The top 100 Bestsellers in Kenya of 2018
2018 has been a good year for Kenyan readers and writers. With new local works like Biko Zulu’s “Drunk,” and Sunny Bindra’s “The Bigger Deal” and new international works like Michelle Obama’s long coveted Becoming and Robert Green’s Laws of Human nature, the list below shares Kenyan’s favorites; both new and old in the past year!
1. Becoming. (KES 2,800) The Biggest book of 2018, Becoming has broken several records across the world! And it is worth all the hype. Michelle Obama pours her heart, soul, and humor into this captivating memoir. Everything in her down to earth storytelling and vulnerability makes it impossible to read this book and not find something that resonates deeply with your experience.
2. The Bigger Deal. (KES 1,890) Sunny Bindra has created a phenomenal spur with this book. It is a must read for every Kenyan in the ever growing consumerism market. Everyone from the customers to the managers to the entrepreneurs to the service providers can get something critical to take home.
3. Drunk. (KES 950) Jackson Biko –also known as Bikozulu- wrote his debut book and it is relatable, full of quirky humour, and life lessons. It is a story about Larry. Larry who drinks, hates his father, and shags girls. However, it is also a story about relationships, substance abuse, and the consequences of our actions. This quick read is a great conversation starter for any Kenyan.
4. Children of Blood and Bone. (KES 1,150) Afro-fantasy is making a comeback and Tomi Adeyemi is one of its propellers. In the land of Orisha where the Maji have been oppressed, Zelie must find a way to save her people and start a rebellion against the unjust mass murder. For lovers of Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, and all things fantasy, this soon to be movie, has been a favorite read.
5. Fear. (KES 2,890) Almost everyone fascinated by modern culture and politics is intrigued by Trump’s presidency. And someone did the research to understand it. With authoritative reporting honed through eight presidencies from Nixon to Obama, author Bob Woodward places a spotlight on the harrowing life inside President Donald Trump’s White House and precisely how he makes decisions on major foreign and domestic policies.
6. Dance of the Jakaranda. (KES 1,350) Peter Kimani has taken a mantle of proportional weight by writing this history of the building of the railway through multiple perspectives. Dance of the Jakaranda starts with a mysterious kiss that leads to the unraveling of a forgotten history. Every lover of historical fiction is drawn into the intricate details of this beautiful novel.
7. We’re going to Need More Wine. (KES 2,800) Gabrielle Union shares a collection of personal essays and life experiences in her straight talk- tell it as it is voice. From being sexually abused to enduring multiple miscarriages, Gabrielle does not shy away from the brutal parts of her story. What has drawn so many people to this memoir in the past year is her fearless authenticity.
8. Skin in the Game. (KES 2,150) In his most provocative and practical book yet, the New York Timesbestselling author of The Black Swan, redefines what it means to understand the world, succeed in a profession, contribute to a fair and just society, detect nonsense, and influence others. Citing examples ranging from Hammurabi to Seneca, Antaeus the Giant to Donald Trump, Nassim Nicholas Taleb shows how the willingness to accept one’s own risks is an essential attribute of heroes, saints, and flourishing people in all walks of life.
9. Shoe Dog. (KES 1,450) In this candid and riveting memoir, for the first time ever, Nike founder and CEO Phil Knight shares the inside story of the company’s evolution into one of the world’s most iconic, game-changing, and profitable brands.
10. Sapiens. (KES 1,450) In Sapiens, Dr Yuval Noah Harari spans the whole of human history, from the very first humans to walk the earth to the radical – and sometimes devastating – breakthroughs of the Cognitive, Agricultural and Scientific Revolutions. Drawing on insights from biology, anthropology, paleontology and economics. Bold, wide-ranging and provocative, Sapiens challenges everything we thought we knew about being human: our thoughts, our actions, our power … and our future.
11. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. (KES 1,850) We care too much about what other people think about us. The subtle art of not giving a f*ck is the remedy to that problem. Mark Manson is brutally honest with his readers in his effort to teach you to expect less so that you can be more. For those who overthink everything this book is essential.
