Tag Archives: Books

Hyped Books I Found Underwhelming

“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”
― Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood

I often find my IG timeline flooded with the same books, just different accounts and different poses. Some of these books also make it onto the pages of figures who are worth learning from, and so it becomes easy to choose a book because there is so much hype about it.

There are times when I want a book that matches the mood I’m in or which can help me deal with a particular issue, and so I’ll Google and get a list of popular books that match what I’m looking for. Some of them do deliver, they really live up to the hype while others leave me wondering what the fuss really is about.

However, I do believe that it’s not because the books I find underwhelming are bad. It’s just a preference thing. Some books are powerful and amazing for some people while they suck for others. Just like everything else in this world- music, food, art, people, etc.

So, here’s a list of books I went running to buy because I was told they were mind-blowing but didn’t work for me.

Adultery by Paulo Coelho

I read this back when I used to commit to a book. If I started a book, I had to finish it. And so I tortured myself through Adultery, constantly saying, “Please tell me it gets better. Please tell me it gets better,” until I reached the last page. Before this I’d read The Devil and Miss Prym, The Alchemist, Veronika Decides to Die, Brida, By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept, The Winner Stands Alone and Manuscript Found in Accra. I loved all of them, some more than others, but Adultery became my last.

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carré

When I read the reviews I saw, “thrilling, intelligent, pleasant, chilling…” but I didn’t experience any of those. It was okay but it didn’t keep me at the edge of my seat. When I got to the end I really wondered if that was it. That’s it? That’s the story? It clearly wasn’t for me.

The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

I read this in Jan or Feb this year and wrote a review. I believe if I had read this four or five years ago, I’d have fallen in love with it, revisited it even. I think once you’ve read a whole lot of business, self-help or entrepreneurship books, some being absolutely powerful and life-changing, when you read one that sounds like a repetition of what you’ve already learned, you can become easily bored. That’s what happened with The $100 Startup, so I’d still recommend it as a good book but just not for me.

The Art of War by Sun Tzu

I didn’t enjoy it because I didn’t fully understand it. I only got to appreciate the book when I read The Art of War for Women by Chin-ning Chu, which I found absolutely impressive and useful. The original text by Sun Tzu is on the list of books that changed history but whose history, I ask. Wealthy people, dictators and the whole cluster of people in positions of power swear by it but I honestly didn’t get it.

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

This is a good book and a necessary book. I say this because I appreciate the message she’s sharing. We need to hear more female voices promoting women empowerment and I appreciate the way she raises a voice for women and their space in the workplace and home. I reviewed it and I took only the great bits and gave it a positive review. The only thing for me was that the book was not exciting. It talks about crucial issues but it wasn’t stimulating. There’s a way to make even the most serious matters sound exciting, and this one just didn’t do it for me.

The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso

This book has a few parts that are funny and pleasant to read. It’s also a good story overall, all the right and basic elements of good storytelling are in there. But it didn’t have that punch, it didn’t knock my socks off. I read it but once I closed it, I quickly forgot about it.

What Colour is Your Parachute? by Richard Nelson Bolles

I couldn’t!

The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley

I don’t think I’m the target audience.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson

There are many gems in the book and you will leave with something that will help make some change in the way you see things. I bought it because of the title, it’s a really cool title. Somewhere in the middle, I lost interest and my enthusiasm dropped significantly until I couldn’t force anymore and had to put it down. I did, however, pick it up again and finished it even though it still wasn’t as amazing as it had first started.

The 5AM Club by Robin Sharma

I’m a fan of Robin Sharma’s work and there’s always so much to learn. The way I feel about his work is the way I feel about Paulo Coelho’s work, inspiring and motivating, but repetitive. If you read more than three of his books then you will notice how a lot of times you pick up the same or similar lines, or the same lesson. Maybe it’s intentional but it can be exhausting. Another reason I didn’t enjoy this book as much is that I think the advice is great but it doesn’t fit into my personal life, I can’t follow it, there’s not much room for it. I did try to personalise the advice so that it can work for my schedule and my home and work life, but it didn’t happen.

