4 min read

On books and mangas

On books and mangas
Photo by 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič / Unsplash

I grew up loving novels and they've always fascinated me. One of my earliest memories was borrowing a copy of Ralia The Sugar girl from a classmate in primary school. I was immediately hooked by the story, even though I can no longer remember what happened in it. I used to be really scared about asking my parents to buy new books for me and I once stole a book from a church's bookshop. It was a variety book and it had some games and puzzles and a few stories. If I recall, it cost about 50 naira back then. I got caught though, and had to spend the evening apologising to my parents.

I got into secondary school and I had access to more books, a good number of them through my English reading lists. I used to look forward to getting new lists for each session and I would read the books on them before school resumed. Some of the ones I remember include Echoes of Hard Times, The Virtuous Woman, Things Fall Apart, and an abridged version of some of Shakespeare's plays (I don't think that I've read a full play). I would also borrow books from my classmates or ask my parents to buy some for me once in a long while. Considering how depressing school was, books were a beautiful escape for me.

I remember reading Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang and being enthralled by a family going on an adventure with a magic flying car. I remember reading the Famous Five and Enid Blyton books and falling in love with the mystery genre. I also  remember reading The Horse Whisperer, my first foray into drama and romance books and loving the characters, the story and the horses, except one. I don't like that horse still. I used to read a lot of African literature too, books from a specific publisher whose name I can't recall. Writing this reminded me of King Solomon's Mines, which was one of the weirdest novels that I've laid my eyes on.

While I did read a lot in secondary school, I didn't start to define what genres I would stick to up until much later. I just  explored a lot and it was fun. By the time I got into university, I started to narrow down my focus areas down a little bit. I started to like book series more, with most of them being adventure or fantasy books. I would wake up before my exams on some mornings, pick up a novel to read before revising for my exams. I also started reading more manga series, and began my shift away from watching anime. I also fell more in love with crime and mystery novels, with the Alex Cross books being a personal fav (Thanks Maryann). While I did dabble in romance again, because of my love of poetry, I only read two out of three books from the Slammed series back in 2015.

By the time I was leaving university, I was binging on entire manga series like Naruto, Bleach, One Piece (my love), Black Haze and a number of others. I would read them in short periods of time, look for forums that recommended new series and experiment with a number of them. I binged around 900 chapters of One Piece in 2 weeks in 2020. It does take a while to find a new manga to binge on currently, but when I do its always worth it. I don't watch anime as often as I did in the past, but mangas are always fun for me.

In 2019, I started reading the books from the Expanse series. I'd seen some people talking about it on Twitter but I was skeptical about getting into it. I bought the first book from the series, Leviathan Wakes, in December of 2019. I was immediately reeled in, like a black hole sulking in the stars around it. It's hands down the best series that I have read and it has my heart. One of the things I loved about it was how it portrayed relationships, straight ones, queer ones, polyamorous ones. It was surprising how well it portrayed love, being a sci-fi series. Each book seemed to focus on different themes, with sci-fi as a backdrop. Its one of the few series that I've enjoyed re-reading. I remember reading the 4th to 8th books in a short period of time, that I would skip eating until 11PM every night.

I do enjoy reading and I'd still be doing a lot more of it going forward. One of the things I want to do is try to read books outside of the genres that I am comfortable with. The last time I tried it was with a Margaret Atwood book and I spent roughly 3 years trying to finish it before I gave up. I got a copy of Honey & Spice by Bolu Babalola late last year, even though I've lost interest in African literature. I would be attempting to read it later this year and hopefully, it won't take me up to 3 years to finish. It's also a romance book so it would be killing two birds with one stone.

It was fun writing this piece, and remembering some of the books I read growing up, some of which I have read multiple times and some that had been hidden in the deep recesses of my mind. I'd leave you with a picture of my favourite series. Thanks for reading. Hei hei!

Courtesy of Princess