I don’t remember much of Christmas 2014. I was sitting the living room rocking chair – body still, eyes cast down upon the tablet in my hand. My finger was swiping this way and that in a vain attempt to aid in Guy Dangerous’ escape from his temple prison. Christmases in the past were filled with trigonometry, calculus, endless fussing and headaches. That Christmas, I had nothing to do; simply put, I was bored.
Distraction happened. I looked up from my game to attend to it. I returned minutes later, disgruntled at the loss of my gaming rhythm when, a curious advertisement on the lock-screen caught my attention.
It wasn’t the name of the book that captivated me, but rather the simple design of its striking cover. The photograph was framed in gold-plated gilt frame. In the foreground, a gender-ambiguous Caucasian toddler dressed in a bubble-bee themed dress stared at the reader with a wide-eyed, but neutral expression. Behind her, half hidden by shadow and the child’s head, was a black woman with an intense look in her dark eyes. Those eyes captured me, attracted me to the words within. The name of the book was The Yellow Crocus by Lalia Ibrahim and it shaped the mold of my 2015.
(Photo Credit: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22319275-yellow-crocus)
The book was interesting and well written in its coverage of slave-era injustices, discrimination and ignorance both the enslaved and liberal at the time. The book in of itself was easy to read, its narrative was simply laid out, but it was not entirely predictable. It was not as deeply explicit with its details, but fed enough to the reader for the imagination to take over. Although I was familiar with the theme of the book from past readings, it was a newer, refreshing approach.
The content was partially an influence for the mold of my 2015. Halfway through reading, it just hit me. I was almost 20 years old and I was only reading 5 books per year, if so many. There was so many things I didn’t know: there were themes that remained undiscovered, genres that lingered unexplored and authors whose minds and experiences I had yet to delve into. I was pitifully ignorant and poorly read. My mind was closed to the expansive literary wealth the world had to offer.
I decided then that I no longer wanted my world view to be limited by what I witnessed within my little tropical bubble, or by what the media – both social and broadcast – brought to my screens. I wanted to read the raw, uncensored words of others who lived in places and eras beyond my limited stretch. I wanted to live in the worlds created by great minds like Tolkien or Gaiman. I simply was not reading enough and I was determined to change this.
When midnight came on New Year’s Day in 2015, I made one simple resolution: I would do my best to read at least one book every month for the next 12 months. I didn’t care about the genre or the author or theme; I just wanted to read. I am proud that I not only did I accomplish this goal, I totally overshot it. In 2015, including The Yellow Crocus, I completed seventeen books, read a few chapters from three more, and expanded my mind much further than I ever thought possible.
As I continued along my reading journey, I began to notice changes in my mentality. Not only was I reading more, I was researching more as well. I was looking at TEDx lecturers, reading news articles and blogs about my various points of interest. Before I delved into any major life change, I researched it extensively. Before I believed random Facebook posts, I googled them to find as many news articles on the post as possible. I was using more and more logic and reasoning with my thought processes; I was becoming more critical. My thirst for knowledge had truly began.
This year, I want to extend on this reading resolution. Instead of simply reading the books, I want to do the following: read the book, write a review and draw at least three lessons from my reading that the author presents. In that way, I think, the book will stay with me longer and I will be able to share my opinions of it to a wider audience. I am currently reading Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Achidie and I hope to finish my review by the end of January.
My reading and researching has also encouraged me to begin writing more about my life, my experiences and my views. One of our lecturers at university suggested that we start a journaling as practice for some future courses. I thought it was a wonderful idea, so, at the end of every day, I started writing about anything that was of importance to me throughout that day. I have written at least something daily for almost 6 months. My first journal is now running out of pages, but my blogging has just begun.
And so, in closing…
If you want to see my 2015 book list, click here.
If you want to see my 2016 book list, click here.
If you want to keep up with my reading journey, stay tuned and keep an eye out for this category.
I hope you all have a great weekend. Feel free to share and stay tuned for more amazing articles.