Thursday, December 2, 2021

Reading the year, by Isa Sanusi

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Jaafar Jaafar
Jaafar Jaafar is a graduate of Mass Communication from Bayero University, Kano. He was a reporter at Daily Trust, an assistant editor at Premium Times and now the editor-in-chief of Daily Nigerian.
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The 12 months in a year always come and go like a flash. People have the habit of making ‘new year resolutions’ to change somethings or develop themselves. Largely, the year come and go without achieving those changes or achieving those improvements.

But life goes on. A calendar is one of the dreadful reminders of the precious nature of time. We are living in the age of distractions; internet, social media, mobile phones. In an age in which technology had simplified many tasks yet we are increasingly having less time and getting more busy. Time and how we use it determine so many things, not only about individuals but also about our world. Devoting time to reading is one of the best means of personal development, improving critical thinking and gaining a broader insight on all challenges of life.

One of the achievable new year resolutions is reading books. It is achievable because it does not require much and does not necessarily involve others. Read more books each year and the impact will be glaring. The motivation to read more this year was triggered by a blog post by Charles Chu who made the point that “In the time you spend on social media each year, you could read 200 books.” He backed his claim with details and figures. Although reading 200 books may seem like a wild dream but the writer shows it is possible.

This year, it seems, people are making resolutions that include reading more books. It is good to read more and expand the reading scope. To join the ‘bandwagon’ I already have a reading list; books I lined up and plan to read cover to cover through this year:

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders: This gripping novel won the Booker Prize last year. It had been described as masterpiece, taking the reader on a narrative adventure. With historical elements, this novel brings to life the death of Abraham Lincoln’s son during civil war.

Catch 22: Is a satirical 1961 novel by Joseph Heller. The title of this novel is very familiar and it has gone on to become a concept describing a difficult situation, something akin to ‘from frying fan to fire.’ Consistently, this novel has been described as an icon perfect use of English language. Every sentence serves as integral part that leads to the next sentence.

The Black Swan: The impact of the highly improbable: This book by philosopher Nassim Nicholas Taleb is all about the tendency of human beings to stick to simplistic interpretation of situations and events. Why do we tend to believe somethings are not possible? Why do things we see as impossible happen? We make so many assumptions and pretend as if we have reasons to them back until the upset comes. This book promises to enhance critical thinking.

Society and History: This book is an Islamic philosophical argument on society and history, challenging Western theories on society and history with robust scholarly arguments. This book was written by Iranian philosopher Murtadha Mutahhari who was assassinated in 1979. Of all the over 50 books he authored this stands out for shedding light on deeper philosophical and theological arguments on ‘right’ and ‘wrong.’

Exit West by Muhsin Hamid: All of last year news was dominated by issues of refugees and migration. Muhsin Hamid took up this issue. It is a story of two friends in an unnamed city. What does it feel to be a stranger, running away disaster? Even while people were running away from death and destruction, love is still found — somewhere, somehow.

Setting the ambition of reading is a way of taking back control of your life and your time. If someone can read 200 books, using the time we spent on social media in a year, it is possible to read as many books as one can afford. Reading at least even three books in a year is better than not reading at all.

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