The 25th Hour

I was really keen to improve on my reading habits last year. As a student, I rarely read leisurely because I associated it with academic pressure. I tried to get as far away as possible from books in my spare time. Time outside my studies would be spent engaging with people, exercising or watching shows.

I only recently started using reading as a tool to relax. But then, where is the time? My days are super busy and finding time in the evening often seems elusive.

Sometime last year I started reading in the car on the way to work in the morning. And it became a habit. Soon, I found myself finishing books that were taking me months to read.

I’ve realised I don’t need to set aside a period to sit down and read. I can make use of the spaces in my day where I’m unoccupied:

  • on the commute to and from work/school
  • at lunchtime
  • at a cafe while waiting for someone
  • in waiting rooms
  • on a road trip (although if you get nauseous on long car rides like me, you might need to minimise)

The thing is to keep the book you’re reading in your bag so you can grab it whenever. Those 10/15/30 minutes of reading while in traffic add up and help you finish books. I rarely read at home. Most of my reading is done while out and about.

This approach has really helped me be more efficient with time in general- if you find yourself having no time, think about how to utilise your small in-between times. 10 minutes can be little, but it can also be sufficient time to advance many of the small (or big) tasks.

Nairobi, Kenya

Last year I read (in the order I read them):

  • Coconut by Kopano Matlwa
  • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
  • Kitchen Table Series by Carrie Mae Weems
  • The Big Conservation Lie by Mordecai Ogada and Mbaria wa Mbaria
  • Dusk in the Morning by Kap Kirwok
  • Building a Movement to End The New Jim Crow by Daniel Hunter
  • Female Circumcision and the Politics of Knowledge by Obioma Nnaemeka
  • The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

On my list this year:

  • Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
  • Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
  • The Wretched of The Earth by Frantz Fanon
  • Matatu: A History of Popular Transportation in Nairobi by Kenda Mutongi

What else should I read? Let me know.


© Tessy Maritim

Thank You, May ’17

Life moves quickly. So swiftly, that it’s easy to miss the things, people and events that make life worthwhile. I’ve decided to create a new section of my blog, to share, appreciate and reflect on each month.

I’m grateful for:

  • A Trip– After a super busy April, I was delighted to have the opportunity to travel to Geneva for work. I’ve been wanting to go to Geneva for the longest time and feel so blessed to have had the chance to visit this early in my career. God continues to be so good to me!


  • A Lagos Babe– I met Yagazie Emezi! If you read my #faves: African YouTuber‘s post, you’ll remember me mentioning my love and admiration for her. She was in Nairobi for a series of event’s with Everyday Africa and I got the chance to meet her after a panel discussion she was part of. Yagazie is so lovely and sweet! And yes, her hair is just as wonderful in person.


  • An InterviewI was invited to Citizen TV’s Power Breakfast where I shared The Arena story, how I got in to student politics and why I’m so enthusiastic about our generation. Watch the interview here.


  • A Big Conservation Lie– Everything I knew and understood about conservation was picked apart and turned upside down after I attended a lecture by Mbaria wa Mbaria and Mordecai Ogada based on their book ‘The Big Conservation Lie‘. They questioned the hegemony of a conservation model that undermines the rights of local communities and cultures. They asked, “Have you ever seen a black man on Animal Planet?“, demonstrating that black people are largely absent from conservation discourse. I’d encourage you to get the book but you can start with this for context.


  • Free Mind Sessions– Thank you to Free Mind Sessions for inviting me to be a panelist at their ‘Biashara edition’. I got to share alongside some really cool people who I learnt so much from. I’ll do a feature post soon on some key takeaways from the event.


The main thing is the you beneath the clothes and skin- the ability to do, the will to conquer, the determination to understand and know this great, wonderful, curious world. Don’t shrink from new experiences and custom. Take the cold bath bravely. Enter into the spirit of your big bed-room. Enjoy what is and not pine for what is not. Read some good, heavy, serious books just for discipline: Take yourself in hand and master yourself. Make yourself do unpleasant things, so as to gain the upper hand of your soul” (Web du Bois in a letter to his daughter) | Geneva, Switzerland

Thank you May, you’ve been good to me! 


© Tessy Maritim