Every now and again, one reads a book and either before you get to the last page or on the last page you tell yourself that you will want to read it again in future. The problem is that if you have a relatively large count of unread books like I do that constitutes a TBR list which gets larger with every passing day, that future might never come. Then came 2020!

My modest random picks for 2020 TBR list were meant to last all year but as the global uncertainty lasted longer and lockdowns became the new normal, I found myself finishing the whole chosen pile by the beginning of October. While feeling triumphant, I contemplated picking out a new list of TBR list to tackle till the end of the year. The immediate concern was that I did not dilute the yearly experience of picking out a TBR list. It is an exhilarating experience, where I feel like a talent scout who is deciding the fate of young talented footballers in an elite football academy. The academy players are carefully recruited but the decision of who gets promoted that year is randomly done. I have enjoyed doing just that to the books on my shelf and I did not want to break that highly anticipated ritual by doing it twice in a year just because COVID-19 had altered life as we know it. Some things are sacrosanct!

I decided to to take the unique opportunity that the current uncertainties have offered me and reread a few books that I had always wanted to read again. As usual, there was an element of randomness as there are way more books in this class that I am able to accommodate. I grabbed the first 6 books in that category that came to my mind at that moment, took a picture of them and I am sticking to them. Minutes later, I remembered a few more deserving rereads but alas it was too late! The beauty of the randomness is that it yields no favourites and minimizes overthinking. Here are the chosen six:


A Life Elsewhere

This was a strange choice but the strangeness is what I like. I read this book in 2008, I have no remembrance of what the book is about. It is one of those books I always promised myself I would reread if only for the nostalgia of the period when I first read it. Now I have a chance to reread this collection of short stories.


The Confidence Game: The Psychology of the Con and Why We Fall for It Every Time

This is one of the very best books I read in 2018. I usually pick out a Behavioural Economics/Psychology book or two every year and two years back I picked this book and loved it. I often said that it was missing one con man (Emmanuel Nwude) from being the perfect lineup. I am glad I get to read it again. You can never learn enough about why we fall for scams.


Tomorrow Died Yesterday

Anyone who knows a bit about me knows that I love the works of Chimeka Garricks. I still remember buying a copy of his excellent debut eight years ago from a bookshop in the Silverbird Galleria in Victoria Island during an uneventful lunch break. I randomly picked it up six years later to read it for the first time and I never stopped kicking myself for waiting so long to savour such a treat. Now I get to read it again and make notes of my observation on my favourite work of fiction set in my home city of Port Harcourt. I can’t wait!


Bad Science

The major reason why I filed this one in my mind as a “To be reread” while still mid-way through it earlier this year was because of the times we leave in. The politics around the science of the pandemic have made the information contained in this book even more pressing and relevant. I am glad that I get to reread it in this current clime.


Touch My Blood: The Early Years

This is another one where the nostalgic longing is probably stronger than the content of the book. I first read this autobiography of Fred Khumalo almost eighteen years ago. I have always wanted to reread it (writing this now, I actually think I have reread it once and always wanted to do so a second time). It is very well written and the author uses his childhood and early adulthood as a backdrop to explore the history of the violence in the KZN province of South Africa during the last decade of apartheid. Third time lucky!


Surprised by Hope

Having randomly chosen this book, I intentionally picked it to be read around the Easter season for obvious reasons. Of all Christian themes, resurrection is rightly my most cherished and few people explore its theme as well as N.T. Wright. I kept telling myself that I need to return to this at some point. Now I have a chance to enjoy an encore and I am all for it.




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