12. Laws of Human Nature. (KES 2,290) Robert Greene has an uncanny ability to fully observe and note aspects of human behavior that we tend to bypass. His newest work of brilliant observation, the Laws of human Nature speaks for itself. Whether it be work, relationships, or merely self-improvement, the Laws of Human Nature creates a more objective and efficient perspective.
13. Digital Democracy; Analogue Politics. (KES 2,690) Nanjala Nyabola’s debut book has presented a unique contribution to the debate on digital democracy. For traditionally marginalized groups, particularly women and people with disabilities, digital spaces have allowed Kenyans to build new communities which transcend old ethnic and gender divisions. Reframing digital democracy from the African perspective, Nyabola’s ground-breaking work opens up new ways of understanding our current global online era.
14. Headscarves And Hymens. (KES 1,450) Mona Eltahawy has traveled across the Middle East and North Africa, meeting with women and listening to their stories. The culmination of those conversations and her research comes in the form of this book; a plea for outrage and action on their behalf, confronting the toxic mix of culture and religion that few seem willing or able to disentangle lest they blaspheme or offend. A manifesto motivated by hope and fury in equal measure, Headscarves and Hymens is as illuminating as it is incendiary.
15. What A Time to Be Alone. (KES 1,850) Peppered with insightful Igbo proverbs from Chidera’s Nigerian mother and full of her own original artwork, What A Time To Be Alone is essential reading for all women. In it, the Slumflower becomes your life guru, confidante and best friend. She shows you that being alone is not just okay: it’s just about the best freaking thing that’s ever happened to you. We all decide our own fates and Chidera shows us how, using sass, wisdom, and charm.
16. An American Marriage. (KES 1,890) It is a story we think we know. A black man (Roy), wrongfully convicted for a crime he did not commit. And yet in the telling, Tayari Jones, manages to bring her readers into the relationships. How does something as devastating as this affect Roy’s still new marriage to Celestial? What does separation do for the memories and their histories? An American Marriage is a delicate telling of love interrupted.
17. Guru. (KES 1,350) This autobiography does justice to its title. It is inspirational and written with easy to swallow bites of wisdom. His autobiography, in collaboration with his dear friend and colleague, Kailash Mota, traces four decades in the life of Guru Bhai Narendra Raval. It is hard to believe that the astute businessman, who successfully built a US$400 million industrial empire, began his work life as a young, teenage priest in Nairobi, Kenya.
18. Principles. (KES 3,500) Here, Dalio shares what he’s learned over the course of his remarkable career. He argues that life, management, economics, and investing can all be systemized into rules and understood like machines. The book’s hundreds of practical lessons, which are built around his cornerstones of “radical truth” and “radical transparency,” include Dalio laying out the most effective ways for individuals and organizations to make decisions, approach challenges, and build strong teams.
19. Best of Whispers. (KES 700) Fifteen Years after the passing of Wahome Mutahi, we are lucky enough to have a collection of his revolutionary articles. Written in satirical form during the regime of Moi. Wahome was honest 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.
20. Inside Al-Shabab. (KES 3,900) One of the most relevant non-fiction reads for the modern political current in Kenya. Inside Al-Shabaab: The Secret History of Al-Qaeda’s Most Powerful Ally recounts the rise, fall, and resurgence of this overlooked terrorist organization and provides an intimate understanding of its connections with Al-Qaeda.
21. The Looting Machine. (KES 1,450) Tom Burgis breaks down the figures that prove the extent of the exploitation of African states under the guise of neo-colonialism and imperialism. This book is evidence that the resource curse in Africa is not merely some unfortunate economic phenomenon, the product of an intangible force. What is happening in Africa’s resource states is systematic looting. Like its victims, its beneficiaries have names.
22. Why Nations Fail. (KES 1,850) In an attempt to answer one of the most devastating questions of all time. Why do some states succeed and others don’t? What causes the huge disparities that exist? Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson conclusively show how man-made political and economic institutions underlie economic success (or lack of it). What has made this book so riveting is the easy to read gripping style it has been written in.
23. The Dictator’s Handbook.(KES 2,890) This clever and accessible book shows that the difference between tyrants and democrats is just a convenient fiction. It starts from a single assertion: Leaders do whatever keeps them in power. And so, everything else such as subjects and national interest are merely afterthoughts.
