Blog, Journal

What’s in a book?

It’s National Read A Book Day!

My favorite form of entertainment has always been a book (sorry Netflix, you’re in third place, right behind food). Books have always been a form of meditation for me, giving me the opportunity to live in someone else’s shoes and return to my own with a less cluttered mind.

When I moved to America to study, I fell in love with Barnes and Noble. It never ceases to remind me of how I discovered a love for the written word. I remember being a child left at the British Council Library all day with lunch money while my father went to work. (Funny story, one time, security stopped some friends and I at the gate because a pocket sharpener set off the alarm. It was hilarious.) Time always seemed to fly by and next thing I knew, the workday had ended and I was forced to go home.

My love for words started before I could read with Dr. Seuss, and his books. The Cat in The Hat and Oh The Places You’ll Go still hold a dear place in my heart. I still remember lines from Green Eggs and Ham and I still don’t know what kind of meal that is, but the lessons from those books, like don’t knock it till you try it, still ring true. My father made sure I had a large collection of his books and they were the building blocks of my vocabulary. (Yup, I was the annoying child going “one fish, two fish, blue fish, red fish.”)

J.K Rowling then captured my heart (and still has it locked away with the key yet to be found) with Harry Potter. I’m pretty sure I was the only person who read some of the copies of those books. (I kept renewing them when they were overdue.) And although I had nightmares about Nagini crawling from under my bed, there was nothing that would stop me from rereading the books.

The Complete Harry Potter Set

In junior high, a grand-aunt of mine who is a writer introduced me to Barbara Taylor Bradford’s Emma Harte, a series that I still cannot help but point to as a great form of fiction. Emma was a well-rounded character and her principles are some that I count as necessary for success. Set in the 60’s,

My love for Western authors and writers did not stop me from craving writing from people who were raised on my home continent. I began to soak in as many books as I could from the African Writers Series by Heinemann. Writers like Chinua Achebe, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Steve Biko, Ama Ata Aidoo and Wole Soyinka taught me a lot about writing forms and inspired me to aim towards a career in writing.

So I studied the appreciation of literature in high school, a process that involves proper analysis of any piece of writing, not just based on the words on the page, but the atmosphere (could be political or religious) surrounding the author when he or she created the piece. I still think it was an amazing decision and to this day I like to google authors just to try to understand what they were going through when they wrote those books.

As you can see, I could clearly keep writing about books all day if I could. They have played a huge role in making me who I am and I have recently got into reading books like #GIRLBOSS and The Woman I Wanted to Be. I’m looking forward to reading The Subtle Art of Giving A F*ck next. Keep looking out for a post on lessons from the book as soon as I am done.

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