What are some of the hyped books you found underwhelming?

My Reading Journey (Part 2) – How My Reading Evolved

From Catherine Cookson to Napoleon Hill.

I previously shared how I got into reading in Part 1 and mentioned some of the titles I started out with when I was a young reader. Here, I continue with my reading journey and show you how my book preferences and reading habits have changed over time.

When I was young I loved fiction and my selection of what to read was just random. My taste was dictated by what was available and so I enjoyed books by authors like Catherine Cookson, Sidney Sheldon, Jackie Collins, Eric van Lustbader, Dean Koontz, Nora Roberts, and Jonathan Kellerman, because they dominated our bookshelf.

There wasn’t much African fiction, they weren’t as available in libraries either. In addition to the two I previously mentioned, Marabi Dance and Kaffir Boy, I only remember Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom. The stories I fed on were therefore, predominantly American and British. The few books in my mother tongue, Setswana, were only accessible in the classroom.

Setswana books

When I reached high school I was introduced to Bessie Head’s Maru and George Orwell’s Animal Farm, the only prescribed reading material for English. I instantly fell in love with Head and to date, I’ve probably read Maru more than ten times.

Except for nursery rhymes (it is poetry), I only entered the world of poetry in high school. Mending Wall by Robert Frost and Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas, were our staples. I hated poetry and I didn’t do well in it either.

I had my school reading and books at home but my curiosity about the world added other kinds of reading. I used to visit our public libraries to read the most random books and on the most random topics, such as studies on Haemophilia, the male reproductive system (don’t ask), social psychology and about scientists like Isaac Newton, Dmitri Mendeleev, John Dalton and Galileo Galilei. There was no research or school projects on these type of books and topics, but pure curiosity.

It was when I got to university that the world of books expanded for me. The UCT Library became my haven. By the third year, just before I dropped out, I was at the library instead of lectures. That was where I discovered a cornucopia of reading pleasures and in that, I finally found African books. I found Es’kia Mphahlele, Nadine Gordimer, Dambudzo Marechera, Chinua Achebe and Buchi Emecheta. I fell in love with African stories, finally. Why had I been deprived of these beautiful and rich literary texts before?  

I already wanted to be a writer and had already dropped out of Accounting even though I was still showing up on campus, mainly for the library and the beer at the UCT Club. After dropping out and while sleeping on a friend’s couch, I met her roommate, a shitty English major student who ridiculed my lack of knowledge on English classics, which he referred to as “true and pure literature.” Fuck him! But as much as I hated the insecurity he planted in my head and wanted to dismiss it, I desperately went on a search for these books that I’d fail at becoming a writer if I didn’t read. The first were Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, followed by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and then George Eliot’s Simon Marner.

I enjoyed them very much but the actual author who took my spark for writing and turned it into an intense flame, filling my head with passion and possibility was Fyodor Dostoevsky. When I first read Notes from Underground I knew I had found my path. Writing, books, and words were what I wanted to consume and produce, for the rest of my life. Then I read Crime and Punishment and the literary world became home.

While chasing my dream of becoming a fiction writer I also discovered poetry that would create a deep love for the genre. I read Miss Maya Angelou and I was hooked. She had me with Phenomenal Woman, I was sold. Then I read Tupac’s The Rose that Grew from Concrete and Langston Hughes’s poems. I fell in so deep that I tried my hand at it and published my own collection, Poetically Ghetto. Another topic for another day.

I was still reading strictly fiction and poetry until in my early twenties when I met my now husband, who only read non-fiction. We influenced each other’s preferences and shortly after we met he was reading David Baldacci and I was collecting a lot of books by the likes of Stephen Covey, Robert Kiyosaki, Robin Sharma, Robert Greene and Napoleon Hill.

And so began a vigorous journey into extensive reading, and intensive self-education.

