One fine morning, on my way to work, I found our estate watchman reading a huge book with a black cover and was curious. You see, I always found him reading mainstream best selling authors (the ones we loved in high school like Jeffrey Archer, Sydney Sheldon – I found him reading a James Hardly Chase with those hot cover images one time). That guy is a reader. And readers are in my heart.
Back to the big black book. It turned out to be the biography of who else? THE Paulo Coelho. Of course you know Paulo Coelho, and you would pause to have a serious look at it. You also wouldn’t leave it at the Inama Bookshop even if the price were a whole 200 bob, would you? Especially if you are Esther Kute – when I was at Bata, she made me download all pirated ebooks of Paulo Coelho I could find online. And she keeps tweeting his books.
If you are a wannabe writer like me, the biography of possibly the biggest writer ever is not something you would leave. You would want to know how he started, how he wrote his first book (btw, I have been writing my first book since I knew how to write back in primary school). How he sold all the millions he sold. What his inspirations are.
And so, I asked him if he could swap the book for the one I had in my bag – one of those Harlequin romance novels… and he agreed! Either he was bored with the biography, or he wanted to have a rush of blood. Those Harlequins are very very steamy.
First thing I did was take a picture of the book and tweet it at Esther Kute. Gloaty much? And went on to read it every day for two weeks. I stopped driving to work and started taking the slowest matatus just so that I could have enough time to dip myself into the life of Paulo Coelho.
And I learnt that Paulo Coelho is one of the most fucked up people you will ever hear about. That guy is gross, and has lived just the life. Made me wonder if one needs to be that screwed up to the a famous writer.
Because his experiences gave birth to all his books.
The writer, Fernando Morais describes Paulo Coelho’s from his miraculous birth. He was pronounced dead at birth by doctors, but his mom’s prayers brought him back (believe in prayer, folks). He was an awkward child, huge not-so-good-looking head (like mine back in the day)… And too troublesome.
But he was still a good writer as a kid; telling his parents that he wanted to be a writer when he grew up. Which they were against because his father was an engineer and they wanted him to follow in those steps.
This writing passion burner through his heart and mind through the years, writing his diary religiously… And failing in all schools went to. His mind was elsewhere; drugs, wanton sex and writing.
So much so that he spent several months in a pyschiatric hospital because, he was literally mad.
Not that it changed him, because Paulo Coelho went deeper into drugs, a hippie sex life, conning, cultism and Devil Worship.
Oh… and a two time prisoner of Brazil’s dictatorship, not for his right against the government – Paulo Coelho was a coward – but one time for a mistaken identity and the other for his lyrics. He made his riches writing lyrics for several music stars like Raul Seixas (my new favourite rockstar).
For him, life was one huge experiment. He traveled the world, tried different religions, and listened to the voices in his head.
Most importantly. Like the boy in his book The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho followed and achieved his dream.
He became a great writer.
The book is a great one. It’s a very graphic account of the life of a writer who went against the odds to become a writer.
It found a place in my Stolen and Gifted Books Shelf
In May, I decided to look for Medical books. Not those long, technically boring books with the difficult words that made me not join KMTC, but novels. Stories told by some of the world’s most creative writers.
What if there were other independent people living in your body and you don’t know of their existence? What if these people hang out with different people, love different things, have sex with different people. And kill people without your knowledge?
Yes, that is real and it is called MultiplePersonality disorder (MPD) which is
a mental disorder characterised by at least two distinct and relatively enduring identities or dissociated personality states. These states alternately show in a person’s behaviour, accompanied by memory impairment for important information not explained by ordinary forgetfulness.
Now, in this story, in a way only Sidney Sheldon can tell, is about Ashley Patterson, an introverted workaholic, her co-workers, Toni Prescott, an outgoing singer and dancer, and shy artist Alette Peters… who are, of course living within her. Now, she… they… have killed 4 men in the same manner: castrated after having sex.
All evidence points to Ashley because, of course, she was there, there was vaginal evidence, and she was in possession of the murder weapon…. and the young, ambitious lawyer, David Singer puts his reputation on the line to prove that Toni and Alette are not Ashley.
