Books I Read in 2022
A True Story
on Dec 28, 2022
Although God didn't fulfill most of heart's desires this year as He promises to those who delight in Him, I had an amazing 2022. I posted stories and videos on this blog with admirable consistency. And I enjoyed it. I also read avidly, and I enjoyed that too!
Well, most people don't consider reading books to be a form of entertainment. For them, entertainment is watching movies and TV shows or playing computer games. But for me, I find reading books to be entertaining. Books are my lifeline. If I didn't have books to read, I'd pore over the telephone directory.
This year, I adhered to my resolution to never read photocopied and soft-copy books. I also didn't visit a library or borrow books from friends. Instead, I purchased my own books so that I can keep them for future re-reading.
Because I read to be entertained, I have made it a rule to stop reading any book that doesn't capture my interest in the first fifteen pages or so. I fear reading boring books may infect me with their boredom, thus making me a boring writer.
The more I realize how short and precious life is, the less I want to waste hours and hours of my life reading something that is not entertaining, enlightening and inspiring. And I have discovered there are too many fascinating books out there for me to waste my time devouring the boring ones.
I rated on Goodreads.com all the books that I read this year. (Goodreads.com is a wonderful social networking site for book lovers.) Here's how I rated them:
★: a 1-star rating means the book bored me right from the start; I therefore didn't finish reading it. This is the kind of book I wouldn't mind lending to friends.Having finished reading quite a number of books this year, I'd have loved to tell you about them all and what I gleaned from them. But to keep this story shorter than a novel, let me tell you about two of the books. Only two.
★★: a 2-star rating means I finished reading the book but it was a struggle to read to the end since I didn't understand its plot. I probably finished the book because it was a best-seller and desired to take pride in knowing I have read it.
★★★: a 3-star rating means I finished reading the book, understood its plot and found it somewhat enjoyable, but its writing style was not of top-notch quality.
★★★★: a 4-star rating means I finished reading the book, understood its message and found it delightful. But it lacked the magic touch that would have compelled me to give it a 5-star rating.
★★★★★: a 5-star rating means the book was thoroughly entertaining, enlightening and inspiring. It captured my interest right from the start and I was disappointed to finish reading it because I wanted the pleasure of my reading to go on and on. This is the kind of book I wouldn't lend to my best friends, for I'd love to re-read it in the future.
The first is Michelle Obama's Becoming, an endearing memoir by the former U.S. First Lady. Most people know Michelle Obama as a fashionable and intelligent lady. What many don't know is that she has had her own share of challenges which she laid bare in her memoir. Challenges such as caring for her father who was disabled by multiple sclerosis, having a miscarriage and difficulty getting pregnant which made her resort to IVF (in vitro fertilization). Her marriage to Barack also went through some rocky patches that made them seek counselling services.
And the second book I'll tell you about is Chinua Achebe's A Man of the People, a gripping novel that I studied in high school as a set book seventeen years ago. It's full of humour, suspense and, yes, sexual escapades. And it's truly African in flavour. When I re-read the novel this year, I found myself wishing I had the wit and intellect of Chinua Achebe (may his soul rest in peace).
Now that I have formed the good habits of reading avidly and writing consistently this year, I can't wait to witness what 2023 has in store for me. My beloved reader, it has been nice having you on this blog and I am looking forward to more visits from you in the coming year. May we have a happy, blessed and successful 2023!
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story about the books I read this year, you might also enjoy another one on "Books I Read in 2020" that I wrote two years ago. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
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Following Our Passions
A True Story
on Dec 23, 2022
During school holidays, I usually see teens play soccer on the playground of an Anglican church near my home. The playground is small and has turned dusty due to overuse but the teens always seem to enjoy their soccer games nonetheless. They energetically dribble the ball past one another and celebrate whenever they score, something that keeps them fit and occupied.
I sometimes wonder, when I see the teens enjoy playing soccer on the small and dusty playground, how Lionel Messi feels when he plays the same game in world-class stadiums as thousands of people watch him. It must be a fulfilling experience for him. What's more, he gets paid oodles of money for the soccer games he plays.
Unless you have been living in a cave in Afghanistan, you have definitely heard of Lionel Messi. He is one of the greatest soccer players of all time. An age-mate of mine, Messi has won La Liga and Champions League with FC Barcelona as well as Copa America and FIFA World Cup with Argentina. His prowess in soccer is what has led him to be voted as the best soccer player on the planet for a couple of years.
Messi is indeed one of the greatest soccer players that the planet has produced so far. To the best of my knowledge, only Zidane, Ronaldinho and Ronaldo (of Brazil) can rival him in their range of soccer achievements. I stand to be corrected.
I personally don't adore Lionel Messi the way I adored Ronaldinho in my teenage years. But I have to confess that I envy Messi not only because he earns top dollar for doing something he loves but also because he probably never worries about gaining weight given the lots of physical exercises he does.
It seems I am not the only one who envies soccer players who grow wealthy doing what they love. In 2004 when we were in high school at Starehe Boys' Centre, my deskmate Martin Wamoni once joked that he didn't see the point of staying in school while our agemates Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo were making millions of money per week for playing professional soccer.
Because envy is unhealthy (it's one of the seven deadly sins), I have resolved to turn my envy for Messi into a motivation to also pursue my passion. And my passion is blogging. I always feel elated whenever I post on this blog a story or a video that I think is inspiring. What elates me even more is when blog visitors send me feedback messages telling me how they have enjoyed my stories and videos.
To be honest, there was a time I wasn't confident of being known as a blogger. One Sunday in 2014 for instance, I had a chat with church friends with whom I used to share my blog stories. In the course of our interaction, I was suddenly seized by a fear that the friends might reproach me for spending my days writing stories for my blog. My fear made me melt away from them.
With time, I have come to develop the self-confidence of being called a blogger. I have added on all my social media profiles a link to this blog. And last year when I went for a COVID-19 vaccine at a certain classy hospital in Nairobi, I happily wrote that I am a blogger by profession in a questionnaire given to me.
Now that I am confident of being known as a blogger, I have been asking God to help me convert writing and composing hymns from tasks I have to do to tasks I love to do so that I continue churning out the sort of inspiring stories and beautiful hymns that will keep people flocking to this blog. God is answering my prayers since I am slowly developing a love for penning stories and composing hymns.
Much as I am developing a love for blogging, I sometimes get frustrated by the low income I am earning from the adverts on this blog. But I am still clinging to the belief that I will succeed as a blogger, because, as someone eloquently put it, where there is love and inspiration, we can never go wrong.
My beloved reader, I exhort you to also identify your passion - it could be drawing cartoons, making people laugh or tinkering with machines - and then pursue it with the zeal of a he-goat on heat. And who knows? You could also leave a mark on this generation the way Lionel Messi did when he captained his team to a World Cup victory last Sunday. Compliments of the season!
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on pursuing our passions, you might also enjoy another one on "Doing What We Were Born To Do" that I wrote last year. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.