“A teacher can kindle your mind and let you memorize information, but true education is often self-education.”
― Debasish Mridha

Lessons from YOU ARE A BADASS by Jen Sincero

“How to stop doubting your greatness and start living an awesome life.”

‘You Are a Badass’ promises to help you confront and change your self-sabotaging behaviour and creating a kick-ass life. Its chapters are filled with stories to inspire you and exercises to guide you through your badassery journey. She uses straight talk and humour to help you to get to understand yourself, improve the things that you can and accept those that you can’t change.

Here are some lessons I took away from the book:

  • “What you choose to focus on becomes your reality.”
  • Your faith should be greater than you fear.
  • “Growth ain’t for the weenies, but it is nowhere near as painful as living the life you’re living right now if you’re not really going for it.”
  • If you are able to have a fucked up perception of yourself, you are also able to have a brilliant one. Why choose the former?
  • “When we’re happy and all in love with ourselves, we can’t be bothered with the bullshit (our own or other people’s).”
  • Actions can reveal answers better than just sitting and thinking about them.
  • If you want to make changes in your life and get the things that you want, you’re going to have to take control of your thoughts.
  • When you live in a state of gratitude, it’s easy to believe that more great things are coming your way.
  • “So often when we say we’re unqualified for something, what we are really saying is that we’re too scared to try it, not that we can’t do it.”
  • “There is a big difference between walking around saying you want to make a million dollars a year, and having crystal clear intentions, fierce desire, and hell-bent action towards a specific goal.”

This book is a good reminder to us about our abilities to steer our lives in the direction we desire. If you usually have self-doubt, feel stuck or unable to see yourself in a place of success, wealth, happiness or thriving in whatever it is you want to do and have, it gives you a pinch to tell you to stop and tells you how to change and do better.

⭐⭐⭐⭐


Title: You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living And Awesome Life

Author: Jen Sincero

Published: 2013, Running Press Book Publishers

Genre: Self-help

The Antidote to Ignorance

Use for at least 30 minutes a day and you’ll feel the ignorance slowly fade away.

Apart from people whose economic conditions prevent them from accessing the world of books, everyone else who has books available to them but chooses not to read, is choosing to live in the imprisonment of ignorance.

A lot of people think that full education, knowledge about the world and its affairs, are all learnt in school. School is excellent, it’s necessary for a lot of people but it doesn’t cover even half of what you’ll learn about life, the world, people and most importantly, about yourself.

When I was in varsity someone asked me why we were studying in the first place and I told him it was to get a degree so that we could get good jobs.

“No. School teaches us how to learn. When you leave this place, with your piece of paper you will see what a small fraction your degree plays once you get into the real world. You’ll have to find ways to learn more, to grow and to advance.”

I didn’t get it at the time but years later, trying to figure out how to learn, grow and advance in my career and personal life, I got it.

Books are the extra work you will need to make it as far as you wish to go. For some, with natural social smarts, books are all they need.

We’ve been convinced that without an academic qualification the world stops spinning, that we can’t make much of ourselves and that this gorgeous oyster is only for a special few. That is just fucked up on a cosmic scale!

As if that’s not enough, we’re sold all these addictive and time-wasting TV shows and movies that are entertaining but don’t do as much for mental stimulation and offer very little to improve our lives. It doesn’t help that now you don’t have to run home to catch your favourite show but you can access it from wherever, whenever.

Then we have social media, where hours fly while we salivate over the lives of people that are mostly far from reality. Giving us a load of shitty feelings about ourselves.

Then when we finally get our asses off the screen, we’re tired and can only manage the little that we can to survive – go to work, put food on the table and have a place to sleep. If you’re okay with that kind of half-lived life then don’t ever complain about others doing and having more, and you being stuck, unable, discouraged, uninspired, trapped, lost or BORED.

Books have been the gateway to a better life for as long as they’ve existed. They’ve been the compass to knowledge treasures, secrets that opened unknown doors to successes, victories and riches.