What follows is one of the best medical, psychotic and legal drama I have ever read.
I read this novel in the commute, at work, at home in bed… everywhere. Because once you start reading Sidney Sheldon, you don’t just put Sidney Sheldon down.
By now, if you read my Books series, you know I am a Patterson diehard. And since May was my Medical Month, I had to read a Patterson… only that this time it was a true, unfortunate story.
It is the life story of a seventeen-year-old guy, Cory Friedman, which started when he was five years old. One morning, Cory woke up with the uncontrollable urge to shake his head. From that day on, his life became a misery of such things. His body would just do things unexpectedly and uncontrollably, like walking like a spider, hopping around, clapping hands, rubbing his nose, climbing trees and involuntary utterances. This set him on fifteen years of medication upon medication, treatment upon treatment–a constantly changing regimen that left him and his family feeling like guinea pigs in an out-of-control experiment.
It soon became unclear which tics were symptoms of his condition and which were side effects of the countless combinations of drugs oscillating between OCD, Tourette syndrome, and an anxiety disorder.
The only certainty was that it kept getting worse. Simply put: Cory Friedman’s life was a living hell.
Subjected to debilitating treatments and continuous ridicule, Cory became devastatingly aware of how he appeared to others. With the love of his family and the support of a few steadfast teachers and medical professionals, he fought for his very life, and you will cheer his amazing successes.
Btw, the other writer, Hal Friedman is Cory’s father, so the story is from the horse’s mouth.
That’s it. I could only read these medical books in a Month, lest I became a doctor. The rest were novels and Google stuff… but those don’t count as books, do they?
The reading train continues! In March, I read 4 books (I am doing well, ain’t I?) One was kinda boring, even to my standards; the other was a short but intriguing novella; one was a lovely story that has changed my life… and the other remains a secret.
Basically, Firewall is the story of a disgraced British Intelligence operative Nick Stone who needs money; to pay for the treatment of his traumatized step-daughter – and he doesn’t mind what he does to get it. Even if it means kidnapping a powerful Russian crime boss. But as the operation begins to fall apart Nick finds it harder to identify who the good guys are. And so Stone is thrust into the grim underworld of Estonia, with unknown aggressors stalking the landscape. Russia has launched a cyber-espionage attack, hacking into the West’s most sensitive military secrets. Stone must stop them. But the mafia are waiting in the wings with their own brutal solutions.
Good storyline, right? With all the things we love – thrilling, computer hacking, some sex… but, I hated the flow, the language used… and the cynic monotony. Also, this Nick is like Stephen Seagal… he is invincible!
When I saw this title, I was looking for a novella – a small novel I can read in a day or two. The title was intriguing, not in the sense of life after death, but *shrug* I wondered how a detective novel can talk about the afterlife. Or what Ian Rankin was doing writing a novella – he is best known for long-ass novels.
Anyway, I got it, and I read it in two days, sitting in the jam in the morning and evening – that’s where I read, btw. In this neat little novella, he does in 73 pages what many of his peers take three times as long to do–set an interesting scene, solve a crime, develop a character, and allow him to grow and change without sacrificing either pace or plot.
Rebus, agrees to track down the missing son of his high school sweetheart and her husband, a friend of his youth. He takes you into the gritty back streets and criminal byways of his hometown (more like me solving crimes in Maua), following the lost guy from the nightclub where he was last seen through gambling casinos, football matches, and face-to-face encounters with the mobsters who may have been involved in his disappearance. Along the way, Rebus confronts his own mortality, the choices he’s made, and the obligations he owes his past.
And, if you take part in those betting “fixed matches”, in this kabook you will know how that happens.
Back in the days, when I was working at Bata, we learned of a company in the US that does something remarkable – for every pair of shoes they sell, they donate a pair to a child in the developing world (sisi hao). We actually learned about it when we saw a picture of the First Lady helping a young jigger victim into a pair of shoes that looked like Ngoma and we thought, wow, she bought all those Ngomas from us. Before we tweeted the shit out of that, we noticed they were not Ngoma – they were TOMS. So, I started looking for stories about this amazing idea.
