It is safe that almost all of us have ‘Reading’ boldly written in the ‘Hobbies’ section of our CVs. Amusingly, it is until we go for that one interview where the interviewer asks ‘What three books have you read lately?’ and we look up to the skies for answers that we realize we have been telling a bold faced lie all along. Well, maybe not a lie but half truth considering how busy you have been lately and how hard it is to stumble on a good book.
It’s been said however that the average Nigerian does not like to read books even the ones by Nigerian Authors. This isn’t a generalization that is to be viewed with resentment but one to be used as proof that you are not an average Nigerian. Books though, it’s also been said that it would take approximately a lifetime for one to read everything about something as trivial as tomatoes. So if you are going to pick a book up you should be looking to make sure it is worthwhile, critically acclaimed and probably of significance to your being. So here is your guide of books which should be important to you and ironically are more discussed than actually read:
1) [rad-hl]Things Fall Apart[/rad-hl] – Chinua Achebe: This novel shows the life of Okonkwo, a leader and local wrestling champion in Umuofia, inhabited by the Ibo people. It describes his family and personal history, the customs and society of the Ibo, and the influence of British colonialism and Christian missionaries on the Ibo community during the late nineteenth century. Fun fact: The book got banned in Malaysia for its critical outlook on colonialism and its consequences and was included in Time Magazines 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005 list.
2) [rad-hl]Americanah[/rad-hl] – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Americanah is a fearless novel by the award winning Chimamanda set in Nigeria, England and America. It boldly takes on issues both big and small: love, race, home, hair, Obama, immigration, and self‐invention. It is centered around a young man and woman from Nigeria who face difficult choices and challenges in the countries they come to call home. The book has won winner of the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, The Chicago Tribune 2013 Heartland Prize for Fiction and made The New York Times’s list of Ten Best Books of the Year.
3) [rad-hl]Salutations to the Gut[/rad-hl] – Wole Soyinka: Salutation to the Gut is an essay Soyinka wrote more than forty years ago. The essay is a celebration of Yoruba culture, in particular Yoruba food and gastronomic culture. Its witty and whimsical style foreshadows the kind of writing that would become Soyinka’s hallmark, and for which he would subsequently win the Nobel Prize for Literature.
4) [rad-hl]The Accidental Public Servant[/rad-hl] – Nasir El Rufia: This is a seminal book in which the former minister of the FCT bares it all. The book focuses on the challenges and successes of the privatization effort and the development of Abuja during El‐Rufai’s tenure. It also details his personal struggles and the lessons he learnt from serving Nigeria in the public sector.
The mind is a terrible thing to waste. So cuddle up to these good books today and be a level above everyone else around you. At least if not for anything else, so that when you go for that interview you can instantly name three and throw in one more for good measure.
This article was written by Yemi Kuti