Franscina, commonly referred to as Frankie, is honestly one of my favorite bookstagrammers in the Kenyan space. Her content alternates from being serious and informative to being hilarious and entertaining, and this perfectly describes the two major moods I operate in. It is no surprise that I find her page relatable. Aside from being a warm and engaging person, she also sells books (usually the hard to find books) through her account. Frankie has really challenged my reading in the sense that I am more encouraged to broaden my scope of African reading and for this, I owe her a bottle of wine.
I asked Frankie three questions to shed more light on her love for books and this is what she had to say:
You are very well read on African and black authored books. Is this something you set to intentionally do when selecting books to read? If so, why?
Early this year I was interviewed by someone who thought that my thought process is too Afrocentric since the first two countries that I really want to visit are African countries; Ghana then Nigeria. They couldn’t have been more wrong. Of course, I want to party in Ibiza, see the Hagia Sofia and visit the Eiffel tower someday. However, at the moment I am more interested in the heartbeat of Africa, reason being there is a lot of brilliance that is overlooked in this continent. I mean, if it wasn’t so then wouldn’t MPESA be an international concept? So yes, I do have a bias for African and black authored books but every so often I get out of my chosen comfort zone. (In case you are curious the reason why Ghana is top on my list is because of Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. I really want to visit the Door of no return.)
We recently had a Kenyan readathon on Bookstagram. Do you think such readathons are important and should they be featured more? If so why?
Let me start by saying that Lexa (@lexa_wendy) deserves a presidential awards for not only coming up with the idea of a Kenyan readathon but also meticulously featuring all the books that people were reading on her IG stories.
In my opinion, this particular readathon was so necessary not just for readers but for writers as well. For readers, two reasons: we got to read our very own Kenyan stories and we also got to appreciate the growth of the Kenyan writing and publishing industries. As for the writers, I am sure that they expect some financial reward for their toil which can never happen if the book is not known in the market: awareness precedes sales. I sincerely hope we can have more of these Kenyan readathons and I would like to challenge our bookstores to take part in these readathons by sharing Kenyan books that they have in store on their social pages.
IG reels have shown us you have a knack for bringing humor into bookstaworld. Where do you get inspiration to make such short but hilarious clips?
Here’s the thing, the Kenyan education system forces children to read, not just educational material but literature as well. The result of this is that quite a number of people grow up viewing reading as a chore. This is further compounded by peer pressure. You see a friend reading a business book and that’s the same book you pick up forgetting that you and your friend could be at very different points of need when it comes to seeking information. What happens ultimately is that you barely get past five pages then you are back to that age-old phrase “reading is boring”. So why do I do funny reels? I am trying to disabuse the lost many of this notion. Plainly put, I am trying to make reading cool again.
When I did the Daisy Jones And The Six reel a couple of people reached out to say that they bought the book and they enjoyed it. Why did the reel have the desired effect? It was a scandalous reel about the inability of Billy to keep his man parts in his pants and like it or not, we as humans love scandal but pray do tell, where’s the best place to find the juiciest scandal on earth? In a book! Check out the reel here.
As for inspiration, I really wish I had a magic pill for this one because it would make my life so easy. In the absence of a magic pill, I have learnt to turn to the hallowed hallways of Instagram. What other creators on Bookstagram or otherwise put up always inspires me. I mean, you cannot bask in all that creativity and come up with nothing.