Books they read : Arthur Wonny
Posted Friday, July 19 2013 at 23:00
Arthur Wonny is a fourth year Mechanical Engineering student at Makerere University, Kampala. He is an impassioned freelance writer/blogger and a zealous booklover with a knack for fictional literature and poetry. He spoke to Beatrice Lamwaka
What kind of books do you read? How did you start reading these books?
I read all sorts of books – autobiographies, anthologies, literary trilogies, manuscripts and even the occasional cookbook. I’m mostly intrigued by fictional novels – especially those which are epitomized by suspense and laced with satirical humour.
Describe your ideal reading experience.
Whenever I can squeeze a few minutes from my schedule, I read. It doesn’t matter if I’m in a crowded taxi, a lecture room or a meeting. When I’m reading say, Robert Ludlum’s ruthlessly gripping Sigma Protocol, the setting of the story impulsively becomes my new setting. However, natural peace and quiet illuminates my reading experience. I find e-books particularly convenient. At the faintest hint of boredom, I can pull out my phone and scroll through the warmth of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby – one of the greatest books I have read to date.
What books might we be surprised to find on your book collection?
The Secret History by Donna Tart: it’s a gripping story about a tightly knit clique of students who engage themselves in homosexuality, incest and eventually murder and suicide. It is simple and scary at the same time. I recently acquired Miria Matembe’s Gender, Politics, and Constitution Making in Uganda. She is a vehement, steadfast writer who is very particular about women’s rights. I enjoyed it immensely.
If you could meet any character from literature, who would it be?
Sniff and Scurry, the little half-witted mice from Dr. Spencer Johnson’s Who Moved My Cheese. They had a simple approach to life. They didn’t overanalyze things. They weren’t overburdened by complex beliefs like the little intelligent people, Hem and Haw. When Cheese got over from Station C, they simply carried on in search of another source of cheese while Hem and Haw complained and wallowed in self-pity. Sniff and Scurry “sniffed and scurried” on to another source of cheese. Hem and Haw did just that – hemming and hawing. I hope to adopt Sniff and Scurry’s approach in dealing with change.
What are some of the Ugandan novels you have read? What impressions did they make on you?
I like the infatuating way President Yoweri Museveni weaves the story of his rise to power in Sowing the Mustard Seed. He does it with equal measures of wit and paroxysm. I’ve read The Last King of Scotland by Giles Foden – a tale about the tyrannical rule of Gen. Idi Amin. I see that we are living in a hell-hole, a back alley of sorts. Literature is our beacon of light. We can create change and make a big difference by soaking ourselves in as much information as we possibly can.
Which book are you reading at the moment?
I’m winding up The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet. It is a magnificent adventure set in ancient Britain. The author paints the greed among the noble, the helplessness of the lowly and the abundance of love that they are all blind to. It is packed with action, intrigue, violence and passion. It is one of those books that defy gravity; you just can’t put it down.