A Brave Confession

First off, let me once again apologise for not having written in a while. Consistency is my no.1 “Skill to work on”, but for you gorgeous readers, I will try.

So I’ve been trying to go through a reading list of books that I thought/hoped would change my life, or at least mindset, in some way. For those of you who are not as observant as others, the “What I’m reading” feature on the right has been stuck on the same book for a few weeks now. And that’s not just because I’m a little technologically illiterate (translation: I only own one Apple product *shock face*), but really because its taking me longer than usual to get through all this ‘great’ literature.

As you can see, my current obstacle to overcome is the legendary book ‘Things Fall Apart’ by Chinua Achebe. I have been trying to read this short book for weeks. Deliberately carrying it in my bag; bringing it out on public transport; putting it under my pillow; the whole nine, in order to ensure I didn’t miss out on this national treasure. It got to the point where I started to doubt my ‘Bookworm’ status, because it has never taken me this long to get through a fictional book. When I felt my (imaginary) glasses and granddad slippers slipping off, I immediately ran to the library and stocked up on some books which I subsequently finished  in two days. Phew, I was still a reading nerd.

It was then, after despairing that I still had to go back to this dusty old book, that I realised, I wasn’t enjoying myself. Usually, when you’re reading a good book, it starts to form a stronghold on you. You don’t have to actively put it in your bag, it finds its way in there. And if you’re anything like me, you start to be in serious danger of walking into street objects and forgetting important appointments and begging to finish this last chapter before you sing your mum ‘Happy Birthday’ all because the book is just that damn good. From the strenuous behaviour I showed from having to read this book, I had to reluctantly admit, ‘Things Fall Apart’ wasn’t another of my guilty pleasures.

Its not that I’m doubting Mr Achebe’s brilliance, God rest his soul, but it was not my cup of tea. For me, its all about the storyline. Even with movies, I’m not paying extra for a 3-D movie with VIP seating and an A-list cast if the storyline isn’t worth much. All the other stuff, the moral, the message, the lessons, the special effects all comes secondary to the continuous story. Though I am only about halfway through this book, it feels more like a history lesson on the Igbo culture than an actual story. And as grateful as I am to learn more about the country of my ancestors (well, one tribe) , I find myself  screaming internally, like a crack addict on a relapse: ‘Where’s my story man?!’

Which brings me to my point. The reason I am still going to persevere to the end of this book is because a) I hate to leave things half finished; b) I want to say I’ve read one  of these classic books; and most importantly c) Chinua Achebe was a great man and his works are revered worldwide.

The third example is the main reason I’m still putting myself through this. I feel a sense of guilt everytime I consider giving up that I am not as in love with Chinua Achebe as the rest of the world seem to be. Don’t get me wrong, when I first heard of him in my GCSE poetry anthology, I instantly fell in love with his poem ‘Vultures’ and returned faithfully to it, year after year, long after my exams were over. I anticipated buying his book and after reading ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ by his protege Chimamanda Adichie, I was more than excited to read the works of this fantastic author’s mentor.

But I’m not as impressed as I thought I would be. After by-passing a 6 page introduction praising Achebe’s works, I expected more. Maybe I don’t know how to evaluate good literacy works, maybe Mr Achebe was built up far too much, maybe I’m just not reading it right. But as Robin Williams said in the great movie ‘Dead Poets Society’: “The purpose of education is to teach us to think for ourselves“. So I’m taking a leaf from his book and taking a stand. Yes, I will always be indebted to pioneers like Mr Chinua Achebe, the former poet laureate of Nigeria, who fought for a better world through his actions and words. But as writers like him have taught me, one must to learn to find their own voice…  So for individuality and the value of one’s own thoughts, I confess, with trepidation:

‘I don’t like nor do I have to like every classic piece of literature boosted by society’

‘I do not have to watch nor read anything in popular culture to validate my intelligence or evaluative skills’

‘I am not a fan of ‘Things Fall Apart’ the classic anthology piece by  Chinua Achebe’

 

What’s your brave confession?

 

P.S.{Look out for my next post, a review on all the places I’ve been this summer}

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