Vivian

Books and Memories: Mourning a good friend

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi

americanahThis was the first review that our book club ever had. I got to the venue and found three members already there.

You must be Diana, I am Viv.” Those were the first words that she ever said to me as she hugged me. She was beautiful in a classy way. Her makeup was well done and she was wearing green fitting pants and a black top. Her glasses were chic. She reminded of what the Late Grace Ogot used to saw, a woman of great Nyadhi meaning a woman of style.

During the book review I learned a lot about Viv. She was a feminist and this made her connect more with the protagonist, Ifemelu and the author Chimamanda. Viv gently lectured me when I expressed my fears of turning 30 and still being single with no kids. She didn’t believe in the ever so loud ticking biological clock or the self-declared shelf life of women hitting 30. We talked about the book in-between catching up and swapping stories about our lives. I met new friends that day, Wambui, Eddah, Esther and Viv. We stopped being strangers while discussing Americanah, sampling dishes at the café and of course, Viv having her wine. Everything she did was so graceful.

It was evident from that day just how much Vivian loved life and the good things that it brings. She had traveled to almost all countries in the world but still remained humble. She would casually mention a date in Paris, book stop in Amsterdam or a beautiful meal in Morocco. Vivian lived a beautiful life.

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

geishaI loved this book and really looked forward to the review. I got to Reata where we were to meet and found Viv already there. She had a glass of wine and her laptop open in front of her. She explained that she was working on her thesis. She had started doing her Masters a couple of years back but had to defer for personal reasons. Years later she was now ready to submit her thesis with the hope of graduating in December this year. We sat in silence as I also worked on my assignments before the others arrived.

At the end of the review, Viv dropped us (Esther and I) in town and she rushed off to another event.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

GOTShe arrived late for this review. As usual, Vivian looked stunning. She had just cut her hair short. That was Vivian, confident enough to chop off all her hair and of course she looked exquisite. She was on a new diet and the first thing that she did was place a big bottle of smoothie on the table informing her that was her lunch and dinner. She wasn’t tempted by the Ethiopian food that we were eating or the wine. She had a plan to lose some weight. She mentioned a new guy that she had met. A tall handsome man. Vivian had all sorts of plans. I had to leave the book review early and the last thing that she told me was that I looked great in the African top that I was wearing. ‘I need to get your tailor’s number,’ she added as we said goodbye. I never gave her the number because I assumed that she was kidding. That was the last time that I saw Viv alive.

 

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

annaI was in a bus traveling home from my Easter vacation. I had just started reading this book. Four hours into our journey, our bus broke down and everyone got out as the mechanics came to fix it. It was too hot outside so I stayed in the bus reading. Soon I got distracted and switched on my internet to check my messages on Watsapp. I immediately got a series of messages.

‘OMG, this can’t be happening’

‘It is not true’

‘I can’t stop crying’

They were a couple of messages in the book club chat group all expressing shock. I scrolled up, trembling, heart racing. I knew it was something bad but I tried to comfort myself that it could be book panic. Maybe a character was killed off or did something happen to an author? Was the next review cancelled? I knew it was something worse but nothing could ever have prepared me for the news of Vivian’s death. I was confused. I couldn’t even make sense of the words. Thought it meant something else. However, Vivian had died in a road accident. I wept alone in that bus though I was still confused. I checked her Facebook page and she was just talking about her vacation. She was happy, having fun and she even wore a bikini at the coast (her weight loss efforts worked out after all). I went back to the messages convinced that I had gotten it wrong but it had been confirmed. Viv was gone.

 

Beloved by Toni Morrison

beloved

This is the book that we are supposed to be reading this month for review on April 16th 2016.  I can’t imagine a review without her. I keep trying to run away from conversations about her because they bring back the pain. I am afraid that I will see the other members of the book club and breakdown crying like I have been doing each day since I got the news. I don’t want to let her down because she was committed to the club and I guess she would have wanted us to keep reading and reviewing books (does that make sense?). I don’t know how to act, what is the right thing to do? What will help ease the hurt? I honestly don’t know what to do to stop crying every time her name comes up.

Viv loved life. She loved traveling, reading books and was passionate about her job. Above all, Viv loved children especially her nephew Shawn and the loss of her son, Hawi had been devastating to her. She loved her family and friends and the book club.

I don’t know how to cope with her being gone. She was too young. I will miss her terribly.

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Today on April 6th 2016, we laid Vivian to rest. I still can’t believe that this is happening. Not out Viv.

 

WWW-Wednesday

This meme is currently hosted by Sam at  Taking on a World of Words.

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To take part all you need to do is answer the following questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

So here’s my 3 W’s for the week.

Recently Finished

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

I really liked this book. It took sometime before I started enjoying it but the last 150 pages were read in one sitting. Etienne and Anna are so cute and Paris is just dreamy. I may never go to Paris but I still dream of it and in my dreams, its the perfect, magical place.

Her Mother’s Hope by Francine Rivers

This is a really big book that took quite some time to read. However, it was an amazing story although I cried so many times while reading it. It sort of breaks your heart over and over again but that doesn’t take away the fact that it is beautiful.

Partners: A Rogue Lawyer Short Story by John Grisham

I have a weakness for John Grisham books. This is a new one though quite short at only 50 pages. It is sort of connected to his last Novel, The Rogue lawyer which I reviewed here.

Currently Reading

Blackass by Igoni Barret

blackass

I don’t have an opinion on this one yet since I have only started reading it now. However, at page 23 I am sort of struggling to get through it and already pushing myself to move forward.

 

 

 

Reading next

Beloved by Toni Morrison

beloved

 

My book club is reviewing this on April 16th 2016 so I need to get started on it now.

 

So how about you, any interesting books that you have read lately? What are you reading now? What do you plan on reading next? Are you struggling to find time to read? Share your links and comments.

Top 5 Wednesday – Rainy Day Reads

#T5W

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme created by Lainey. Every week, participants  get a new topic to discuss and you list your top 5 books (or whatever is specified) that relate to that topic! If you’re interested in joining, you should come join the fun over at the Goodreads group!
Rainy Day Reads

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After two months of sunny and extremely hot days, the April showers have finally started in Kenya. The first time it rained was on April 1st, I woke up to the sound of rain at 2am in the morning and it was the most beautiful sound ever. My rainy day reads are all emotional kinds of reads.Here they are:

The Colour Purple by Alice Walker- I enjoyed this book although it made me cry. I liked Celie so much but her story was sad. The good thing is that her transformation to a confident and free woman was amazing to witness through the pages.

Her Mother’s Hope by Francine Rivers- I can’t remember crying so much while reading a book. It didn’t just have one sad section but there were several. This book is so beautiful but it will break your heart.

The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini- These two books just had to be on this list. I remember reading them late into the night and getting lost in the streets of Kabul and the Afghanistan that Khaled described.

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden- I always enjoy the books that take you away to different  world from where you are. I got lost in this narrative that I forgot about everything else in my world. I was immersed into the life of Geishas and their stories. I could hear the sounds, see the characters in the beautiful kimonos and smell the scents of Japan against the background sounds of the rain.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins- This was the book that I was reading over the weekend as the rains started and it was the perfect read then. I started off disliking the book because it seemed too YA  (I know that’s not a thing). However, about 90 pages in, I started liking the story and got lost in Anna and Etienne’s love story. It’s not the kind of book that will make you cry but it is an awwww kind of book.

So those are my rainy day reads. What are yours? Share your links and comments and I might just get ideas about the books to read during this rainy season.

Happy rainy days reading!

Photo credits:Rainy Day GIF and  Featured Image