Jola Naibi

Writer and amateur photog. I seek to inspire and inform with the words I write and share and the photos I take. I have written a book of short stories: Terra Cotta Beauty, and I am working on a lot more. Reading and writing fuel my energy. In reading, I explore this vast and diverse world, in writing, I employ my over-active imagination and address the 'what-if' questions that life often throws at us.


The Key to the Whole Wide World

By on September 21, 2012

If you only read the books that everyone is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking
Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood

Jane Hamilton captured the essence of books in one of my favorite quotes of all time: It is books that are a key to the whole wide world, if you can’t do anything, read all you can.

I thought it might be a good time to give a run-down of what I am reading, what I’d like to read and what I have recently read, in no particular order

Books I am Reading:

Okay, so I may have mentioned it a few times on the blog, but I never read one book at a time, which is probably why I think the Kindle is the best thing since sliced bread created for the avid bibliophile like me. That being said, I still like the touch, feel and smell of the paperback and the hard back and so although I have a couple of reading devices, I still have the traditional book. I digress. Here’s a sampling of what I am reading on the Kindle and without:

Cloud Atlas ~ David Mitchell: I stumbled upon the preview for the movie which is set for release sometime in October and combines the excellent acting prowess of Halle Berry, Tom Hanks and a few others. I was intrigued, even more so, when I found out that it was adapted from a book.

A Quiver Full of Arrows ~ Jeffrey Archer: I still find it hard to believe that I have gone through life without reading Archer’s eclectic collection of short stories. Needless to say, I rapidly addressed that deficiency with the click of a button

La Delicatesse ~ David Foenkinos: Another one that captured my attention because a movie had been made out of it, starring the delightful Audrey Tautou.

The Sugar Barons ~ Matthew Parker: I always like to have a piece of nonfiction on my reading list for good measure and to bring me back to reality. Although I must admit that this account of sugar barons in the West Indies is so well-told, I sometimes mistake it for a piece of fiction

A Walk Across the Sun ~ Corban Addison: This fictional depiction of modern-day slavery and all the accompanies it, would be less unsettling if only it was not anchored in actual fact.

I am pleased to report that all the books above except two are being read in hard copy format.

What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though
J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

Books I Have Recently Read 

Mighty Be Our Powers ~ Leymah Gbowee: When she (along with Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Tawakkol Karman) won the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, I knew very little about Leymah Gbowee and I was curious to know more about this very powerfully articulate fellow West African woman. Her story is both inspiring and heartwarming and further proof of the strength of determination and resilience

Miss Timmins’ School for Girls~ Nayana Currimbhoy: I never went to boarding school, which probably explains why I am always curious about how life must have been like for those who did. That also probably explains why I gravitated towards this book, plus the fact that I like a good whoddunit.

Island Beneath The Sea~ Isabel Allende: Isabel Allende writes in Spanish. I can read a bit of Spanish but I am not totally proficient. The fact that she is one of my favorite authors is largely thanks to Margaret Sayers Peden who has translated most of Ms Allende’s books (including this one) into English.
Thank you Margaret Sayers Peden for handing us a key to the world.

The Prophet of Zongo Street~ Mohammed Naseehu Ali: Time was, when I could easily recognize the names of most of the authors from my native West Africa. So imagine my shock and awe, when I came across this title in my local library by this emerging Ghanaian author. His collection of short stories are witty and original.

Ouragan~ Laurent Gaude: I have to admit that what attracted me to this book was the cover and then I picked it up and realized that it was a tale about Hurricane Katrina, even more fascinating that it is written (in French) by a French author

In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through you
Mortimer Jerome Adler

Books I Would Like to Read… and Why

Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa ~ Jason Stearns: Because I pray for the day when it will be difficult to say the word ‘war’ and ‘Africa’ in the same sentence.

One Day I Will Write About This Place~ Binyavanga Wainaina: Because one I will write about the places I have been.

Trois Femmes Puissantes (Three Strong Women)~ Marie Ndiaye: Because she won the highest prize in French literature: le Prix Goncourt. Because I can read it in its original language (and brag about it). because it was translated into English meaning more people can read it. (All hail, John Fletcher – who translated it from French -and all who translates books from one language to the other: another brilliant plug for translators!!!).

The Submission ~ Amy Waldman: Because it is about an American-Muslim who is unknowingly selected by a panel to build a memorial for the victims of the September 11 attacks. Because it is a true reflection of the fact that quite often, the things that tear us apart, end up bringing us together.

The Things That Matter~ Nate Berkus: Because I admire Nate Berkus sense of design style: simple, elegant and affordable and until I saw the review of the book, I had no idea he had been caught in the devastating tsunami of Christmas of 2004. Because it is deeply personal and inspiring. 

A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading
William Styron, Conversations with William Styron