How Reading Began

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Anyone who knows me well knows there’s nothing I enjoy more than being alone with a good book for several hours at a stretch. I have always been in love with books, much to the chagrin and exasperation of my mom all those times she would yell for me to do chores while I floated, oblivious, in a world within the pages of my latest attraction.

My dad, of blessed memory, instilled this constant need to consume books, though he didn’t know it. Being a lecturer, writer and avid book reviewer, he was nearly always surrounded by books of varying sizes and colours. Personally, aged about 5, I couldn’t understand why he chose to engross himself in dusty tomes instead of giving his undivided attention to me and my random chattering.

It started out as a desire to impress him really, to penetrate the world with which he was so taken. Frustrated after trying and failing to understand most of his books, I took to leaving little marks of myself on the back pages of his books, much to his dislike.

Even then, I was thoroughly stubborn and hated to admit that I couldn’t do anything I wanted. So instead, I began reading the comprehension passages in my English textbook… along with those in all the other textbooks I could find. So it happened that by Primary 2, I had read all the stories only those in Primary 6 were privy to. After that, it was on to the school library, then a small children’s library organized by a lecturer.

My sister’s romance collection was not left out. I think I was about 8 or 9years old when I read my first romance novels. I remember them rather vividly, even. The first one, Cheap Thrills, was about the usual girl who didn’t have the time for love, being too busy with her career. Anyway, she needs some gardening done and a pool put in or something so she hires a gorgeous slice of MAN(of course), begins to fantasize about him, they bond, have sex, profess undying love, live happily ever after, etc, etc.

The second, The Last Great Affair- I’m a bit sketchy on the details- was about a girl and a sailor or fisherman…. erm, whale hunter??? They had very rough sailing{:-)}, arguing because he was forever sailing off and leaving her crying her worried self to sleep. As expected though, they grasped love by the neck, came to a compromise about their issues and lived happily ever after.

At that point, I needed to conquer new territory and began inching into my dad’s library, tackling bits and pieces of the easier books. From then on, I  branched out into African Writers Series, a few literary classics, a little mythology, crime and murder mysteries and romantic comedies.

At last, I was in. Unfortunately, he wasn’t there to see it.

RIP, Ayo Mamudu.


25 thoughts on “How Reading Began

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