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For International Literacy Day, ZODML Recommends These Great Books

By ZODML on 9 Sep, 2014

Happy International Literacy Day! This annual holiday created by UNESCO aims to celebrate and raise awareness about the importance of literacy. This year's theme is "Literacy and Sustainable Development" with a focus on how literacy aids lifelong learning and helps establish peaceful and prosperous societies, an especially critical issue for Nigerians today. Although every day is Literacy Day at ZODML, for this special occasion our staff and volunteers are sharing some of their favourite books. Check out our selections below - and if a title catches your eye, visit the Community Library to borrow it! Also keep an eye out on our Facebook page and Twitter timeline for photos of staff and patrons sharing why they read - join in by tweeting a photo of yourself and the hashtag #whyIread

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry - chosen by Francis Babafemi, Front Desk Staff

The Little Prince is a classic tale of equal appeal to children and adults. It is the story of an airman's discovery in the desert of a small boy from another planet.

The Food Hunting Adventures - chosen by Ernest O. Arinze, NYSC Member

This book portrays famine in the animal kingdom and how each creature tries to survive it.

Why We Struck by Adewale Ademoyega - chosen by Godi Jeffrey, IT Manager

This book gives a vivid firsthand account of the coup that took place on January 15, 1966 in Nigeria. Ademoyega, who actively participated in the coup narrates why, how and when it was conceived, planned and executed. The execution of the plan had a lightning effect, and the coup provoked a reaction that culminated in the Civil War.

Dead or Alive by Tom Clancy - chosen by Wale Haruna, Library Assistant

This is part of the Jack Ryan Series from internationally acclaimed author Tom Clancy. It is about Jack Ryan, Jnr. as he continues the family business of covert intelligence and starts a manhunt for the deadly mastermind of countless horrific attacks known simply as The Emir. This book is a blend of action, covert intelligence, and politics. It is a definite must-read.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - chosen by Nkechinyere Nwoji, Chief Librarian

To Kill a Mockingbird is a unforgettable novel that explores the issue of race in America through the unfair trial of a black man who is unfairly accused of raping a white girl. This book is a must-read for all lovers of great classics.

Dear Life: Stories by Alice Munro - chosen by Mena Odu, Head, Website and Online Services

The Nobel Laureate's elegant and sensitive depictions of the intimacies of daily life - from ill-fated love affairs to the small tussles between siblings - are so vivid, it'll feel as if she's in your head.

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway - chosen by Stephen Aminehi, Librarian

I'd never really been passionate about adventure stories, but one day during my first month at ZODML, I was introduced to this title by a colleague, friend, and poet. The Old Man and the Sea holds you spellbound from the first page to the last. It depicts the adventure of an old Cuban fisherman on the Gulf Stream. The book broadens one’s mind and horizons and reminds us that no matter what you are going through, regardless of your age and status, you are never alone.

The Gods are not to Blame by Ola Rotimi - chosen by Olawale Ilesanmi, Web and Systems Administrator

Ola Rotimi's dramatic story is about a man's struggle to ward off his fate, and how he, unfortunately, in the process brings about its fulfillment. Odewale's tragic end might have been prevented if only he let go of his pride.

Time Changes Yesterday by Nyengi Koin - chosen by Amaka Okoye, Executive Assistant to the CEO

This well-written story is one I have read several times. The book shows that life is not always rosy and can present harsh and unfortunate circumstances. Its main characters are Koforowola Odu and Tayo Browne. who have lost a fiance and a spouse respectively under unfortunate circumstances, and are having thoughts of loving again. The way Koin portrays the emotional challenges that come with the loss of a loved one were so real that I couldn't help but cry. Koforowola, a strong and passionate teacher who devoted herself diligently to her work and was determined to make it through, was my favourite character. This book encourages anyone in difficult moments to remain optimistic as life always offers a second chance.