History has demonstrated how books and libraries have not just been banned but reduced to ashes to keep people from accessing certain knowledge. Leaders would burn books to keep people ignorant and what a shame it would be if that was no longer necessary because people choose to stay ignorant.

“No, no need to burn ‘em, the fools don’t read anyway.’

It’s not a chore as some lazy people have made it out to be. Half an hour a day is no chore at all. It’s not as time-consuming as it’s also made out to be. “I’m too busy, where will I find the time to read?” If you work out what you do with every minute of your day you’ll see how you can spare way more than thirty minutes.

In books you will find many stories that mirror yours, similar adversities and with ways to overcome them. When you read you give your brain a good workout, you take all that’s written and create a visual representation, stimulating the most important thing that dies as we get older – IMAGINATION. You gain general knowledge and a deep understanding of what is happening around you as well as within you.

How many times have you seen an article about how ultra-successful people credit reading as a big part of their success?

Let’s be clear about one thing; reading does not make you successful. Rather, it’s using the knowledge you acquire from the books that will take you from one level to another.

Choose your books wisely, find out about them from people who’ve read them and read reviews. Jump into it with enthusiasm, with a mission to walk out with life changing tools. Listen, it doesn’t matter if you’re reading fiction or non-fiction, you will find your treasure if you look well enough.

Grab a book and school yourself.

10 Books I’ve Read More Than Once

“There’s nothing wrong with reading a book you love over and over. When you do, the words get inside you, become a part of you, in a way that words in a book you’ve read only once can’t.”
― Gail Carson Levine

These are books I loved so much I just had to start again from the beginning and read like it’s my first time. Some of them I read at a young age when I didn’t fully understand and got to enjoy them even more as I got older. Others I consult, I carry them around for a while and when in need of help, I go through specific chapters or start from the beginning and read through to the end.

10. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

This is a masterpiece. One of the greatest gems in African literature. I’ve probably read it five times or more. It is the only book by Achebe I’ve read and I recently got two others which I look forward to reading.

9. Manuscript Found in Accra and Brida by Paulo Coelho

I read it twice and that was probably the last time I read any of his work. I’ve read a few others and I started finding a lot of repetition in his work. His work is phenomenal but once you’ve read six or more of them, it’s okay to explore other authors.

8. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

I don’t know how many times I’ve read it. I keep going back to it because some of the poems are so therapeutic and I can use some of them as a form of counseling.

‘do not look for healing
at the feet of those
who broke you”
― Rupi Kaur, Milk and Honey

7. Animal Farm by George Orwell

I must have read this five times. It’s an excellent book, it teaches a lot and it’s so real, in that what it talks about still exists. It’s also short and very easy to read.

6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

I was moved by her story and also enjoyed her style of writing. I read it three times. It was so raw, honest and not self-piteous at all. She was truly a phenomenal woman.

5. The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

I have read it three times. I don’t agree with a few things in it but most of it has a way of getting me back on track and helping me find a sense of direction.

4. Maru by Bessie Head

I’ve probably read this one more than ten times. It was the prescribed reading in my eleventh and twelfth grade so I had to read and master it. I got a copy, years after high school and read it four times. Give me a copy now and I will devour it like it’s my first time.  

3. Mhudi by Sol Plaatje

I borrowed this book from my friend in 2013 and I still have it. I know, I’ve committed a crime in the bibliophile community constitution. I will return it. I just love the book because it’s so close to home – South African book and my people, Batswana, are in it. The writing, as well as the story, is exceptional. I read it twice.

2. Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt

1. Marabi Dance by Modikwe Dikobe

My absolute favourite. One of the books that made me fall in love with reading and start thinking of writing. I must have read six or seven times, and that was at a young age. I’d love to read it again now and see how I understand it, and how I enjoy it.

10 Books I Struggled To Finish

There are books I’ve tried reading and found so difficult that I gave up. Some are too long and the story drags, or the manipulation of time in the story is too much and I can’t keep up with where I am or where the story is taking me.

