Friday, March 15, 2013

Library Additions

The rate at which I acquire books has declined. Now I look carefully, think a zillions times through before I make a decision. Now all books I purchase have to meet my reading objectives; though these same criteria was used in times past, I wasn't insistent. I don't know if I can maintain that discipline this year since I can justify why every book was purchased. Within the last week, I've purchased the following two books:
  1. Smouldering Charcoal by Tiyambe Zeleza. My Book and Discussion Club is reading this book for the month and together with Tolstoy's War and Peace, will be the only two books I will read in March. The only thing I know of Zeleza was his essay in the anthology Fathers & Daughters titled Memories of Death and Other Stories. The back page of the book reads "This compelling story which lays bare the corruption and tyranny which bedevil many African countries, yet celebrates the forces of renewal that are germinating in the teeming slums and rural hinterlands."
  2. Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. All my friends on twitter know how I adore this writer. I discovered Nassim on the streets of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, when I was aimlessly roaming and sightseeing. On my right I saw a used book stand and, as always, I was attracted to it. Scanning through the titles, I saw Black Swan. I immediately recollected the Black Swan movie and became suddenly interested. If I should confess, it is because I never got to understand the movie, so upon seeing the book, I thought my problem had been solved. After all, books always provide better elucidation than movies, at least for me. It happened that this is not a story. But it is a book whose micro-reviews and synopsis promises a lot. I glanced through and purchased it. After reading the book, two or three weeks later, I became a Nassim aficionado. This is a book that makes nonsense of most of the things I've learnt. Again, I like books and theories that take a radical look at life. I consider them bold. Since, then I have watched every single Nassim video on the internet and have set up a prompt-mail system that sends me a mail if anything new pops up. I have listened to every video of his that discusses Antifragility. So when I saw a copy at the duty-free bookshop at the departure section of the airport (Ghana's airport), I knew I will definitely get the book. And so this is it. I've purchased this book. It will count towards my non-fiction and subject-matter reading this year; however, and more importantly, this is a book - like all of Nassim's - that should be studied. From the blurb: "In Antifragility, Taleb stands uncertainty on its head, making it desirable, even necessary, and proposes that things be build in an antifragile manner. The antifragile is beyond the resilient or robust. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better and better." Need I say more?
Once in a while, you come across a book you just fall in love with. I've come across an author, whose works inspire me. I may not understand part, but I will persist for I see an epistemological revolution of which I want to be part.

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