So, when I saw Kendi Gikunda with this book by the TOMS founder, Blake Mycoskie, there was no way I was letting her get away with it. I just took it, without caring where she was taking it, or if she was still reading it.
And it was the right move.
In Start Something that Matters, Blake Mycoskie tells the story of TOMS, one of the fastest-growing shoe companies in the world, and combines it with lessons learned from other innovative organizations. Blake presents six simple keys for creating or transforming your own life and business, from discovering your core story to being resourceful to incorporating going into every aspect of your life. No matter what kind of change you’re considering; Start Something that Matters gives you the stories, ideas, and practical tips that can help you get started.
It will leave you asking: What matters most to you? Should you focus on earning a living, pursuing your passions, or devoting yourself to the causes that inspire you? The surprising truth is that you don’t have to choose–and that you’ll find more success if you don’t. That’s the breakthrough message of TOMS’ One for One movement. You don’t have to be rich give back and you don’t have to retire to spend every day doing what you love. You can find profit, passion, and meaning all at once right now.
Even foor this book, he donates a book to a needy child, for every copy sold!
In this one book, I have learned enough to make me take some decisions that will impact my life, and hopefully the lives of people. It challenged me to look around me, and start something that matters!
You should look for the book. I would have lent it to you, but it is not mine. I doubt Kendi will give it to you either because it is not hers. And I still have it… I want the owner to forget about it.
March was a successful month, book-wise. I am not telling you about the fourth book. Reasons are best known to me. 🙂
See you next month. And, are you reading with me? What are you reading?
In January, I started my new journey of reading multiple books per month (btw, the picture above is of my growing third library).I did 2 books in January and promised myself to read four in February. Well, I managed to read 3 and a half (the half is part of one of those books that require a lot of patience to read) and I will tell you about it in the next edition.
So, here are the 3 great books I read in February.
Judge and Jury – James Patterson
I love James Patterson! Okay, I am straight, I love his books. I have almost all his books and while they are not the only books I read, I throw one in once in while. They are easy reads and he knows how to weave stories and Judge & Jury is no exception.
In this novel, FBI agent Nick Pellisante has been pursuing Mafia don Dominic Cavello known as the Electrician, for a long time, and Cavello is finally on trial for the terrible, heinous crimes he is responsible for. Cavello is as ruthless as Pablo (Watched that series the other day) if not worse. is linked to hundreds of gruesome, unspeakable crimes.Everybody knows Cavello’s power reaches far beyond the courtroom, but the FBI’s evidence against the ruthless killer is iron-clad. Conviction is a sure thing. Everyone is afraid of him. The judge, the witnesses, and the jury. Among the scared jury is Andie DeGrasse, an aspiring actress, and single mom, who had done her best to not get picked for the jury, but was chosen nevertheless.
As the jury is about to reach a verdict, the Electrician makes one devastating move that no one could have predicted. He bombs the jury! Everyone dies, including Andie’s 11-year-old son and the entire nation is reeling. Andie’s world is shattered. For her, the hunt for the Electrician becomes personal, and she and Pellisante come together in an unbreakable bond: they will exact justice-at any cost.
Patterson expertly combines the human interest of Andie and Nick’s relationship with the suspense of pursuing Cavello. It is a gripping story that you won’t want to put down. A legal thriller that pits two people against the most vicious and powerful mobster ever.
And vicious these two people become, tackling one of the most vicious mercenaries in the world, Kristancic, tracking and delivering justice to Cavello, and finally tackling their own hearts – there are a few steamy scenes. 😉
If you want this, and you will want it, I have a soft copy that I can lend you. Talk to me.
The Paris Option – Robert Ludlum (February Fav)
I love computers. I really do – they are my life. This Ludlum blockbuster I read in February is about a special computer. A computer that can do anything to anyone. It can shut down America and it actually does. Power, trains, military, the internet, phone network everything. It is a molecular computer which uses special technology derived from living things – you know, no computer has matched God’s creation yet. Nothing can do what you can do – now, the molecular computer has that power.
