Book Review: The story of Anna P as Told by Herself

Anna P

The feeling I get when reading a good book is like being able to control your movement on very slippery ground. Anything is expected. But you can control it. For the moment. Then the last chapters are like slippery grounds on a slope. Everything happens so fast. You are helpless. Wondering why you went to the slippery dangerous grounds. Too late, you cannot stop.

Plenty of times I shut a book I am reading in time to cushion my dismay. Although you will not always know when you are going to gasp in public and embarrass yourself. Or get caught up in emotions. I do that a lot. I feel everything, hence my excuse to be a slow reader. I have accepted the pace.

The story of Anna P as Told by Herself has to be one of the best books I have ever chosen to read. It has surpassed all my expectations. The plot, the grammar, the description and the bizarre character of the characters in the book. It took me a while to wrap my head around the story but as soon as I was done with the foundation, I was reeled in. Like settling into a new house.

The book is about a woman who has had quite the dark past and painful one at that. As she grows older she pushes her real memory away and tries to hold on to whatever to make herself happy again and feel rooted. She feigns backgrounds and memories. Then it gets to a point that she doesn’t remember who she really is, but a repetition of history forces her to go back to the past.

This is the part of the book you will read with gasps, shock, anger and confusion. At least that’s what I experienced. Members of the book club I am in, went on and on and on about it. Agreeing and disagreeing. The conversation was enlightening. It is safe to say the book deserved all the accolades it bagged.

The only downside that other readers have pointed out, is the repetition. In the story she reads an old journal that almost parallels with what she is doing. I however did not mind that. I read through it. Each and every word.

At 64 years old, this is Penny Busetto’s first book. I would like to attribute her as a perfectionist. She took enough time to get her story out, marinate and let it all soak. She is the winner of the 2013 European Union Literary Award. The book was also shortlisted for the Etisalat prize for literature in 2015.
I do not mind a sequel of this book at all.

Such is life.

Life pans out in a very funny way, that’s why they say God has a great sense of humor. Mostly life pans out the way it wants and sometimes it just doesn’t pan, tilt, jib or zoom. (😄 throwing about camera lingo because I can)

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You go on with your daily routine and every underlying thing as usual but when you lie in bed at the end of the day and recount what you have done and what value it might have added, you regret thinking about it. Because, disappointment. So you try and shut your eyes then realize your feet are cold. In situations like these you would often get up get an extra pair of socks and warm water in the hot water bottle. But not today.

You always go by lists and your life is basically listed, but of late you can’t make any because you low-key hope your old organized and “doer” self will come back. It’s becoming a habit. It sort of worries you but you also don’t really care at this point. So you proceed to shut people out. Mainly because you do not want to be explaining to people why you don’t know what you are going through. It’s like crying and not knowing why you are crying, do you ever have those?

Like, Once in a while just lock yourself in a room, play loud music and scream into your pillow and sob really loudly? No? You should try. Then when your neck and face are really hot and the tears are done welling up, just stop. If not, keep going. Don’t clean your face, just look at yourself in the mirror and try to smile. This is usually my sort of victory moment. It feels like surviving a storm.

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Back to you.

You push yourself to do something, anything. So you take out the notebook that has secretly always made your bag look a ton or two heavier than a girl going about her duties. Those tiny sling bags that carry bus fare and lip-gloss are never your thing. (I will tell you why I have issues with those)

Not forgetting the book you are currently reading making your regular handbag last four months at most if is of good quality. With all this luggage as your daily must haves you wonder if people think you are doing the walk of shame. But really, no one cares. So should you. But you wonder anyway.

You stare down at the blank page, write a few words but they don’t make sense so you pick up the phone and scroll through your feed until an hour and fifteen minutes later, you feel like an undercover FBI agent because you know who and who else and their crushes including their exes dog tag color and can bet on that.

Then you realize how much of a social media slave you have become, a loser in the making and how much you have single handedly cultivated it. Then you become sad again. You might be an introvert but today you do not want to strike a conversation with anyone. Sunglasses are your savior so any time there’s anything gleaming for longer than five minutes, you always have them on. Why squint when you can spy, right? If you successfully ignore someone, it’s a small victory. If they see you and are smart enough to read your mood, you nod in greeting or wave. Another small victory. Then there’s that one who doesn’t read the mood or have business to mind so they engage you and want to dissect your business approaching with a wide grin and you roll your eyes. good thing they can’t see. They strike a conversation but you put them all out with one word answers. They ask “what’s wrong” as if they care. I bet you wish you should have run the other way.

You have been listening to drake’s songs back to back, you start feeling a little bit lonely and guiltier. Then you want to pick up the phone and apologize to that guy that has been trying to hit on you. For being such an evil heartless prick, but you still don’t like his face so you let that slide. I would rather be single, you say to yourself.

