I was introduced to Candice by Lavender at the Kunsthalle am Hamburger Platz in Berlin-Weißensee when I asked her:

What are you reading and how do you like it so far?

I am reading Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. It’s really interesting. I just got into reading it, but so far there seems to be a very intricate history that will inform the rest of the book, so I’m quite excited. I like it a lot so far.

How did you get a hold of this book?

This particular edition I actually got at a charity shop, but in terms of how I got to know about the book, this is actually my mother’s favorite book. She’d read it numerous times and I remember she lost her copy or she lend her copy and someone didn’t give it back. So I’ve bought her another one and I thought maybe I should just buy a copy for myself. If this is her favorite book, I should read it, maybe it will give me an insight to her. I haven’t found out much yet, but {laughs} as I finish I’m sure I will, but that’s how I came to know this book.

What is the last sentence you’ve read, before I’ve interrupted you?

“The ill-fated lad was called Ikemefuna.”

What did you read before the last book?

I think it was To Kill a Black Man. I’ve forgotten who wrote it, but it’s about comparing the life and activism of Martin Luther King Jr. with Malcolm X. That was the last book I read if I remember correctly. It’s a really good book. The author, I think, was a biographer for both men, and what he’s done in this novel is talk about the events that led up to Martin Luther King’s death and the events that led up to Malcolm X’s death and how that activism, how the people they interacted with and how they’re lifespans were very similar, but also very different. Yet they still ended up in the same situation where they were assassinated. It’s quite a detailed book, but it’s a really great read.

Is there a book that you’ve always wanted to read, but haven’t managed to just yet?

There are so many. I’ve got a Goodreads list and I try to keep track of all the books. I’m trying to pick one up that is at the top of my reading list. I think Assata Shakur’s biography, I haven’t read. Assata Shakur was a Black Panther and she got involved in some activities she probably shouldn’t have got involved in with the Black Panthers and was basically put on the FBI’s Most Wanted list. For her safety she fled to Cuba and she still is in Cuba right now. She is seeking political asylum in Cuba. She has a autobiography and I haven’t read it, but I’ve always wanted to. I’ve read like Audre Lorde’s work and I’ve read Angela Davis’s work, but I haven’t Assata Shakur’s biography. So that’s definitely one I would love to read especially since now that president Obama is no longer the president of the United States, because there were definite calls for him to pardon her. He did the same with Chelsea Manning by commuting her sentence which I thought was really incredible.

Which is your favorite book?

I think that one that will stay with me is The Unbearable Lightness of Being (Original title: Nesnesitelná lehkost bytí) by Milan Kundera. It was the first book I read by him. It was at a time I was quite young, just a teenager, and I was still going through that phase of ‘I don’t know who I am’ and I read it and it was, it didn’t necessarily illuminate anything more about my character, but it made me feel OK and comfortable with not knowing who I was at that time. That’s definitely one of my favorite books, not the favorite book, but one of the top ten.

Which book would you recommend as a must-read?

I’m gonna regret my choice either way, no matter what I say, but maybe something like Notes from Underground (Original title: Записки из подполья) by Fyodor Dostoevsky. I think Russian writers got a bit of a bad rep. But I think there is something about Dosteovsky’s work that’s actually cynically comical. It’s quite dark, it’s funny, but in a very dark kind of way. It’s not a  very long book, maybe about 200 pages max and it’s split into two halves. What I like about Dostoevsky’s work is that it’s political and social commentary embedded under a story. He wasn’t a very happy man and also when you’re living in an intense state like Russia, it’s quite hard especially with obscenity laws and censorship. So I think he found a way to make political and social commentary in a way that was accessible to many people, in a way that reflected the lifes of people that he was writing about without belittleing them. I think that’s quite a hard thing to do as a writer when you in some ways are seen as more privileged or more educated that some people, but you want to write about the common man. Notes from Underground is really sad, but it is really funny at the same time. It pinpoints a particular time in space even though it’s written in the 19th century it still has relevance today.




Things Fall Apart / Chinua Achebe / 1958 / ISBN13: 9780385474542

To Kill a Black Man: The Shocking Parallel in the Lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. / Louis E. Lomax / 1987 / ISBN13: 9780870679827

Assata: An Autobiography / Assata Shakur / 1987 / ISBN13: 9781556520747

Nesnesitelná lehkost bytí (The Unbearable Ligthness of Being) / Milan Kundera / 1984 / ISBN13: 9780571224388

Записки из подполья (Notes from Underground) / Fyodor Dostoevsky / 1864 / ISBN13: 9780679734529



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