The art of reading

I love the new and improved naijastories website it makes the website more fun to go through but it is the slogan ” making reading fun” that really caught my attention.
Ever since I learned how to read and write ( this was when I was like five years old or so ) I became addicted to reading. I read almost everything from my school notebook and textbooks, novels, newspapers even pieces of papers I found on the ground I read pretty much anything that caught my fancy. I read while eating, in the toilet (I’m sure I would have read while taking my bath if it was possible to do that without getting the book wet),I read on my bed in the night until sleep found a way to steal me away and even when I was walking my head was always buried in a book despite all the warning I got from people “It is not good to read while walking it is too dangerous” they rebuked me but I always ignored them their warnings just went in through my right ear and went out through the left without registering with my brain. I cannot forget the days when I couldn’t go out to play with my friends because I was captivated by a good book or how I used to happily deprive myself the company of sleep so I could read through the night. I remember a day my step mother took me along to visit a friend who happened to be a teacher in a school close to our home while the two of them were sharing the latest gossip or whatever it was they were talking about I picked up the newspaper on her desk and started reading she was surprised when she saw this and I only added to her surprise when she asked me to read out loud which I did perfectly when her pupils came back from their break time she made me read to them I was indeed a bundle of pride that day as I dazzled her pupils with my reading skills. Growing up the library became my second home somedays I often spend more time in the library than at home infact I think the library was my first friend outside my family, the books I read became my best friends and there is really no friend as loyal as a good book. I just love books and I don’t think I can live without books. The more I read the more hungry I become, my hunger for more however never got its fill especially when most of the public libraries have become ghosts of their past the books which I used to treasure have either gotten stolen or sold by those who are supposed to be their custodians. Over the years the public libraries I used to love have continued to go from bad to worst just like everything else in Nigeria I don’t know whether our government no longer provides money to help run these libraries or whether the money just ends up in private pockets something that seems to happen with government money in Nigeria. I have my own mini library at home and I try my best to make sure that I always replenish my stock while trying to make sure that my books never get depleted.
While I was growing up most of my friends and classmates had dreams of traveling outside the country to find greener pastures in countries like America and Britain or just to travel to these countries and visit places like the statue of liberty, disney world or the eiffel tower for pleasure or leisure but my only desire for traveling to America or Britain was to read my dream then was to spend my days and if possible even my nights in libraries going through all the books I could lay my hands on. Libraries like the library of congress in Washington D.C, harvard library, the british national library were my choice places to visit. Malcolm X is credited with saying “My alma mater was books, a good library…..I could spend the rest of my life reading just satisfying my curiosity”. I must say I agree with him.
These days I hardly see people reading T.V, movies,musicals, video games, pinging and chatting and even the internet with facebook and twitter seems to be the in thing now I’m not saying all this new mediums are not good but their existence does not warrant “reading” been thrown to the rubbish bin. Reading is now an archaic art that most people engage in because they have to either for school or a project they are working on and not because they want to. I must commend the people who run websites like naijastories trying to keep reading and writing alive but reading through the internet or a computer has never really appealed to me like reading a real book the words of Ray Bradbury come to mind when I lament this “I still love books. Nothing a computer can do can compare to a book. You can’t really put a book on the internet. Three companies have offered to put books by me on the net and I said if you can make something that has a nice jacket, nice paper with that nice smell then we”ll talk. All the computer can give you is a manuscript people don’t want to read manuscripts they want to read books. Books smell good they look good you can press it to your bosom you can carry it in your pocket”. Call me old fashion but I share his view.
I’m so in love with reading I hope that when dead comes calling it meets me in the midst of books or at least reading one. I think a paradise filled with good books will be better than one with garden of perpetual bliss with rivers flowing with milk and honey and people reclining in couches inlaid with gold and other precious stones while wearing beautiful clothes and sweet smelling perfumes or a paradise where people will be dressed in white and singing heavenly songs. Virginia Woolfs picture of the day of judgment really appeals to me “When the day of judgment dawns people great and small come marching in to receive their heavenly reward the Almighty will gaze upon the mere bookworms and say to Peter “look these need no reward we have nothing to give them they have loved reading”. I just hope that the words of Jorge Luis Borges come true when he said “I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of Library”.
I cannot just imagine the world and even an afterlife without books.

7 thoughts on “The art of reading” by Mamman Saba Mustapha (@danjuma)

  1. A good description of one’s natural flair for reading. Just keep on and you may come to see paradise as a kind of library, lol…

  2. @innoalifa thanx I really hope my paradise will be filled with books I just pray that I won’t be the only one in that heavenly library.

    1. @danjuma, I will be happy to be there with you… I don’t imagine a paradise where people will be only singing and singing to the SUPREME….

  3. @annoalifa thanks it will be great to have some company there.

    1. @danjuma, we will not be alone. @Nalongo is with us and I believe more will be with us…*smiling*

  4. I have found a kindred spirit though not as discriminating. I read all- physical and electronic, the only caveat is that it must be well written.

    You have to edit this article to make it flow very well.

  5. @Nalongo it’s nice to be called a kindred spirit and you are right the piece will flow better with some editing but the thing is I write as it comes sort of like stream of consciousness.

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