These are my favorites books
from childhood (the African Writers Series was a staple in Zambian
Mine Boy by Peter
My favorite book from childhood is about
a "colored" miner in Apartheid-era South Africa. On the
surface, very light and funny, but it also carries a deeper
message about the injustices of racism.
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Achebe is the
father of African literature and has the distinction of
writing book #1 in the African Writers Series. I would
guess that 90% of literate Africans have read this wonderful
Tongue of the Dumb by Dominic Mulaisho
An engrossing story
about a young boy who has been cursed with the inability to
talk. Set in rural Zambia.
Recent books I've enjoyed:
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
Set in 1960s Congo, the book tells the
story of a missionary's family using the voices of the mother
and their four daughters. Wonderfully telling of history
during an extremely turbulent period for a country (and
continent) that has never recovered from the plague of
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur S. Golden
Written so well,
it's amazing to find that this is a work of fiction by an
American author! The first two thirds of this book is
probably the best writing I've ever read but the story does
finish weakly. Definitely a book you shouldn't skip.
A Little Yellow Dog by Walter Mosley
The only book I own
signed by the author. I'm a big fan of the Easy Rawlins
Mystery series (you may have seen the Denzel Washington movie
Devil in a Blue Dress). Every book in the series is
enjoyable although you may have to excuse Mosley for his
occasional gratuitous violence and sex.
Seconds Out by Jay Mwamba
I've known Jay
almost all my life and remember when he was a sports
reporter for the Zambia Daily Mail covering Zambian boxing
greats like Lottie Mwale and Charm Chiteule. Jay has
an intimate understanding of the sport of boxing and his
knowledge pays wonderful dividends in this riveting thriller
about the budding career of Sonny Green. Your heart
pulse will race as Jay takes you in the ring and Sonny has
to use all his skills, strength, and perseverance to
vanquish his opponent. I highly recommend this book!
The following books are for
enlightenment and self-improvement (I used to be cynical about
this kind of literature but I find it enjoyable and I think it can
be good for you!):
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
by Stephen Covey
Actually, I took this class when I was a
fresh-out-of-college engineer working at Hewlett-Packard.
Ostensibly about becoming a more effective employee, this
subject is really about becoming a better person and getting
more out of life.
The Road Less Traveled
by M. Scott Peck
While I was bemoaning a love lost, Ka Li Loh
recommended this book as a way to really understand what love
is. I found the book thought-provoking and it changed my
views on what makes hearts "ache".
How To Win Friends and Influence People
by Dale Carnegie
English recommended this book when I was frustrated with
getting co-workers to see things my way. This book
helped me see that when I fail to persuade a group to see
things my way, and time proves me right, that's nothing to be
smug about. It just highlights my ineffectiveness at
communicating ideas. The good news is that influencing
people is a skill which we can all improve if we work on it.
Good to Great by Jim
Pankaj Shukla bought me my copy of this
fantastic book which has given me fresh insight into what
makes companies work well and how to be a more effective
by Bazerman and Neale
Pam Seitz lent me this book also in the
context of dealing with work place frustrations (do you see a
theme here?). It made me realize how often in life we
negotiate but how we tend to not negotiate rationally.
Puritan Boston and Quaker Philadelphia : Two Protestant Ethics
and the Spirit of Class Authority and Leadership by E.
Digby Baltzell but Ben Hyde introduced me to the subject
matter. What is rather fascinating is the idea that
humans are either Puritan or Quaker in their societal outlook.
He showed me this wonderful table
which compares the cultural consequences of Puritan and Quaker