24. A Higher Loyalty. (KES 2,890) Almost everyone has fantasized at one point in their life about being in intelligence and how cool it would be to be a spy. Former FBI Director James Comey gives his readers a glimpse into the life of an agent, sharing experiences from some of the highest-stakes situations of his career in the past two decades of American government, exploring what good, ethical leadership looks like, and how it drives sound decisions. His journey provides an unprecedented entry into the corridors of power, and a remarkable lesson in what makes an effective leader.
25. It is Possible. (KES 1,000) Phoebe Asiyo’s name is very much tied to the woman empowerment movement in Kenya. Her autobiography brings to life the adversities she has faced on this upward climb towards female emancipation and participation.
26. Shades of Benga. (KES 5,800) Although dozens of works have been published over the years on various characteristics of popular music in Kenya – from conventional folk to hip hop – none captures the history of music and its players as authoritatively as Shades of Benga: The Story of Popular Music in Kenya. Ketebul Music undertook the arduous task of meticulously putting together the content that would faithfully recount the remarkable story of the development of Kenyan music in a manner previously not attempted.
27. The President is Missing. (KES 2,000) Being an actual former president of the United States gives Bill Clinton an advantage in writing this book because he writes from the experience of what could actually happen in the American government. With James Patterson’s spell binding ability to create suspense, the drama unfolds brilliantly. Set in real time, over the course of three days, The President Is Missing is one of the most dramatic thrillers in decades.
28. The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela. (KES 4,650) Organized chronologically and divided by the four venues in which he was held as a sentenced prisoner, The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela begins in Pretoria Local Prison, where Mandela was held following his 1962 trial. Whether providing unwavering support to his also-imprisoned wife or outlining a human-rights philosophy that resonates today, The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela reveals the heroism of a man who refused to compromise his moral values in the face of extraordinary punishment. Ultimately, these letters position Mandela as one of the most inspiring figures of the twentieth century.
29. The Art of Persuasion. (KES 1,390) This invaluable book explains why good communication is so critical, and reveals the secrets of honing your skills to ensure your goals are realized. From planning your initiative to making an effective pitch when the stakes are high, international communication coach Juliet Erickson presents the best insights and techniques of persuasive communication that are essential to really make your great ideas happen.
30. Milk and Honey. (KES 1,550) Rupi Kaur’s debut poetry collection is a must know title for poetry lovers. In this beautifully woven cluster of both poetry and prose, she brings her readers to her 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.
31. The Sun and Her Flowers. (KES 1,850) Rupi’s second poetry collection is no less worth reading than her first. Divided into five chapters and illustrated by Kaur, the sun and her flowers is a journey of wilting, falling, rooting, rising, and blooming. A celebration of love in all its forms.
32. Salt. (KES 3,750) Nayirrah Waheed’s literary work of art speaks for itself. There is hardly anything else that comes close to capturing struggles with identity, blackness, beauty, and vulnerability, with as much grace as she does.
33. Teaching my mother how to give Birth. (KES 1,000) Do not let the small size of this poetry collection fool you. Warson Shire, the Kenyan-born Somali poet, manages to be heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time. Each and every one of her pieces is a sucker punch.
34. Nectar. (KES 2,090) Upile Chisala never lets her readers down. In this beautiful ode to self-love and transformation, it is impossible to leave the book without falling in love with your own skin. Upile’s hope is to tell stories from the margins and through her work help others and herself come to terms with pasts, celebrate presents and confidently dream beautiful futures.
35. Stay with Me. (KES 1,290) Adebayo’s “Stay with Me” captures the transitions of Nigeria’s history while simultaneously grasping the transitions of a heart-rendering relationship. This is a story that has stayed with its readers long after they put the book down.
36. Kintu. (KES 2,150) For lovers of historical and multigenerational epics, Kintu is a treat! Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi takes her readers on a journey through the history of Uganda from the perspective of different characters. In this ambitious tale of a clan and of a nation, Makumbi weaves together the stories of Kintu’s descendants as they seek to break from the burden of their shared past and reconcile the inheritance of tradition and the modern world that is their future.
