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Monthly Archives: September 2012

“The Kamasutra”

 “Vatsyayana says, that as variety is necessary in love, so love is to be produced by means of variety” 

“Though a man loves a girl ever so much, he never succeeds in winning her without a great deal of talking” 

~Vatsyayana (“The Kamasutra”)~

I have been crazy busy off late and consequently neglected to write but with a few stolen minutes this is is my review on ” The Kamasutra” by Vatsyayana. So I am here to set the record straight:

1. It is not a book of pictures of sexual positions (somebody say gutter?) it in fact, has not a single picture!

2.It is not a book of sage wisdom on sexual positions either

3. it is also not an instructional manual for sex (u can check out sexykenyan.com or crocodildo.com for those 😉 , sorry no links, ha!)

It is however, a book on sexual relations. At least that part is down right with most people I have spoken to. It was written by Vatsyayana (not sure why he/she didn’t have another name, or who they really were as an authority on sex, so to speak…) and not much is said of the author anyway. It seemed more like the book came from the opinions of very well known Indian “sex experts” (term very loosely used) and was actually written by their scribes or followers/ believers.

That aside however, it starts off on explanations on the different levels of passion in both men and women and of different kinds of sexual union and the right or wrong status of said unions according to Indian culture (no mention of which religion was subscribed to at the time, but am guessing it might have been Hindu- am not positive on that fact). After the first few chapters that discuss the do’s and dont’s of sex in a very narrow view, the rest of the book delves into the living situations of lovers and marriages and the guidelines need to follow a whole array of things such as; juggling lovers, seduction, extortion of lovers and love games as part of a climb to fame and fortune.

I will not lie, this read was purely out of curiosity and I am even a bit surprised that I managed to finish it (I’m notorious for book abandonment and floozyness with books). I certainly did not enjoy reading this book. It felt very biased to me as a woman and not at all considerate of all the factors that play into everyday life. It was too its-a-man’s-world for my liking, despite the fact that I knew it was written about a century ago and it was a man’s world then, I just kept forgetting the fact and sneering at the writer’s audacity as I read. My personal opinions aside, it is quite informative on many levels especially if you find yourself in a less than moral situation with no qualms about being selfish and hedonistic.

Rating: **

In other news, I am currently and hurriedly engrossed in my book club read for this September (happening on Friday the 28th- tomorrow people! yikes! at the iHub between 1&2 pm) “Purple Hibiscus” by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Purple Hibiscus- Matatu reading

So far all I can say is…superb! I don’t think I will be going for lunch today 😉 can’t get enough. The discussion tomorrow should be interesting, stay tuned for a run-down this weekend.

Have a happy Thursday people!

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Reader’s Block

Reader’s Block

Hey, hey, hey!!! The week has begun on quite an upbeat tone, can’t wait to see how it ends however, that being said (no offense Monday- nobody likes you 🙂 With all the hard partying and eating it was difficult to get through my weekend read, (did I mention the whole of Nairobi was at the Mingle event?…just explosive!!) and for some reason I am unable to read it in traffic in matatus. It might be a case of misplaced modesty or simple irritation at the interest with which I am suddenly regarded soon after unleashing my copy of “The Kamasutra” in a matatu. I may also have a bit of reader’s block (inability to get ahead in my reading), which is very frustrating at the moment, (sigh!!). So to help me in my quest to get back into the literary band wagon I picked up reading Sir Conan Author Doyle’s “The Valley of Fear“. There’s nothing quite like a good mystery thriller by the literary world’s most famous detective to get me back in the groove. Lets hope Sherlock Holmes works!!!

So since I could not possibly bring myself to abandon this post looking so malnourished, here is one of my poems to tide it over with. I wrote it a few years back…lets just say I have had a much brighter disposition since those dark days 🙂 But to pay tribute to every life experience, a small piece of my soul i will expose today. Enjoy and a lovely week to ya!!

HEART’S DEBT

Can I borrow a heart?

For mine is broken.

I can carry it in a cart,

Even though it is loaded.

New things I must find,

To overwhelm the old.

The old I wild bind,

And trade them in for gold.

So, can I borrow a heart,

Before it starts to rain?

I will carry it in a cart,

To take away this pain.

Book grief and A Tea cocktail

Thank God its Friday!!! The week has been a really hectic one and I have not had a moment’s peace to collect my thoughts till now, so the post will be short (phew!) Moving along however, I finally finished my ‘comfort read’- David Copperfield. I call it my comfort read because I have been reading it for the past 3 months now and I just always had it to fall back on when I was in a waiting situation, since it’s on my phone and I just couldn’t bring myself to finish it. I think it was because I completely fell in love with the characters and I could not bear the thought of saying good-bye…oh well! It’s over now and I don’t know what to do with my life. (I kid :p) All the same,  am without a comfort read and kinda feeling lost at sea. Any suggestions at this juncture would really lift my spirits.

