I have been an avid fiction reader for many years and a lot of times it helps me disappear into my fantasy world where no news of Syria, bombings, kidnaps and murders could ever get near me but after that, reality kicks in. I enjoy fiction, very much, especially if it’s a brilliant writer that can hold me spellbound and keep me wanting more. There is nothing as exciting as a short story with a twist in its tail but I am also a sucker for non-fiction writing and creative non-fiction. Describing a tire as if it were a whole universe and giving it new nuances is the epitome of a gifted writer’s serving, amazing, beautiful, breathtaking. But there are some books that one cannot just ignore, books that speak to the core of humanity, books on issues that bother us all even if we seem to ignore them. Today I bring you such books scoured from my library and taken out of other people’s libraries. These collection of books have proven that no matter our race, social status or socialization, what bothers us all remain the same. I have curated these books as the year is rolling to an end, to enable us take another look at what is holding us back from our best selves. Most of the books are from those who have experienced these situations and they provide solutions as best as they can. Sharing is a problem half solved or a situation better viewed. I hope they provide a window to giving us narratives on how to move forward.
1) Things that helped by Jessica Friedman. This is a book about postnatal depression, an area of field that has been ignored in most societies including ours. In some instances, women have committed suicide in the face of debilitating depression after giving birth. In the UK for example, according to the Birth Trauma Association, some 20,000 women a year develop what is known as birth related post-traumatic stress disorder. Having a baby is a tough assignment and some women do not manage it well and go into depression. But this is often ignored or made light in the Nigerian society and the woman is stigmatized or put through further stress like hard work, hard labor, cooking for in-laws, shouted at by husbands, described as lazy etcetera, when in fact she is sick and the world has turned grey for her. She needs medical help. The sufferers of this illness do not choose to become like this and no one is immune so we must pay attention. When a woman is ill, the whole family is in disarray and the new baby suffers as well. The author of Things that helped said she published her book to show that “it really cuts across all demographics. Cross-cultural studies tend to report similar results in all cultures, even those that don’t see depression as a medical issue. There is something innate to the process of early motherhood that triggers post- natal depression. Social and cultural factors then further complicate each woman’s experience” True that. If your newly delivered wife seems unhappy, uninterested even in her baby or other things that used to make her happy, is sick all the time, wants to bring the baby to harm, it’s not juju. Please seek medical intervention and provide a lot of support. Also keep your difficult and nosy sister away or she will complicate your life. Thank you.
2) Sometimes our careers seem like punishment. Some are earning money and are not happy, others are not even earning their worth and are still very unhappy. For many years, I felt like that on my job even though those on the outside thought I was having a ball. Sometimes quitting is key and for many times I had wanted to quit, my family will ask if I had a plan. If your environment is toxic or what you do is leading you to an unhealthy lifestyle, sometimes quitting may not need a plan. To find wholesomeness in your work place, to stay focused and above all happy, Jeff Goins delivers a stellar book about balance, workplace and your purpose in life. His book, The Art of Work will help you find your purpose and give you practical advice and help you to listen to your life and pursue meaning. For the sake of your health, take an audit of how you are faring and whether the business that keeps you away from home or even from yourself is worth it. Balance is key, support is critical and in choosing to remain at my job I had both. It is incredibly useful in an increasingly complicated world to have family and friends support and to maintain some balance.
3) When one retires from Public service, there are all sorts of people trying to get their hands on your small savings or poor retirement benefits. What one needs is emotional discipline in order to stay afloat. A lot of retired persons, wealthy or not lose their savings to quacks and pretend investment advisors and a lot of others are emotionally lost. No office to go to daily, loneliness and the fact that he kids have flown the nest. Today’s millennials are not like us so only a few are interested in what your life has become. Breathe. First, take a holiday, you deserve it, then plan, then look before you leap. A book that helps with investment is, The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham, a book described as the definitive book on value investing. New Editions have been prefaced by billionaire Warren Buffet who said it was the best thing to happen to him when he read the book at 19. He adds for good measure that investing does not need any stratospheric intelligence but discipline to pursue structures that would yield and not eroding it by being emotional but staying focused. Enough said.
4) Any book that gives you a heads up on non-communicable diseases like heart disease, stroke, hypertension, sleep deprivation and diabetes.
5) Any book that helps you deal with your grey areas on agriculture, jewelry making and cooking. Today’s world is about multiple streams of income and entrepreneurship. Learn a little bit more on how to convert your hobby and passion to extra change.
I have always believed that relationships matter whether they are friendships or love, between siblings and between children and parents. Do well to read a book on relationship building and get off your butt and apologize if you are wrong. Mend that relationship. We are not here forever. Do the needful.