Happy World Book Day 2012!
As a writer, obviously one of my passions is reading. While some people had a misspent youth, a heavy proportion of my youth consisted of going to the local libraries, taking out as many books as I could, and tearing through all of them in a week. I have no idea how many books I’ve read over the years, but if they gave out recognition for it, I’m sure I’d be within the Double Platinum award range.
My book recommendations
I love all types of books, but I’d say the ones I favour most are:
1. Witty and satirical novels, tracts, poems etc. My favourite writers with regards to this are probably Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift. Truly legendary contributors in the history of English Writers. My modern heroes are a bit harder to pin point. I will have to get back to you on that.
A House for Mr Biswas by V.S. Naipul
Epistle to Dr Arbuthnot by Alexander Pope
The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift
Verses on the Death of Dr. Swift by Jonathan Swift
2. Historical novels, however loosely based on actual historical events. Books that have the complex history of a country intertwined within them. As a graduate of English literature and African Studies, I had the privilege (some called it a curse) of having to blitz through many books per term. In the midst of that, I came across some fantastic books. Here are a few of my recommendations for now:
Snow and I am Red by Orhan Pamuk (Turkey)
Nervous Conditions and The Book of Not: A Sequel to Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga (Zimbabwe)
Last King of Scotland by Giles Foden (Uganda)
Tsotsi by Athol Fugard (South Africa)
Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (Afghanistan)
Devil on the Cross by Ngugi Wa Thiong’o (Kenya)
The Book of Loss by Julith Jedamus (Japan)
Restoration by Rose Tremain (England)
Empress Orchid and The Last Empress by Anchee Min (China)
A Man of the People by Chinua Achebe (Nigeria)
Half of a Yellow Sun and Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria)
A Sunday by the Pool in Kigali by Gil Courtemanche (Rwanda)
Brixton Beach by Roma Tearne (Sri Lanka)
Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill (America)
The Polished Hoe by Austin Clarke (Barbados)
3. I absolutely love Utopia/Dystopia novels. The kind that explore human ethics & totalitarian states or rule.
Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm by George Orwell
A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
[Permission to break the trend a little here and mention some films I love in this category, some of which are books:
Never Let Me Go (film and book by Kazuo Ishiguro), The Island, Children of Men (film and book by P. D. James), Equilibrium, District 9, The Matrix (all 3 films), Minority Report, Book Of Eli…i could go on]
What I’m reading now
I’m currently reading ‘A Game of Thrones’ by George R. R. MArtin. I watched the HBO Season 1 of it first and absolutely loved it. You can find my review of it here. The book is just as fantastic and I have massive respect for the way in which the HBO adaptation stuck to the purity of the book. I’ve almost finished it (in time for Season 2 which starts again in April 2012. I am ridiculously excited about this) and I’ll probably write a short review on it, so watch out for that.
The book I’ll probably be reading next is the infamous ‘Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man’ by
pastor (i kid, i joke) Steve Harvey which should be interesting to say in the least.
In the meantime, keep reading and please feel free to share your own recommendations with me!
I leave you with these tips on getting into books:
- Don’t buy every single book you want to read. Libraries are there for a reason. So are friends.
- If you’re worried about the cost of books, utilise Amazon. I buy the majority of my books second-hand (vastly cheaper) but in good condition (probably why they reach the ceiling of my room :s)
- Speak to people who love reading & get their suggestions. There’s nothing worse than trying to get into reading and picking a crap book on your first attempt (Ergo I don’t recommend ‘Catcher in the Rye’ for fledgling readers)
- Join a book club. It makes reading that more fun and a more wholesome experience. Listening to what other people took away from a book can be very interesting and knowing that you’ll have to speak about the book will encourage you to engage with what you’re reading in a more critical way. A book is hardly ever just the words on the page.
- You may not be the kind of person that sitting still and reading comes easily too or you may not even have time to do that. Hence I recommend getting audio books the multi-taskers’ friend. You can listen to them as you travel, do work in the house, etc and you don’t have to carry large tomes around.