Since the beginning of the quarantine, I have had a lot of free time to catch up on my reading and explore new things but also finish the spring semester on a positive note as my classes turned out to be more challenging than expected. Nonetheless, my sleeping time has reached an all- time high as have watching T.V and pressing my electronic devices. This new normal aka self- isolation or stay at home was unexpected to all. In the effort of adjusting, it was more than imperative to change this new habit and make my days as productive as possible. Staying productive in a lockdown is easier said than done as it requires a lot of discipline and commitment. Finding and exploring ways of how to remain sane and productive in self isolation was my focus. The few advices and resources that I have come across online were interesting and intriguing- however I ended up disregarding most of them. I finally decided to go back to my old hobby- Reading which brings me calm and comfort. Without expatiating further, here is a list of the 5 books (Yes, I did limit to this number because as the saying goes, quality is better than quantity) that I have read in self- isolation and would highly recommend.
Murmures à la jeunesse- Christiane Taubira
I’m starting with this book because it is one of my favorites. Murmures à la jeunesse or murmurs to youth in English by Christiane Taubira- the former minister of justice of France. I know her to be an extremely witty author with a good rhetoric and a knack for clarity and unbiasedness in describing a problem and proposing solutions. This book is more like a speech as the author addresses to French citizens. Taubira with conviction, stresses why forfeiture of nationality should not be voted as a law to counter terrorism and youth’s indoctrination. This book leaves us with a good note of hope for the future as the author shows clearly the importance of conviction in making big decisions even if it means losing some support from part of the people. It is always a pleasure to read her. I immensely recommend it.
Meditation- Marcus Aurelius
The second book that I would recommend is from Marcus Aurelius, a collection of his personal writings. The beauty of this book lies in the different motivational advices it contains to inspire us in the ways of stoicism. One quote that particularly caught my attention is “When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love …” Often, we take life for granted forgetting that we can lose everything anytime. This quote is a good reminder to be grateful to GOD.
Like any religious book, this book can be opened to any page. I wish I had this book while growing up, I highly recommend it.
Poor Economics- Abhijit Barnajee & Esther Duflo
This book is about global poverty. Written by two MIT development economists, Abhijit Barnajee & Esther Duflo. In this book, the authors bring us into the lives of the world’s poorest populations by exposing chapter after chapter the hard decisions they have to make about things that most of us take for granted such as education, immunization, food and clean water. This book will make you appreciate the simplest things you have.
Dead Aid- Dambisa Moyo
This book is from one of my favorite economists Dambisa Moyo. I find her intriguing and extremely smart. Dambisa like most Africans has a fairly conservative opinion on aid. Despite more than $1 trillion in development aid spent to Africa in the past 50 years, she argues that aid has failed to deliver sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction—and has made the continent worse off. As someone who grew up and schooled in some parts of Africa, this book shares arguments I grew up hearing. I would highly recommend if you want to have an overview of the history of aid in Africa and how despite the efforts made by the west African countries are still struggling to reduce poverty and stimulate growth.
The End of Normal- Stephanie Madoff Mack
This book I have to admit is not the type I usually read- but landing on this after watching what felt like the 100th documentary on Bernie Madoff was intriguing. This book written by Stephanie Madoff Mack, widow of Bernie’s deceased son, Mark, recounts her life with the Madoff family before, during and after the Madoff scandal. Tragically, her husband (Mark) committed suicide at the two-year anniversary of the scandal, leaving her behind with two children. Throughout the book, we can notice the anger of the author towards Bernie but also jealousy and pettiness she has expressed towards the other family members. I appreciated the book as it tells us how the crime of a family member can have an impact on the entire family.