My plan was to read 12 books in the past year but I ended up reading 10. This is a decent amount of books even though I know I could’ve done a lot better. One of the books was a very much worth it reread, while the others were first time books.
Homegoing – Yaa Gyasi
I found this book at the bookstore under recommended new authors and thought I’d give it a try. It took forever to finally settle and get through it but this book is so different and such an enjoyable read. I eventually found out it was one of Stanford’s recommended reading for their first-year students. The story follows two half sisters and their lineage all through seven generations to the end. The book is an easy read in which every chapter is a person and the next is a descendant of the character from the previous chapter. Think A-B-C-D where C is a descendant of A and D is a descendant of B. The entire book progresses like this and it ends on a gentle surprising note.
Unanswered: Lasting Truth for Trending Questions – Jeremiah Johnston
This one is a surprise read because I never saw it coming. My old lady mailed this to me and as soon as I started going through it I realized just how informative and educating it is. This book basically seeks to answer many probing questions about faith and some of the insecurities that come with people of faith not being able to provide answers to their not-so-believing counterparts, coworkers, etc. Even though it isn’t an all encompassing guide, the book is really effective in breaking down origins of major issues regarding staying steadfast and how to begin to approach these problems. Many who have read this book will continue to reference it because of the material and the author knows this, so he is quick to proffer the Bible as the preferred book for seeking answers. He goes as far as giving historical accounts of the horrors experienced by people of faith who ensured the Bible is available to us today and how The Word itself shouldn’t be taken with triviality.
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry – Gabrielle Zevin
This reread is so funny and charming that it felt so good at almost every page turn. Without giving too much away, this is a book about books, about love, about the love of books, about faith and ultimately family. A grumpy unpopular widower bookseller goes on to adopt a beautiful baby abandoned in his bookstore and his life pretty much does a 180 after this. He discovers so much about himself in the subsequent ordeals and in the process has the entire community falling in love with him.
The Pilgrim’s Progress – John Bunyan
Wow. You have to ask what it is with captivity and eloquent writing. From Paul the Apostle to John Bunyan and even Martin Luther King Jr. John Bunyan’s account of the journey of Christian on his way to salvation is regarded as a classic by many and rightfully so. Many literal names are given to characters and to places as well and they do not feel too cheesy or over-flogged especially considering when the text was written. This book will question your faith, ask about your preparedness, and give you a lot to think about considering your personal journey. It is full of adventures and grueling encounters.
Also, I’m currently reading D.O. Fagunwa’s Forest of a Thousand Daemons translated by Wole Soyinka and I can see how much he was inspired by John Bunyan’s work.
The Four Agreements – Don Miguel Ruiz
I had this book for about a year before I finally decided to read it. I enjoyed it even though it turns out to be my least favorite of the bunch. It feels like a self help book that also tries to be religious at the same time. Many people seem to like it and recommend it because of its simplicity in tackling basic everyday challenges with people but I find it to be a little confusing. It tries to be part scientific/philosophical and spiritual at the same time. There’s a place for this and that place didn’t seem like it was in this book.
In the Blink of an Eye – Walter Murch
There is a general misconception that this book is about editing because it is written by an Academy Award winning editor, but this is not an editing book. It is a book about film and storytelling. Although it caters to film editing techniques and details a lot of its history, any filmmaker will learn a lot from this book.
Crafting the Character ARC – Jennie Jarvis
I got this book while I was in film school. It is authored by a former instructor in my screenwriting class. As many students would, I only focused on the necessary parts of the book in school so I could fulfill assignments. I later decided to go back to it and finish it while I was working on my new script for a horror comedy. It is currently bombarded with markers and highlights because it will always be referenced. This book is applicable to all writers – not just screenwriters. It teaches you with many real life examples how to get the most out of your storytelling with your characters.
The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
This book was a much delayed birthday gift from a friend and I took it kindly. The book is about a boy who seeks a buried treasure and ends up on this long journey across continents. He is met with very many challenges and had many opportunities to give up on his search but yet he persisted. The boy is basically all of us. This book tries inspires the reader to dig deep and press on whenever they find themselves about to give up.
There Was a Country – Chinua Achebe
Nigerian history is one of the more discombobulated ones as far a countries go. There are too many perspectives and only a few voices are heard. Chinua Achebe is one of her greatest authors and he continues to deliver even after his passing. Like most of his works, There Was a Country is easy on the reader; it eases you into every paragraph and carries you along. This book chronicles the experience of the author as he tries to survive, keep his family alive, and also contribute his services to his people during the Biafran War. For a well written, well researched and entertaining book, it has very sad moments. Moments that make the reader question the sanity of men and the validity of Nigeria as a country. As one would expect, the book has gained a lot of criticism from many other cultures and tribes with different accounts of history. But then again isn’t criticism the hallmark of work that deserves attention in the first place?
Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married – Gary Chapman
I bought this book to basically know what married people know that I don’t. I wanted to learn, and I wasn’t disappointed. Can I guarantee that if you read this book you will have an eternally blissful marriage? Lol, no. What I can assure you though is that if you are willing to be humble, to learn, you can take so much away from this book and separate your relationship from most by having ‘vaccines’ to the very many diseases that plague most relationships even before they start. If you can do this, you’re on your way basically to a good home.
P.S. Don’t quote me anywhere. I’m not even married yet so…yeah don’t quote me.
My challenge for 2018 is to read 15 books. Let’s see how it goes.