David Copperfield is a life story of, yes, you guessed it! David Copperfield. It’s a timeless classic, written in a somewhat more romantic style than other Charles Dickens works. It’s a typical highs-and-lows type of self narration that depicts all angles of human interaction, more so in an emotionally objective kind of way (if I may) and it captures all types of personalities and characters that engross and enchant (sigh!). Dora (David’s first wife), her dog Jip, Agnes (his childhood friend), his Aunt and Mr.Dick form a part of his family and friends and Uriah Heep, Miss Dartle and Littimer are the well-formed villains of the work, not forgetting the occasional frenemy- Steerforth and many more who help to make the situations as real world as possible. It will definitely be hard to replace it in the comfort read department.

Earlier in the week I did try to start reading “The Adventures of  Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain, but got lost in all the Southern drawl speak and the story bore no substance for philosophically and so I left it. It may have been because I was trying to read it in a coffee shop with the rain pouring outside and I kept getting distracted by the passersby and the havoc the city descends into at the threat of moisture in the sky, I digress however. The coffee shop in question is a new discovery opposite Nation Centre in Nairobi, Gibsons Coffee. I had a Tea cocktail (which is simply the mixed tea or chai latte with a shot of syrup) as I waited for my date. The hazelnut syrup made the tea taste a bit medicinal,but the caramel syrup was just right. I can’t wait to go back though and try the chai latte with the almond syrup and whipped cream topping. Yum!

I must dash off for prayers but not before divulging my weekend read…”The Kamasutra” by Vatsyayana should be interesting 😉 lol look out for the review on Monday. Ciao people and enjoy your weekend!!

Book Club Hurrahs and Tea Musings :}

Book Club Hurrahs and Tea Musings :}

Hey Y’all! I had not initially intended to write a post today, but I just had to share the news. I found a book club!!!! yaay!!! Finally after literally years of looking for literary minds to discuss real books with, I found one. For those of you who have ever tried to join or start one  in Nairobi, you will believe me when I say its easier to find the Holy Grail (which has actually never been found…so thats a bad example) but  I digress. Th point is I found one at the IHub!! You can sign up and I will definitely be there every month in rain, sun, apocalypse.. (u get the picture) to chat and share about what’s on the book-list and other brilliant bookish ideas! So hip-hip hurrah for the readers in Nairobi!

There is also a book sharing initiative that I would like to spread the word on, because I just want more bookie-types crawling all over this city, yes! 😛 Its being driven by Wamathai, have a look and more than that, take part and share the booklovin pips!!

On another more delish note; I have been pleasantly surprised by Nestea instant ice teas. No surprise that I am always last to discover the  reason why some things were popular a few years back, but at least I made it. Anyhuu, having never been a fan of any kind of beverage that is prepared by instantly dissolving some manufactured powder in water, I was delighted when I tried Nestea (tropical flavor). To be honest I only did discover it this late because I urgently needed a water bottle and Nestea had a cheap one (1 litre bottle at 100 bob? wat! o_O!) that came with about 5 sachets free (or was it the other way around?). Either way, it was nice, end of story! There’s no need to get excited, this is only a temporary crush and my long-term relationship with steeped tea (the only kind I can really trust) is in no danger :} while we are on that topic, let me do a quick basic tea types analysis.

 

Types of Tea

 

Let me just start by saying all the above are actually from the same plant, Camellia sinensis (same as the kind grown in Limuru) but at different stages of oxidation. They are generally referred to as “true” teas which are different from herbal teas for the sake of distinction. White tea is un-oxidized and it follows through to Black tea being fully oxidized. All  that matters is that, they are all good for you but provide different kinds and levels of stimulants if u will.

Note :no scientific evidence can back this up however, just user reviews and comments, so please don’t quote me on this, thanks!!

White tea– not very commonly found in Nairobi, it has very little caffeine and brews a light color and flavor. It also contains healthy antioxidants and is the best for skin and complexion.

Green tea- it has only 5-10% the caffeine in coffee per cup. It contains healthy antioxidants. They help maintain cholesterol levels that are already within the normal range, are good for skin and teeth, and can be used as part of your diet to maintain a healthy blood sugar level. This is very popular at the moment (esp. among health aware circles) due to its health benefits. Can’t go wrong!

