Diversity has become a buzz word over the last couple of years in the creative community due to the changing tides in global politics. Readers around the world are now becoming more conscious about what they are reading and are keen to read about different cultures and nationalities. So I was elated to find the Read My Country Tag by created by Amanda from Cook Read Create. I think this a wonderful way of being more informed about different countries across the world and not just relying on those that make it to bestsellers’ list. Truth be told, there is a hidden literary treasure that is waiting to be discovered…
So here are my answers…
What country are you going to talk about?
What is your favourite childhood book from your country? (If you don’t have a favourite, name a popular children’s book from your country.)
I read quite a number of books from Phoenix Library but I can clearly recall always reading books that were above my reading levels. So loved Cynthia Hunter’s Pamela the Probation Officer, Truphena the Student Nurse, Truphena the City Nurse and Anna the Air Hostess
What is a book from your country that you read in school? (Primary school or high school, your choice!)
Wow! This will definitely date me but here goes. If you went through 8-4-4, you probably know that once you hit class (or grade) six, you forgot about your social life. At least that was the case for me in primary school.
In high school we had to read set books for English and Swahili Form 4 examinations, Francis Imbuga’s Aminata was a definite win for me because of the memorable characters (Agege, anyone?) and the strong women empowerment themes. Encounters from Africa was an anthology of memorable stories with stories from across but my favourite story was not from Kenya.
Honourable mentions: Walenisi was a Swahili book written by Tanzanian Katama Mkangi (does that count). Then there was Chinua Achebe’s A Man of the People from Nigeria but it is definitely highly recommended for anyone interested in African literature.
What is a book set in your favourite area of your country? And/or what’s a book set in a place you’d like to visit in your country?
I would love reader recommendations for stories from all over Kenya. Some historical fiction would be great from the Coastal and Western region. I know that it is hardly impossible to read books about Kenya without linking it to colonialism but if you can recommend some contemporary ones that would also be great.
What is a historical fiction book set in your country?
Paula McLain’s Circling the Sun that’s based on Beryl Markham’s life. Markham wrote the non-fiction, West into the Sun. These are also Leopard at the Door by Jennifer McVeigh and The River Between by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o
What is a book by an Indigenous author from your country? (If this is not applicable to your country, skip it.).
You could probably start with this 10-point listicle from The Guardian. In the recent past, I also really enjoyed Wahome Mutahi’s short satirical essay collection, How to be Kenyan. Though some people may find it outdated, I could relate to the “Kenyan-isms”
What is a classic book from your country?
Well, they are quite a number of popular ones Like Karen Blixen’s (a.k.a Isak Dinesen) Out of Africa and John le Carré’s The Constant Gardener that have been successful movie adaptations. Jomo Kenyatta’s Facing Mt Kenya. Elspeth Huxley’s The Flame Trees of Thika.
What is a book from your country that you haven’t read but would like to read?
Well, I have Yvonne Adhiambo Awour’s Dust that is literally gathering dust on my shelf so I would love to get to it sometime this year. Plus I recently purchased Ngugi wa Thiongo’s The Devil on the Cross. Histories of the Hanged by David Anderson, Ken Walibora’s Siku Njema.
What are some of your favourite authors or books from your country?
I would like to pass this question because truthfully, I grew up reading a lot of books written by Western authors, primarily American and British so I am discovering (good) Kenyan authors as an adult. So I can’t say that I have any favourite authors as at 2018.
As a bonus treat, here are some videos from some parts of the world that you might enjoy.
Australia | Cook Read Create (Original)
China| The Bookish Land
Poland | What Kamil Reads
Spain | Books with A.
South Africa | Lauren Ellwood
I am sure that several booktubers have done this tag from across the world and I will not be able to exhaust them. However, if there’s a country that you think I should add to the list asap, give a shout out to the blogger or YouTuber in the comments section below. Let me know if you are inspired to pick up any of the suggested books or which book have you read from you bucket-list travel destination.
You might also like:
- Books Set Outside the Western World
- Books Set Outside The Western World Vol. 2
- New York Times “By the Book”Tag: Insights on My Reading Habits
- Getting Out of My Bubble: Podcasts I am Listening to