Book Review

Quarantine reading

Investment banker and author Rina Karina-Hicks
Investment banker and author Rina Karina-Hicks. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

If radio is theatre of the mind, reading paints a picture in your mind. These ladies are consciously reading with the time they have on their hands, as part of a broader life mission: to be better.

Rina Hicks

Operations Director, Faida Investment Bank

What book(s) are you currently reading?

I am currently reading two books: “Contagious: Why Things Catch On”, by Jonah Berger and “Bringing Up Girls”, by Dr James Dobson.


Have you bought new books?

The last book I bought was “Everything is Figureoutable” by Marie Forleo. I bought it in a bookstore during my last trip – I wanted a hard copy. I joined a book club… but unfortunately I haven’t actually read any of the books that have been agreed on because I’ve had other titles I wanted to read. I look forward to being able to plug in though.

Which is your favourite genre, and why?

Hmmm... I don’t have a favourite genre. I tend to read titles that speak to the season I am in… to learn, and out of interest. I hardly read for leisure. I pick up what I think I need at the time.

Is reading for leisure only or to add to your work?

During the holidays I may read a fiction book to take my mind off things but I mostly read to add value to myself in the different roles I have.

What do you make of reading and mental health during this global pandemic?

The circumstances that we find ourselves in are quite difficult and unfortunate. I like to think however, that every crisis presents an opportunity and I have been trying to identify what those opportunities are for me.

Reading is certainly one of those opportunities that this season brings. It has so many benefits, for mental health, general well-being and personal growth.

Each of us has the ability to be creative. And especially in this time, creativity is desperately needed. Creativity comes from our imagination.

Our imagination is how we create – imagination gives us the ability to conceive things that don’t exist and also gives us the ability to conceive solutions for existing problems. I learnt from Daniel Labin, (author of the book Business Secrets from the Bible) that if there is one thing that I must to do is work on my imagination.

Television is an imagination killer. I know it’s tempting and quite tough not to turn on that series and catch up on all the movies we've been missing out on, but reading is so much more beneficial.

Reading books helps our imagination. When you read a book your imagination begins to work; imagining the circumstances, scenarios, and physical characteristics of the characters and by doing so you exercise your imagination muscles. It is fascinating.

So I would encourage all of us in this season to invest in reading – whether fiction or not, it doesn’t matter.

We need to increase our imagination ability and diminish the destructive effect of television.

We will eventually get out of this challenge we are currently facing and the time that we have now is valuable; let’s make the best use of it and learn something new as we exercise our imagination muscles.

Louise W. Wanjohi

PR and Communications Consultant

What book(s) are you currently reading?

Louise W. Wanjohi

Louise W. Wanjohi- PR and Communications Consultant. PHOTO | COURTESY

I just finished reading Yaa Gyasi's book, Home Going: It's a heartbreaking story of a woman who bore two daughters; one in slavery and another daughter after escaping slavery. It touches on slavery and the life of segregation in the US and really gives insight into the struggles that black women went through during that era. I am also reading Beneath the lion's gaze, a fiction story set in the 1970's that captures the length a person will go in the pursuit of freedom.

Have you bought new books?

I am old school. I really enjoy touching the paper and the smell of a new book which is why I tend to bulk buy my books on a quarterly basis. Spending time in a book store looking through the shelves for books is self-care for me.

Which is your favorite genre, and why?

I have two genres that I enjoy fiction and biographies. Biographies inspire. They open you to the world and life of the individual being written about. Their motivations, lessons, hardships and these experiences inspire me and also teach me various lessons that I can apply in my daily life.

Fiction opens you to a whole new world, expands your imagination and creativity.

This year I have challenged myself to read more books written by African writers and the literary works I have read so far out our continent are beyond captivating.

Is reading for leisure only or to add to your work?

I have always enjoyed reading but also being a communications and PR professional, writing is a part of the trade and so is thinking creatively. I have found that reading has helped me do both of these things effectively.

What do you make of reading and mental health during this global pandemic?

This pandemic has caused so much anxiety but Mason Cooley's quote is quite apt during this time, "Reading gives us someplace to go, when we have to stay where we are." It has allowed for me to take the time to focus and reconnect with some of things I enjoy, like reading which has really helped keep me positive especially during these uncertain times.