I grew up in houses where books were everywhere. In my early teens, my father, a lover of books, told me to read “everything.” I took him literally. Besides professional literature that I read as part of my continuing medical education, I enjoy books about African and early American history, music, biographies of the great composers of classical and Jazz music, photography and astronomy.
We who are alive in this era of cybershopping are spoiled for riches. I remember the days when I would spare days to visit bookstores during conferences in the larger American cities. London, UK bookstores were favourites. Today, from the comfort of my house, I browse through Amazon’s offerings, order the book(s) I want and get them delivered the next day. All at a discount!
Of course there was something special about browsing through the books in The World’s Biggest Bookstore in Toronto. Cyber-commerce and the waning interest in reading printed books killed the WBB. The building was torn down a few years ago. Expensive condos will soon replace the great store.
My reading of works of fiction has narrowed over the years, now restricted to repeated visits to the classic works of African authors like Ousmane Sembene, Chinua Achebe, Ngugi wa Thiongo and Alan Paton. I also love the works of Joseph Conrad, that most controversial wordsmith whose Heart of Darkness is among my top 10 books.
However, one is delighted when one comes across a beautifully written work of fiction by a contemporary writer. One such book that I will be reading again is Under the Jacaranda by Joy Odera (Generation Publishing, 2013.)