As it is now, there is no known cure for the Coronavirus. We are still sanitizing, social distancing and masking.
Therefore, it is safe to say we still need to stay safe. In these uncertain times where businesses are closing down and people are losing their jobs, it’s time to read for leisure, read for knowledge and read for practice. These collections of books are, books that you ought to have read a long ago, books to support your family and books just for your own pleasure. Everywhere contains news of corona virus deaths that jolt you every time, deaths from police brutality and racism in the United States and other such related bad news, it’s time to detox from all the toxic news around us and make ourselves happy.
Focus on things that enable and ennoble. Focus on family, kindness, support and every other good thing in between. This is the time to focus on phone calls to friends and family and commit to it, ten people every day. You will be amazed at how much joy it will bring to the receiver. Let’s get an extra dose of happiness in the new normal because something as simple as not being able to hug someone can depress you. Look up and beyond. Tomorrow will come and this too shall pass. Amen. In the middle of all of this, let’s look to good and interesting books to distract us. Let us stay with books and encourage our families to do the same. Play a book game, encourage them to read and recommend or order books for your children, an uncle, your daughter, your mum, dad or your son. It’s time to return to that thing which helps us to travel, now that we are unable to do so in reality. A good book is always good company. Here are my five for this pandemic stretch.
1. The World’s best books are a collection of books recommended by writers and creatives in the magazine The Week over many years. With an introduction by The Week’s founder Jolyon Connell, this is a book that brought me much Joy. The book is edited by journalist and ex-newspaper editor Mark Williams. The contributions of their favourite books come from writers and authors and what a recommendation it is. This book will make you re-read a book long forgotten or make you go in search of a book you had never heard of. Full of some unbelievable recommendations, this is a book to read and re-read. It is a resource!
2. Now that you have your kids at home with you, it can be daunting. It is really a tough assignment to keep them quiet and keep them engaged. Usually, a good book does rather than tying them and shushing them as I saw on one hilarious internet post meant to give us all a reason to laugh once more. Former President of Association of Nigerian Authors, former National legislator, multiple author and literary enthusiast, Dr Wale Okediran has recently released a collection of Children’s books for a time such as this. All titles are simple and relatable and the illustrations and colourful covers will get your children’s eyes to pop. The stories themselves are as interesting as they are adventurous. Get copies for your children and read them a bedtime story or a post-lunch story. In the new books released by Dr Okediran famous for his political fiction book Tenants in the house, there are COVID-19 literature series for children including Bayo’s weekend trip which includes Coronavirus stories made simple for children and Halima saves her village another COVID-19 literature series for children with interesting stories to educate the children on Covid 19. Additionally, there is the Nursery Corona Tales which is for a younger demographic of children. Highly recommended for these Coronavirus times and it will not only entertain the children but give them a second layer of information on Coronavirus and COVID-19.
3. 1001 books you must read before you die edited by Peter Boxall Is a book that everyone must own. The recommendations include many Nigerian authors. I did look quickly to see if I can find my writing kith and kin there and it gladdened my heat that they wert her in a reasonable number. Every single book entered has been read and reviewed by a literary guru themselves. Just holding that book makes me feel powerful and it helps you to be on a mission, to read as much as you can. But more excitingly, you actually then play the game of How many of the books here have I read and if you have read up to ten, you feel really special with a plan to rack in more. If you have read two, you are a bit disappointed, I mean out of 1001 books but you feel mildly accomplished. If, however, you have not read any of the books listed, well, what does that tell you? Get off your backside and start looking for any of the books to read. Be serious about improving yourself. The people who reviewed the book and who edited it are not morons. Trust me. You do feel more educated, smarter and accomplished by reading some of the books recommended in this tome of a book. Your time starts now.
4. This is the time to find a biography and truly commit to reading it. This is not a time to seat around and read ten books, but only the first chapter. You need to finish the book. No better time than now. Whose biography have you read halfway or want to read? At some point in my life, I was tearing through biographies, George W Bush, Condoleeza Rice, the biography of the late Oba of Benin father of the current Oba, Bob Marley, Mohammed Ali, Michelle Obama, Barrack Obama, Nelson Mandela, David Bekham, Mother Theresa, Margaret Thatcher Steve Biko, Thabo Mbeki, Wole Soyinka etc. During this period of my life, I was only interested in Biographies and the lessons I learnt in each one cannot be found anywhere. Lessons you cannot buy with money. Unbelievable! It was like going to the school of life. Here then is your chance to read these books. If you don’t own any, go out and buy them.
5. Full of life’s lessons and incredibly well researched are the collection by New York Times’ bestseller and writer, Malcolm Gladwell. I have the entire collection. I advise that you start collecting. What made Korean airlines to be falling out of the sky so many times at one time with an insane amount of crashes came down to culture. When I read this it was insane. How successful people behave and how long ago from their childhood, from the schools they attended and the class they were in contributed to their success rates is incredible. Really what are the odds? I find all of Malcolm Gladwell books a collection of fine journalistic writing and peaks of excellent research which gave birth to writings that will outlive Gladwell. But the joy of reading the writings, re-reading them and savouring them puts Gladwell in a class of his own. He will be noted as one of Journalism’s finest for many years to come. Find copies, David and Goliath, The Tipping point, what the dog saw. I have the entire collection. A collector’s item.
1) With young adults living at home with us now and getting into our hair and giving us rebellious attitudes, get them a young adult book and as they read it, you too read your own copy and challenge them at the end of the book to share what they found. This can help you bond because you are also sharing what you read. You are sharing perspectives.
2) This is a time to give a book as a gift. In this pandemic, check your wife’s passion and buy her a book or several books that speak to those passions. What does your husband enjoy, fishing? Leadership? Humour? Cooking? What is his new hobby during this Pandemic? Please buy him a book or a set of books related to this.
3) In the face of renewed racism in America, it is time to get a hold of Maya Angelou’s I know why the caged bird sing and if you can get hold of all the books in her biographical collection, do so! No better book illuminates from a true story perspective what it was like to be black in the deep south those many, many years ago.
4) Arthur Golden’s Geisha. A book that regales you with an amazing story of the Japanese ancient escort stories. It was so good it became a box office hit when it was made into a movie. Breathtaking!