Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Top Ten Bookish Confessions

I participated in this meme a while back so it may look familiar. Its hosted weekly by The Broke and the Bookish and today’s topic is Top Ten Bookish Confessions. 

Here are mine, unedited and right off of my fingertips…..

10. I judge books by their covers.

9. I don’t feel like reading all the time. I can sometimes go weeks and be fine without reading a book.

8. I’m bothered when people look at me weird after I tell them they cannot borrow my books.

7. I wish some genres would cease and desist.

6. If someone tells me about a book and I make a note of it, that doesn’t mean I intend to read it. But I might recommend it based on your recommendation.

5. If I spot someone reading a book, I always try to catch a glimpse of the cover.

4. I do not own an e-reader and have no plans to buy one. 

3. I started writing a book but decided I'd rather read them instead.  

2. I currently own 153 books. It's taken me 30 years to acquire that many but it will take me a fraction of the time to double that!
1. If someone that I know well really wants one of my books, I buy it for them. Smiley

What's your bookish confession?  

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Part 2: Africa, Books, and One Man's Disconcerting Observation

The views in Kenya were breathtaking.

Two weeks ago, I shared with you a conversation I had with my driver when I arrived in Mombasa. Now that I'm back in my usual surroundings, let's pick up where we left off.....

I was not able to have an intelligent conversation with my driver about the culture of a place I've only visited twice. But some ideas should not be hampered by cultural barriers.

On the assumption that you can benefit personally but not financially from reading:  I've written it before and I'll write it again; the first power we have is knowledge. With limited resources, you have to be selective, very selective about where you spend currency. I get that. But to assume that personal growth can not directly translate to monetary gain is unfortunate.

If you never attain greater knowledge, how do you know that other opportunities may be available to you? If you're not advancing intellectually, how do you move beyond where you currently are? Once you become an adult, relying on someone to tell you what you need to know is a faulty plan.

On the assumption that every country across an entire continent shares one view about reading: That's just ignorant.

As it turns out, while in the most rural areas of Kilifi, Kenya, I did not see bookstores. What I did see was this:

And I thought to myself, what would happen if they had more information? Then I stopped thinking. I was not there to assess; I was there to observe.

But then something interesting happened. Since I didn't speak the language, I asked my colleague to ask an elder woman of the community if I could take a picture. And her response, as best as it can be translated to English, was, "I don't want her to see my shame."

I felt bad, really bad, because at that moment I knew she thought that I was judging her. But I also knew something else, she did have more information. She knew of something different, and from her response, something better.

That leads me to a topic that is beyond the scope of what I discuss on this blog. But to bring this full circle, one major difference between countries like America and underdeveloped countries is that here, you can start from nothing but have an opportunity to have anything. But from my understanding, in some places when you're born into poverty, you stay there.

Please share your thoughts on one or more of the following:
Do you think reading can be beneficial in countries where physical labor is the way of the land?  
Do you think reading can directly translate to financial gain?  
Do you think solutions to poverty can be generated without reading?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Africa, Books, and One Man's Disconcerting Observation

Greetings from Mombasa!

I arrived in Kenya on Saturday and had an interesting conversation with my driver as we headed to the hotel. It went a little something like this:

Driver: I can take you on a tour if you have free time. It would help if I knew your interests so that I know where to take you.

Me: Well my primary interest is books but I -

Driver: Oh you're in the wrong place for that.

Me: The city?

Driver: Well….

Pregnant pause

Me: The continent!?

Driver: Yeah.

Me: (gaze of confusion)

Driver: How many Africans did you see reading books on the plane?

Me: Well, actually, none now that you mention it but -  

Driver: Spending money on paper, what’s the gain in that? I mean, you might do it for personal growth reasons but there’s no financial benefit. It’s just not of this culture.

At this point my focus shifts to making it to my hotel without incident.

Me: Well I’m also interested in art………

There will be a follow-up post. TRUST me. In the meantime, what are your thoughts?