Oolong tea- it has approximately 15% of the caffeine in one cup of coffee.  Most people commonly recognize oolong tea as the Chinese tea served in Chinese restaurants. Oolong teas can be a healthy part of your weight loss plan.

And finally…

Black tea-   it has approximately 20% of the caffeine in a cup of coffee. Black teas help maintain cholesterol levels that are already within the normal range,  as well as helping to maintain cardiovascular function and a healthy circulatory system. Black tea which I like to call “Kenya’s good-morning” since no Kenyan can tell me that they have never had a cup of Chai. Lets just say this is what comes to mind when tea is discussed in my country (flavored with half milk and sugar mostly). Some places, especially in shags (rural) the sugar is simply added while its cooking (forget about the diabetics- those are urban diseases in their opinions, lol!) And yes, it is cooked and not steeped or dipped. Brings back memories of venomous stares from my mama, back when I was learning the kitchen ropes and dared to commit the mortal crime of making her afternoon tea with a steeped tea bag, instead of brewing it! Alas, the post has gotten too long…I forget myself when tea is the agenda :}

Watch out for my Herbal teas ramble…

 

“A Song of Fire and Ice: Feast for Crows”

Hope your weekend was as fabulous as mine, had tons of fun laughing, cooking, eating but most importantly reading!! I just love finishing a book over the weekend, because that means that my Monday gets to be a bit less dreary by starting a fresh book! Yes, yes there is no greater joy to this week, but alas! i miss the point.

Today’s post will be on the review of the book I just conquered, “A Song of Fire and Ice: A Feast for Crows” by George R.R. Martin. While I rarely like to read popular works, being the closet-snobby-book-hipster that I am with a preference for the classics, I just could not resist the call of the famously popular epic fantasy series that Martin has churned out. I will confess, I discovered the books soon after I thoroughly enjoyed watching the HBO hit series ” A Game of Thrones” which I watched on DVD. I didn’t read the first book since I knew how it was going to end from the series (with the beheading of our beloved Lord Eddard Stark :(, real tragedy) and that was enough of a spoiler to get me to overlook the first book. However, my appetite had been whetted for the second book, “A Clash of Kings” and so the love affair with  a member of the “dreaded” pop-lit began. I will review the 4th book since I feel the others have gone stale for me as I read them a while back.

The fourth book  “A Song of Fire and Ice: A Feast for Crows” starts off where the third one ( “A Song of Fire and Ice: A Storm of Swords) left off, with the battle among  four kings’ claims to the Iron Throne of Westeros, One of them (Renly Baratheon) having been killed in the prequel. We encounter half of the characters from the previous books as they continue to find their way through the land of the Seven Kingdoms and pick up the pieces of their lives after the battles are done, but the war wages on off the battlefield. New alliances are made and more characters are killed as we follow Sansa Stark still in King’s Landing and her unexpected groom. Arya Stark is still missing and having adventures at every turn. The Ironmen on their endeavor to be part of the war still hold the Northlands and grow ever more ambitious. Cersei and her twin Jaime continue to struggle to live up to their tryant father Lord Tywin. Samwell Tarly and his escapades with the dreaded Others on the Wall. The Martells of Sunspear in Dorne, Brienne of Tarth and a few other minor and surprising characters that help to sweeten the tale. By the end of the book, only two kings are left to claim the Iron Throne, with more betrayal taking place on every page.

“A Feast for Crows” follows in the epic fantasy footsteps of its prequels and generally of  Martin’s other books (titles of which can be found here). The books have been compared in the past to the works of J.R.R Tolkien (author of the “Lord of the Rings” series), and I have to agree there is some similarity between the books. They are both epic fantasies about a fictional world full of amazing landscapes and great beasts and unusual characters that are oddly relatable to the readers. Yet the similarities end there, while Tolkien’s works were instant classics in my opinion, they were very clear-cut in terms of telling the story of good triumphing over evil. Though the saga was fraught with lots of twists and turns, the plot and the characters were maturely developed, yet remained simple, and we either loved them or hated them. On the other hand, Martin’s works are full of unexpected heroes and villains and his plot development a big mind-boggling, but all the same very entertaining. His characters are very complex and bring to mind the good and bad in all of us, which lead me to be constantly be confused over whether I love them or hate them.

As much as I loved the book, this installment lacked the fevered excitement I found so compelling in the second and third books. It moved along at a sustained pace however, with a shocking end to every chapter that provided the needed push to tackle the next chapter.

Rating: ****

Now that I have started on my fresh book, look out for a review next Monday. Happy week people!!

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