Shamubeel Eaqub (Image: Archi Banal)
Shamubeel Eaqub (Image: Archi Banal)

BooksAugust 16, 2023

The towering reading pile of Shamubeel Eaqub

Shamubeel Eaqub (Image: Archi Banal)
Shamubeel Eaqub (Image: Archi Banal)

Welcome to The Spinoff Books Confessional, in which we get to know the reading habits and quirks of New Zealanders at large. This week: economist Shamubeel Eaqub.

The book I wish I’d written

Life of Lee by Lee Evans. I find him so side-splittingly funny. He not only has these incredible experiences but knows how to tell them with the maximum impact. I wish I had the wit to be able to take sometimes quite difficult things and see the humorous side in it. My writing to be honest tends to be on fairly dry topics of economics, so its nice to have a bit of envy for something that is well outside of my sphere of ability.

Everyone should read

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. It is one of my all time favourite books. I know it was not critically acclaimed, but it was one of those books I just couldn’t put down. I haven’t read it for a long time, but I love those books where even remembering them makes me want to pick up a book. I wonder if I would still love reading it today? I don’t actually intend to, my Kindle is groaning with other books to read and I’d rather not lose that lovely glow in my memory!

The book I want to be buried with

Generation Rent, which I co-authored with my wife Selena. Bit narcissistic perhaps? The book meant a lot to us, to be part of the narrative shaping on a key issue that faces New Zealand and providing a sketch of the solutions. I’d like to think the book and its messages had a bit-part in the zeitgeist at the time of publication. It is also a bit extra special, as the book was published on the day my first son, Haydn, was born. 

The first book I remember reading by myself

Most memorable perhaps are books by Satyajit Ray (in my native language, bangla). I had the whole series of Feluda books. The books are about a private detective, narrated by a younger cousin, and part travelogue. It was magical mix for younger me. I still have a set of them on my bookshelf today.

From left to right: the book that Shamubeel wishes he’d written; the book he thinks everyone should read; and the book he’d want to be buried with.

Utopia or Dystopia?

Both! I like reading a lot of sci-fi, which often has a lot of utopian ideals in a dystopian backdrop. I am a voracious reader, jumping across styles, genres, etc.

Best place to read

Anywhere. Bed, couch, plane, airport…

What are you reading right now?

I have several books on the go at any one time. So I can pick and choose depending on the mood! They include:

Power and Progress by Simon Johnson and Daron Acemoglu
Villains’ Code by Drew Hayes
The Axeman’s Carnival by Catherine Chidgey
Poverty, by America by Matthew Desmond
Humanly Possible by Sarah Blakewell
The Pursuit of Coconuts by Christopher Shevlin

You can purchase or order the books mentioned above at Unity Books Wellington and Auckland.

Keep going!