Hello! Did your year get off to a swinging start? No? Never mind that, I too have had a slow start. Due to reasons, I’ve had lots of time to read in January – so you know it’s gonna be a packed list. Let’s dive.

  • Let’s start with this personal essay by Igoni Barrett because there’s a good reason it’s been getting all the buzz. He talks about his journey to becoming the writer he is now. “No experience in life is wasted, especially when you’re writing.”
  • Silence Is a Woman by Wambui Mwangi. This is an important essay about women, their bodies and their voices. It is centered on Kenya but feels too familiar.
  • The Search for Joseph (or How to Lose an Invisible Man) is a fascinating article. Gloria has done some investigation into the man who is trying to be heard in a city full with ‘walls that are not speaking’.
Every time I saw Joseph’s name, I saw him reaffirming his existence. He reaffirmed his existence 17 times on the wall of the Aga Khan Mosque, twice on Jinja Road, once in Kabalagala, and uncountable times at the bus stops along Kira Road.
  • Scientists Pat and Peter Shaw lived full, loved and interesting lives together; they died in a suicide pact in October in what they called The Big Sleep.
  • The Reductive Seduction of Other People’s Problems – just from the title, I’m sure you can tell you need to read this. It’s directed at our ‘white saviours’ but I think it very well can speak to those of us who so eagerly snap up a camera & blog & catchy hashtag and go to be do-gooders to the lower-class/less-privileged.
  • Surprisingly, this post was my first introduction to Tasha Tudor. She was such a unique woman – a children’s book illustrator who lived her life in a replica of a sea captain’s wife who lived from 1800 – 1840/2. She believed she was a reincarnation of this woman. Although the photos of her children’s childhoods are lovely, they weren’t very pleased with the detached lives they lived.
  • Wana interviews Logor.
  • The Ugly Truth is a really good read on how ugliness can sometimes be the closest thing to truth. You want to read it.
…when accepted forms of beauty and their attendant assumptions go unquestioned for too long, a kind of blindness, born of complacency, can set in.
  • Ever heard of a friendship affair? Well, it’s a thing, apparently. Read about how this woman handled hers.

Photo break! This one by Seydou Keita:


Then in fiction, I’ve loved:

Here then is a truth only Saints understand: Knowing the future is not about knowing the future. It’s about which choice to make.
  • Barawo by Cuba Ukoh is a story about a thief (which is what barawo means). I love how this story shows the different layers of a sequence of events.
  • This poem by Magda Kapa, who a friend just introduced me to. I am currently going through all her past posts. Gorgeousness.
  • Short, short story by Chuma Nwokolo (who is bae).
  • Sofia Samatar (I’m in love and going through everything she’s written) wrote this excellent dark story.
  • This story is about mermaids. It explores loneliness and eternity and beauty. Read it.
The first thing to understand is that we are very beautiful.

Deploy your imagery of choice. Reach for gemstones, for edibles: crystal skin, laughing emerald eyes, hair like gently burnished gold. Peaches and cream. The blush of sunrise staining fresh water. You may mix metaphors. You will be forgiven.

That’s it. Anything you think I should absolutely read? Do comment with a link.

I’ll leave you with this cute video from Hudson Taylor.

Have a great weekend!


Written by Nik-Nak