“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.”
―Charles William Eliot
If you know me, you also know that a book and I are inseparable. There is not a day that I don’t have a book on me, be it a hard copy, ebook and of late; it’s almost always an audio book. But I don’t just have it on me, I read at least three pages of a book every single day and/or listen to a chapter. There is just about no excuse to go a day without reading or being read to. Anywhere, anytime. It has become so convenient that I am even more in love with my obsession, and I accepted to write 1,500 words about this God-given habit of mine.
In his book ‘A Dance with Dragons’, George R.R. Martin wrote that;
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.”
I totally relate to this quote. Totally and also, like my mother says. See, I have learnt a lot about many things and places and people through reading. I know a word or two in various languages like Spanish, Italian, French and several others. Most of these words and phrases, I got from a book. I know about different cultures from around the world and meanings of different customs and practices. For example, did you know that in China, the color White is the official color of clothes in a funeral ceremony? Or that in Italy, your level of success is measured by the quality of the clothes you wear? I love the French, don’t get me started on them because I may never stop. In travel, my dream destination is Venice, Italy because a book so satisfactorily described the place and I could feel every single part of the city like I were there. Just know that I have toured it many times in my dreams, waiting to visit the place physically and compare. This kind of diversity you can only get from books, because you may never be able to travel the whole world in one lifetime.
I have ready so many books and yet I feel like I haven’t even started yet. There is a great wealth of books out there waiting for me. I buy a book every year, and thanks to technology, eBooks are piling up and I can’t wait to read every single last one of them. I am currently reading Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie ‘s Dear Ijeawele, or A feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions. Brilliant piece. Which takes me back to one of the very first books I ever read. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.
It is the one and only book which I have read from its ladybird version to the full edition. Each edition in between I somehow managed to find and read, and the most fascinating was the growth in detail. From about 16 words in the whole book to the full, approximately, 528 pages edition. It was my favorite in the Literature class during my A’level. I could write an exam on this book and pass it with flying colors right now, ten years after high school. I loved it that much. There are several others I read and shared with my friends all through my school years. Some I wanna go back and re-read for what they represent and others for the love of a rematch, especially the ones we studied in school, because at the time, I read them to pass and have come to appreciate the authors and their message and also the history contained there in. Authors like Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Wole Soyinka, Ousmane Sembene in particular ‘God’s Bits of Wood, and Shakespeare to mention but a few.
At some point I have read books that were totally out of my league. One such book, which I don’t even know where it came from or disappeared to was ‘How to Handle a Difficult Man‘. Do not ask me anything about it. It is the only book I have read but have zero recollection on. Why did I even pick it up? I guess curiosity got the better of me, and for such a juicy title and so many complicated boys in my class and circles, Hahaha, I don’t blame me. A reader is always curious, and C.S Lewis agreed with me when he said;
“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me”.
If you’re an ardent reader, you very definitely agree.
Some of the craziest book moments I remember were back in school, both primary and high school. One time in primary seven during mid term exams, I was so bored reading class notes. So I decided to pull out my Mills & Boon novel and placed it in my class book for a disguise. What I didn’t count on was the supervising teacher’s clever tricks, especially because he knew my ‘bad habit’ like they called it back in the day. The teachers strongly believed it was a time wasting habit, and I still wonder how. Henewe, he snuck up behind me and lifted me with one hand. Drama ensued, but I wasn’t the only one. We were about four girls, cocooned together doing what we loved most. He confiscated our books (I never saw mine ever again) and let us go after a good beating. Hahaha! I will never forget that moment. The other most significant moment is when I got possession of the thickest book I have ever read. Twelve chapters spread over 800+ pages. The teacher on duty got wind of it and started hunting for my precious book. That day we had to go to church in the evening as was custom at the school. I was tipped off about the ongoing hunt and I carried the book with me, safely hidden under my school sweater, with me clinging to a number of friends to remain invisible. Thank God I was pretty short and skinny. I made it out and back without getting caught, though he nearly did while we prayed in church. You know when you want to participate in praise and worship and must therefore place whatever you’re holding down and clap away. Another tip brought me back to reality. God bless my good friends.
I dont know if I have a favourite book but I have read quite a number of very fascinating and life transforming books. One I am going to share about in the next paragraph, the other I could say is Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins. And of course along with it, a number of Ugandan authored books that will leave you totally reformed. I could list a few here:
– Daniel Choudry P‘s books will fire you up. They include Get your Dream Job in 48 Hours and Become a Sales Superstar and Dominate your Market.
– Samuel Bakutana penned these three favorites of mine among others; You Will Manage, Fire Won’t Burn You and Fresh Apples for Single People, etc
– Lawrence Namale‘s Turn your Setbacks into Major Comebacks is one to read.
– Other local authors whose works I have read are Doreen Baingana: Tropical Fish, James Abola‘s books concerning money matters and family, etc. It is one of my goals to read more Ugandan authored books.
My most re-read book is a short story called “Who Moved my cheese” by Dr. John Spencer. It came to me at a time when I was at crossroads in my life. Career-wise, and in my personal life. I was still pursuing my Bachelors degree course and it was given to us as a school assignment. We had to write a fourteen day journal reflecting on the book. That exercise not only helped me figure out the next step, but it also kick-started my writing career. I made sure to tell the lecturer about what am doing now, thanks to him. I have shared it with as many people as I have shared with about life and having dreams and goals, and will continue to share it. I will re-read it anytime because there is always something new to learn, a new angle to view current situations, et cetera.
Favourite category at the moment is personal development. I was introduced to this industry by Coach Phill Kambe of Intelligent Performance International. At the time, all I knew were adventure and romance novels. I have enjoyed reading authors like Sydney Sheldon, Stephen King, Daniel Steel, Barbara Taylor Bradford, James Patterson, the Nancy Drew series and so many more. A few Kenyan, Nigerian and other African authors have made it to the list like Ken Monyoncho, David Waweru, Anthony Gitonga and of course the literally authors like Ngugi was Thiong’o, et al as mentioned earlier in this text. There is so much to share on reading, that I am honestly slowing down to catch my breath at this point.
Reading goals are quite a list. But mainly it is to read more and more. More books by Ugandan authors, African authors and a lot more on subjects like leadership and personal development at large. I have managed to focus my reading as opposed to randomly picking books like I used to. Adventure and detectives are still absolute favorites, personal development because it enables me to help others. I wanna read more books by women, especially trend setters in leadership, entrepreneurship and family. I have read the least on family, by the way. Only read a title How to Raise Great Kids half way. So it’s another major area to look into. I wanna pick up rare titles and just read. One best place to get such is a Facebook page a friend living in the United States added me to called BookAShelf. Its a whole new world on that page, I have seen books I would never have thought of picking up and the rarest subjects any one could read about as well. I cannot wait to explore more of what is shared there. Another goal is to join more reading clubs or rather to find a very good one with dedicated members and stick with it. That sounds like one to create as opposed to finding. New goals every other minute. We carry on.
The wildest dream I have that is related to books is travelling the world collecting autographs. I visited Kenya in 2015 and met with David Waweru, whom I asked to autograph my copy of his book, Champion, one of the best books I have read. I cannot wait to read more from him. I wanna start here at home. Support my brothers and sisters and collect their autographs and the rest of the world will follow. Its a fascinating idea I cannot wait to execute.
Dr Seuss, in I can Read with my Eyes shut said that;
“The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
Now how is that for motivation if you are still slow on this amazing habit called READING? Go on, pick up a book and don’t close it until you have read it to the very last paragraph.