At the beginning of this year – or more accurately at the end of last year – I resolved to read more books. I have always been an avid reader but I had become quite inconsistent, and my tastes were narrowing. I grew up on Harlequin and Mills and Boon novels, and even though I quickly graduated from them, I never fully liked anything that wasn’t fiction. I preferred getting my non-fiction fix from online articles and short write-ups. But fiction is not all there is to reading and there’s much to learn from other non-fiction writings.
Since I wasn’t certain I could trust myself to choose non-fiction books of my own volition, I joined a book club. Every week, a book for the week is announced and digital copies offered. At the end of the week, there is a twitter discussion on the book. It has progressed wonderfully so far. Having a deadline means I try to find time to read the book instead of procrastinating like I may have done without a deadline. In fact, once I notice I have started to switch between the trifecta of Facebook, Twitter or Whatsapp applications on my phone too many times, I immediately open my reader app.
There has been the added benefit of reading books from different genres. I started with a book about depression, Reasons To Stay Alive, then onto Mr. and Mrs. Doctor, a fictional piece about arranged marriages, greener pastures and the pressures Africans in the diaspora face from family back at home; the Sun is Also a Star, a beautiful fictional tale of teenage love that was so wonderfully written, I just want to meet the author and hug her; The Wisdom of Psychopaths – whose title should give an idea of what, or in this case, who – it’s about; and Headscarves and Hymens, a non-fictional tale that exposes how the triad of culture, religion and politics are being used to repress and enslave females in the Arab world.
I am also reading, on the side, The Ethical Slut and the very wonderful autobiography, Born a Crime, by the host of The Daily Show, Trevor Noah. In two weeks, we’ll be reading Buchi Emecheta’s “The Joys of Motherhood”. Buchi Emecheta was a prominent Nigerian author, one of the constants of my childhood and it was sad to hear of her passing at the end of January. Finding out I couldn’t even remember any of her stories saddened me even more and I am glad of the opportunity to read one of her well known works.
My final semester has started and brings with it its unique pressures. I realize I have to be more proactive in finding the time to read as much as I want to cos I am having so much fun just reading and soaking all of these wonderful writings up that I can’t imagine stopping for any reason now.