Kawerians Talk 1 : On Books that changed the way they see the world! June 24, 2019 – Posted in: Literary Lifestyle, Uncategorized – Tags: books, Chinua Achebe, Essays, Evening Class, Eze goes to school, Last duty
Part of the magic of being a book lover is having people to discuss the books with. It’s magical. At Kawe Africa, we do everything within our power to keep bookish conversations alive!
Kawerians Talk is a weekly series dedicated to sharing answers given by faithful kawerians on some exciting bookish and literary questions.
As we all know, books have the power to transform, to shift world views, to change perspectives.
On books that have transformed the way Kawerians see their world and even themselves.
I don’t know if a single book can achieve that feat, save the Holy books (the Bible & the Koran esp). But we aren’t talking about that now are we? Anyways, for me, the many mind-exploding, very insightful philosophical questions, speeches, aphorisms strewn all over Shakespeare’s works, Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, and of course the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson (the greatest essayist that ever lived – in my opinion). I think it is safe to say these guys have left the biggest impressions on me with their body of work.
Eze goes to school for me… my father had a similar story and it made me sit up and work harder to be a success.
The Oil Man of Obange by John Munonye left a huge impression on me. It’s about a struggling man with several tragedies who sacrificed everything he could be for what his children will be. Although, his children eventually did well in life, he died in his struggles. He never lived to enjoyed all he labored for. The story resonates so much with me because most African parents are like that; they sacrifice almost, if not everything for their children. And while I read, I kept seeing my parents in the story.
For me, its The Last Duty by Isidore Okpewho. Made me realize the world isn’t black and white. There’s a lot of greys in it. Saw the effect of war on families and the decisions we take when faced with suffering. The book also touched on a woman’s sexuality, or sexual frustration, really. Lots of things to pick from the book.
The book that stood out for me was Evening class by Maeve Binchy (hope I got the name right) maybe because I was still in secondary school but the story taught me that life is quite unexpected and we’re all connected in this world even though remotely. It was so beautiful how she merged the lives of strangers that an event in one character’s life affects the outcome in another. Made me realize that our actions can have effects on other people.
Not one book for me. But my influence from literature was a collection of essays by Achebe, not sure which one. He mentioned the importance of language in molding experience. Also, I learnt about the value interrogating experience. Achebe opines that experience is not just what happened but what we are prepared and able to do with what happens to us. After all a lot can happen to a stone without making it wiser. To recap, Achebe changed my world view in helping me realize language can be used to mold experience. As well as realizing, that I am a powerful agent in shaping the course of my history, to an extent.