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Of Books and Worlds

Books are worlds. This is the way I feel about them. Or how do we experience the places we’ve never been to, without moving our feet?

Books are places and people. I am an African. In my land, the stories about snow are fairy tales; but I’ve touched and felt snow on my skin through books.

Books leave the readers between choices. That’s one of the attributes I love so much about them. Choice of characters, of places, of weather, of lifestyle, of culture, of behaviour, of beliefs, of the things exposed to us by them (books).

I was thirteen when I read “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe. I admired Okonkwo (the protagonist) and wanted to be like him, until he murdered Ikemefuna in order to protect that which I admired about him. My perception of him changed, so that those things I liked in him gradually became weakness to me.

Books give us a sense of accomplishment and authority. The day I finished “There Was a Country” by Chinua Achebe and “Half of a Yellow Sun”, I felt I could talk about the Nigerian civil war, though all I knew about the war before I read the two books was through the stories my dad told me after dinner, when I was barely seven.

I love books, and if there is so much I have learned about life, it is because I was exposed to literature at a tender age. Literature made me know more things than I’ve practically experienced.

Okam Cheta

English and Literature Department
Master Moulders International Academy

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