Saturday, 26 May 2007

Books worth reading

I have compiled a list of books (novels & non-fiction) I believe are worth reading... books that make you wish you could continue after they have ended. Some of the books on this list are in agreement with the BBC Top books list, Amazon Bestsellers list and all that, while some havent made it into any of those lists- all however are worth picking up.
So get ready, don’t cringe in those shoes! And do get out your library card

  1. The Bible (really if you have never read this, never taken a peek at this, get moving now!)
  2. To kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  3. Things fall apart – Chinue Achebe
  4. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzegerald
  5. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  6. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonngut
  7. The Railway Children
  8. Animal Farm by George Orwell
  9. 1984 by George Orwell
  10. Catch – 22 by Joseph Heller
  11. The Ulysses by James Joyce
  12. Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry
  13. Come Home Baby Girl – Fannie Flagg
  14. Green Eggs & Ham by Dr. Seuss
  15. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  16. The Heart is a lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
  17. A portrait of the Artist as a young man – James Joyce
  18. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Sahnger
  19. A farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  20. Lolita by Vladimir Nobokov
  21. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
  22. Alice in Wonderland
  23. The Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann
  24. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  25. The Curious Incidence of the Dog in the Night time by Mark Haddon
  26. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  27. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  28. A town like Alice by Nevil Shute
  29. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
  30. In His Steps: "What Would Jesus Do?" by Rev. Charles Monroe Sheldon
  31. The Love Machine
  32. The Concubine by Elechi Amadi
  33. The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
  34. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  35. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
  36. The Lion, The witch and The wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  37. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  38. Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence
  39. Love In The Time Of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  40. On The Road by Jack Kerouac
  41. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  42. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  43. The Faraway Tree Collection by Enid Blyton
  44. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  45. Native Son by Richard Wright

I'll add to this list as I read more books... let me know the books you think are worth reading.... so i can read them and maybe add them to my list

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

New Money

I've been away for a bit...yours truely has to work for pay and some crazy hectic work came up... in Ghana... so sorry for the silence... i'm back now... with the most publicized story in Ghana right now....

If you have ever been to Ghana, you will be aware that carrying a huge amount of Ghanaian currency is normal. The Ghanaian currency is denominated in large numbers, with the smallest note being a one thousand cedi note; in Ghana you are easily a millionaire… in Cedi mind you.

In Ghana, a bottle of coca cola goes for 8000 cedis, and a plate of chicken and chips goes for 40,000 cedis in Papaye (a popular fast food joint in Accra), one American dollar ($1) exchanges for 9300 Cedis as at today.

The size of the currency makes business transactions somewhat difficult in Ghana, with automated currency machines having to dispense more currency notes; and high volume business executed with large amounts of cash which are cumbersome to carry.
When you are coming from an economy where ‘ten thousand’ is not something you would buy a drink with; transacting business is particularly difficult.

So in a bid to simplify business transactions in the country, make things easier for those of us who just can’t count :-), The Bank of Ghana has decided to redenominate the currency.

Now what is that?
Simply that the Bank is bringing out a new set of currencies called the ’Ghana Cedi’, which will give the same value as the present currency but be in less quantity. The 10,000 Cedi (C10,000) will be replaced by one Ghana Cedi (1GhC) which is also equal to a hundred Ghana pesewa (Ghp); the 20,000 Cedi (C20,000) will be replaced by two Ghana Cedi (2GhC) and so on.
If you are extremely fast with figures, then you will have noticed that the bank is simply taking away 4 zeros from the old Cedi to make the new Ghana Cedi!

The highest note currently in use in Ghana is the 20,000 Cedi which exchanges for a little over 2 dollars. The bank is introducing the new currency 1 July, 2007 which will be spent concurrently with the old currency for 6 months before that is phased out. In the true Ghana style there will be a public holiday to celebrate this notable event (Ghanaians are still the most nationalistic I have ever met… it’s the country where wearing the national flag is a normal thing!... now that’s a story for another day).

So after the 1st of July, a bottle of coke in Ghana will go for 0.8GhC or 80Ghp under the new currency (now that’s more like it). Also after the redenomination, the highest currency will not be an equivalent of the highest note now – the 20,000 Cedi but will be 50Ghana Cedi the equivalent of 500,000Cedis today!, the government is not only changing the currency, they are introducing a currency note that will exchange for 55 dollars if the exchange rate remains the same! This means people can carry more money; say 20pieces of a 50Ghana Cedi in a flat wallet which is equivalent to $1100, 10million Cedis today!... now I’m not sure that is a good idea…

Wont that affect the economy adversely?.... wont all of ‘these’ mess the economy up? lead to inflation?, little money in circulation at first and then an explosion of it, wont the new currency lose value?... and so on and so forth… the questions in mind are endless.

The Ghanaian government is assuring us all that the value remains the same; we will only be carrying less cash for the same transactions, you will still be able to make the same obtain the same purchases, products and services under the new currency as you could under the old and the Ghanaian Government is doing it’s very best to educate the people on the redenomination exercise.

I think its succeeding pretty much; the slogan you hear everywhere: the media, newspapers and the public is ‘the value remains the same’; and the Ghanaian people in true nationalism appear to have taken the government at its word.

Sometimes I wonder if the people are chanting the mantra ‘the value remains th same’ to better reassure themselves that the value had better remain the same… somewhere in my mind, if i lived in Ghana, i would probably have converted all my meager funds to dollars or pounds now... just in case... you never don’t mind me… I’m just thinking aloud.

Anyway, in 38 days, Ghana will be spending a new currency, and if you are regular visitor to Ghana returning after July 2007, do take note, and check the currency you hand over when transacting your business… what ever that is!
So guys the count down is on….and remember… “the value remains the same”
Or so I hope!