Friday, June 27, 2008

Geeky Love: Is it books that you will eat?!

When I first graduated from college, at the end of the 8-5 work drill, I often dashed to Barnes & Noble. Once inside the bookstore giant, my sister and I were like women in the heat of a clandestine affair: we'd part ways inside the store, find a book, grab a couch and enter our secret worlds until the 11p.m. closing time.

It was my mother who initiated this nerdy nose-in-book habit in all of us. Of course as 4-year-olds we were more interested in the pictures than the words of the Sesame Street storybooks she had subscribed to. We received at least 3 books a month, and thus began the obsession. By the time I was six, even though I could barely read, I couldn’t fall asleep at night unless I had a book tucked beside me.

One time, my mother caught my sister washing dishes and reading a novel at the same time. The book was too good to put down so my sis placed it behind the tap and continued washing. I thought it was genius—but my mother didn’t think so. She gave my poor sis a good whopping.
“Is it books that you will eat?” my mom used to say, or “Do you want your husband to send you back home because you can’t cook?!” Now, the second question used to baffle me. I couldn’t comprehend having a husband that would stress me, talk less send me packing because of something as trivial as *gasp* food. Nah, that would mess up the fairytale romance that held forte in my teenage mind. Even now, in my more skeptical twenties, I still don’t understand that question.

To my consolation, boarding house in Nigeria turned out to be one big book club! There were no computers, phones and certainly no boys to flirt with. So you gossiped, slept or read. Romance books were the craze. You knew how an M&B book would end, yet you’d keep reading one after the other, while you tell critics that such reading enriches your vocabulary. You however wrap the paperback with notebook paper, lest you reveal the not-so-innocent images on the cover.

Fast forward to the millennium. I discovered blogs on a slow day at work and started reading during my down time. At home, I shopped for books online. At an average of $15 per title, books will cut into your wallet. And don’t be fooled by those $1.39 used books on My frugal self couldn’t resist them, and I bubbled with excitement as I added title after title to my online cart. Next thing I’d have spent 50 unbudgeted dollars!

Where are most of my books? In faraway America, because of a 50kg transatlantic baggage limit. I guess you can argue that my books aren’t really beloved since I didn’t pay the price to have them shipped. No, blame it on the airlines! We all know how unrealistic those limits are (well, a Nigerian woman knows) and we must not give in to such monopolistic manipulation!

Anyway, just when I thought my N9, 975 government. stipend had killed book buying, a true friend recently SPONSORED a shopping spree at the NuMetro Media store! I happily acquired 7 books that blissful evening. Aaah, where would we be without both our real and printed friends?


  1. I love books to death. My teenage fanstasy was to be locked in a room full of books with just food and water. I more than likely have read over a thousand jobs, no exaggeration. Generally i see buying new books as a waste of money cos i read them so fast and won't read them again. I go to value village and get books for $.85 - 1.25. Much better than spending $5 on one book.

  2. I'm a reader too, but I tend to get most of my books at the library because I hate spending money on something I likely won't read again. I have started collecting some books but I still own less than 25 books, though I have read thousands. I still can't get away from my romance novels, preferably Regency and Victorian, and chicklit. I've also read a lot of self help books in the last two years.

    My only problem now is that with my love of blogging and desire to learn web design, I have less time for reading. If only I didn't have to work...

  3. I have had to deal with issues of what would happen if you dont do this or that in marriage and it makes me ask if marriage suppose to be a bondange. The one I can't stand is if he asks u to pack!!! That makes me resolves to contribute to everything in my marriage and hubby cooks o. I am no slave!!!

    I used to have issue with my late mother over books. I would want t read and she would want to talk. I would me laughing over an expression but she would not get it...

  4. May I add that my contribution isn't out of fear but to let it be known that is our property and all. It's good to have ones own money as a woman so you wont make ur marriage a do or die affair

  5. Girl...I have just stumbled into your blog(dont ask me how) and I not only luv it but have gotten the straw that has broken the camel's back on my decision to relocate next year after I graduate. I am not begging any soul for a work visa and I definitely know I will make it in naija..Then we can make summer visits as well as breakfasts in Paris, lunch in London and dinner in Slere if it is possible...I am on a mission..U have inspired me and I thank u so much for writing from ur soul. Dont even fear....U have everything in control! U GO GIRL!

  6. Books are amazing! In my case, I was obsessed with Enid Blyton books as a child, I have my Mum to thank cos she always bought them for us.

    I find it hard to sleep without reading at least a page of whichever book I'm currently reading.

    I even have a bad habit of eating slowly cos as far back as I can remember and I've had a book with me on the dining table during meal times!

    Ernest Hemingway knew what he was saying when he said "There is no friend as loyal as a book".

  7. By the way, your blog rocks!

    Quite recently, I went going through that "Should-I-or-Should-I-not-go-back-to-Naija?" palava, the power of the Pound to Naira exchange rate being the major appeal behind staying back here.

    I had to do a reality check and the truth is I really miss home and so I'm going back this year.

  8. I like the fantasy. I think mine would be the same but maybe just food and coke..(cocacola ;). I also had the same thinking on not buying fiction books because I won't read them again. Most of my books are non-fiction. my dream is to own a library in my house.

    @goodnaijagirl, most of my books are inspirational, relationships, movtivational or spiritual non-fiction. Even though I read them, I hardly own any fiction books...I've also always wanted to learn web design and yes...the good ol job ;)

    @standtall, sounds like you've got a really supportive hubby, marriage I hear ain't easy so well done on making it work, will most come pick your brain when it's time !

    @adanna, congrats on your decision and enjoy your last year in school ;) " summer visits..breakfast in paris, lunch in london, and dinner in Slere.." those are d dreams we used to dream back in school *sigh* and ..yes, job searching is stressful enough, not to add on immigration hurdles.

    @F&P...the power of the pound/dollar is strong and in this country the pay is just...but that's another rant for another day. congrats on your decision dearie! It'll be fun ;)On books, I've also just picked up the habit of reading and eating, but quickly losing interest in my food and my weight is suffering for it now ;(

  9. Lol...I do that in borders and waterstones too.
    Imagine my day at the mall, well its usually spent in waterstones.

  10. I AM SOO PROUD OF YOU.. for reall.. unbelieveable.. wow what.. u knw who i am.. i was there wen those dishing was being was by our lovely hermana

  11. I AM SOO PROUD OF YOU.. for reall.. unbelieveable.. wow what.. u knw who i am.. i was there wen those dishing was being was by our lovely hermana

  12. I AM SOO PROUD OF YOU.. for reall.. unbelieveable.. wow what.. u knw who i am.. i was there wen those dishing was being was by our lovely hermana

  13. @naija babe, I feel you, bookstores are a no go area for me sometimes
    @anon, thanks darl;)

  14. I still don't understand how i got such a wooping for such a genius idea...the babysitter club book was calling my name and being a great multitasker...why not wash the dishes AND read about Maryanne and Claudia???

  15. this reads so much like me!

    i got the talking to of my life (dont recall if i was beaten, maybe slapped) for burning rice because i was reading a book!

    I got many "shey novel lo ma se fun oko e abi?."
    is it novel that u would cook for ur husband?

  16. @anon, yes, I remember BabySitter's Club only too well!
    @bumight, mothers are sooo alike I tell ya. I still burn food cos of reading or writing from time to time heh heh.

  17. I love reading blogs and books. They enrich ya mind. Back in boarding school, I used to read Nancy Drew and different magazines. Sha, you are one strong black woman. Keep it up.