37. The Fourth Industrial revolution. (KES 2,150) The industrial revolutions have played out over the course of world history, revolutionizing the progress of mankind. Klaus Schwab argues that in this day and age we are at the cross roads of a fourth revolution. His research on the many technological shifts and their impact, both positive and negative, on society as a whole, is well worth studying, as the different developments in various business areas integrates with our social well-being and security.
38. A Certain Amount of Madness. (KES 3,950) Thomas Sankara (1949–87) was one of the most important anti-imperialist leaders of twentieth-century Africa. His declaration that fundamental change would require “a certain amount of madness” was a driving force behind the Burkinabè Revolution that eventually led to his being elected president of Burkina Faso. This book examines Sankara’s political philosophies and legacies and their relevance today.
39. Homegoing. (KES 1,290) This is a book that cannot be read in passing. Every chapter is a different character and yet they all belong to the same story, rooted in the same history. Generation after generation, Yaa Gyasi’s magisterial first novel sets the fate of the individual against the obliterating movements of time, delivering unforgettable characters whose lives were shaped by historical forces beyond their control. Homegoing is a tremendous reading experience, not to be missed, by an astonishingly gifted young writer.
40. A Woman’s Body is a Country. (KES 1,200) Dami Ajayi’s second volume of poems, A Woman’s Body is a Country, interrogates the ramifications of affection. A work of impressive artistry, these are poems of life turned inside out, where time cheats on writers, and the people and things at the brunt end of our oppressive pleasures come back to haunt us.
41. Caine Stories 2018: Redemption Song. (KES 1,650) Now in its nineteenth year the Caine Prize for African Writing is Africa’s leading literary prize, and this year was awarded to Kenyan writer, Makena Onjerika. This beautiful collection of stories features her “Fanta Blackcurrent”, the five 2018 shortlisted stories, and other stories from all across the continent, written at the Caine Prize Writers’ Workshop, which took place April 2018.
42. Tribe of Mentors. (KES 2,450) Tim Ferriss, the #1 New York Timesbest-selling author of The 4-Hour Workweek, shares the ultimate choose-your-own-adventure book—a compilation of tools, tactics, and habits from 130+ of the world’s top performers. From iconic entrepreneurs to elite athletes, from artists to billionaire investors, their short profiles can help you answer life’s most challenging questions, achieve extraordinary results, and transform your life.
43. Business Secrets of the Bible. (KES 3,790) It’s safe to say that nearly everyone is seeking a happier, more successful life. So then why do so few attain it? Business Secrets from the Bibleproposes a new way to view and approach success–one based upon key concepts from the Bible that are actually surprisingly simple. Written especially for those seeking success in the realms of money, relationships, and spirituality, this book encourages readers to realize their common mistakes, come to terms with them, and turn those mistakes into future triumphs.
44. Why Comrades go to War. (KES 2,290) Uniquely drawing on hundreds of interviews with protagonists from Congo, Rwanda, Angola, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Africa, Belgium, France, the UK and the US, Why Comrades Go To War offers a novel theoretical and empirical account of Africa’s Great War. It argues that the seeds of Africa’s Great War were sown in the revolutionary struggle against Mobutu-the way the revolution came together, the way it was organized, and, paradoxically, the very way it succeeded.
45. What I know for Sure. (KES 1,900) Organized by theme—joy, resilience, connection, gratitude, possibility, awe, clarity, and power—these essays offer a rare, powerful and intimate glimpse into the heart and mind of one of the world’s most extraordinary women—while providing readers a guide to becoming their best selves. Candid, moving, exhilarating, uplifting, and frequently humorous, the words Oprah shares in What I Know For Sureshimmer with the sort of truth that readers will turn to again and again.
46. 3 Kings. (KES 2,890) Being successful musicians was simply never enough for the three kings of hip-hop. Diddy, Dr. Dre, and Jay-Z lifted themselves from childhood adversity into tycoon territory, becoming the three richest American musicians. This book is a retelling of how Hip-hop is no longer just a musical genre; it’s become a way of life that encompasses fashion, film, food, drink, sports, electronics and more – one that has opened new paths to profit and to critical and commercial acclaim. Thanks in large part to the Three Kings-who all started their own record labels and released classic albums before moving on to become multifaceted businessmen-hip-hop has been transformed from a genre spawned in poverty into a truly global multibillion-dollar industry.
