BOOK’D: FRANKLYNE IKEDIASOR
Franklyne Ikediasor runs The Port Harcourt Book Club. He spends nearly every second of his free time reading, despite having a demanding day job. In this interview, he shares the weirdest place he has ever read a book, the two kinds of responses to a book he experiences and the Nigerian author whose books he thinks everyone should read. Enjoy as Franklyne gets BOOK’D!
1. What are you currently reading? Do you usually read more than one book at a time?
I am currently reading Night of a Red Moon by Ojay Aito. It’s quite frankly a bit of a struggle, but I will finish. Sometimes, I read about three books at a time; my job keeps me on the road a lot so I am constantly reading at airports, in bus parks and the like.
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?
I have always been a reader for as long as I can remember. My first memories of books were my Enid Blyton novels which I thoroughly enjoyed. Also, my dad was big on books, so he had us reading early and my interest sort of sparked off from there.
3. What is your philosophy on reading? (for example, some people have to finish every book they start)
I consider myself a trouper (lol) so I have to finish every book I start no matter how bad it is. I always soldier through right to the end.
I consider myself a trouper (lol) so I have to finish every book I start no matter how bad it is. I always soldier through right to the end. - @thatPHCboy Click To Tweet
4. How often do you read? And how do you fit it into your day?
I currently read about 4 books a month and it is quite a challenge because I have a very demanding day job. I travel often so I get a lot of reading done in transit and I rarely watch TV. Hence, I spend most of my free time with a book.
5. Where do you like to read? Where’s the weirdest place you’ve ever read a book?
To be honest, the best place for me to read is right on my bed, snacking on something delicious and drinking from a steaming cup of coffee. The weirdest place has to be in a rest room on a transcontinental flight; I had some tummy upset so I spent a while there all the time reading Hillary Clinton’s What Happened lol.To be honest, the best place for me to read is right on my bed, snacking on something delicious and drinking from a steaming cup of coffee. Click To Tweet
6. What makes a good book, in your opinion?
For me there are two responses a book can evoke: a visceral response where my pulse quickens, adrenaline is pumping, my heart is racing and I can’t wait to find out what happened (for example, Nairobi Heat by Mukoma Wa Ngugui) or a Cerebral response where I am learning different things from the book and find myself going back and forth Google to fact check maybe and learn more (Like Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie). So, to me a great book is one which evokes both a visceral and a cerebral response. A good example is Arudhati Roy’s The God of Small Things.
7. Who are your favorite authors to read?
This is hard but I will name Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (who is a master story teller), Arundhati Roy, Buchi Emecheta (who I think came way before her time), Zora Neale Hurston, Zadie Smith, Khaled Hosseini ( I still haven’t recovered from A Thousand Splendid Suns) and of course Chinua Achebe who is the master of effortless story telling.
8. What is a book or who is an author you wish more people knew about/read?
I think more people should read every book by Buchi Emecheta; she came way ahead of her time and she issues she talked about as far back as the 70s are still important to this day. I strongly recommend her memoir Head Above Water.I think more people should read every book by Buchi Emecheta; she came way ahead of her time and she issues she talked about as far back as the 70s are still important to this day. I strongly recommend her memoir Head Above Water. -… Click To Tweet
9. E-book, audiobook or paper? How do you feel about making notes/highlighting books?
Please I am a traditional reader, ONLY paper for me; they smell good, the look pretty on the shelf and how else can I brag to my friends if I have nothing to show off? Lol. I make notes on all my books, emphasis on MY BOOKS.
ONLY paper for me; they smell good, the look pretty on the shelf and how else can I brag to my friends if I have nothing to show off? Click To Tweet
10. Fiction vs Non-fiction?
I am into both genres but I will admit that I prefer fiction more. However I am very interested in memoirs of the people I admire ; I love it when people look back at their lives and walk us through it with all honesty, sprinkling lessons along the way.I am very interested in memoirs of the people I admire ; I love it when people look back at their lives and walk us through it with all honesty, sprinkling lessons along the way. - @thatPHCboy Click To Tweet
11. What happens to you when you read a good book? (at the beginning, during and after the experience?)
I have a visceral and cerebral response to it. Some books are too much that at some points I have to put them down for a bit to find myself again. Some books are so hilarious that I am reading and laughing like a hyena (NoViolet Bulawayo’s We Need New Names had my friends questioning my sanity). When a book is flat and evokes nothing from me, I am actually annoyed at the time I spent reading it.
12. Do you reread books? Why?
Yes, because I think sometimes when you return to the book again you may find fresh insight. I read Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi a few years ago and I hated it. I thought her writing was “show-offy”, like you could see the effort behind her story telling. However, surprisingly I returned to it in 2017 and I loved it. So I am for rereading books actually.
13. What book do you wish you could experience again for the first time?
Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I felt that story right in my soul.
14. What was the last great book you read?
The Power by Naomi Alderman. That book was electrifying (pun intended) I honestly was not ready for it. I have to read it again to marinate in the story; it is powerful.
15. If you had to choose three books that everyone should read, what would they be?
Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Head Above Water by Buchi Emecheta
Under The Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta
16. What book(s) are you embarrassed to have read? What books are you embarrassed to still not have read?
Let me shamelessly admit that I read the entire Fifty Shades of Grey series (covers face in shame), I mean I wanted to know what the fuss was about, then there is the hot, steamy sex lol.
Let me shamefully admit that I have not read Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. I bought it last week anyway, so I will fix up.
17. How do you feel about ‘classic’ literature?
To be honest, I feel like most of it is overrated. I get the point about pioneers and all, but most of them are tiresome and labored plus when juxtaposed with brilliant writing of today, many fall flat.@thatPHCboy on classic lit- I get the point about pioneers and all, but most of them are tiresome and labored plus when juxtaposed with brilliant writing of today, many fall flat. Click To Tweet
18. How do you feel about book clubs?
I love the idea of book clubs; it brings a fun social element into reading and helps motivate people who may not necessarily be readers into picking up the culture. I started The Portharcourt Book Club in 2014, and it has been a fantastic experience. I am excited about book clubs and I hope more will pop up across Nigeria.
I started The Portharcourt Book Club in 2014, and it has been a fantastic experience. I am excited about book clubs and I hope more will pop up across Nigeria. Click To Tweet
19. What book(s) have remarkably changed your perspective on a given subject or life in general and how?
Walking with Shadows by Jude Dibia and Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta were two books that bravely delved into the silence of LGBT issues in Nigeria and lifted the veil. I loved both of them and I was particularly moved by the nuanced and layered stories which basically portrayed LGBT people as everyday humans like you and I deserving of the rights everyone has.
20. How do you choose books to read?
I am one of those people a pretty cover gets to (lol), if I like the cover I will most likely buy it. This hasn’t worked out well a lot though. I also have many literary blogs bookmarked, so I tend to see what books other readers are talking about as well. Ultimately I find that I am very interested in books written by women of color....if I like the cover I will most likely buy it. This hasn’t worked out well a lot though. - @ThatPHCBoy Click To Tweet
21. What books are currently on your to-be-read list?
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Behold the Dreamers by Mbolo Mbue
Happiness Like Water by Chinelo Okparanta.
Franklyne Ikediasor is partial to black coffee and a good African Novel. He lives in Portharcourt Nigeria where he spends his leisure time running, cycling or getting together with friends to share bouts of wine fuelled laughter. He started the Portharcourt Book club in 2014 and he is passionate about getting more Nigerians reading.
He tweets @ThatPHCBoy