Some are just plain boring. In some books, you can tell how the author wanted to show off their wide vocab. Some are so well-written that the challenge is to have your mind sharp at all times in order to understand the language and the story, and that can be taxing and intimidating.

How many books have you started reading because they’ve been labeled, ‘The Greatest Book of All Time” or because they’re on the popular classics list? I’ve done it, and I’m sure if you read a lot you’ve probably committed that crime too. All these books were difficult for me to finish and some I promised to revisit, while some are just not for me and they belong on someone else’s shelf.

  1. Ulysses by James Joyce

It’s a highly praised novel and often called a masterpiece of Modernism. From the little bit I read, I still remember how funny and delightful it was to read. It’s also about 700 pages long and that’s where our engagement ended. I would love to try it again and maybe this time it will work out.  

2. Dubliners by James Joyce

This is a collection of fifteen short stories of which I can’t remember a single one. All I remember is how Joyce’s writing was good with bringing the reader to Dublin, through the characters, their language, their lives, and their struggles. I’m not sure if I will revisit this one.  

3. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

I don’t know what happened here. One minute I was enjoying it and the next I got distracted and left it somewhere or lost it, and haven’t looked for another copy ever since. This was in 2017 but I do have a slight idea of where I was – where Vronsky meets Anna or something like that. I will be reading it again and probably complete it.

4. Money: Master the Game by Anthony Robbins

This one I intentionally put it aside because I reached a point where I felt it was pointless to just read and not apply. That’s all. So, I will definitely be returning to it and to get the most out of it, I’ll also be following the steps and guidance he provides. It would be pointless to read it like a novel for the sake of putting it on my ‘read’ list.

5. Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

I struggle with books that are heavy with prejudice, discrimination or ill-treatment of a certain group of people, especially when the book is non-fiction or based on a true story. I wanted to focus on the respect for and admiration of the women but I was struggling with what surrounded them and what they had to go through. Along the way, I just had to put it down. I don’t know if I’ll be ready to continue with it.

6. The Odyssey by Homer

I attempted it twice and I just couldn’t get past ten pages. However, after reading Mythos and since I’m about to read Heroes by Stephen Fry, I have a feeling I’ll be reading it soon. Now, I’m very interested.

7. Everything Shakespeare

I may be crucified for this one but I’ve never had an interest in reading Shakespeare’s work. I have tried and I have this huge collection of his works but I just can’t sit down and enjoy any of it. I will do a whole post on why I’ve never bothered to read Shakespeare. Coming soon.

8. A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking

I didn’t feel smart enough to understand it. That’s the honest truth. My husband is a physicist and he can read these kinds of books in a breath and understand it all but I was struggling. Eventually, I put it down but I would like to give it another shot.

9. Open City by Teju Cole

I don’t know about you but it’s a difficult book to read. I don’t know if I attempted to read it back when my English was too poor or what (second language speaker), but I just didn’t understand what it was about. I’m pretty sure I read more than twenty pages but I can’t even begin to explain what they were about. I do think I’ll read something else by him though.  

10. Hard Times by Charles Dickens

I don’t know why I didn’t finish this one because Dickens’s writing is excellent. I was probably not in the mood. I enjoyed Great Expectations and would love to read A Tale of Two Cities, and yes, because of its opening.

There are too many books in the world to love them all or enjoy them all. Some are to be devoured and treasured, and some are to pass along to those who’ll love them, while some shouldn’t have been written in the first place.

Which books were you unable to finish?

Finding The Way To Power With Niccolò Machiavelli in ‘The Prince’

REVIEW

MACHIAVELLIAN: “Cunning, scheming, and unscrupulous, especially in politics.” – (Lexico.com/Oxford Dictionary)

The Prince is a pragmatic manual for those who wish to attain power, maintain or expand it. It is set against the backdrop of the Italian Renaissance and was written by Niccolò Machiavelli, who with the aim to make an impression dedicated it to Lorenzo de’ Medici.

