I love books. I can spend hours in a bookshop. Unfortunately, Ghanaian bookshops don't offer much in terms of titles and sometimes the attendants could be so arrogant. They come directly to you demanding what you want, as if you should want a title or two and just walk out like a student in search of a text book. To all you bookshop attendants, this is the 'wrongest' way to treat a bibliophile. It is more painful than a womaniser on the verge of losing his member. It denigrates us. It demeans us.
This class of Mammals, referred to as Bibliophiles, make life so simple. Their Christmas and birthday wishes are the same: books. If they begin to talk about books, their eyes twinkle and bulge out, their mouths move faster than Twista and drops of saliva could be seen leaking out from the corners, and their face is set in perpetual laughter.
However, getting new titles in bookshops in Ghana is more difficult than putting man on Mars. After all, NASA has started with Curiosity. And this is where friends come in. And this is where I have been very fortunate. I have had friends who know that books are to me what a voluptuous woman is to an African man. Not that I don't like them, I mean the voluptuous species; but to get to me entirely, don't get through my stomach, as they say, go through books.
Over the years, I have received gifts of books from several friends and I have talked about each one of them here on this blog, except the last two other books I received in the latter part of of last year, which included Umberto Eco's The Prague Cemetery which I am currently reading.
My 2015 began on a very bright note when a dear friend - any friend who do this should be dear - gifted me not one, not two, but three of my most sought-after books.
- Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco. Exactly two years ago (2013), I made a list of books I wish to read. In November of 2012, I had decided on some books already, which led to this 2013 wish list. On the list were three of Umberto Eco's books including The Prague Cemetery and Foucault Pendulum. This shows the length of time I have been wishing for this book. And what do you say when a friend quenches your two-year old thirst?
- One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. This book was also on both lists. It is pathetic that no bookshop in this country stocks any of his book. Books by such laureates should be found everywhere. They should be mandatory reading in secondary schools. Not even his death and that of Nadine Gordimer, two Nobel Laureates in Literature, could spur these 'comatose' bookshops to stock their books. In a country, where a lot of noise can be made about almost everything, it's a pity books don't make news, unless they are authored by politicians; even then only to score political points. People become what they interact with. If booksellers decide to sell books, people will buy.
- Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. If I read this, it would be the most voluminous book I would have read. I don't know how it compares with Dostoevsky's War and Peace in terms of number of words, etc; but it definitely wins on the number of pages indicator and it seems daunting. I bought two of Hugos books - this and The Hunchback of Notre Dame - two years ago, only to discover that they were abridged versions. They were supposed to be my introduction to French Literature. I was so peeved! Who wants an abridged version? You either read the thing or you don't. Will you consider a book read when all you've done is read an abridged version? I cannot. So I am happy to have this book.
Which of these have you read and what are your impressions about them?