The Betrayers by David Bezmozgis - chosen by Andrew Ohamara, Intern

The Betrayers tells the story of Baruch Kotler, an uncompromising Israeli politician who prefers to see his reputation destroyed than to concede his principles. The book portrays vividly what it means to hold on to one's principle.

The Lion and the Jewel by Wole Soyinka - chosen by Bola Oyeleye, Accounts Assistant; and Lordson Daki, Grants Officer

The Lion and the Jewel centres around an attractive young woman called Sidi who is the jewel in the play's title. Baroka, the cunning village chief of Ilujinle, is the Lion who tries to seduce Sidi with romantic words and proverbs. Lakunle, an arrogant school teacher who believes in Western ideas and Sidi’s fiancé, loses her because he does not want to pay her bride price. Sidi also tries to play smart but is outsmarted by Baroka and gets her fingers burnt at the end. A sad ending to me, but still a very funny story. This is a comedy that sets modernisation and traditional values competing for the same goal and asks: which will gain the upper hand? This book keeps you glued to every single page. It is informative, educative and communicative. You can relate the book easily to our immediate society; the perfect material for spreading literacy.

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe - chosen by Ayoola Shobamiwa, IT Officer and Internet Learning Centre Coordinator

Who has not dreamed of life on an exotic island, far away from civilisation? Robinson Crusoe, set ashore on an island after a terrible storm at sea; is forced to make do with only a knife, some tobacco, and a pipe against cannibals and wild beasts. He learns how to build a canoe, make bread, and endure endless solitude. This book gives a glimpse into the life of a man and teaches the world something much deeper about perseverance and determining to be a success.

Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki - chosen by Lucky Oyanna, Accountant

Rich Dad, Poor Dad is a book written by American businessman, author and investor Robert Kiyosaki. It advocates financial independence and building wealth through investing, real estate, starting and owning businesses, as well as increasing one's financial intelligence. Rich Dad, Poor Dad is written in the style of a set of parables, ostensibly based on Kiyosaki's life. Kiyosaki stresses the ownership of high value assets that produce cash flow, rather than being an employee.

We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo - chosen by Mark Oiseoghaede, Head, Operations

We Need New Namesis split into two halves. The first depicts the challenges of Darling, a girl child from a very poor home in Zimbabwe. She faces daily peril dramatically and playfully in the midst of some adventurous friends. The second half of the book ses Darling making her way to America where the negative side of technology became a challenge and her attempts to link her new life with her former life in Zimbabwe are unsuccessful. I consider this book a good read for everyone who wants to see life in different worlds: overty and wealth, ignorance and knowledge, peace and war, friends and enemies, success and failure. The search for a better life makes us to venture into many things, but sometimes we aren't sure of what the future holds.

Brume the Captain by Jane Agunabor - chosen by Nnanna Uduma, NYSC Member

Brume, a newly appointed class captain is rivaled by a mate, Kehinde. The antagonist teams up with the Notorious Three led by Bengy to play naughty pranks. Brume and the Clique appear too clever for them, as they move to protect the interest of their friends.

How the Leopard Got His Claws by Chinua Achebe and John Iroaganachi - chosen by Blessing Onyeike, Oasis Libraries Coordinator

This story tells of how the leopard, once the gentle king of the animals, was duped by the dog and rejected by the other animals, and eventually became the most feared animal of all. The book shows different types of leadership and how politics can change us all.

Acres of Diamonds by Russell H. Conwell - chosen by David O. Aiyeola, Public Affairs Officer

I am current working on my first book and I find myself referencing my favourite book of all time: Acres of Diamonds written by Russell H. Conwell. A popular speech that later became an all-time bestseller, it addresses the pitfalls of not being self-aware and describes how a lot of people who ought to be rich dump their good ideas or opportunities to embark on a wild goose chase. It helped me to embark on a self-discovery journey.