Machiavelli begins by describing the different types of states and how they are acquired. He also states the challenges they each represent and how to overcome them. There’s a reason it has been associated with the words in the above definition and why it’s considered by some to be unethical and immoral. It is also debatable whether it can be used for good or bad intentions; to attain power in order to unify and create peace or to feed tyrannical appetites.

The book mostly separates politics from ethics and Machiavelli’s opinion of mankind is not the most positive, as he describes them as ‘fickle’, that people are generally self-interested (which is true to some extent), and how their goodwill can be manipulated. Deception is quite the star in this book. According to Machiavelli, power can be gained by deception instead of force. When it comes to being loved by the people, his advice is that being feared is much more sustainable. The middle part of the book is on preparation for warfare and the last part is about the qualities of a prince or qualities he should pretend to have. He also mentions certain figures to make examples, such as Cesare Borgia who was clearly a big inspiration to him.

This book has been influential in politics and can be seen in the way affairs are run in many states. Politicians are known to overpromise and under deliver, to carry out the deception of making false promises and later make excuses. It is also a book that speaks to the self-interested and power-hungry. However, if used with a careful interpretation, it could be used to gain power to lead with good intentions for the wellbeing of the state and its people.  

It’s a short and clear, simply constructed and without superfluous wording, as he himself says, “…not adorned with long phrases or high sounding words.” For many years, it has had and still has a notable place in the political sphere. Despite its association with cunningness, scheming and ruthlessness its advice can be used to create good strategies in business, leadership and politics. I believe how you use it or what you seek from it can influence how you enjoy it, or not.

“The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

A Seat At The Table With Sheryl Sandberg in ‘Lean In’

“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

-Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In

The workplace can be a battlefield for women, where they struggle with progressing and gaining access to top roles. Leadership roles are still dominated by men, and promotion and rising to higher positions takes place faster for men than it does for women.

Sheryl Sandberg unknots the underlying issues that have to do with these challenges that women face, and comes up with good solutions. In Lean In, Sandberg identifies root causes such as women’s personal attitudes and lack of confidence. Fear also influences women’s attitudes in the workplace, such as the fear that they don’t deserve certain roles as compared to men. There’s also the fear of failing, putting too much on their plates and the fear of not being able to balance home and work. Women still need to play other roles at home, wives and mothers and there’s also the fear of not succeeding in those roles.

Sandberg also confronts the issue of likeability – a woman being too nice therefore perceived as incompetent, or being competent but not nice enough. She suggests that women should feel they deserve the roles they want and accept the challenge. Wanting to do it all just won’t work, but doing most of it well enough will help.

Her other remedy is that women should seek out opportunities and ask for them if they have to. There are women who will hold back the reality of their personal lives, which can get in the way, and so she advises that they should be open about their personal lives as it is not separate from their work lives.

This book is a good contribution to the efforts of changing the system and achieving equality. The issues she addresses are serious and her passion for a call to make changes in a world that constantly makes it difficult to carry out that task, is commendable. The style can be slightly dull at times, therefore making it a bit demanding on the reader’s attention. However, it’s a necessary read for both men and women. It’s for women to recognize things about themselves that could be holding them back. It is for men because it will bring to attention some of the things that they do to hold women back and ways that they can help to creating equality. It can also advise women who stand in the way of other women, on how self-preservation only serves to inflame what is already wrong with the system.

Lean In is worth a read. It plays a good role in the fight for women’s right to get a seat at the table.

If You Really Want To Read You’ll Make The Time.

Reading in a tuk-tuk

I’m about to throw a long quote at you but it’ll make sense, you’ll see. Here it is:

“Time is the inexplicable raw material of everything. With it, all is possible; without it, nothing. The supply of time is truly a daily miracle, an affair genuinely astonishing when one examines it. You wake up in the morning, and lo! your purse is magically filled with twenty-four hours of the unmanufactured tissue of the universe of your life! It is yours. It is the most precious of possessions. No one can take it from you. It is unstealable. And no one receives either more or less than you receive.”