It is still cold when you get home, so you fire up the laptop, your only source of entertainment. Make yourself a cup of green tea and start looking for something to watch that won’t drag you down. Hot water bottle, check, blanket, check. The phone buzzes. You are surprised you hadn’t taken it out of the bag. I.M. you think it’s one of those groups but you check anyway. Just one of those “Hey stranger” texts.

Forget the movie, forget the tea. It triggers something and you get inspiration to write a trilogy and the movie script alongside a playwright. Some find peace in quiet, others in noise but you draw inspiration from anger. Just like that, your mojo is back. And whether or not it dawns on you, such is life.

 

 

Are you the next Airtel Trace Music Star?

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The second Season of the biggest Pan-African music competition is back and definitely bigger but it is also coming to a close. In a couple of hours. The second cycle has ten contesting countries Kenya, DRC, Gabon, Ghana,Madagascar, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania, Niger and Zambia.

Taking up music as a career is challenging enough and breaking into any music industry is even harder. Some pull here and a shove there has helped people get out of their cocoon, while other people never make it past the church choir. Not like its a bad thing, I’m just saying.

Many talented people are shy. Even Beyonce is shy. Imagine that. So Airtel saw it fit to give each and every contestant star treatment by bringing the audition to you. No queues, no nerves, not even judges with blank faces that make you think you should stick to singing in the shower.

You have hours left to call in and audition for your chance to be the next big artiste. I know, you are probably asking why I am doing this now? Because I know there is someone too afraid to reach out and call. C’mon. What do you have to lose? Ok, if you don’t want or need the phone or money, just do it then give me the prizes. I will appreciate. Thanks.

Phy (Ng’etich) is proof that last minute does works. Serving her IG followers with heavenly renditions, she says “Murda (by Seyi Shay) Kinda reminds me of how I auditioned for Airtel Trace. I was seated at the same place and I used my guitar as well. I auditioned on the deadline day too, using my mum’s phone, so I figured there was no way I’d be chosen. But God has His mysterious ways because a month later during an exam period I got a call. It could be you!”

All you require is a phone and an airtel line. Dial 0900733733, call, sing, Win. The top 5 will be picked by the official judges, three musical geniuses Wyre, Atemi and Chris Adwar.

Prizes include an iPhone 6s (how I wish I could sing), KES 1.5M, and a chance to be mentored by Keri Hilson and record a song with her. If that is not incentive enough I do not know what is. See you on the winning side.

#VoteSilvia for #KCA2016

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Whenever you start a project, you don’t expect it to fail. That’s why you wake up, plan and work at it with all you have, even though some of us fall off the bandwagon faster than others. It is those that remain disciplined and faithful to their hustle that will get an eventual breakthrough or recognition.

Silvia Njoki is not a foreign name to the blogging fraternity. She is a leading Kenyan Stylist and veteran blogger. Her relentless desire to become a force to reckon with in the Pan-african fashion industry has borne fruit by being nominated for the prestigious Nickelodeon’s 2016 kids’ choice awards under the “Best Blogger (Africa)” category.

The 2015 BAKE Award winner of Fashion Blogger of the year is nominated alongside Aisha Baker from South Africa of Baked the Blog, Uche Eze from Nigeria of Bella Naija, and Theodora Lee from South Africa Of TheodoraLee.com. This is quite the stiff competition and we need to bring this award home because if she wins, Kenya wins too.

Other highlights from this year’s list of nominees include Adele, Justin Bieber, Jennifer Lawrence, Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, Selena Gomez, Chris Pratt, The Weeknd, John Boyega, One Direction, Sofia Vergara, Daisy Ridley, Chris Hemsworth, Nickelodeon’s very own Kira Kosarin, Jack Griffo, Jace Norman and more.

You know how we sometimes complain that Kenyan’s might never win against other African countries in such big competitions? The answer is simple, we hardly vote religiously. Fan or not, take your time to vote daily as many times as you possibly can. It might be last minute but we all know last minute has saved the day sometimes. We can as well call this fashionably late.

Voting is still open for all categories on Nickelodeon’s digital platforms including kca.Nickelodeonafrica.com; fans will also be able to vote on Nickelodeon’s Twitter feed @NickelodeonAfrica using #Vote #KCA #voteSilvia. We have until tomorrow morning, lets go ham.

That’s not all: To win an all-expenses paid trip to attend the KCAs, you can sign up here

 

Taking Stock 4

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Making: Notes on Time management from all the reliable sources on YouTube and whatever else I can trust. Beyoncé has the same hours I do, there’s something I must be doing wrong.