It all starts at the Pasteur Institute, Paris. A bomb explodes, fire rages, and a renowned computer scientist is dead. Dr. Émile Chambord had been working on a molecular DNA computer that could virtually control all computerized operations around the globe. Now, his groundbreaking research is missing. Overnight, military satellites and communications are shut down by unknown sources. And Covert-One agent Dr. Jon Smith has to race across two continents to expose the next generation of terrorists—a vast network of technological spies who now have the power to reprogram the world. Every government agency, every armed force and every nuclear weaponin in their clutches.
Jon goes to Paris, ostensibly to visit the comatose Marty, but he’s actually there to find if any link exists between the explosion and the random computer hacking. Picking up bits and pieces of arbitrary information, Jon begins to piece together details of what is perhaps the most massive, elaborate and deadly conspiracy ever. Meanwhile, with communications sabotaged worldwide and people following the people following him, Jon determinedly sets out to find the people behind all this. Bullets fly, missiles launch, Dr. Chambord’s daughter is kidnapped, and Jon finds himself surrounded by danger. His search for the missing computer takes him on an intensely suspenseful journey all over Europe and beyond, even as nuclear holocaust threatens. Jon’s old pals, CIA agent Randi Russell and an old British spy Peter Howell, unexpectedly team up with him, and together they begin a most dangerous mission.
Like in all good stories, the ending is not what you expect. You know, when the main culprit is not who you thought it would be? Yes, those ones. It made my February.
You should read it. I can sell it to you, or you we can exchange if you have a better book. Just talk to me.
Micro – Michael Crichton
What if you could be shrunk to the size of a black ant, thigiriri? That’s when you would know ants the size of safari ants are monsters. And grasshoppers are bigger than choppers. That’s exactly what happened to unsuspecting students in this science fiction – which I somehow enjoyed thoroughly despite my finding-science-boring. Ask my Chemistry teacher.
It begins with a private investigator named Marcos Rodriguez pulling up to a metal building located on the island of Oahu. The building is the main headquarters of Nanigen Micro-Technologies, a research company that specializes in discovering new types of medicine. Disguised as a security guard, Rodriguez enters the unattended building and begins searching the grounds for an unknown object. As he makes his way through the halls of the building, however, he begins to notice mysterious, ultra-fine cuts appearing on his body. Spooked, Rodriguez flees the building.
Shortly, Rodriguez makes his way to the office of his employer, Willy Fong. When he arrives, he notices another man, of Chinese descent, waiting in the office. Fong begins to question Rodriguez about his cuts, but before Rodriguez can explain, the Chinese man’s throat is slit by an unseen force. Fong and Rodriguez barely have time to react before they are also killed. Their deaths are reported as a triple suicide. And that’s the start of horror.
It follows 7 Harvard students who get recruited as interns for Nanigen. They are visited by the CEO of Nanigen, Vincent “Vin” Drake, along with his CFO, Alyson Bender, and Eric, who is a vice president at Nanigen. Although they are at first reluctant, they all decide to take Drake’s offer and fly out to Oahu. And that’s the worst decision they make. Eric is killed by the same small robots, and when Alison starts getting jittery over Drake’s murderous intent, she also gets killed. This is after the students have been shrunk to the size of ants and dumped into a forest where the chances of survival are almost zero – the micro world is ruthless. You can get killed by anything if you are the size of a thigiriri, no?
Actually, all of them die, including the main character, except two students, who fall in love.
Breaks my heart that the writer, Michael Crichton died before this book was published. When he died in 2008, an untitled, unfinished manuscript was found on his computer, which would become Micro. 🙁
I am not giving you this one. Buy yours.
And those, right there, are the books that helped me through the month of love, February. And speaking of love, reading is the purest form of love. You should try cuddling a book to sleep. As always, we can exchange books, if you have a few good books that you have read, tell me about it and we can share notes.
“Think before you speak. Read before you think.” ― Fran Lebowitz