47. The World as it Is. (KES 2,150) This is the most poignant account of the Obama years written so far. A young writer and Washington outsider, Ben Rhodes was plucked from obscurity aged 29. Chosen for his original perspective and gift with language, his role was to help shape the nation’s hopes and sense of itself. For nearly ten years, Rhodes was at the centre of the Obama Administration – first as a speechwriter, then a policymaker, and finally a multi-purpose aide and close collaborator. Now he has brought his readers into the intensity of what that looked like.
48. Exit West. (KES 1,290) This beautiful novel follows two young people; Nadia and Saeed, who meet and fall desperately in love. In a world where secret doors exist and their own country is falling to shambles, the two emerge into an alien and uncertain future, struggling to hold on to each other, to their past, to the very sense of who they are. Profoundly intimate and powerfully inventive, Exit West tells an unforgettable story of love, loyalty, and courage that is both completely of our time and for all time.
49. The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul. (KES 1,300) Deborah Rodriguez brings her readers a fiction debut as compelling as real life. In this story she tells of a remarkable coffee shop in the heart of Afghanistan, and the men and women who meet there — thrown together by circumstance, bonded by secrets, and united in an extraordinary friendship.
50. You are a Badass. (KES 1,450) Jen Sincero, serves up 27 bite-sized chapters full of hilariously inspiring stories, sage advice, and easy fun exercises. If you’re ready to make some serious changes around here, You Are a Badassteaches you to: Identify and change the self-sabotaging beliefs and behaviors that stop you from getting what you want, blast past your fears so you can take big exciting risks, figure out how to make some damn money already, learn to love yourself and others, set big goals and reach them – it will basically show you how to create a life you totally love, and how to create it now.
51. The Leader Who Had No Title. (KES 1,550) Robin Sharma has been sharing his wisdom, warmth, and soul as a formula for success with big companies across the world. His method and philosophies are so uncannily relatable, he has easily become one of the most sought after business and growth advisers. This book captures all this wisdom in punchy easy to swallow bites.
52. 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. (KES 2,150) A brilliant follow up after reading Sapiens. Yuval Harari culminates research, history, science, and deduction. His readers journey with him in navigating life in the face of constant and disorienting change. He sets out to tackle the important questions we need to ask ourselves in order to survive in the 21st century.
53. The Last Black Unicorn. (KES 2,700) You may not need wine for her memoir but you are definitely in for a laugh out loud, beautifully written recollection of everything that made Tiffany Haddish who she is today.
54. Daring Greatly. (KES 1,400) Every day we walk into the world to face new challenges that scare us. After twelve years of research, Dr. Brene Brown captures in her eloquent, lively manner, the beauty of vulnerability. She addresses the courage that comes with daring to be emotionally open and available.
55. The Leadership pipeline. (KES 3,090) Within organizations it can be difficult to cultivate leaders in training. Leadership Pipeline delivers a proven framework for priming future leaders by planning for their development, coaching them, and measuring the results of those efforts. Moreover, the book presents a combination leadership-development/succession-planning program that ensures a steady line-up of leaders for every critical position within the company.
56. Elon Musk. (KES 1,190) Elon Musk is compared to geniuses across history. From the creation of Tesla to advancements in solar energy, to space travel, what hasn’t this man done? This biography brilliantly captures the drive Musk has that comes from his desire to change the world.
57. Blue Ocean Strategy. (KES 4,200) Born out of a Harvard Business Article, the Blue Ocean Strategy shares the brilliant architecture of doing business in a way that eliminates the competition. And it if not eliminate, then at least makes them irrelevant.
58. This Child will be Great. (KES 1,790) This biography beautifully captures the story of the first African Female president. Ellen Johnson’s life sets an exemplary standard for the rest of us to follow.
59. 360 Degree Leader. (KES 2,690) John C. Maxwell is a leadership guru and the 360-degree Leader is his manual. This classic speaks to leadership that isn’t in the spotlight. Leadership that exists in multiple spaces and not just a singular platform.