Macbeth by William Shakespeare - chosen by Azeezat Adeleke, Volunteer

Macbeth is Shakespeare’s profound and mature vision of evil. Macbeth is a tragic hero who, encouraged by his wife, attempts to remove the obstacles preventing him from being king as the witches have said. In the end, his overconfidence leads to his own death. The play depicts destruction, wrestling with the complexity of human nature.

The Foolish Tortoise - chosen by Abiodun Mutiat Bello, Volunteer

The foolish tortoise sheds his shell after deciding that he needs to move through the world more quickly. But after a few scary encounters, he rediscovers the value of going slow and safe.

Sparing the Rod by Bayo Adebiyi - chosen by Gift Thompson, Volunteer

Sparing the Rod is the story of Bongo, the son of the chief of Adama. He is spoilt because his mother loves him so much, she does not allow anyone to correct him.

Girl, Nearly 16: Absolute Torture by Sue Limb - chosen by Adunni Malik, Volunteer

This story is about Jess and her mum. Jess is always happy whenever she hears that she is going to St Ives to meet her dad but this time she was not happy because she had a new boyfriend that she wanted to spend her summer holiday with, but she later enjoyed her trip to St Ives.

Cruel Passion by Dayo Ilori - chosen by Chiagozi Diala, Projects Officer

The actions of a man result in his untimely death when his two children commit an abominable act. This book brings to light the evil desires of men and their effect.

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe - chosen by Joy Nwosu, Community Library Manager

Things Fall Apart highlights the clash between colonialism and traditional culture. Set in the 19th century at the height of the “Scramble” for African territories by the  European powers, it tells the story of Okonkwo, a proud and highly respected Igbo from Umuofia. Okonkwo is strong and hardworking and strives to show no weakness. Okonkwo’s clan are farmers, their complex society a patriarchal, democratic one. Achebe suggests that the village life has not changed substantially in generations. The English soon arrive in Umuofia with Bibles rather than the gun. As the villagers begin to convert to Christianity, the ties that held them together come undone. As Okonkwo’s friend Obierika explains: “The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers and our clan can no longer act like one.” Unwilling to adapt, Okonkwo finds himself alone and meets a tragic end.

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Adichie - chosen by Rosemary Anthony, Volunteer

A great evocative novel that talks about the promise, hope, and disappointment surrounding the Biafra War, a seminal moment in modern African history. It helps us appreciate what our forefathers went through to unite the country we call Nigeria.

The Fourth World by Ifeoma Okoye - chosen by Ifeoma Esiri, CEO/Executive Co-Chair

After her father's death, Chira is dispossessed of his properties by her uncle. Her mother is unable to stand up for her and her best friend is seduced into a marriage that leaves her stranded in America. The Fourth World by Ifeoma Okoye is the story of Chira's struggles to overturn adversity and resist the temptation to compromise as she searches for a life better than the one fate seems to want to hand her.

It Happened to Nancy: by an Anonymous Teenager by Beatrice Sparks - chosen by Patience Ibhade, Volunteer

The novel is about a teenage girl who falls pregnant and contracts AIDS. I recommend this book to teenage girls so that they may learn from her sad experience.

Animal Farm by George Orwell - chosen by Aminu Ladan, NYSC Member

A complete satire on totalitarianism in which animals overthrow humans and set up their own government.

Everything Good Will Come by Sefi Atta - chosen by Caroline Wabara, Social Media Coordinator

Everything Good Will Come tells an interesting story of a young Nigerian woman growing up in a  post-independence Nigerian society, where everyone (parents, teachers, men, in-laws, and the society) dictates how a girl, wife, or mother should behave in public. This stifles her freedom to express herself. A great read for women.

The Trial of Jimmy Johnson by Sly Edaghese - chosen by Seyi Adelegan, Web Developer

This is the story of a young Nigerian who has lived abroad for a very long time and decides to come home with illegal goods like cocaine and guns. But a surprise is awaiting him in Nigeria.

What are YOU reading? Share your favourite titles in the comments, or by tweeting at us with the hashtag #ILD14!

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