One of the casualties of my living the life of an executive dervish the past ten years has been reading. I love reading and I love books. I read so voraciously that at the age of 12 I had read a 3 volume medical encyclopaedia when there was nothing else left to read in my fathers and in my uncles libraries.
My father’s reading tastes were revolutionary and strongly leftist but he also had an extensive collection of esoteric religious books. Autobiographies and the writings of Marx, Lenin, Fanon, Samora Machel, Kwame Nkrumah and Martin Luther King Jr. mingled with titles like The Most Holy Trinosophia, Mary Baler Eddy’s Science and Health and a transcription of the Gospel of Peace attributed to John the Beloved.
My uncle’s library presented a more classical English collection. George Eliot’s Mill on the Floss (I inherited his 1956 abridged edition which I still own and read), Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and classical philosophers.
The difference in the their reading tastes reflected their personal differences, they weren’t the best of friends. My father was an egalitarian socialist and a spiritual seeker and free thinker, my uncle was an elitist capitalist and a knight of the catholic Church. They had huge acrimonious fights over ideology, lifestyle, religion and me.
As part of the ongoing project to reclaim my life for myself and restore its balance I have decided to make a list of books I intend to read this year. I have been buying books for the past 5 years that I’m only beginning to get around to reading. Systematically and strategically compiling and following a reading list should help me create the time to do something I love to do anyway.
My choices are based on my current interests: Africa, leadership, political strategy, economic development and Azikiwe’s politics
- Africa: Dispatches from a Fragile Continent – Blaine Harden 1991
- Africa Doesn’t Matter – Giles Bolton 2007
- The End of Poverty – Jeffery Sachs 2005
- Just Another Emperor – Michael Edwards 2008
- West with the Night – Beryl Markham 1942
- The Memoirs of Catherine the Great – Mark Cruise & Hilde Hoogenboom
- The Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell 2000
- Philantro-capitalism – Matthew Bishop & Michael Green 2008
- Money Well Spent – Paul Brest & Hal Harvey 2008
- Ideology for Nigeria – Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe 1979
- My Odyssey – Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe 1970
- The Spirit of African Leadership – Lovemore Mbigi 2005
- Plus anything the ALS Book Club is reading which is usually by African authors and fiction
That’s 2 books a month, one fiction book by an African author and one non fiction book. A brief review of each will also benefit my writing, another casualty of my past life style choices.
What are you reading or planning to read and why?