Reviews & Profiles
BOOKS THEY READ: Gilbert Ainomugisha
Posted Saturday, December 1 2012 at 02:00
Gilbert Ainomugisha is a Clerk Assistant in the Parliament of Uganda. He is also a writer, poet, an actor of sorts and a future stand-up comedian (after retirement). He spoke to Beatrice Lamwaka about his passion for books..
How did you get hooked to reading?
I got hooked to reading rather late in life. I met a universe of books in the open section of the Namilyango College Mill Hill Library and after reading my first book, an old-coverless-dusty collection of short stories, I was hooked.
I would later spend every evening in the library reading random books, sometimes keeping the books in a carefully marked part of the book shelves only to find them gone and never to be found again.
What kind of books do you read?
I read all kinds of books, without discrimination. I have read classics, thrillers, contemporary African Writers, Sci-Fiction, self helps and all sorts of books which do not fall in any particular Genre. I have read books without titles, without ends or beginnings. I read everything and anything in print.
Who is your favourite writer?
Chinua Achebe is my favorite writer. I have read most of his books and I have a future date with Arrow of God, which lies on my shelf. My favorite of all his books is Things Fall Apart. I love the way African classic stories are told by Chinua Achebe. I love how native they feel. I love how immortal the characters created such as Okonkwo are and how real the imagery feels. While reading his books, I took my own personal mental trips to Igboland – remote, native and pure.
Which are your most memorable books?
In 2008, I was walking from the university to my humble abode when I stumbled across a naked book on the path-side. I stopped for a moment, read the contents of the first page and immediately, I was captivated. I still keep that book to this day.
Turns out, it was The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. It is the most profound book I have ever read. The first thriller, I ever read was Misery by Stephen King. I was amazed and shocked at how I could be that captivated by a book so dark.
This book made me stay in class for long after prep time. I stayed back to read and yet at the end, I was afraid to go back to the dormitory by myself. The character of Chiyo Sakamoto as depicted in the Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden is one of the best characters and because of this, this book also makes it to the list of the most memorable books.
Which books do you plan to read?
First, I have a whole bunch of books that I have not read and it gives me great pain that I do not have as much time on my hands to read; the only time I get to read is when I travel – occasionally. I have a number of books waiting for me. They include among others, Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy, Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon, Chinua Achebe’s Arrow of God.
I also bought A Thousand Splendid Suns and The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini with intention of reading them. I got them because they come highly recommended and I intend to read them soon.
My only reason for wanting to read these books is because – to quote Carlos Ruiz Zafon - “Every book has a soul, the soul of the person who wrote it and the soul of those who read it and dream about it.” – every book I have not read is an adventure waiting to happen as it contains within its covers the ability to create, heal, seduce and satisfy.
Which books are you reading?
I am reading Mark Twain’s Adventures of Tom Sawyer. I am also reading Sun Tzu’s Art of War and A Shackled Continent: Africa’s Past, Present and Future by Robert Guest which explores the subjects of power, corruption, war, greed and the reason why Africa has failed to break even after more than 40 years of independence from colonialism.