Kenya: Book Reading – The Fall of the Giants By Ken Follet

I could say that I have read my whole life. Growing up under my grandmother, I grew up with stories. I was that quiet boy who would rather hide in a book than go out to play. I read everything I got my hands on; newspapers at school, children’s books like The Adventures of Thiga, the high school class books of my older cousins ​​and even books with ripped covers, like Arrow of God by Chinua Achebe. I was lucky that my deceased uncle had a library in the village with all these beautiful series of the African writers of Heinemann. This is why I now have the first 1982 edition of The Devil on the Cross by Ngugi wa Thiong’o.

I read for many reasons: reading is fun; sometimes a good book makes you forget your demons. Reading allows me to travel the world without a visa or passport. I particularly like books translated from other languages, because thanks to them I can travel to other cultures and ways of life. Being a history lover, historical fiction lets me know how long life was before I was born. Reading makes me a better writer. I also love the touch and the smell of books, especially when turning a page!

In a few months I have read two books, but it really depends on the length and my mental state – reading requires a high level of concentration. Last year I read The Eighth Life by Georgian novelist (Georgia the country!), Nino Haratischvilli in just 12 days without doing anything else with my life. The 936-page long novel is translated from German.

I read practically everything, as long as I love the story. But I have a particular taste for historical fiction, like the brilliant The Old Drift by Zambian novelist Namwali Serpell. I love fantasy and the exploration of alternate universes like in Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore (translated from Japanese).

This month I worked on my novel manuscript and dug into Ken Follet’s Fall of Giants. It focuses on all major world wars – WWI, WWII and Cold War). From Fall of Giants, I hope to learn more about how one family couldn’t stop the world from falling into WWI (at the start of WWI in 1914, the three main protagonists – the Germany, the Soviet Union and Great Britain – were ruled by three cousins).

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