‘MY STORY ‘ – A REVIEW

Julia Gillard delivers a powerful recollection of her time at the helm of Australian politics.  Aptly titled My Story, she chronicles in fine detail key events during her tenure. She gives the reader a front row seat to the high octane, high stakes, world of politics.

Australia’s first female Prime Minister takes on governance, diplomacy, the global financial crisis, environment, gender and everything in between.

She draws lessons from her moments lobbying legislators in Parliament, overseeing rescue missions, reaching out to stakeholders and honouring her oath of office. 

It’s a bare-knuckle, reflective and enlightening recollection. 

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‘WOMEN AND LEADERSHIP’ – A REVIEW

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Women and Leadership is the most resourceful book on this subject yet. Written jointly by Julia Gillard and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, it gives the reader the elusive 360-degree view on women in leadership. Specifically, on the impact of gender on the treatment of leaders.

As if their accomplished careers were not enough to learn from, they have further embellished this book with even more insight. Some of the most formidable leaders of our time including Hillary Clinton, Christine Largade and President Sirleaf, have lent their experience to this book.

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‘BORN A CRIME’ – A REVIEW

How does a kid go from scrapping and clawing in the slums of Soweto to interviewing President Barack Obama?

How does anyone turn lemons into lemonade?

The Daily Show host, Trevor Noah delivers his most articulate work yet in these memoirs. Born in Apartheid South Africa, to a white man and a black woman, he was evidence of a crime. He chronicles his struggle to fit in. Being part of everything yet nothing at all, at the same time.

In quintessential Trevor Noah humor, he traverses the themes of racism, color, and the intricacies of dual heritage.

It’s a moving, insightful and still hilarious encapsulation of a life still being lived well.

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‘MAUMAU DETAINEE’ – A REVIEW

Josiah Mwangi Kariuki better known as J.M. Kariuki captures the brutality of British colonial rule in Kenya. Written from a first-hand account, J. M. Kariuki details his upbringing and juxtaposes it with his adulthood at the apogee of British rule in Kenya. 

These memoirs center on his incarceration in the most inhumane of places under the British-imposed State of Emergency in Kenya. 

MauMau’ Detainee encapsulates the horrors of colonial rule in Kenya. It speaks to the sacrifices of sweat and blood that Kenyans made for their independence. It is peppered with timeless Gikuyu proverbs and crucial historical information. 

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‘MY LIFE, MY LOVE, MY LEGACY’ – A REVIEW

What was it like being side-by-side and witnessing first-hand as one of the greatest civil rights icons of any generation fought for justice and equality?

How does one face so much tribulations yet still emerge from the fire stronger and with greater resolve?

How does one go from a discriminated, cotton-pickig, black girl growing up in the segregated South to dining with Head of States, Royalty and making an indelible mark on the world stage?

One name: CORETTA SCOTT KING. 

In My Life, My Love, My Legacy, Coretta Scott King tells her life’s story. She recounts her difficult upbringing growing up in racist Alabama, being openly discriminated against and finding her place in all the chaos. 

Coretta offers readers a front-row seat to her relationship with a young Martin Luther King. From her courtship, marriage, all the way to his fight against racism and injustice. 

More importantly, with decisive humility, she reminds readers that before she was Mrs King, there was a Coretta Scott and long after Dr. King is assassinated, she had a meaningful, impactful life. 

Her memoirs tell the story of a bold, once-in-a-life time- woman, who was knocked down seven times but got back up eight. It’s a moving, sobering, and inspiring tribute to a life well-lived, to honors well-earned. 

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‘ONE DAY I WILL WRITE ABOUT THIS PLACE’ – A REVIEW

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Kenya’s winner of the 2002 Caine Prize for African Writing delivers a sobering account of his life in his memoirs One Day I Will Write About This Place. Bivanyanga Wainana was as multi-cultural as he was multi-talented. 

Herein, he recounts significant moments of his upbringing. He has seen it all – Daring despotism, a smooth transfer of power, rigged elections, civil war. 

