By now, we’ve all heard that Kenya’s reading culture is lacking. The debate on the reasons why we don’t read has been going on in restaurant corners, literary cocktails, events and the like. I believe the situation is improving because women like Carol Kimari of Grab A Book encourage children to read, therefore playing a huge role in solving a chunk of the problem. I have also met lovely people on social media like Wanja Kibuki, who enjoy reading and have made it part of their routine.
An article on the Goethe Institut Kenia website titled “Reading Culture in Kenya: a situation to worry about?” suggests that most Kenyans believe literacy is only about being able to read and write. That might have been true a few years ago. However, Kenyans are now beginning to take reading more seriously and a generation of leisure readers is emerging. I believe I am one of those people.
So, how do you know you’ve got a book obsession?
- When you’d rather read a book than go out to an event.
- When you have a little reading corner in your house where half-read books are roaming free (piled on the desk, on the chair and under the table).
- When you get worried about lending out your books; you can never be sure they’ll return in mint condition. Also, some people in our country can read one book a whole year….not cool.
- When you’d rather own a bookshelf than a television.
- When you repeatedly dream about being the lead character in your favorite book.
- When you spend hours in the book section of your local supermarket (even when you don’t have money to buy any titles).
- When you make countless efforts to attend Kenyan book releases but you don’t buy any because the publisher did such a crappy job on the book cover.
- When you watch the movie based on the book and you’re disappointed for weeks.
- When you begin wishing you were born during the second world war and then you change your mind because it wasn’t a great time for Africans.
- When your cat is named after “Chronicles of Narnia”.
What crazy reader habits define you? Let me know in the comments section.