i read banned books

Mark your calendars and head to Aristoc: September 29 through October 6 is Banned Books Week:

BBW celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them.

If shelling out 80,000 shillings on the newest Harry Potter (one of the most popular controversial books) isn’t on your agenda, check out Google’s Explore Banned Books to see which 42 of the top 100 novels of the 20th century have been challenged.

If anyone knows where I can find a list of books banned in Uganda (other than, say, in Buturo’s head), leave a comment.

all quiet in the house of jackfruity

It’s been a quiet week while I’ve been cavorting around the country with Josh, helping to lead a conference on the role of youth in post-conflict northern Uganda. The cavorting has ceased (we’ve landed permanently in Kampala for the rest of the trip), and I’ve gotten a chance to look through the file of random article ideas I keep for this blog.

Yes, a file of random article ideas.

Yes, I am a huge nerd.

Anyway, the list goes a little something like this:

  • Acholi land accusations
  • cholera
  • data report 2006
  • Gulu university
  • legalizing abortion
  • lessons to be learned
  • prostitution
  • Slate article (why Darfur?)
  • Robert Gates
  • Somalia
  • Ted Poe (bastard)
  • trial justice
  • what’s with Aga Khan and Dushanbe?

Just a little insight into the way my mind works.

Public Service Announcement


It has come to my attention, dear readers, that among you there may be some confusion regarding the identity of Chairman Mao. Fear not. The goal of Jackfruity has always been and will continue to be the eradication of misunderstanding and the betterment of the general population — hence my many treatises on eminent public figure Jay-Z.

Chairman Mao is many things, almost all of which can be divided into two categories: Zedong and Norbert.


Lest these categories seems indistinct, let me assist you with several examples of their differences:

  1. Zedong: loved to swim.
    Norbert: honorary citizen of the state of Oklahoma
  2. Zedong: former assistant librarian
    Norbert: former lawyer
  3. Zedong: Down with Soviet imperialism!
    Norbert: The country needs a leader who is no warlord!

Also, there’s something about Chairman of the Communist Party in China and MP assisting in the Juba Peace Talks, but I don’t think that’s really all that important.

feeling guilty…

…for (most of) the frustration I’ve felt since I came to Uganda, re: what I’ve called the “absolute lack of literature in this country.”

There have been times when I would have killed (well…maimed, perhaps. Or at least complained, loudly and prolongedly) for a single good novel that wasn’t airmailed from the States. A good, browseable bookstore? In a city of 1.5 million people, there’s only one. I had almost come to the conclusion that, for most Ugandans, reading anything but the newspaper was anathema.

As is becoming the pattern this week, I was sorely mistaken.

My immense thanks to Baz for pointing me to mataachi inc. The writing on this blog is beyond exceptional — as Baz says, it’s incandescent. An even bigger plus? Mataachi’s profile lists both Yeats and Gogol among his favorite authors.

Long, happy, contented sigh.