At least if I have a say in the matter, it will be a while.
As I lazily drew my fingers over spines of my collection, I settled on one particular book, Scent of Water by Sinmisola Ogunyinka. Set in the western city of Lagos and the southeastern city of Calabar both in Nigeria, West Africa, is a great story which at its very core is about forgiveness, new beginnings and the challenges encountered along the way. It all begins with a young lady’s dreams and its connections to a total stranger in prison.
No sooner had I finished that book, my insatiable appetite for more had me scouting for other titles by the same author. At the time she had some other manuscripts in the pipeline. Fast forward almost three years and many other additions to my collection later, I stumbled upon a review of this same novel and a link to the author’s other works. That was the birth of my discovery and subsequent search for a hardcopy of Pepper.
Given the non-existent availability of this novel online at the time and my growing state of restlessness, I quickly sent an email to the author to find out which of the local bookstores carried hard copies and in little or no time armed with the proper coordinates (location) I was led to a diamond in the rough of a bookstore, Debonair.
I must confess the original plan was to pick up and pay for just that one title and make a beeline for the door and this was going to take all of ten (10) minutes. Can I tell you that almost an hour later, I walked out with a stack of other titles, but that is a story for another day.
Well, I have come to the realization that I have more books in my bookcase that I am yet to read, such that it makes more sense to hold off on adding any more to my collection until I am through with what I have. Four years and counting and I am still yet to finish reading No Future Without Forgiveness by Desmond Tutu and Khaled Hosseini’s, The Kite Runner, which begins in Afghanistan in the mid 1970s tells the story of friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant. Interesting stuff.
Far from it, this is not for a lack of engaging content but more so because I have been going through a phase. I have noticed that I tend to gravitate towards light hearted reads, not so heavily focused on the happy endings but more balanced out stories with a healthy dose of addressing “scratching my head” contemporary issues. Other titles I have enjoyed reading this year, with similar contemporary themes, include Michelle Stimpson’s Boaz Brown and Chimamanda Adichie’s Americanah.
Call it progress, call it getting out of my comfort zone but whatever the case, I am bent on getting out of this rut, this partial “reader’s block” and what better choice than to launch into a reading of There Was a Country by Chinua Achebe. I am making steady progress, if a chapter every three or so weeks counts, (which it does in my book). Make no mistake, this pace is no reflection on the content. It is all me and where I am mentally and perhaps emotionally. Or could it simply be that I have a preference for light hearted works?
I must confess that in spite of my proactive approach to expand my reading selections, like any die-hard addict, I have had a few “relapses” in between and the “culprits” include When Broken Chords Sing, a novella by Abimbola Dare, An Unexpected Blessing, by Unoma Nwankwor and A Heart to Mend by Myne Whitman. Thanks to Amazon and my amazing Kindle as well as my local library because these have collectively saved me the trouble of having to resort to questionable tactics and not limited to breaking the bank to get these books. The best part is that some of these titles have been delivered to me in a matter of a seconds with a simple click on my portable device, be it my smartphone or laptop from the comfort of my inviting couch.
I thoroughly enjoyed these books such that I was done reading them in a very short period. The novella cost me a full night’s sleep because I was up reading from late Friday night until the wee hours on Saturday morning.
The lesson for me in all of this is realizing it and making a conscious effort to break out of this “holding pattern” and land this plane in good time or more like, wrap up my reading of this non-fictional work by the end of the year and being more intentional in cultivating the habit of mixing it up some more.
That’s an idea. Add “Read more non-fictional works” to my list of New Year’s resolutions.
Other suggested “tomes” worth checking out:
The Emperor of Ocean Park by Stephen L. Carter.
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
North of Ithaka by Eleni N. Gage