Vicariously, he accompanies the reader revisiting these epochs in time. In juxtaposing these different zeitgeists, he offers a unique perspective on the intricacies of democracy, writing, nation-building and humanity itself. 

One of the hallmarks of his life was founding the Kwani Trust in Kenya to nurture and mentor writers who wanted to tell the African story.

Bivanyanga holds nothing back. He writes in a uniquely African, easy-to-read, inviting language. He tackles death, sexual assault, language, politics and so much more. 

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‘FIND ME UNAFRAID’ – A REVIEW

Find Me Unafraid is a moving story of loss, love, determination and hope. Kibera – one of Africa’s largest slums – would be the birth place of the most unlikeliest of relationships. It would be here that two people from diametrically different worlds would find each other and find love. Kennedy Odede from a destitute family in Kibera would meet Jessica Posner, an educated, middle-class girl from Denver. 

This book is co-written by the two. Each of them giving the reader their story from their vantage point. It all comes together towards the end, just as their lives have. 

Find Me Unafraid of love is one of those books that inspire you to do more, be more. It sends out hope to the hopeless, love to the unloved and motivation to the demotivated. 

Kibera stays at the heart of this novel. Kennedy Odede risks life and limb, countless times, in his quest to better it. Jessica finds herself enmeshed in this noble project and eventually takes it up as her own. Together, these two have retold the story of Africa’s largest slums, uplifting millions in the process.

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‘LETTERS TO MY DAUGHTER’ – A REVIEW

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Written by one of the most impactful authors of any generation, Letters To My Daughter is testament of the precocious quality of Maya Angelou’s intellect. Whereas she is a mother to one child –a son – Maya Angelou compiled life-long lessons herein for all women. For everyone. 

Letters to My Daughter is written in the retrospective penmanship of a life well lived. As she has done so well in her memoirs heretofore, Maya Angelou revists significant events in her life. From her upbringing in Stamps Arkansas, relationships throughout the years, insecurities, illustrious academic career and everything in between. She brings these events into focus and draws lessons from it all. 

With the unapologetic clarity so quintessential of her, she carries the reader vicariously through a myriad of subjects. Ranging from racism, divorce, trauma, sexuality, gender-based violence, faith and so much more. 

This book is a true gift. An encapsulation of a remarkable life characterized by wins, losses but above all, lessons. 

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‘NO HIGHER HONOR’ – A REVIEW

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In celebration of International Women’s Day, I relished reading No Higher Honor, by Dr. Condoleezza Rice. Herein she encapsulates her distinguished career in Washington. She has had the honor of having served both Bush presidencies. First, as the White House Soviet specialist under President George H. W. Bush. A presidency  later as the National Security Advisor and Secretary of State under President George W. Bush. 

This decorated scholar and career diplomat carries the reader vicariously through her illustrious tenure in Washington. She writes in detail about her assignments and political undertakings. With the hindsight of a seasoned academic, she relives some of her most consequential decisions. 

All through, she makes a thorough assessment of her wins and losses. She draws succinct lessons from both her victories and challenges. 

Dr. Rice offers first-hand insights and wisdom for governance and leadership.

Dr. Rice is every woman!

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‘THE SOURCE OF SELF-REGARD’

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Toni Morrison, one of the greatest authors ever, engages her readers in an intellectual dance with this book. The Source Of Self-Regard is a collection of essays, thoughts, speeches and insights by Toni Morrison. The last of her works before she passed on.

Herein, she eruditely tackles a myriad of topics ranging from race, politics, literature and our common humanity. 

With the surgical precision of a seasoned writer, her pen guides the reader to her inner most intellectual faculties. She recalls certain dates and events and what they’ve meant to her. The 9/11 bombings for example. In addition, she interrogates the influence that authors such Chinua Achebe and James Baldwin have had on her writing. 

 Unfiltered, unbowed, unyielding!

 Quintessential of this Nobel Prize Laureate, she is audacious, confident and unapologetically black!

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