Nekesa Ouma-Namulu
The Michelangelo Effect: Keys to Extraordinary Success for Ordinary People
17th October 2014
WNL Virtual Book Tours

Guest Post 70 Ten List “What are your top ten best books”

The Little Prince
Could this be the most magical, most beautifully written book ever? A satirical look at human values from a non-judgemental and infinitely gentle voice. The Little Prince remains one of my top favourite fictional characters.

“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

Lovely, and true.

A Fraction of the Whole
From the innocent wholesomeness of the Little Prince to the crooks teeming in Steve Toltz’s Australian epic, this book is a delight. Part of the author’s genius is his ability to make the unlikeliest storylines work, and work very well indeed. This book made me think, and laugh out loud. A true masterpiece.

The Lunatic Express
More monsters, madmen and a few good men. That this book is not better known is baffling. It is so well researched and brilliantly written, it surely deserves better. The Lunatic Express is Charles Miller’s tome about happenings in pre-colonial East Africa just before the turn of the century, culminating in the building of the East African Railway stretching from the coast and almost not making it to its intended destination in Uganda. When reading this, one has to forgive Miller’s sometimes slanted thinking. It is a brilliant read nonetheless.

The Concubine
Elechi Amadi’s beautiful novel finds us still in pre-colonial Africa, West rather than East, and I cannot decide which book I find more magical…this or Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s Little Prince. Interestingly, it was written at about the same time as The Lunatic Express. Beauty, magic and beautiful prose are expertly woven around human nature in this absolutely charming love story. I’ve read this book over and over again since I first came across it and, every time, I find myself falling under its spell. Love, love, love it.

The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
We’ve left Africa and the world as we know it, but still immersed in magic, enter the mystical forests of Narnia. I bought this book as a pre-teen with a voucher I’d won at some school contest. I still remember the thrill of discovery when I found it at the bookshop in downtown Nairobi that accepted the vouchers. I still feel the promise of magic and adventure on cover with Aslan’s noble face, framed by the children’s stern ones. One of the best children’s books of all time, in my humble opinion.

Manufacturing Consent
Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky’s book (and documentary of the same name) brings us right back to earth with a resounding cold-reality hitting thud. Politics, and the story of how the powers that be mess with our thinking for power and profit, when intelligently written, is always an interesting read. I don’t always agree with Noam Chomsky, but this book and documentary showcase all I like about his message and arguments. I like how he cuts through our mass media-fed manufactured reality, to the science of the machinations behind it, all without turning into a conspiracy theorist. Brilliant!

To Kill a Mockingbird
The brilliance of this book has been discussed many times by many, all better than I can do here. All I can say is that I concur!

Shantram is the Australian novel that all took place in India. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. This book brings out every cliché I’ve learnt…”brings the characters to life,” “expertly written,” “brilliantly crafted,”…but it’s all true. Gregory David Roberts’ characters are so real, and invade your psyche and consciousness so completely, you forget sometimes that you never met them in real life. Loved this book, lost every copy (no-one you lend this to ever brings it back).

Anna Karenina
What is a woman in love with the wrong man to do? Like Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things, I marvel at how the book explores the consequences of an extramarital affair for women in cultures with strict class dictates and divides. Anna fate is disturbingly similar to that of Ammu , disturbing in that the consequences are so similar across cultures that are so vastly different.

I was lucky enough to come across this book before the movie came out and remain infinitely grateful for that circumstance. I should hate Perfume, after all, it’s a book about a nasty serial killer. But once again, the poetry, beauty and expert craftsmanship at penning a story won me over. This book is truly genius!



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