60. The Hard Thing about Hard Things. (KES 3,000) Before the success there is the multiple screw-ups, the doubt, and the decisions made that instantly fill the one making them with regret. In The Hard Thing about Hard Things, Ben Harowitz is brutally honest with his readers about what the journey entails. Ben captures how every aspiring business and entrepreneur needs to understand the process –which is sometimes painful- before the result.
61. The Lean Start Up. (KES 2,150) It is said that more than 50% of new businesses fail within the first two years. Anyone can have an idea but you need the knowledge and the tools to succeed. The Lean Start Up provides revolutionary new methods of understanding the market, the first growing pains in your new business and how to keep it running.
62. Start with Why. (KES 1,450) Several businesses, companies, and organizations can explain what they do but very few can clearly articulate why. Simon Sinek’s Start with Why analyzes several great leaders around the world and through history who have been set apart because before they knew what, they asked themselves why.
63. The Power of Habit. (KES 1,450) Why do we do the things we do without thinking about how or why we are doing them? Charles Duhigg has managed to break down the science and psychology behind patterns of behavior that we cannot explain. He does this in an intriguing and entertaining way that will have you engrossed in everything that he has to say.
64. Assata. (KES 1,450) This classic autobiography reads like a thriller novel. Assata Shakur weaves revolution in and out of the stories she tells of her past. For anyone curious about the black panther movement, and especially the role of women in that space, this has been a must read.
65. Grit. (KES 1,850) Angela Duckworth breaks the myth that all you need is talent to succeed. In an insightful, researched manner, Angela shows how grit is not merely “genius” but rather a combination of passion and long-term perseverance. It is definitely worth being reminded of, the strength behind sheer determination and human will power.
66. Deep Work. (KES 2,150) What is the biggest thief of productivity in the twenty first century? Distraction. This is why Cal Newport’s Deep Work has been so necessary to those setting out to achieve maximum work in minimum time.
67. The Power of broke. (KES 1,750) It is easy to see broke-ness as the enemy but Daymond John with his own life experience teaches us otherwise. The Power of Broke teaches you how to use lack of wealth to your advantage. Being at the bottom means you can only climb up, and that is the best direction there is.
68. How to be a Bawse. (KES 2,450) A guide to conquering life beautifully sums up this hilarious heart-warming motivational book by internet sensation, Lily Singh. How to be a Bawse offers fragments of advice in a fun entertaining way that leaves you craving more at the end.
69. The Year of Yes. (KES 1,500) Shonda Rhimes; one of Holywood’s most powerful black women, hilariously captures her journey to yes in this captivating read. With an honest and fun voice, Shonda does what she does best: tells stories. And on the journey the reader learns a few new things about how learning to say yes more can positively impact your life.
70. No Matter What. (KES 1,490) Sometimes life throws you lemons and then more lemons and then more lemons, until you do not know what to do Lisa Nichols in this deeply moving book shows us that even when it is extremely tough, you can always get back up. No. Matter. What.
71. Emotional Intelligence 2.0. (KES 2,500) In this updated version of the classic bestselling book; Emotional Intelligence, Travis Bradberry, Jean Greaves, and Patrick Lenciani continue to show readers how at the end of the day high EQ. is just as important if not more so, than high IQ. Using theories of Psychology and Neuroscience, the book circumvents the correlation between emotional intelligence and success.
72. I can’t make this up. (KES 1,290) Kevin Hart’s peculiar and intricate life lessons have been a big hit with his comedy fans and non-comedy fans alike. It finds the balance between humour and heart, with a dose of honesty.
73. Born a Crime. (KES 1,290) To say that you will find Born a Crime enjoyable is an understatement. Trevor Noah has written his history in a way that leaves you wanting more. It is no wonder this book has received so much valid recognition..
74. Unbowed. (KES 1,290) Wangari Maathai’s classic autobiography has been a continuous source of both inspiration and evidence of the determination of the human spirit.
75. House of Stone. (KES 1,850) Another beautiful debut by an African writer. Novuyo Rosa Tshuma’s historical novel is both well told and written with intricate detail. You cannot escape the history of Zimbabwe in the book just as much as you cannot escape the consequences of the characters’ emotions, thoughts, and actions.
