I have read books and nothing beats,”The open veins of Latin America”. That’s the kind of book you want to sit crosslegged, grab a coffee and dive inside, you want to open the author’s head and marvel at the creativity. It started with a chat I had with a teacher in Secondary School.
After one of his history lessons, I met him for a talk about colonialism.Those talks in which you listen to someone’s wisdom and nod your head in approval. Nothing to offer on my side other than the good listening student look. He then told me after the long talk to look for a book,’The Open veins of Latin America’ by Eduardo Galeano if I am to truly understand the depths of the subject of colonialism, which still persists in one form or another today. He told me that I shall not find in any bookshop, but If I got it, it would do me Intellecual nourishment in that field. It stuck with me like a lover playing hard to get it.I later landed on it in an old suitcase at home, the discovery to me seemed like the three magical words lovers tell each other once in a while. I picked it up gently and caressed the dust off its cover. Then I opened it slowly. Just in case it turned my advances down. It did not disappoint with the first sentence I read. A quote. ‘”We have maintained a silence closely resembling stupidity”. She was warming up to me. Then the first sentence in the preface was a cold declaration. ‘The division of labour among nations is that some specialise in winning and others in losing’. She likes me! Or I like it! Books do take on the form of a lover at times. With the potential to live up to our expectations. Or to break our hearts. You read that page and want to tear it up and keep close to your heart. You get lost away absorbed in a book, anyone that texts you is blue ticked because you are with the love of your life, which is books.
The Foreword was by Isabelle Allende, “Many years ago, when I was young and still believed that the world could be shaped according to our best intentions and hopes, someone gave me a book with a yellow cover that I devoured in two days with such emotion that I had to read it again a couple more times to absorb all its meaning: Open Veins of Latin America, by Eduardo When I read a good book up to it’s last flawless paragraph, I want to hold it again and read it again. Right now my library is what you would call small well because of my situation but in perfect health, I used to buy a book a month That is what reading does to some of us. Reading transports us into a world and writing creates that world.
I have written some book reviews and whenever I write one, I remember one of the best lifelessons
A while ago while still in Secondary School, we had to submit a book review . Of course to submit a book review, you needed to have read the book. The day that our teacher told us about the assignment, and these weren’t some unknown books, they were good books from authors like John Grisham, Patricia Cornwell, David Baldacci, Jeffery Archer etc. For that entire week, I bunked my classes. I sat at the library all day, reading as fast as I could. I didn’t finish all 40 books that week, but I read a significant amount.
Realising that the reading was tiring, I decided to do something terrible. I would read only the synopsis of a book and skim through the pages, then write a review. When I eventually read the books of the reviews I’d cooked, I realised how wrong my reviews had been. But not a single teacher picked up on that . It was clear to me at that point that our teachers were not very avid readers themselves, that’s why a person could cook up reviews of famous authors and get away with it with excellent marks.
I learned a very important lesson about that experience. The lesson is: it is easy to believe you’re brilliant when in truth, you’re surrounded by mediocrity. Before you start thinking you’re some genius like I did that week, make sure it’s not because you’re a one-eyed person in the land of the blind. That’s one of the greatest lifelessons I have learned, we need to be humble before overrating ourselves. Life is about learning and this takes a lot of humility to do so.