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It’s 2003. A man is on his deathbed. Although a nonsmoker, he has been diagnosed with lung cancer and the prognosis is grim, so he begins to prepare for the worst. And the best way to prepare for death, he felt, was to find books to read. He decided to read a deathbed book.
OK, look, things are not that extreme here, and no one is going to die, so we’re not talking about death. But with the country facing perhaps its roughest period in twenty years, we thought we might look at the books that would hold meaning for us in these trying times.
Right! So let’s dive right in. We will be looking into three categories of books to read:
Some people prefer to read books that take their minds off the things that are bothering them. They just need distractions. They go out there every day and face struggles. But in their alone time, they want to read books that are engaging and fun. If you’re not that sort, don’t judge; but if you are, we’ll mention some books that might be exactly what you need. The Alchemist by Paul Coelho is a high adventure fantasy. It’s about the adventures of a Spanish shepherd who constantly has dreams about discovering treasures. So he sets out for Egypt in North Africa on an epic journey of mixed feelings: he is robbed multiple times in his search for treasure; but he learns valuable lessons, plus, he meets and befriends a wise Alchemist. In Egypt, however, he discovers that the treasure he came in search of was actually in the same place he had set out from. The underlying motif (an important idea that is found throughout a work) in the book is that when you really want something to happen, the whole universe will conspire to ensure that your wish comes true.
However, if mystery or detective fiction is more in your fashion, then you could read Dust by Martha Grimes, 13 Million Dollar Pop by David Levien, or Detectives Don’t Wear Seatbelts by Cici McNair. If you’re looking for something comedic, then you should read African Delights by Siphiwo Maphala, which puts together hilarious stories from different parts of Africa; or The Best of Times: Three Novellas by Okinba Launko, who is actually one of Nigeria’s foremost contemporary writers under a pen name. This one’s more of a satire with an ironic title, but it’s still pretty amusing. For instance, the heads of a university resign from their posts rather than be the ones to deal with a cholera outbreak. The vice-chancellor ostentatiously goes on a holiday.
But if you really want us to give you one that should top everybody’s list, then you should read The Devil You Know by Mike Carey. If you’re uncertain about it, you can contact anybody who has read his works, and they’ll tell you (actually, just trust us; it’s pretty good).
Some, on the other hand, prefer to be involved in the political situation, to learn more about the national political history, and even attempt to make active effort towards fixing things. If you are this type, you might want to read a book with a historical focus. ‘To see the future, you must first know the past’, right?
Top on our list is Our Fathers’ Land: Including Reminiscences on the Nigerian Civil War by Titus Okereke, a much underrated book that doesn’t seem as though it will lose its relevance any time soon. Coming next on our list is There Was a Country by Chinua Achebe. This book has been much talked about for many years, both positively and negatively. It’s a very controversial book, to say the least. But then again, what is politics if not controversy?
And speaking of controversy, In Biafra Africa Died: The Diplomatic Plot by Emefiena Ezeani is our next recommendation. This book looks closely at the status of Biafra in Nigeria. The author discusses its positives and negatives, not just for Nigeria, but for Africa at large. More than worth a read is our verdict. Another book we’ll mention is Dialogue with my Country by Niyi Osundare. This book is intriguing (we had better leave it at that, to avoid the danger of exaggeration). It’s a compilation of articles written by the author in a weekly column within the space of twenty-four years. Even the title is satisfyingly ironic: Niyi Osundare’s comments and suggestions regarding the Nigerian situation over this long period, comments and suggestions which were utterly ignored, are referred to as ‘dialogue’ with his country.
Our third class do not appreciate taking their minds off things, nor do they bother to infuse themselves into what they see as a messy political system. Instead, they turn towards making money and floating above the society. If this is where you fall under, you might be interested in Multiple Streams of Income: How to Generate a Lifetime of Unlimited Wealth! by Robert G. Allen. It is a bestseller, and has many positive reviews. A-Z of Personal Finance by Nimi Akinkugbe is also very useful, not just to help you make more money, but also to help you keep it.
For those contemplating or already into network marketing, you understand the need for information. You would be interested in Your First Year in Network Marketing by Mark Yarnell, The Business of the 21st Century by Robert Kiyosaki, and Dream Achievers by Anthony and Erik Masi.
How you react in a period like this is completely up to you, but you don’t have to compromise your reading habits. Whatever you need, there is always information about it in a book, written by someone who has experienced, or is experiencing, the same challenges as you. If building up your spiritual life is most important to you, you can check out The Power of Persistent Prayer: Praying With Greater Purpose and Passion by Cindy Jacobs and The Purpose-Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? by Rick Warren.
But if you fall into none of these categories, and the state of the society doesn’t change your routine, then you could simply go on with reading the books you love.
Oh, and as for that man on his deathbed in 2003, he chose to read Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace.
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