Matatu Reading: Books to Read When you are Stuck in Traffic

Rush hour traffic can be an annoying inconvenience after a long day. Can you imagine how long we spend in a matatu in a week? Six to ten whole Hours! However, a good book can go a long way in easing your impatience and help you catch up on your reading. We have compiled ten short books that you can read in traffic drawn from fiction, memoir, economics and philosophy. These books are an interesting distraction that will have you looking forward to traffic!

1.Drunk by Jackson Biko

It starts with a girl. Girls actually. It’s only fair that it starts with a girl, no? Only problem is that most stories that start with a girl always end up with someone banging on the door saying; I just want to talk. This is not one of those stories.
This one is about Larry.
Mad Larry.
He drinks.
He shags girls.
He hates his father.
And he looks nothing like his step brother, who stays by his side throughout his madness. When Larry does something terrible, it looms over him, shaping his future, transforming all the relationships around him and hurtling him into a rabbit hole. Oh, and wheelbarrows are involved. Five of them. Somehow Larry and one of these wheelbarrows will collide and things will get pretty hairy – for Larry, that is, not for you, dear reader.

2.We Should All be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 

What does “feminism” mean today? That is the question at the heart of We Should All Be Feminists, a personal, eloquently-argued essay—adapted from her much-viewed TEDx talk of the same name—by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the award-winning author of Americanah and Half of a Yellow Sun.

With humor and levity, here, Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century—one rooted in inclusion and awareness. Throughout, she draws extensively on her own experiences—in the U.S., in her native Nigeria, and abroad—offering an artfully nuanced explanation of why the gender divide is harmful for women and men, alike.

 

3.Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo

Yejide and Akin have been married since they met and fell in love at university. Though many expected Akin to take several wives, he and Yejide have always agreed: polygamy is not for them. But four years into their marriage–after consulting fertility doctors and healers, trying strange teas and unlikely cures–Yejide is still not pregnant. She assumes she still has time–until her family arrives on her doorstep with a young woman they introduce as Akin’s second wife. Furious, shocked, and livid with jealousy, Yejide knows the only way to save her marriage is to get pregnant, which, finally, she does, but at a cost far greater than she could have dared to imagine. An electrifying novel of enormous emotional power, Stay With Me asks how much we are willing to sacrifice for the sake of family.

 

4.Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Written in Greek, without any intention of publication, by the only Roman emperor who was also a philosopher, the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) offer a remarkable series of challenging spiritual reflections and exercises developed as the emperor struggled to understand himself and make sense of the universe. But while the Meditations were composed to provide personal consolation and encouragement, in developing his beliefs Marcus Aurelius also created one of the greatest of all works of philosophy: a timeless collection of extended meditations and short aphorisms that has been consulted and admired by statesmen, thinkers and readers through the centuries.

 

 

  1. Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life

Bring meaning and joy to all your days with this internationally best-selling guide to the Japanese concept of ikigai – the happiness of always being busy – as revealed by the daily habits of the world’s longest-living people.

“Only staying active will make you want to live a hundred years.” (Japanese proverb)

According to the Japanese, everyone has an ikigai – a reason for living. And according to the residents of the Japanese village with the world’s longest-living people, finding it is the key to a happier and longer life. Having a strong sense of ikigai – the place where passion, mission, vocation, and profession intersect – means that each day is infused with meaning. It’s the reason we get up in the morning. It’s also the reason many Japanese never really retire (in fact there’s no word in Japanese that means retire in the sense it does in English): They remain active and work at what they enjoy, because they’ve found a real purpose in life – the happiness of always being busy. And it provides practical tools to help you discover your own ikigai. Because who doesn’t want to find happiness in every day?

 

6.Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

milk and honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. It is about the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. It is split into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose, deals with a different pain, heals a different heartache. milk and honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look.

7.48 Laws of Power

This amoral, cunning, ruthless, and instructive book synthesizes the philosophies of Machiavelli, Sun Tzu, and Carl Von Clausewitz with the historical legacies of statesmen, warriors, seducers, and con men throughout the ages.

 

8.Questions for Ada by Ijeoma Umebinyuo

The artistry of QUESTIONS FOR ADA defies words, embodying the pain, the passion, and the power of love rising from the depths of our souls.  Ijeoma Umebinyuo’s poetry is a flower that will blossom in the spirit of every reader as she shares her heart with raw candor.  From lyrical lushness to smoky sensuality to bare truths, this tome of transforming verse is the book every woman wants to write but can’t until the broken mirrors of their lives have healed.  In this gifted author’s own words—“I am too full of life to be half-loved.”  A bold celebration of womanhood.

 

 

9.The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli

In this classic guide to acquiring and maintaining political power, Machiavelli uses a rational approach to advise prospective rulers, developing logical arguments and alternatives for a number of potential problems, among them governing hereditary monarchies, dealing with colonies and the treatment of conquered peoples.

Refreshing in its directness, yet often disturbing in its cold practicality, The Prince sets down a frighteningly pragmatic formula for political fortune. This calculating prescription for power remains today, nearly 500 years after it was written, a timely and startling lesson in the practice of autocratic rule that continues to be much read and studied by students, scholars and general readers as well.

  1. Best of Whispers by Wahome Mutahi

 Wahome Mutahi, also known as “Whispers”, Son of the Soil, was committed to what he called “liberation journalism”. This allowed him to challenge political and social power in his writings and performances. He used his writings to ask critical questions about the direction the Kenyan society was taking.

Although he wrote many articles, mainly in theSundayNation andStandardnewspapers, Wahome is most associated with the “Whispers” column which spanned over 20 years. Written in the 1980s, 1990s and part of 2000s, the column was a social commentary organised as vignettes set around the fictitious “Whispers”; his wife “Thatcher” and their two children, Whispers Junior and the Investment (also known as Pajero).

He used the Whispers fictional household and Kenyan grammar and idiom to bring to life critical social issues and to lampoon the political elite for its gluttony and violation of citizen rights.

Nothing in society was free from Wahome’s satirical pen. Everything could be presented as a rumour or whisper and then parodied and subjected to reversal in the pursuit of a more inclusive, free and fair nation.

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We pride ourselves in having an unrivaled range of books that are rare to find in Nairobi or in the region. We are your go-to bookstore whether you are looking for an interesting novel, or a provocative local memoir.

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