Coffee With Fay

Coffee With Fay: Michelle of Empressofbookingham

Hey there, Reader. Today on the blog I have the pleasure of having Michelle. A free spirit, a writer, a poet and all round great friend. I had so much fun with this interview and I hope you do too, as you read it.

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1. Tell me a little bit about yourself. 

Hiya… Omeno Michelle is my government issued name but you can call Mitch, Omesh or simply Michelle. I am the middle born child among five so I get bullied a lot. I’m a pluviophile (rain lover. There is something soothing and magical about the rain), selenophiliacs (moon lover. Occasionally goes out and dances to the moon), sugar addict, I love animals and if it isn’t too obvious, I feed on words and they feed me. And when I’m not reading or jotting down my feelings and thoughts I’m busy knitting, dancing, bonding with my furry things, wishing I was baking or actually playing with my books. Whooosh! That’s a lot about my self, pardonnez-moi.
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2. What are you currently reading?
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins and things are literally and figuratively catching fire. I can’t stand the heat but I definitely plan on reading this till the very last fullstop.
Just imagine a world where food is so rationed you barely feel it when you’ve done devouring the dish. Or where everything you say or do is monitored to the tee. Or where young people fight so that they can quench the thirst, or is it hunger, of those in power and with power. Sigh!
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This book and series is actually deep if you stop skirting its shallow surface. It’s not just about unrequited love or a freaking love triangle: it touches on greed, power, pollution, political influence, war, oppression, poverty… And it’s writing style and Katniss Everdeen’s demeanour is what had me line, hook and sinker. I know its not for everyone given that it’s a fantastical young adult book but I feel like we could learn a lot about this world Suzanne Collins created.
3. What is your favorite genre and why?
Once I was a die hard sucker for romance. I was young, impressionable, curious… Wanted to know what is this ‘love’ that people keep on singing and talking about. Overtime this love has waned off.
Now thriller/crime fiction is definitely my go to niche. And if it has a mishmash of romance that’s just icing on the cake. Love makes things sweeter and more stable huh?
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4. What do you think about the reading culture in Kenya? 
Fay, Fay, Fay… This is just one of those questions that make me sweat because my view is really limited and biased. You know the observer effect? What you think and feel is what you see? So in the back of my mind I know that Kenya has a rich reading culture given that I interact with plenty of readers, book vendors, a bit of writers… Just look what happens when a new awesome book is released, you ring the stores and they’re already out of stock. Look at rate books ‘fly’ at ‘Inama’ book stops. I’d love to say Kenya has a rich reading culture. But is this really true?
Just look at our literacy level: Kenya adult literacy rate was at level of 81.5 % in 2018. Its so high but I think ‘vitu kwa grao’ are very different. Heard what some if not most youngings are saying about books? It can make you weep. So what are we doing about it? What am I doing about it? What better way than to start at home. For my case, I have this still impressionable teen in our household to whom I’m slowly trying to mold her into a book lover. Got her 2 books for her birthday focusing on something she loves: sweets. She seems to be enjoying it thus far. Also every time I buy books I let her see what she thinks she would love and so far ‘The Giver’ by Lois Lowry has caught her attention. I intend on getting her her own copy. She is also the only person who I give free reign among my home library. The rest of you stay out!
Also can our education system select literature books that will not only be growing but engaging to the students? I think this is where we also make or break the reading culture.
5. Name 3 reading habits that you have.
  • Tea or hot cocoa is very much part of the reading package. I need something sweet to warm me my insides while the book warms up my brain.
  • Two, and I don’t know when I picked this up, after what I’m drinking is over I hop over to something sweet to munch on. Especially mabuyus. (Mabuyus are seeds coated with sugar and colored powered in various flavours.) Too sweet.  I usually feel something is really missing otherwise.
  • Three, three…my dog has become my official reading buddy. He even knows it that every time I pick up a book he is right there to keep me company if not warm. Well, except when I read during my commutes. Don’t even ask how I got a dog.

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6. Do you prefer tea or coffee? How do you take it? 
You mean if hot cocoa or ‘chocolat’ is not part of the equation? Definitely tea. Lemon tea to be precise. With lotsa sugar. However, I’ve been lately experimenting with other flavours of tea thanks to Kericho Gold.
7. What is one book you recommend to people? 
Hehehe! Putting me on the hot-spot Fay… If not one of these four and/or The Law and The Promise by Neville Goddard, I wouldn’t know what to recommend because it depends to whom am I recommending to.
But these 5 mentioned above are just phenomenal books that everyone should read at least once in their life from my point of view. They touch on the power of imagination/mind and law of attraction. They have totally changed how I view not only my life and self but also others and how the universe as a whole operates. Its not for the weak of faith though. But if you want to transform your life truly, I’d say suspend your judgement, read them and do what if not all they recommend and see if your life wouldn’t change.
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Otherwise, A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah is a must read for everyone! Thanks to you Fay I got to read this book and I’m so glad I did. Talk about crying a river. Its writing style pulled me in so fast I couldn’t breath, then the story itself left me thinking deeply. War is just BRUTAL. Finally, our narrator made me truly believe no sin or pain is too great that it can’t be overcome. So definitely, definitely there is still hope for humanity. On the few occasions I’ve interacted with the author I’ve found that he is so amazing and so down to earth that I was floored. Some stories stay with you forever and this one is one of them.
8. Where can we find you?
 Utaw… Oh you mean where I can directly connect with other books and poetry lovers given this social distancing time? Well on IG, I am the empressofbookingham. Come let’s talk books till we can’t talk or type no mre. Also can be found on my poetry dedicated blog loveishermagicwand.wordpress.com.
 
Remember even though words can’t hit someone they can cut them where it hurts the most so use your words carefully of not lovingly. They are that powerful.
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