I follow Isioma on Twitter where she tweets about books, running and natural hair among other things. She’s anonymous (in the sense that her photo isn’t up) on Twitter for personal reasons and has requested to be anonymous (in that same sense) in this interview. Isioma is however her real first name, in case you were wondering! Isioma is a true book lover and she talks about missing book characters (and shares some of her favorite African Lit Characters + more) being the reason for re-reading books. Enjoy!
1. What are you currently reading? Do you usually read more than one book at a time?
Yaa Gyasi’s ‘Homegoing’. It’s an audio book from Audible; I’m trying out the audiobook experience for the second time.
I’m also just finishing Yemisi Aribisala’s ‘Longthroat Memoirs’.
I generally read one book at a time.
2. Have you always been a reader? What is the first book you remember ever reading? What drew you into reading/why do you read?
Yes, I’ve always been a reader. The first book I clearly remember reading is my Queen Primer. : – ).
My Dad loved books and he loved reading them. I took on his love of those things too.My Dad loved books and he loved reading them. I took on his love of those things too. Click To Tweet
I read because I enjoy/love reading.
3. What is your philosophy on reading? (for example, some people have to finish every book they start)
Read every day. One, four or ten pages at a time, it doesn’t really matter. Just read something every day.
Make as much time as possible for your books/reading; it’s an excellent way to keep yourself company. Remember/note the things and characters that strike you.
Read as much, and as widely as you can – fiction, non-fiction. Just read.Read as much, and as widely as you can – fiction, non-fiction. Just read. Click To Tweet
4. How often do you read? And how do you fit it into your day?
I read nearly every day; a page (or four) just before bed, at breakfast and lunch, or all day (when time and my schedule permit).
5. Where do you like to read? Where’s the weirdest place you’ve ever read a book?
I like to read reclining in a chair or lying in bed.
Well, sometimes I lock myself in the bathroom for a while so I can make progress with my reading. : – ) I spend rather a lot of my spare time with a brood of rambunctious children, you see. 🙂 I have to ‘escape’ to get any reading done.sometimes I lock myself in the bathroom for a while so I can make progress with my reading. Click To Tweet
6. What makes a good book, in your opinion?
A good book is one which is easy to read. It is one with excellent sentence construction. [Too many compound sentences can introduce tedium to the reading experience. Reading should be engaging and challenging, but not tedious.] A good book is one which has vivid imagery and believable characters.Reading should be engaging and challenging, but not tedious. Click To Tweet
7. Who are your favorite authors to read?
Sefi Atta, Chinua Achebe, Flora Nwapa, Buchi Emecheta, Lucy Maud Montgomery, C.S. Lewis, C.N. Adichie, Alice Walker, Agatha Christie, Charles Dickens, John Grisham, Arthur Conan Doyle, Mark Twain, Khalil Gibran.
8. What is a book or who is an author you feel is very underrated?
Book: John Grisham’s ‘A Painted House’. I think it’s a very good story. Folks generally turn their noses up at it, and I wish they wouldn’t.
9. E-book, audiobook or paper? How do you feel about making notes/highlighting books?
Paper/hard back books, always.
I find that I’m unable to completely, truly enjoy a book I cannot hold/have not held in my hands. I’ve tried audio books lately; I don’t mind them too much.
Little stick-on notes on pages are fine. Don’t highlight books; you’re ruining them. If something strikes you so profoundly, note it/write it down in your journal. Writing in a journal can in turn help you with writing long(er) articles/blog posts, etc.Don’t highlight books; you’re ruining them. Click To Tweet
10. Fiction vs Non-fiction?
Fiction, nearly every time.
11. What happens to you when you read a good book? (at the beginning, during and after the experience?).
Happiness happens. Becoming acquainted with characters, discovering a new word, recognizing a writing style/technique, learning something new, having your consciousness about social issues nudged or re-awakened. Yes, happiness happens to me. : – )
12. Do you reread books? Why?
Yes, certainly. I become quite fond of certain characters and I like to re-acquaint myself with them often.