Cooking: Errrm, to be honest I haven’t cooked in a few days. I am not starving, I have been eating out a lot lately. I had lots to do today so I just fixed myself a sandwich although I had intended to make Chapati’s. (Back to time Management)

Drinking: Coffee. With my sandwich. I am trying to stop being a caffeine dependent but I don’t like the alternatives like Soya. I took that in high school I don’t even want to think about it.

Reading: Mostly course texts but I am on Outliers Malcolm Gladwell. I might be reading it for the rest of my life. Cue for, don’t borrow. The basic rule to success I have learnt so far is the 10000 hour rule. That’s why you are about to see some changes. Especially here.

Wanting:  To go back-packing and explore.

Playing:  For the better part of the day I have been listening to In2 by WSTRN on replay alternating with Cake by the Ocean by DNCE. I love In2 the remix only because Chip decided to make a comeback on it.😛

Wasting: Nothing at all. Or I cannot notice what exactly it is that I might be wasting at the moment. Or maybe I am and I just don’t know. Like someone having a problem and not noticing, well. Maybe I am not wasting anything at all. Information. I have way too many drafts that I do not know when I will ever publish. Some information might be obsolete by the time I figure how to put it together but we shall see.

Sewing: There are a few buttons that have fallen off a few of my fabrics, after folding my laundry I tried finding my only remaining needle but I couldn’t find it. I went to a nearby mall and the whole maaaaaaaaaaaaaallllllllllllll doesn’t have a sewing kit? Ok, I only went to the supermarket. I’m yet to fix the buttons.

Wishing: Nothing specific really but a home cooked meal would be good. Do you guys ever crave a home cooked meal prepared by someone else for a change? I just might crash at yours if you are a throw down bigwig😀

Enjoying: Rihanna’s new album ANTI. Although I would like to know Anti what? Bullshit? Antichrist? Antifeelings? I particularly love “love on the brain” and “Consideration”. I have heard work too many times I just want to let it rest and see if I might go back to liking it.

Liking: How my stubbornness has saved me from headache.

Wondering: Why my windows 10 is being such a prick. We are not on abacus I should be able to have a million tabs open and still work fine!!! Dammit!!!

Loving: Jungle green jackets, somebody say obsessed.

Hoping: That I could really get to be good at managing my time fairly, I could use some sanity. Pressure has never been good for anyone.

Marvelling: At how many people were anticipating Leonardo DiCarprio’s win at the Oscars. It had been a long time coming. 22 years bruv!!! Lesson learnt: Keep doing it, patience pays.

Needing: A clone.

Smelling: Thann aromatic wood hand lotion, smells like therapy.

Wearing: Blue Jeggings and white Sauti sol Vest.

Following: A number of people on snapchat. Miss Kihoro is hilarious. Her Meru accent will floor you. Before you join, please know it can waste your time and make you vain.

Noticing: That this is my fourth #TakingStock. What a waste of information, right? A lot has been going on in my life I could’ve documented it. It has been a freaking whole year!!

Knowing:  I don’t know anything. Hahaha, I have nothing figured out. This is where is use the excuse that I took “stay foolish” a little too serious.

Feeling: Cues in Numb- August x B.O.B

Bookmarking: Lately I have been reading physical texts…… and by the way the Adele Dejak tags are superb bookmarks. Double win.

Opening: Nothing really. Wish I could unwrap the new month now that its 1st.

Laughing: at the conversations Kimmy, Chemu and I used to have. Tears. The kind of friends you spend 80% of your time laughing when you meet up.

Feeling: Great!! I have been able to have 5 posts on the blog in 2 days. Because yesterday was a leap year. And I felt extra productive.

 

These Leaping words.

The second month of the year is over and I am wondering where the time has gone because just yesterday, January: we were complaining of how the month just won’t come to an end. We have 366 days this year, what did you do with your extra 24 hours? I had different plans. The way my day is set up, I don’t have the luxury of going to leap, literally. Neither does my height phobia allow.Yet.

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This month has rushed by for me because I had my hands in a million things. I feel lighter with this last page of this chapter. Through it all, a few things have become clear. And that’s fine because going forward I might be familiar and prepared. Hopefully.

The next 29th of February will be in 2020, I know you know how to count, so I thought I might as well have my words leap. As tribute. Catch up on the other three posts.  Read more about Songoma, the freshest boy band in Kenya at the moment. Some of my loco friends shared a list of things women want and we had a brief back and forth so I thought I could narrow it down for them and anyone else who might be clueless. Lastly, as 2015 was coming to an end, Google had a list of the most searched information in different categories, find out what I picked to expound on.

