Book Club Questions

Does your book club plan to read Nairobi Ndoto? Here are some possible book club questions:

  • Between Tilly, Pauline, and Zara, who is your favorite character and why?
  • If you could meet one of them right now, what would you say to her?
  • If you adapted this book into a movie, who would you cast for each of the three main characters?
  • How much did you know about Nairobi or Kenya before reading this book?
  • Did this book change or challenge any preconceived notions you had about either?
  • How did the setting impact the narrative?
  • Have you ever traveled to the destinations described in this book?
  • Are there any places from the book you would like to visit?
  • From your point of view, what were the central themes of the book? 
  • Did you have a favorite quote or quotes? If so, share which and why?
  • If you could ask Mahua one question about the book, what would it be?
  • Pretend you’re a famous author writing a blurb for the cover. What would you say?

Last but not least: What food and wine would best pair with a Nairobi Ndoto book club meeting?

March Reading

I read a lot in March. Much of this is a result of being on vacation during the last week of that month. Here are the books I finished:

  • You’re Invited, by Amanda Jayatissa
  • Daisy Darker, by Alice Feeney
  • Déjà Dead, by Susan Kieran-Lewis
  • Miss Graham’s Cold War Cookbook, by Celia Rees
  • Atomic Habits, by James Clear
  • The Things We Cherished, by Pam Jenoff
  • Frost, by C.N. Crawford
  • Ambrosia, by C. N. Crawford
  • Win Every Argument, by Mehdi Hasan
  • The Ghost Who Wanted Revenge, by Bobbi Holmes
  • Mermaid, by Jodi Picoult

Meet Pauline

Expat life means many things to Pauline. It’s an adventure. It’s a path to new professional opportunities. It’s a way to fix her strained marriage. She put all these hopes into moving to Nairobi. Things did not go as expected.

Now she’s trying to establish a life in Nairobi. She’s figuring out what to do about her marriage. She’s working as hard as she can to get her career back on track. But one thing after another keeps going wrong.

Pauline is struggling.

Expat life doesn’t always go as planned and isn’t always what you think it’ll be.

February Reads

Here are the books I finished in February:

  • Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun, by Elle Cosimano
  • Angela Carter’s Book of Fairy Tales, by Angela Carter
  • The Blue Bar, by Damyanti Biswas
  • Night Angels, by Weina Day Randel
  • Thank You For Listening, by Julia Whelan
  • Mango, Mamba, and Murder, by Raquel V. Reyes
  • The Cartographers, by Peng Shepard
  • Children of the Night: The Strange and Epic Story of Modern Romania, by Paul Kenyon

That was indeed a lot of books last month. Most of them were started before February. I expect to have a big list next month as well. I’ll be going on vacation which means lots of reading time!

Meet Tilly

Tilly and her family have been expats for ages. Nairobi was meant to be a two-year post, just the next stop in their many adventures abroad. Somehow, two years turned into nine without her even noticing it. She loves Nairobi, as do her husband and their three sons.

She stopped thinking of Kenya as a new, exotic location years ago. It’s just where she lives. She has practically become a local and her life is fully enmeshed in Nairobi. She hasn’t even thought about the next move, until now.

She’s ready for a new career, but is it worth exploring if they have to move in a year or two? Part of expat life is knowing that you have to leave at some point. But what if she doesn’t want to say goodbye? Could she stay?

My First Reading

My reading at Shakespeare & Co. Booksellers went really well. I was blown away and awestruck by the turn out. As a new author, I had hoped for a handful of people – instead, we had the place fully packed! I am so grateful to everyone interested in Nairobi Ndoto who came out to hear me read. I hope everyone enjoyed the reading as much as I did.

Meet Zara

Zara loves her job in child protection services. She believes in the work and is passionate about helping and protecting children. But, after many years in the field, she has grown tired of going from assignment to assignment every year or two. She hopes she’ll be able to find something solid in Nairobi, where she was supposed to be instead of shuttling back and forth to Mogadishu.

She’s ready to settle down. She wants to stay in one place long enough to make a real difference. That’s her ndoto, her dream.

A Reading at Shakespeare & Co.

I’ll be doing a reading of Nairobi Ndoto on Friday, March 3rd at 7:30 pm at Shakespeare & Company Booksellers. I’ll speak a little bit about the book and read from the first few chapters to give an introduction to the three main characters: Tilly, Pauline, and Zara. There will be wine and friendly faces.

If you’re in Vienna, I hope you’ll stop by.

Shakespeare & Co. is located at Sterngasse 2, in the First District in Vienna. You can take a look at the map below or scroll down a little further to see directions from the bookshop’s website.

The location can only be reached on foot, but from 5 directions:

from Hoher Markt (Busstop A1)
through Judengasse – next to the Vermählungsbrunnen
or from Schwedenplatz through Seitenstettengasse.

Up some stairs
you can take the Herzl-Stiege from Marc-Aurel Strasse,
the Jerusalem Stiege from Fleischmarkt/Rotenturmstraße
or the Ruprechsstiege from Morzinplatz.

Nearest Underground-Stations:
Schwedenplatz & Stephansplatz

New To Me

I discovered three authors last year. I should note that while I have only just discovered them, these authors have been around for a while. But, for me, this discovery is a shiny, new thing, and it makes me so happy. I love to read and now I have three authors to add to my list of favorites. 

First on the list is Oscar de Muriel. I’ve gotten into his Frey & McGray series, a gothic mystery series set in Victorian Edinburgh. The series is creepy, well paced, and a lot of fun. I’m excited to read all the Frey & McGray books.

Next is Alice Feeney. I read His & Hers and was hooked from the first page. The psychological thriller kept me guessing until the very end. I’m now (at the time of writing) reading Rock, Paper, Scissors and loving it. If you like dark and suspenseful stories, you’ll like Feeny’s work. 

Last but not least is David Hewson. I read The Garden of Angels and The Medici Murders. The Garden of Angels is a standalone novel set in Venice during World War II. It’s great for any fan of historical fiction. The Medici Murders is a new amateur sleuth series. The story is set in modern day Venice with a lot of history woven into the plot. I really enjoyed it and I’m excited for the next in the series.

This year, I plan to continue the Frey & McGray series, dive into Daisy Darker, and read more of Hewson’s work, in particular the Nic Costa series. I’m looking forward to reading more from these authors and to seeing who else I’ll “discover” in 2023.