A Reading List, A Playlist


Photo: Kevin Tosh. 

  • Freedom Interrogations, by Michael Onsando: “Last night, just before I fell asleep, I thought of a lover.  I often do. I haven’t learned how to put it off yet. Love is always a present, never a past. But there are many things that distract me. Like listening to India Arie and writing. Or, reading My Ngoc talk about pain in more ways that I had previously considered possible. Or going the roof and listening to the silence of a city that dreams of freedom.”
  • Style = Substance, by Jenny Zhang: “And that’s why the story of my father’s frozen half-turd means so much to me. It reminds me that the story of our lives can be wonderful and depressing and funny and banal and bizarre and terrifying and traumatic, all at the same time, because you and I and everyone else in this world are vast, and we contain multitudes.”
  • My Marriage Didn’t End When I became a Widow, by Lucy Kalanithi: “When my husband died from cancer last March at age 37, I was so grief-stricken I could barely sleep. One afternoon, I visited his grave — in a field high in the Santa Cruz Mountains, overlooking the Pacific Ocean — and lay on top of it. I slept more soundly than I had in weeks.”
  • Gambia passes law making FGM illegal, by Arthur Chatora: “Gambia’s parliament has passed a bill which bans female genital mutilation (FGM). The development follows pronouncements made in November last year by President Yahya Jammeh banning the practice to protect young girls.
  • Why Should Wives Have to Answer for Their Husband’s Behaviour? by Rebecca Traister (On Camille Cosby): “Wives are supposed to adhere loyally to their mates, through good times and bad, until those mates do something bad enough, at which point they are expected to judge them swiftly and with clear eyes.”
  • I confronted the doctor who missed my cancer by Elisabeth R. Finch: “Nearly every article, study, or first-person account revealed similarly alarming patterns: Women are sedated (i.e. silenced), diminished, or discounted, while men’s symptoms are trusted, validated, and treated. Yet women continue to do the apologizing. We too often shrink under the weight and shame of appearing difficult. We use the word “just” to temper our complaints or accolades. We soften and qualify and endure. We behave.

And a playlist: “What we Lost” by Silas Miami, “Salale” by Mayonde”, “M’ba” by Bako Dagnon, “Tennis Court” by Lorde, “Derniere Danse” by Indila, “Nomvula” by Freshlyground.


  • Kerubo

    Shiku! I absolutely loved this! I got so carried away by Jenny Zhang’s post. Thank you! Thank God for people!

    • Isn’t it beautiful? Gosh absolutely, thank God for people!!!