76. Who Fears Death. (KES 850) Nnedi Okorofor has been hailed as an afro-futuristic light to watch. In this fire breathing novel, Nnedi takes her readers to a post-apocalyptic Africa where war is still rampant and oppression still exists. Onyesonwu is Ewu which means she was conceived by rape but even though her skin reflects that aspect of her it does not define who she is.
77. Nervous Conditions. (KES 1,500) Tsitsi Ndangarembga’s searing novel was listed by BBC as one of the top 100 books that have changed the world. Tsitsi illustrates the dynamic themes of race, colonialism, and gender during the post-colonial conditions of present-day Zimbabwe.
78. THUG- The Hate You Give. (KES 1,150) This young adult novel is a powerful call to justice, courage, and hope. THUG tells the story of 16 year old Starr who is torn between two worlds: an upper class preppy white school and the hood where she has grown up. Being a teenager is hard enough trying to balance the two. When she witnesses her friend Khalil being shot and killed by a white officer both worlds come crashing down. Starr must learn how to use her voice.
79. A Little Life. (KES 1,450) Alluring, tragic, and captivating. These words barely scratch the surface when it comes Hanya Yanagihara’s haunting tale of friendship, loss, trauma, and coming of age in a world that can be crazy at the best of times and downright cruel at the worst of times. A Little Life is one of those books that stays with you long after you close the last chapter.
80. Milkman. (KES 2,150) The book that won the 2018 Man Booker Prize and for good reason. The story is not for the faint of heart as it is told in a continuous stream of consciousness. But for those who are excited about trying something completely different, Milkman may just be the book for you. It is a story of gossip and hearsay, silence and inaction with enormous consequences.
81. The Overstory. (KES 2,000) Coming close behind as a short listed contestant for the Man Booker Prize 2018, the Overstory is a story that evokes the desire to be more aware of how humans callously interact with the natural world. Richard Powers weaves the stories of trees into the history of people in this captivating tale.
82. Still Lives. (KES 2,690) It is rare to find a good thriller that does not fall into dominant tropes and stereotypes. Here, set against a culture that often fetishizes violence, Still Lives is a page-turning exodus into the art world’s hall of mirrors, and one woman’s journey into the belly of an industry flooded with money and secrets.
83. In Our Mad and Furious City. (KES 1,890) Another Man Booker recognition, this stellar debut vividly tells the coming of age of three boys who are learning their identity in a world that sees them as other. Unfolding in the span of forty-eight hours, Guy Gunaratne, has gifted his readers a fast paced novel that tackles a subject as complex as radicalism with all the grace and humanity he can offer it.
84. The Woman in the Window. (KES 1,890) Another brilliant debut by a female author. AJ Finn serves her readers edge of your seat suspense. What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping psychological thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems.
85. The Woman at 1,000 degrees. (KES 1,450) Herra Bjornisson is the teller of her own story from the get go in this bizarre escapade of an Icelandic tale. She takes readers along with her on a dazzling ride of a novel that spans the events and locales of the twentieth century. The reader travels with Herra’s tale from Iceland to Nazi Germany to the United States to Argentina and then back to Iceland. This book is more than just a story; it is an adventure worth taking.
86. Everything Under. (KES 2,150) Also short listed for the Man Booker Prize, this beautiful retelling of a Greek myth holds its own amidst literary giants. It is written in multiple streams of consciousness and at the heart of it tells the story of a daughter and mother finding each other and themselves in the process. For lovers of Literary fiction, Daisy Johnson’s debut mystical tale is a feast.
87. Lords of Poverty. (KES 1,150) Each year some sixty billion dollars are spent on foreign aid throughout the world. The sheer amount donated from the world’s wealthy nations should logically go a long way in the elimination of hunger, misery, and poverty. This cannot be further from the truth and only a small portion of this sixty billion dollars is ever translated into direct assistance. Hancock cuts through the smoke screens and hot air of the “aristocracy of mercy” to critically examine the multinational businesses ad powers behind it all.
