Please find the nonsenses in grey and my replies in black.
- “Reading is for geeks and geekiness is uncool” Ignorance is also uncool.
- “Books are too long” Like humans, they come in all shapes and sizes. If short ones turn you on, you are sure to find plenty of them around.
- “I am a slow reader so I don’t bother with books” Your pace doesn’t mean a thing. You are looking at the world’s slowest avid reader. What takes a typical reader a weekend to finish may take me two weeks – no joke. Especially when I’m reading British classics. Yet, my pace never stops me from laughing, crying and booing as I read. I’m sure it won’t stop you from enjoying books too.
- “I don’t have time to read” You have time to binge watch baby videos on Youtube (well, that’s what I do lol ). Grab shorter books and read through while stuck in traffic or waiting to see the doctor or flying on a business trip.
- “Books are too expensive” And Range Rovers and weekends to Dubai aren’t? Most of the time, our priorities are just askew, not the price of books. Anyhow, ever heard of libraries, second hand books or borrowing from friends? It cringes me to say this but there are also eBooks (yuck!) and they are generally cheaper than printed copies.
- “Books are a distraction; you should focus on your studies” I’ve heard Nigerian parents say this rubbish to their children. I don’t even know where to begin…. All I can say is: That’s why we have graduates that can’t think critically and are so stuck in their narrow-minded worlds, and they go on to produce more narrow-minded children; that’s why our education system is such an outdated failure; why we get children who still say that Pluto is a planet and that dinosaurs are just film and cartoon characters that never existed in real life. [END OF RANT]
- “I don’t think I’m a novels person” Again, books come in a variety of shapes and characters. There are history books, popular sciences books, autobiographies. There are books on politics, economics, fashion, planes, cars, football, hamster fossilisation…the list is endless. Whatever you are interested in, someone has written about it.
- “Books are not interesting” You just haven’t found the right one. There’s an author for everyone at every stage in life. As a preteen, mine was Ted Dekker’s horror and fantasy; as an early teen, I went head over heels for Shakespeare and Jane Austen. As a fresher in university, it was Chinua Achebe that ruled my world; in my third year: Gabriel Garcia Márquez. These are all very different authors. The point I’m trying to make is that there’s always something for your present interests and mood. There are billions upon billions of books out there!
- “Reading spoils your eyes” This is an actual concern with some Nigerians and seeing me with glasses – a result of genetics – makes them more convinced of this fact. To be honest, they probably have a case because many people read at night with no electricity, so perhaps that affects the eyes. Well, move closer to the lamp or read during the day?
I am on a mission to get Nigerians reading books again. If I can get just one person to fall in love with the written word, I would be ecstatic. Look out for blog posts with the tagline, #ALiteraryRevival, and spread the word!
Image|Source: Aftab Uzzaman, Flickr