I am always late to these trends. I saw this challenge somewhere online and decided to do it, after all, there is no expiry date for these things. So, here we go!!
List 10 books that have stayed with you in some way.
Do not take more than a few minutes and do not think too hard.
They do not have to be the “right” books or great works of literature, just ones that have affected you in some way or the other.
A BOOK THAT MADE YOU THINK
It has to be Greg Boyd’s The Myth of a Christian Nation. It is one book that has revolutionised my Christian faith and made me rethink a lot of things that most of the church regurgitate without much thought. An excellent book that I refer to very often in my thoughts when trying to make sense of the world we live in within the context of Jesus’ kingdom here on earth.
A BOOK THAT SURPRISED ME
A few years ago, I popped into Ouida Book Store with no specific intent but was determined to buy a couple of books to cheer myself up after a bad day. I did not find anything new I really wanted, so I ended up getting a copy of Black Bazaar by Alain Mabanckou. As is my pattern, I ended up reading it a year later and I thoroughly enjoyed it, despite not being too impressed by his previous world that I own.
A BOOK THAT MADE ME HAPPY
Almost every book makes me happy in the sense that I feel nourished by the pleasure of reading the crafted thoughts of others. I struggle to pick one out of the lot. If forced, I would pick one of Nick Hornby’s titles. There was a time when the humour in most of his books cracked me up a lot. High Fidelity it is then.
A BOOK THAT MADE ME SAD
Again, there are a lot of them. Due to my relative immersion into South African literature over the years, I have read a lot of South African fiction that is set in the times of Apartheid. As an outsider, it boggles the mind to reimagine how much evil was done by humans to fellow humans on account of racial differences and how natives ended up living as captives in their own land. A lot of such works of fiction left me very sad. Books like A Dry White Season by Andre Brink and Buckingham Palace’, District Six by Richard Rive. More recently, a book that has left me with very messy emotions is one I recently finished – The Bridge by Enza Gandolfo. I will go for this recent one as the sadness is still very raw.
A BOOK THAT MADE ME FEEL NOSTALGIC
Hands down, Tomorrow Died Yesterday by Chimeka Garrick. No one writes about my home city, Port Harcourt, as well as he does and no book reminds me of that city like this book. The city has gone backwards with unemployment and crime but it still holds a special place in my heart. This book captures the city when the decay has already begun but having left the place for decades now, the nostalgia is still well captured.
A BOOK I HAVE A LOVE/HATE RELATIONSHIP WITH
It has to be Toni Morrison’s Beloved. It seems to be universally loved but I have never disliked a book that much. I am no big fan of fantasy and magic realism but that is not why I struggled with this one. I just found it almost incomprehensible to the point of absurdity. I am probably too dense to appreciate it as most people say it is a work of a genius. I respectfully disagree while acknowledging that Ms. Morrison writes exceptionally well, this one was an awfully dragged book.
A BOOK THAT I HAVE RE-READ THE MOST
Anyone who has heard me talk about books for more than 10 minutes knows that the undisputed winner here is E. R. Braithwaite’s To Sir With Love. I first read this as a set text over 3 decades ago in high school and have reread it four more times in adulthood. Every time I read it, I see something new in it. It also takes me back to that time when I had no responsibility, was naive about life and had not gotten into this scam called adulthood.
A BOOK THAT MADE ME WANT TO TRAVEL
Almost a decade back I read all the family drama fiction that Tony Parsons wrote. I enjoyed how he described streets and landmarks in the contemporary English capital. It did not just make me want to travel but made me want to have a flat in Mayfair and chill with a pint in some trendy bar in Soho while catching a play or two at theatres within the West End of London. The geographical descriptions in Man and Boy did that to me – contemporary and accessible.
A BOOK THAT YOU WOULD MOST LIKELY GIVE AWAY AS A GIFT
I will go for an odd choice but one I thoroughly enjoyed for different reasons and I think it will suit different tastes – A Nearly Infallible History of Christianity by Nick Page. Even if you have no interest in the Christian faith, this could still appeal to a lover of history. It has a relatively unbiased view of the faith and its rigorous research is coated in a very wicked dry sense of humour. Very funny but rigorously researched book with loads of history between the laughs. I think it will make a good gift for most persons as it is an easy read too.
A BOOK I WISH I DIDN’T READ
I struggle to think of one. My taste is fairly constant and I rarely pick up a book without having heard about it or the author or a review of it resonating with me.