Reading Room with Nina Chachu
For a certain reason I havenâ€™t been reading too much non-fiction lately, so apologies for what some might call a slightly sparse list. There is definitely a West African flavour to my selections though, which I hope you will appreciate and/or explore yourself. Having done my disclaimer, of course the first choice does not have anything to do with Africa!
short cuts to better decision making, by Gerd Gigerenzer.
Donâ€™t be deceived by this title into thinking this is either a book about food, or your stomach! It actually is a business/management book and managed to get shortlisted for a science book and a business book award â€“ quite a combination, if you ask me. Gigerenzer explains why we humans often make decisions without having fully thought out the whys and the consequences, and yet these are actually quite effective. Read it, and maybe youâ€™ll be convinced?
PRETENDING TO BE PRESIDENT:
the musings of J. A. Fukuor, by Ato Kwamena Dadzie.
Are you a fan of Ato Kwamena Dadzieâ€™s daily newspaper review on Joy FM in the mornings? Or do you visit his website at http://atokd.com/ ? Or did you ever read a column in The Daily Dispatch newspaper, entitled â€śLetter from the Presidentâ€ť? Even if the answers to the above are negative, donâ€™t worry. Just seize the opportunity to read or dip into this collection, which at times will make you laugh, cry or simply say â€śwowâ€ť or â€śhmmmâ€ť.
LEADERSHIP: REFLECTIONS ON SOME MOVERS, SHAKERS AND THINKERS,
by Anis Haffar.
Another collection of columns, this time by a new Adjunct Lecturer here at Ashesi. Haffar reminds us of the special qualities exemplified by Ephraim Amu, J H Nketia and F L Bartels, in addition to those we more traditionally think of as leaders such as Kwame Nkrumah, Barack Obama, Abraham Lincoln and W E B DuBois. Not a big volume, but again one can dip into it whenever there are a few spare minutes.
TABOM: THE AFRO-BRAZILIAN COMMUNITY IN GHANA,
by Marco Aurelio Schaumloeffel.
Another relatively small volume, picked up at a conference, giving a brief background to the Afro-Brazilian community in Accra, and specifically in the area of what is currently called â€śBrazil Houseâ€ť. Although Accra remains the cosmopolitan capital of Ghana, we residents often forget the multitude of influences on the â€śindigeneâ€ť Ga people.
Personally I read a lot of novels â€“ for relaxation, and sometimes too, they do make me think. Here are a few I wanted to share.
THE TAIL OF THE BLUE BIRD,
by Nii Ayikwei Parkes.
The author is Ghanaian, but based in the UK, and quite often heard on the BBC and other media, though more as a poet than a novelist. This is his first novel, and combines elements of the â€śwho-done-itâ€ť genre, with more traditional stories. Settings also include present-day Accra, and a village somewhere in the Eastern Region. Pretty impressive, I thought; no wonder he was on one of the shortlists for the 2010 Commonwealth Writers Prize!
by Amu Djoleto.
One of the African Writers Series which I have meant to read for a long time, but never quite got around to! Published in 1975, but satirizing politicians of the post-independence era, sadly it does make the reader wonder just how much has changed over the last thirty-five years.
SOMEONE KNOWS MY NAME/THE BOOK OF NEGROES,
by Lawrence Hill.
Why two titles for the same book, you might ask? As you might have guessed, one of them probably wouldnâ€™t have gone down too well in some markets! An epic â€“ covering Aminataâ€™s journeys (not always willing) from Mali to South Carolina and New York, to Nova Scotia, to Sierra Leone and finally to London. As it takes place in the 18th and early 19th century, you can guess that this is the life story of an African woman who endures capture, slavery, and ultimately freedom.