?’, the answer is always going to be because the author wrote so. If you were anything like me in my reading habits, you would like to at least be presented with empirical evidence from real life experiences to make the fiction live, impossible! Fiction is dead, it cannot come to life. In a novel, even if the made-up story is credible, does it not make you wonder if things would happen in that exact sequence in real life? We probably will never know! And that might be my own bad habit, I always want to know.

2. Practice What You Read

You read something, test it. It will make you feel empowered and a better person. If it fails the test, dump it. On to the next. Wise men said; don’t believe everything you read, take a moment and digest this. In this era, it’s so easy to get a hold of a good book, one humongous reason why I’m glad to be living in it. Life is short, learn as much as you can, explore. There is no where a book cannot take you… I know, that sounds corny.

In the news this week, a woman was killed in a stampede in a Johannesburg university while scrambling for a chance to register for the limited spots (I guess they have not yet discovered online registration), that same day a debate was broadcasted on BBC’s World Have Your Say seeking to answer the question: is university education a privilege or a right? {To listen to that broadcast, download the podcast here, it had Kenyan contributors who misrepresented us (Kenyans) from my vantage point, the catch is that that particular podcast is available for download only for 7 days from the 10th of January 2012} It was interesting to note that education meant different things to different people, others considered online education as second class.. if not third, others considered education without certification as no education at all, check this story of students getting university education that they will not be credited for, they call it Freedom University. My point: when you read, you learn. And when you learn, it’s for your own development in the different facets of life. When you develop you become a better person because you think and understand things better, and there is some education for you.

3. Self-help Scrolls

Don’t even get me started, I’ll start by myself. Books that help you help yourself, read them in private and avoid sharing them with everyone. There may not be anything intrinsically wrong with these books, except for the fact that they can sometimes sap the excitement out of life by pointing out where the pitfalls are (or might be), I mean, noble but boring. But being spotted reading them is rather an admission of weakness, which is different and has nothing to do with the actual presence or absence of the said weakness. It’s like using a dating service.


This week I learned about independent candidature in Kenyan politics, excuse my ignorance but I just recently learned that to vie for the position of  MP or senator, the constitution does not necessarily require you to  be a member of a political party. Well, I’d like to see an independent candidate win an election, that would be something to watch.

Today I remembered an awkward time during my high school days, I was in the company of two of my high school friends when we bumped into my mother, after she had left one of them told the other “His mom is hot!” I mean, what do you say to that? Awkward indeed. *shaking head vigorously*

Happy new readers!