Today, I went to a bookshop.
I had been invited by the manager of the bookshop for a book reading, I was reluctant to attend the event because it was a political book reading which isn’t really my cup of tea.
I arrived at Mosuro Booksellers on the day of the book reading, quite late, in my gym wear. They had packed up the chairs and were preparing to close. I offered my apologies and asked if I could look around.
This was my first time in a bookshop in a while. I’ve probably been to a bookshop four times in the past four years, usually to pick up a specific book. This time I really looked at the books on display. The last time I was fully immersed in browsing through a bookshop was at the University College Bookshop in Ibadan and that was about three years ago.
I loved going through the books.
The feel of physical books… nostalgia. So exciting. I wanted to read all the books!
When I was a child, I would sit in a corner of my dad’s library reading his old magazines like Newswatch and Daily Times. I read his entire Greek mythology collection. Read all the Yoruba novels I could lay my hands on. I read David Copperfield and Oliver Twist in my dad’s library. Alan Quatermain and King Solomon’s mine were favourites too.
Over the years, my voracious reading gave way to academic books. I hated them. I didn’t like school that much. I just wanted to read anything I fancied. In secondary school I was in the science class, I remember during our WASSCE that I read the literature books for art class students and summarised it for them. I just enjoy reading books that I won’t be graded for.
I went to a bookshop.
Do you know books have a smell? The smell lingers in your senses even after you’ve left them. Calling and beckoning to you to come back and hold them.
They were in a rush to close the bookshop, so I picked a couple of Chimamanda Adichie’s nonfiction; Dear Ijeawele and We Should all be Feminists. I also bought a Yoruba play written by Femi Osofisan; Yeepa! Solaarin n bo!!-an adaptation in Yoruba language of the novel; Who is Afraid of Solarin? (originally written by Dotun Ogundeji). It’s been a while since I read a Yoruba book, I guess I’m rusty now.
With the advent of Amazon’s Kindle, iBooks, even Okadabooks, there’s little or no incentive to go to a bookshop. E-books make reading easier, they’re lighter (I mean, you don’t have to carry them around) and they can be read on your laptop, phone or a reader. Any reason to keep a physical book will be purely sentimental. Physical books are nostalgic, and they won’t necessarily hurt your eyes unless the prints are super small.
A well-organised bookshop is such a treat. This is lacking on the e-publishing platform which I frequently use, Okadabooks. The disorganisation of Okadabooks can be off-putting. It’s like rummaging through a mess. You spend precious time browsing through the ‘New Books’ (or other) tab before you can find something worthwhile to read. You must waddle through the yanma yanma to get to your goal. Thankfully, they are always innovating so one hopes it improves in the near future.
Bookshops provide you with a view of the books at a glance. You can run your hands through them and even read a page or two before you decide to pick a book.
Anyway, I went to a bookshop, and I loved it.
I will go back again. When? I don’t know.
When last did you visit a bookshop?