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Five books as we partially lockdown

Although the lockdown has been eased across the board in Nigeria, we have to advise ourselves about how to stay in partial lockdown. Even official…

Although the lockdown has been eased across the board in Nigeria, we have to advise ourselves about how to stay in partial lockdown. Even official spaces are working three times a week and those of us running our private businesses are working more from home.
We all know the deal. Life as we know it will never be the same again. But before we get into the swing of the new normal in another three months or so, we must commit to using our time wisely. First, we all know that even markets are not opening at the times we understand and you cannot just stroll into a public space without a face mask. For me, I wake up earlier now and get on with my creative work from 5 am till about 10 am. After this, I tend to leisure out before I get back to work about noon in order to put in two hours before lunch. After lunch I return to my desk and give it my best till 4pm. Post work, since we are no longer able to watch movies or attend birthdays and dinners, we need to be creative, so I am reading most of the books I bought and never read, re-reading classics or reading the ones I never finished. This is a good time to read spiritual or religious books to give us a sense of something in these uncertain times. Something bigger than we are. So here are five books that I recommend you look at again. Pick them up for a slow read. Reading can be pleasurable and enjoyable when it is not rushed. Since we are all in slow motion, it’s good to get some benefits from those books on your shelf. Here are the ones I have chosen.

1. Long walk to freedom by Nelson Mandela. When this book first came out, we were all excited and we went out in droves to buy it. I loved anything Mandela and this was a tome of a book. Unfortunately, I never finished it. It was a bit too heavy after a while and I could not continue. It’s a book you read in small snatches between other books. It has valuable information and gives you a sneak peek of the growing up years of the man that became the world’s inspiration for Justice, kindness and humility. A lot to learn from here. So I have picked it up again and I am reading it slowly. A book for all seasons.

2. Terry McMillan’s ‘A day late and a dollar short’ is one of my favourite books on family dynamics. Full of wit, twists and turns, it pretty much captures how families become. That sister that is too full of herself, that uncle with many secrets. It’s a great book to read as we all have to deal with family members living in the same space with us. Comic relief and philosophy rolled into one with family truths and a bit of humour. Find a copy.

3. Isabelle Allende’s Aphrodite. A book on food, passion and what food you were eating when you kissed your first boyfriend/girlfriend. An amazing book by this Chilean author of Food and senses. Hilariously delicious.

4. This is when we need dollops of faith. We need all sorts of books that speak to our faith and speak to our hopes. From the Quran to the Bible. This is when to commit to reading the religious books slowly and grabbing an important verse of hope and God’s mercy at this time. I love Psalm 91 and Psalm 25. Read it slowly and see what I mean. And while you are at it, take a notepad so you can pick out the verses that speak to you. Write them down and return to them before sunset. Read it in the morning and before you go to bed. We need to trust and hope and pray for what we do not understand.

5. What was that book that was fantastic when you read it in the university or in the secondary school? Go and find them on your shelf or in your store and read them again. For me It’s the Trials of Brother Jero by Wole Soyinka A man of the people by Chinua Achebe. Others are Cry Freedom by Peter Abrahams, The River Between by Ngugi wa Thiongo and Jagua Nana by Cyprian Ekwensi. Any of these books will take you back, bring all those memories and fill you with the joy you need at this time. Overall I vote for Some Monday for Sure by Nadine Gordimer, a short story collection so beautiful, it influenced my own short story writing and made me pick up many short stories in shops across the world. Look back, look in your stores, look in your book shelves. Get that book that brings it all back. Reward yourself. Call a friend from your past and share.

 

BONUS BOOKS

I am currently scouring through magazines and checking to see if there were articles or features I did not read when I bought the magazines some two years ago, others a year ago. Go on, it’s very exciting. At my breaks, I am sitting beside a pile of magazines from Vanity Fair to Vogue, from News watch to Instyle. I am having a ball and in between those pages are gems. Try it. You will like it. And one day, we will look back and say this is how we kept our heads in the middle of the 2020 pandemic. And this too shall pass… Amen.

RAMADAN MUBARAK TO ALL OUR READERS.