Why does reading fiction interest you?
Reading is like a gateway to dozens of worlds. If you’d like to travel without moving a mile, all you need to do is open a book. It is like being invited into different worlds, different minds and different lives. It helps you see humanity. It makes you laugh or cry, it makes you think and question, but mostly it makes me happy.
With a busy schedule, how do you manage to read?
With a busy schedule, I have to read. It is one way to let the stress roll away. An hour or two with a good book is almost certainly equivalent to a good night’s rest. Okay, not really, but it is a great way to take your mind off whatever worries gather up during the day and be ready for what’s next, so I steal a minute or hour whenever I can. I read every day.
Which are some of the books that made you drop everything to read?
I have to admit that I’m a thriller junkie. I’ve read all the Jeffrey Archers, Grishams and Dick Francis’ available and most of those stories get a hold of you and keep you hostage till they are done. I do remember that Francine River’s Mark of the Lion series kept me up late till I’d finished all three.
Which books left you with a strange feeling?
I would have to say Sembene Ousmane’s God’s Bits of Wood and Khaleid Hossein’s A Thousand Splendid Suns. God’s Bits of Wood has such rich descriptions; they pass the mind and go straight to the heart. A Thousand Splendid Suns was a compelling story for me, taking me into a completely different place, one usually not heard on the news.
It was nice to hear from a different perspective. I thought they were both beautifully written with an incredible flow but what I remember most from the stories was what they made me feel.
What have you learnt from the stories you have read?
I learn that we’re not alone. It is amazing to read a story and find someone who can put into words exactly what you feel.
I learn that there is a lot of cruelty and sadness in the world but that there is also a lot of goodness and love. I learn that discrimination is stupid; we are mostly the same inside.
Which books are you looking forward to reading?
I am looking forward to reading Chimamanda Adichie’s books: Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun and The Thing Around Your Neck.
I somehow have not got round to reading them and I am learning that to not do so would be a great loss. I think I’ll start with Half of a Yellow Sun. I have also recently discovered Teju Cole and look forward to reading more from him.
Which books are you reading?
I read one book at a time. I do not take long to finish one. Today, I’m reading African Violet and Other Stories, a Caine Prize anthology.