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Sunday, 26 October 2014

Do We Still Read Books?



Who still reads books, fairy tales?


Growing up as a kid, I had this penchant for reading. I read anything and everything: from newspapers to magazines, story books, comic books - especially fairy tales, and even the dictionary! Story
books were my favourites, as long as they had some dreamy, highly imaginative and adventurous story with a happy ending.


As an introverted person, most of my idle times were spent in the company of my favourite comic books or story books, reading story after story. Sometimes, I would read a particular book or story over and over again! Not because I didn't understand it, but because I loved the story and got hooked on it, and wanted to recreate that exhilarating experience I have reading that story. Why? The book created for me a fictitious, surreal world that presented to me the ideals, fantasies and similitude of what I dreamt of. It was my mini world, my escape from reality...my utopia!


I would only leave my book for a few minutes to run an errand, do a chore, watch tv or do something really important to rush back to my fantasy world. I took my books everywhere: to school, church, the kitchen and even the toilet! Infact, the toilet was one of my favourite reading spots. Less noise, ample concentration...you know that feeling right? If you don't, you're missing! Try it!


I recall the story of Alice in Wonderland where my lovely Alice would go on adventures to exciting new worlds with awkward, strange, exciting and sometimes weird realities. I sat or lied there on the couch or on the toilet sit, savouring every bit and detail of her adventure. Even when I saw the movie adaptation, I still felt it didnt capture the true essence of the stories and her adventures as described in the book, same feeling I had while watching the movie adaptation of Half of a Yellow Sun.


In retrospect, the "book" has influenced more minds over the centuries than any individual or group dead or living. Books, though a creation of man has power to recreate man and influence his thoughts, feelings, emotions, ideologies and perspectives. No one can gainsay the influence and impact of legendary books like The Bible, The Quran, The Torah and thousands of other legendary works that have survived, influenced, and been passed on from generation to generation.


Truly, books present a world of realities and possibilities that would ordinarily never be experienced by a person. Books are a window to the world, a window to the soul and mind of another, a compass to society and telescopes to the future only imagined.



Attending the World Book Capital Festival this year in the city of Port Harcourt Nigeria, my love for books just got reignited! I couldnt help romancing hard copies of my favourite novels and storybooks in the different bookstands, came across some really fascinating titles, authors and print, as well as some state of the art educational technology...my mind just kept wondering like in a daydream.



Do kids today still read books like we did back in the day? With the advent of the E-book, the era of the hard copy seems long gone. And with the proliferation of social media, reading culture and attention span seems to be dropping drasticallly by the minute!


I was however encouraged to see young authors and kids stll jostling to grab a copy of some of the colorful books displayed on the various shelves all over the place. I also found some of the writers' sessions and short classes really engaging and enlightening.



I'm not too sure if the Government and people of Rivers State Nigeria, being hosts of the World Book Capital 2014, have been able to assess the impact and benefit of hosting this year's Capital on the reading culture and literacy level of her people.


Overall, I think it was a worthwhile investment. I had a good time, got some new books *wink* and gotta start devouring them!


Catch y'all later...



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