Also my device has been having problems, I could come up with a draft post on my word document and it just disappears when I run out of charge. One time, Word wouldn’t activate at all so allllll the unsaved drafts I had in my history went with the wind. The juices don’t come that often either. I found a temporary solution because my geek friend is that badass.

Now, the thing is that I could be typing my bent thoughts because the juices are flooding then the system just freezes, like Rango.  Forcing me to act sane for a couple of minutes until it comes back or restarts itself. This is the most annoying part in technology but In all this I have learnt to be a patient person. I have been told it is a windows 10 thing? Is there anyone else having the same problem?

In other news, I have not in particular admitted to being overwhelmed or busy but instead as lazy or horrible at time management. Then I try to make the most of what I have because this might be a familiar cycle, complaining how time drags itself at the beginning then complaining how fast time has flown. We might not realize it but complaining has become such second nature that we are even eager to complain. Don’t believe me?

This is how  exchange pleasantries lately.

A: Hey, how are you doing?

B: I’m good, I can’t complain. You?

Sound’s familiar, aye? That used to be my response as well, up until I decided to be conscious about it. Maybe the reason we have lots to complain about is because we attract them with our words, mannerisms and whole being that they subconsciously become second nature and slide into our pleasantries.

For a while I used to ask in return, “are you always looking to complain?” with a smile so I don’t sound like a meanie. I could get blank faces in return. I guess it either made them uncomfortable or they just didn’t understand. I decided otherwise. I choose not to shove my energies into people’s lives. Let them call whatever they want to call into their lives.

Because we always look for reasons to celebrate, Happy leap year.😉

What women want.

Fantasies might be far-fetched but they are existing realities as well: especially those that women have of the ideal man. All those movies we have watched and the overly dreamy novels we have cozied up to read made us have the slight shred of hope.

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A man who opens doors is just as sexy, letting the lady go first will never ever go out of style. We squeeze into clothes and other things, doors should not be one of those. Let ladies in first, this will never go out of style. The bonus is that you get to check us out. The only time you should go first is if there’s danger. Then you can go first and cover us from whatever it is.

Date a woman, take her out on an actual date. It is called dating for a reason. Make plans and go out to a quiet place, get to know her. There is something about serene environments and looking into each others eyes that makes human susceptible to opening up. Dinners, breakfasts, lunch, the works. There are very many options to fit different budgets. So no, we are not asking for the 5.4 million night, we are a little grounded than that. But if you can afford it without your bank account squirming, why not?

Non-verbal cues will earn you a lot more than you expect. Look into her eyes when speaking with her, and actually listen to what they are saying. Random compliments will unlock doors you never knew existed. Especially when we are sort of mad or in a bad mood. Remember Ne-yo’s when you’re mad? Or mid conversation,maybe when we don’t even know you are looking. Just make sure you are confident about it and don’t be weird. Do your research.

Gift us thoughtfully for no apparent reason. It is not my birthday, I haven’t received a promotion, it is not valentines neither is it our anniversary, yet. But I have stared at a painting too long at the gallery, you have seen my eyes sparkle when I set eyes on those shoes, I have spoken about a particular book a few times. Sometimes it is code for “read between the lines” but at times we have bookmarked it somewhere in our minds and hope to get it another day. Confectionery, clothes, accessories, the list can’t be exhausted. Master the art of gifting.

A woman would want to look good for you if you are worth it. Glam tight dress, sky high heels, make-up and all. There is a very high chance that if I am going to take public transport I will not put as much effort for one reason or another. After a few pleasant dates, go pick up your woman from home and drop her back. unless she does not want you to. If you cannot pick her up, ask her to take a cab and pay for it. This is for those who are cut for the extra mile. Go figure.

Public display of affection is a winner. Leave your caveman days with your grandparents and hold your girls hand in public. If you are looking for a way to mark your territory and show her off at the same time holding hands is your answer. In doing so, you communicate in ways words cannot and we are experts at that, actually we are born to read in between those lines. Now go ahead and write them lines.

When you have crossed the line to get to visit each others home’s do things together as opposed to waiting for the other to do things for you. For instance making meals together. You might not be the ultimate chef but you can clean a plate and hand over a mortar from the top shelf. Make yourself useful, be more.

When you are on the other side, living together legally or not, offer massages and make sure you know how to give them. If you are a massage rookie, foot massages will be a good place to start. Know where to rub, in what motions and the intensity. You are not harvesting tea leaves so be gentle but firm with us.

Women’s fantasies are intertwined and run into each other, we appreciate them all and crave for more.Cuddling, warm hugs, shoulder’s to lean on on bad days, we want it all and we know you are capable. Just google, read a book, ask, rid the world of sulk one fantasy at a time.