– Arnold Bennett

Well said, right? On point. How many times have you said, “I don’t have the time,” and yet sat on your bed or couch and stayed on Instagram for hours or on Netflix? It’s so easy to do a lot of nothing and when faced with doing the things that matter, easily say we don’t have time. Doing the lazy stuff or the things that aren’t of not much value is easier. When we picture things that are more likely to be of greater benefit we already attach the idea that they require a Herculean effort and the excuses tap just keeps running. It’s so easy to backup laziness with good excuses, it’s the easiest thing to do. Why do we end up having “special people” do extraordinary things while we sit and make “but” lists? It’s because it’s way easier to say “but I don’t have time” and convince ourselves we’ve made a good argument, than it is to rearrange our lives to free up time to do those extraordinary things.

While my brother and I waited for our lunch.

Someone said that I must have the luxury of reading time because I don’t have a job. Yeah, because freelance writing and editing are just as good as picking my nose and farting all day, right? Anyway, I’m going to share how I make time to read while I do my freelance writing and editing, study and raise three kids (well, four if you count their dad).

  • I read in the car

No, please do not read and drive. You might just die. I don’t drive, so whether I’m on my way to taking the kids to school, running errands or whatever, I read on the way, except on these Nairobi roads with nasty potholes. If you’re driving then you can do audio books. Some people are too embarrassed to take out a book in public because people are staring. Well, let them look. And if you do feel this way, please read The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, and you’ll see what a wasteful fuck it is that you’re giving.

  • I read in queues

I don’t get pissed when I find a queue. Please don’t say, “Oh but what if you’re late?” If you’re late, you’re late. If it is something important, you’re still going to have to queue. You might as well do something while you’re waiting. Read. I live in Nairobi and there are so many places I go to, like hospitals, where I will queue until I feel I’ve reached menopause, but having a book makes it bearable.

  • I read at the spa or salon

If I can’t do hands and feet at the same time then while I get a pedicure I read. I read while I’m getting my braids (I have a big head so it takes long) or while sitting under the dryer.

  • I read while I do self-care at home

I’m not a big fan of long baths but once in a while I need it, especially detox baths or ice cold water soak. While I’m in there I grab a book and read away. If only I could do it in the shower. While I soak my feet at home after a long day or sit with that homemade activated charcoal face mask, I read.

  • I read when I wake up in the morning and before bed at night

I’m learning to do less snoozing when my alarm goes off and instead of reaching for my phone for social media, I grab one book from the pile on my bedside table. Even if it’s one page it makes a difference to how I’ll start my day. It’s also the last thing I do before I crash. Sometimes I overdo it though, one chapter becomes half the book and before I know it the sun is coming out or I hear my kids’ little feet scuttle to my room to demand breakfast.

  • I read when I don’t feel like people-ing

It sounds very anti-social, I know, but I do it when people are also doing some anti-social things. How many times have you been to some gathering and people are just buried in their phones? I just pull out a book instead of trying too hard to fill in the silence they leave hanging.

  • In the loo

This one is not for me but if it works for you, please do use that opportunity to dive into a good read.

If you don’t want to be holding up a book while doing other things, you can get audiobooks. Because you don’t have to carry a book around and all that “hard work”, you can listen for as long as you want while you do other things. You can play an audiobook while cooking or doing chores. When I say reading it’s not only in a traditional sense, you can always find the best way to enjoy books without it feeling like a burden or something you can’t make time for.

Your time is precious and you should use it for the things that matter. I know, life gets hectic and by the end of the day you wonder where all the time went but if you just move things around you can make time not just for reading but also for so many things that you’ve thrown into the no-time-for basket.

Make the time, it’s in your hands.

Happy reading!

If you need help getting into reading and how to become an avid reader, you can download our free guide here.