Five im­por­tant books on my desk right now

Sunday Trust - - ART & IDEAS -

As a Reader, I am of­ten in the mid­dle of a del­uge of books and strug­gling to de­cide which ones to read first. Also with the num­ber of pub­lished books world­wide per day, one needs to pri­or­i­tize and pick out what speaks at any mo­ment in time to your read­ing spirit. I am quite for­tu­nate to have a set skill that en­ables me read at least two books at a time and as Read­ers like me un­der­stand it, some­times you can read one in the morn­ing and one late at night. Some­times one book is rested for an­other which has a cer­tain qual­ity that speaks to your mood at the time. For ex­am­ple, you might need a hi­lar­i­ous book if you are down on your luck or a lit­tle bit un­happy or you might need a fo­cused book if you have some se­ri­ous projects at hand. Over­all, a book is one that lifts your spirit, takes you on in­cred­i­ble jour­neys and gives you un­flap­pable knowl­edge, I am at that place and time of the year when I have twenty books in one week seek­ing at­ten­tion and some weeks it can be more. In com­ing up for air, I have cho­sen five im­por­tant books that I am fo­cused on for the rest of No­vem­ber 2018 and in the first week in De­cem­ber 2018. I hope they speak to you.

1) From Fry­ing Pan to Fire; How African Mi­grants risk ev­ery­thing in their fu­tile search for a bet­ter life in Europe, by Se­gun Adeniyi. This week my brother and friend, Se­gun Adeniyi, Chair­man, Ed­i­to­rial board of This Day News­pa­pers and cel­e­brated Colum­nist and Au­thor pre­sented his much an­tic­i­pated book on il­le­gal mi­gra­tion to the pub­lic. It was a re­ally beau­ti­ful cer­e­mony with HRH the Emir of Kano as Chair­man of the oc­ca­sion and Gover­nor God­win Obaseki of Edo State, as spe­cial Guest of Honor. I have al­ways been amazed by the sheer num­ber of Africans es­cap­ing their coun­tries and the psy­chol­ogy be­hind it. But in this book which is very well re­searched, Se­gun takes us on an in­cred­i­ble ride not only through the phys­i­cal jour­ney of the mi­grants but also into their minds to en­able us see what drives them. His brother, Ag­boola, who was him­self an il­le­gal mi­grant at some point in his life gives an in­sight in the book about life on the route to Europe and the chal­lenges therein. While de­scrib­ing the many in­ci­dences of pain and suf­fer­ing in boats and in the desert through his re­search and trav­els for the book, Se­gun re­minds lead­ers that lead­ers need to do more to keep their cit­i­zens at home by pro­vid­ing ne­ces­si­ties like jobs, in­fra­struc­ture, peace, and so­cial ameni­ties. He does not fail to call on the In­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to pro­vide bet­ter struc­tures, bet­ter pro­cesses and a bet­ter life for mi­grants. At the pub­lic pre­sen­ta­tion of the book, the Emir of Kano asks why cap­i­tal flight can leave African coun­tries, slaves once left the beau­ti­ful con­ti­nent for the ben­e­fit of Western coun­tries and now hav­ing im­pov­er­ished Africa, per­sons should not be al­lowed to mi­grate. He asked if those who oc­cu­pied Amer­ica were not im­mi­grants who chased out na­tive In­di­ans and if col­o­niza­tion and apartheid were not part of mi­gra­tion. But again he chal­lenged lead­ers to do the need­ful to make their cit­i­zens want to stay home. Per­for­mance Poet, Dike Chuk­wumer­ije de­liv­ered a stel­lar re­view of this amaz­ing book. I highly rec­om­mend it.

2) Betty Ira­bor, Dust to Dew. This is a mem­oir by one of Nige­ria’s life­style mag­a­zine pub­lish­ing gi­ants and a lead­ing light in mag­a­zine pub­lish­ing. The Pub­lisher of Genevieve in her se­cond book Dust to Dew takes us through her child­hood in the po­lice bar­racks and tells us in lan­guage so pure and en­gag­ing, how her Fa­ther left her and her brother stand­ing in the bar­racks and drove off while she was eight and her brother was seven. How the women in the bar­racks had put them in a bus, con­tribut­ing money for their fare to go and look for their mother who had been sep­a­rated from her Dad. And how her fa­ther had driven out of her life that af­ter­noon never to come back. This is the story of loss and pain and re­cov­ery to be­come a hugely suc­cess­ful per­son. It is also a cel­e­bra­tion of courage, strength and sup­port as her mother a sin­gle mother raises them through hard work and her hus­band, Soni Ira­bor, Vet­eran Broad­caster is her rock of sup­port. This is also the story of Betty’s strug­gle with her men­tal health, suf­fer­ing bouts of de­pres­sion that lasted Seven years. I read the book overnight. Easy to read and full of wise thoughts and sto­ries of her grow­ing up years, her ill­ness and the love and sup­port of her fam­ily, with Soni as sup­porter in chief, I could not help but ad­mire a woman who has the courage to tell her story for the ben­e­fit of hu­man­ity and a heal­ing balm. A must read for ev­ery­one.

3) 1000 books you must read be­fore you die. I al­ways re­turn to this book at the end of the year and au­dit the books therein and then try to get a few that I have not en­coun­tered. It is a tome of a book and can be read slowly and con­sulted con­stantly. It pro­vides a cap­sule re­view of each of the books writ­ten by rep­utable read­ers, au­thors, lit­er­ary ex­perts, aca­demics and his­to­ri­ans. Truly a col­lec­tor’s item.

4) In the same league with books you must read be­fore you die is the re­source book for all writ­ers which I con­sult through­out the year. The Writ­ers and Artists year­book 2018. I buy a copy every year as although most of the con­tent re­mains the same but there are many up­dates and it also pro­vides tips on how to write dif­fer­ent gen­res, how to get pub­lished and how to write a pro­posal let­ter in ad­di­tion to how to get an agent for that novel you have been writ­ing for a long time. Th­ese write ups which are al­ways il­lu­mi­nat­ing are writ­ten by ex­perts in the var­i­ous fields of fic­tion, non-fic­tion, chil­dren’s books and il­lus­tra­tors as well as agents and var­i­ous ex­perts in their fields. Al­ways such a fresh book to read.

5) Com­mon­wealth Prize win­ner, Adaobi Tri­cia Nwaubani has re­leased a newly minted book for young adults. It is such a beau­ti­ful book in­side out and fol­lows the story of a young girl in the North East of Nige­ria who was kid­napped by the ter­ror­ist group Boko Haram. This is based on sev­eral in­ter­views by Tri­cia with women who were kid­napped. The sheer in­no­cence of the lan­guage takes us with her on her chal­lenges, her love of school and the tragic sit­u­a­tion in her re­gion. In lan­guage so true and a snap­shot style the book is def­i­nitely an im­por­tant ad­di­tion to the Nige­rian and In­ter­na­tional lit­er­ary land­scape. Get a copy for your teenage chil­dren but more im­por­tantly, it can be en­joyed by adults so read it. I en­joyed a copy Tri­cia gifted me with. And see if you can de­code the art­work on the cover. A truly amaz­ing book and a trib­ute to the brav­ery of the chil­dren in the North East of Nige­ria. Please note that it is not a pity party book but a book about life in the North East by or­di­nary peo­ple liv­ing their daily lives and their sto­ries of ter­ror, fear, pride, cul­ture, school, food and fam­ily through the eyes of a young pro­tag­o­nist. Grab a copy as soon as you can.

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