88. Bad Samaritans. (KES 1,450) This book is straightforward, factual, and easy to read. With his wit and engaging storytelling method of writing factually backed up research, Ha Joon Chang easily shows his readers the potholes that have existed in the history of capitalism. One economist has called him, “the most exciting thinker our profession has turned out in the past fifteen years.”
89. The New Confessions of an Economic hitman. (KES 1,850) It is so preposterous it reads almost like a conspiracy thriller and yet… it is true. John Perkins gives an account of his decade-long involvement in compromising and corrupting the governments of developing nations with the tacit sanction of the US government. Everything about this books is compelling in its narrative and believable in its content.
90. The Republic. (KES 1,290) A masterpiece by Plato and one of the most influential and widely read books in the history of philosophy. Broken down, the Republic is simply dialogue between Socrates and three different interlocutors. During the conversation, questions are raised that are relevant to the questioning mind: what is goodness?; what is reality?; and what is knowledge?
91. The Communist Manifesto. (KES 1,290) There is barely any text written in the mid-nineteenth century that has held up as well as the Communist Manifesto of 1848 by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. Even today, entire paragraphs of the text relate to present day politics better than they did to that of 1848. From the history of the working class being abused by the privileged to what it takes for there to be revolt.
92. The Prophet. (KES 1,150) Kahalil Gibran’s masterpiece is one of the most beloved classics of our time. The collection of poetic essays is divided into twenty-eight chapters covering nearly every relevant subject under the sun from love, marriage, children, giving, eating and drinking, work, joy and sorrow, housing, clothes, buying and selling, crime and punishment, laws, freedom, reason and passion, pain, self-knowledge, teaching, friendship, talking, time, good and evil, prayer, to pleasure, beauty, religion, and death.
93. Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls 1. (KES 2,890) Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is a children’s book packed with 100 bedtime stories about the life of 100 extraordinary women from the past and the present, illustrated by 60 female artists from all over the world. This book inspires girls with the stories of great women, from Queen Elizabeth I to Serena Williams.
94. Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls 2. (KES 3,590) A follow up to the first collection of Goodnight Stories, the second volume tells even more necessary stories of women in history who have radically shifted the course of the history. The adventures are brought to life with illustrations from over sixty female artists across the world who depict the adventures of extraordinary women from Nefertiti to Beyoncé.
95. Stories for Boys Who Dare to be Different. (KES 2,590) The boys are not left behind in stories that inspire bravery. This book counters the idea that there is one version of masculinity that little boys should aspire to. It tells 100 stories of famous and not-so-famous men from the past to the present day, every single one of them a rule-breaker and innovator in his own way, and all going on to achieve amazing things
96. Illustrated Children’s Bible. (KES 1,890) In the spirit of the season, parents have connected to the Usborne collection of spiritual bedtime stories. It is a beautifully illustrated mix of tales and lessons from the Bible, charmingly retold for young readers.
97. I’m Too Pretty to be Broke and Other Lies You’ve been Telling Yourself. (KES 580) For more than 7 years, Joan Thatiah has made writing for women her passion and cause. In I’m Too Pretty to Be Broke, she combines personal anecdotes with hard facts and research in cutting through the layers of lies that women tell themselves. The chapters are short and easy to read. And each one contains a small nuggets section at the end that summarizes the chapter.
98. Love is but a Dream. (KES 1,150) Ciku Muiruri’s debut book has resonated with Kenyans, single and taken all over. The ex-radio host has always had a way of connecting to people. She has managed to write that relatability onto the page. Expect warmth, humour, and storytelling as she gives practical principles to guide your relationship.
99. His Needs, Her Needs. (KES 1,650) For those looking for the perfect wedding gift, this book is a brilliant place to start. Marriage works only when each spouse takes the time to consider the other’s needs and strives to meet them. In His Needs, Her Needs, Willard Harley identifies the ten most vital needs of men and women and shows husbands and wives how to satisfy those needs in their spouses.
100. The 5 Love Languages. (KES 1,400) It is no secret that we are all built so differently. Not understanding the differences is a huge factor in miscommunication and misunderstanding. Gary Chapman’s proven approach to showing and receiving love will help you experience deeper and richer levels of intimacy with your partner—starting today.