I love Sheri and Enitan in Sefi Atta’s ‘Everything Good Will Come’, for example.
I’m also quite fond of Nwamgba and her granddaughter Afamefuna in C.N. Adichie’s short story ‘The Headstrong Historian’, Kainene Ozobia and Ugwu in C.N. Adichie’s ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’, Scout Finch in Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, Scarlett O’Hara in Margaret Mitchell’s ‘Gone with the Wind’, Chielo, Agbala’s Priestess in Chinua Achebe’s ‘Things Fall Apart, and Bridget Jones in Helen Fielding’s ‘Bridget Jones’ Diary.I become quite fond of certain characters and I like to re-acquaint myself with them often. Click To Tweet
I have so many books to get to and experience, but I have, and will read these books, time and again.
13. What book do you wish you could experience again for the first time?
*Story, not book. It’s ‘The Headstrong Historian’ in C.N. Adichie’s collection of short stories, ‘The Thing Around Your Neck’.
14. What was the last great book you read?
Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood’. It is a beautifully written book.
15. If you had to choose three books that everyone should read, what would they be?
– Chinua Achebe’s ‘Things Fall Apart and ‘Arrow of God’- Igbo history and culture, as told in the most realistic and celebratory way.
– L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables -a coming of age, and the making of a strong, exemplary young woman. Everyone should have their children – boys AND girls, read it.
– Alice Walker’s ‘The Colour Purple‘ – redefining love and friendship, practicing forgiveness and the power of Hope.
– C.S. Lewis’ ‘The Chronicles Of Narnia – an allegorical reference to the Holy Bible, and a repertoire of brilliant life lessons as told by one of the greatest Christian apologist writers ever.
16. What book(s) are you embarrassed to have read? What books are you embarrassed to still not have read?
The former: None.
17. How do you feel about ‘classic’ literature?
I like it, generally.
18. How do you feel about book clubs?
They work well I believe, if members have a good selection of books, and engage/communicate frequently and effectively enough. It IS an excellent experience to have many different engaging and expansive views about one subject.
19. What book(s) have changed your life, and how?
A number of books have made strong impressions on me.
– Khalil Gibran’s ‘The Prophet’ – I love, love, love his poems on Marriage, Children, Love and Work.
– Sefi Atta’s ‘Swallow’ – In it, the principal character Tolani, goes from practically offering her fiancée money to marry her, to taking back her life, and deciding to live it on her own terms.
There is just something wholly admirable in a person who defines their own existence. I think it is an excellent story.
– Flora Nwapa’s ‘Efuru’ I love how Efuru is not only ‘tradition-inclined’ (if you take my meaning), but also progressive and self-determining.
– Buchi Emecheta’s ‘Second Class Citizen is a strong reminder that no matter what I have/am going through, I can hold my head up and work through it. The book ends with Ada crying so hard she couldn’t see through her tears, but she was free of a horrible life and an awful marriage and for me, they were tears which when wiped away, would enable the clarity she needed to begin again.
20. How do you choose books to read?
I get recommendations from my friends, who are nearly all widely and very well read, and are very intelligent people. They do not go wrong with the titles they recommend.
21. What book are you currently DYING to read?
Books. The entire box set/collection (17 books) of Alexander McCall Smith’s ‘The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency.’
The stories’ principal character, Precious Ramotswe, is a smart, intelligent, kind, tough, witty, funny, beautiful and really brave woman.
Isioma loves to read, likes to wear her hair in a Pineapple, and loves children, her friends, her work, food, and books.
Connect with Isioma on Twitter @Ms_Isioma
Book’d is a weekly bookish interview series seeking to foster conversation about books. If you enjoyed this, please share with someone you think would too.
Read the last BOOK’D interview with writer and editor, Uche Okonkwo, here.