Books I Read in 2020
A True Story
on Dec 30, 2020
Earlier this year, my father had our mansion installed with a Wi-fi connection. Thanks to that connection, I have been having access to high-speed internet on my laptop. If some people I know were to have such an internet connection, I am sure they would spend their days surfing the Net; viewing wacky videos on Youtube, checking their Twitter news feed, commenting on Facebook posts and all that kind of frivolous stuff. But for me, I have stuck to my old routine of curling up with a good book.
You can call me old-fashioned if you like, but I won't shy away from saying that I find reading books to be the best form of entertainment ever invented by man. And not just any book, but genuine hard-copy books. That's why I resolved this year to never read downloaded or photocopied books. So I deleted all ebooks on my laptop and smartphone. I also got rid of about ten photocopied books that I had in my room.
Why did I resolve to never again read downloaded or photocopied books? Because having such books feels to me like breaking the 8th Commandment: "Thou shall not steal". Also because I love the weight of genuine hard-copy books, the feel of their covers and the smell of their pages. And I feel honoured to see such genuine hard-copy books nestled on shelves in my room and take pride in knowing I have read them.
Unlike in previous years, this year I didn't visit any library. Instead, I bought my own books with the donations I have received from my blog readers. I have made it a habit to buy two or three books whenever I travel to Nairobi City to produce songs. And boy, don't I love building my personal library!
This year, I read more books than I did in previous years as a result of reducing the time I spend on social media. While reading, I have made an effort of going through the acknowledgement sections of the books as well as checking their year of publication. Checking my books' year of publication has helped me put things in perspective.
Having grown wiser, I diversified my reading repertoire this year. Not only did I read the Bible and motivational page-turners but also books on nature, health, history, nutrition, technology and quotations. I also read novels, memoirs and biographies. And am I in order to say that I didn't finish reading some of the books? Yes, there were some books I didn't finish as I find it unwise to waste hours and hours of my life studying a book that is not inspiring, enlightening or entertaining.
I'd have loved to tell you about all the books I devoured this year and what I gleaned from them. But because I pored over forty books, that would make this story long at the risk of boring you to death. So let me pass along to you only a few lessons that I learnt from what I read this year. Only a few lessons which you are free to take or leave.
From the Good News Bible that I thumbed through this year, I learnt from the book of Proverbs that it is foolish to speak scornfully of others; if you are wise, you will keep silent. I also gleaned from the same book of Proverbs that it is dangerous to worry about what others think of you, but if you trust in the Lord, you are safe.
From Barack Obama's delightful memoir, Dreams From My Father, the lesson I picked up is that confidence is the secret to a man's success. Obama learnt that lesson early in his life from his father. And what a great lesson coming from a man who was elected twice as the President of the United States and awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.
From the 21st Dictionary of Quotations, I came across an enlightening quote by William Shakespeare that says "Poor and content is rich and rich enough." That quote has encouraged me to be content in what I have, even as I work for more. I also remember another quote that inspired me to enjoy my own company, for I am always with myself.
From reading a book titled The Optimum Nutrition Bible, I came to understand that such elements as iron, copper, sodium and potassium are essential in our bodies. But other elements like lead and mercury are harmful if ingested into our bodies even in small quantities. The book increased my understanding of the nutrients our bodies need for growth and healthy living.
And finally from reading Joy of Nature: How to Explore and Enjoy the Fascinating World Around You, I gained an appreciation of the mysterious but wonderful universe we live in. The voluminous book, which is replete with colorful pictures, reminded me of some of the stuff I learnt in my high school Geography lessons. It was a fairly enlightening book and I am privileged to have it in my personal library.
My dear reader, that's all I will share with you for today. And believing that you have picked up some wisdom from me, I hope that I have also inspired you to read more as well. As for me, I am looking forward to devouring more books in 2021, come rain come sunshine, because as Somerset Maughan quipped, "To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life." Adieu!
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on the books I read in 2020, you might also enjoy another one on "Books I Read in 2019". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
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A True Story
on Dec 25, 2020
It's a beautiful Christmas morning here in Kiserian as I write this story. The sun is shining brilliantly from a sky that is blue with white patches of clouds here and there. And our home is silent except for the sounds of a few birds chirping in the trees. I like to think the birds are chirping as their own way of praising God for the gift of life. As for me, I am all alone in my room enjoying a time of solitude while reminiscing about the Christmas holidays I have had over the years ever since I was a boy.
The 1993 Christmas was the first one I recollect celebrating in my life. I was a boy of six years at the time, young but full of life. My family members woke up early on that Christmas Day: some to carry out chores at home; others, to fetch water from a nearby waterhole since we didn't have access to piped water here at home back then. Because I was too young to be of much help, I can't recall which duties I was assigned. All I remember was us receiving visitors later in the day with whom we feasted on food. I played boyish games with the children who came with the visitors.
As I continued celebrating more Christmas holidays in the '90s, I always felt I never had another Christmas that was as lively as the 1993 one. I even mentioned that to my siblings on one Christmas Day in the '90s as we cooked chapatis in our sooty kitchen. And I don't really know what made the 1993 Christmas lively for me. Maybe it's because the much I did that day was eat and play games.
Although I never had another Christmas Day in the '90s that was as lively as the 1993 one, I nonetheless enjoyed some of the Christmas festivities I had as a boy, especially the 1996 one. I was in my ancestral land in Murang'a, Kenya, on that 1996 Christmas Day during which I feasted on sumptuous dishes together with my cousins, aunties, uncles and grandparents. And later in the day when I visited a nearby town called Gikoe, I was taken aback to see it full of people. It was like the whole world had assembled in the town. I guess most of the people in the town that day were city-dwellers who had come to Gikoe to reunite with their families.
From 1997 onwards in my childhood years, the best part of Christmas festivities for me was watching a play in our church that was staged by youths on the eve of Christmas Day. The youths constructed a manger in the church and decorated it with Christmas lights that mesmerized my eyes. And I found it entertaining to watch them act on how Mary was betrothed to Joseph when she was told by an angel that she would conceive a child called Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit, how Joseph was mad at Mary when he found out she was pregnant and how King Herod was so jealous of Jesus' birth that he decreed all male babies be murdered. They were very creative and amusing, those youths!
While the 1993 Christmas was the liveliest I ever had in my childhood years, the 2017 one has been the best I have had in my adulthood years - that is, since I turned eighteen about a decade and a half ago. I remember with nostalgia how I downloaded and listened to Christmas carols sang by children in the days before the 2017 December holiday season. And when Christmas Day dawned, I found myself feeling creative and energized. I began the day by penning a story that I enjoyed posting on this blog. When my siblings visited us later in the day with their families, I was elated when some of them informed me that I had lost weight; elated because I had worked hard in the previous three months to regain my youthful swagger.
So much did I enjoy the 2017 Christmas Day that I was unable to sleep on the night of that day. I just stayed awake the whole night thinking refreshing thoughts that made me lose track of time. It really was an exciting Christmas. To this day whenever I listen to the Christmas carols sung by children that I have told you about, I find myself remembering the 2017 Christmas Day. I am working towards having more such wonderful days in the future. Merry Christmas!
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on Christmas memories, you might also enjoy another one I wrote three years ago on "The Thuita Doctrine". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.