Of Readers Becoming Writers

Book Review

I have always had a love affair with words, I loved words even before I knew what exactly that meant. I was a precocious child, I could talk before I could walk and I remember reading before I even started going to school or maybe I was just looking at the pretty pictures in my older siblings’ books. I definitely remember reading Grimm’s fairytale classics in kindergarten and that is how I found my way into the rabbit hole of the fantasy world.

Grimm's Fairy tales

By the time I started the first grade I could read faster than I could speak, I had already mastered the art of reading without moving my lips. I was not burdened with the need to read each word out loud, I didn’t even realise it but I had already taken a crucial step into speed reading.

speed reading

  I absolutely hated those class read aloud sessions where each pupil, would stand up and read a sentence out loud, and least because it slowed me down or that I usually ended up pronouncing the words rather garbled up as my mouth tried to catch up with my reading voice.

It didn’t help that I was being made to read primers when I had outgrown them, I mean have you read those books? The sentences are silly, why would anyone say look three times in a sentence and then exclaim oh four times in the very same sentence?

Related image

Don’t even get me started at a dog that barked Bow Wow, I mean bow wow really? Our dogs from home did not bark like that.

My first grade teacher must have thought I was some kind of slow learner as she patiently and very hard too, tried teach me “to read” making me point at each word as I read, so that I would not confuse the words together.

Then give me homework to go read a whole three pages to an adult and they would have to sign on a reading marker that I had read the prescribed reading length. Here’s the thing, I had not only read the three pages, I had finished the entire book in the time it took others to flip through the pages and look at the pictures.

I tried to explain this, but I suppose teachers have heard all sorts of excuses from kids who do not want homework so it was just easier to read to my older brother and ask him to sign on the marker. I am fairly sure I might have eventually started doing it for myself when I saw how easy his signature was, and thus begun my journey into the petty thievery some writers commit turning the real into make-believe.

Eventually my teachers must have figured out they were slowing me down, especially after an episode where each student had to write a word they had difficulty pronouncing on the chalkboard. I went and wrote Cheshire and of course they had to ask where I had seen that word and naturally I told the whole class the story of the vanishing cat with the mischievous grin and a girl called Alice lost in a world far from home.

After that I pretty much never got homework reading assignments and I could check out library books just like the older grade pupils and then again maybe not like them either because I eventually got myself acquainted with a dictionary after I realized that some words I had no business knowing, judging from the reactions I got from the people I asked for definitions; either they didn’t know or I shouldn’t know.

A dictionary held answers at the flip of a page and it wasnt just those abridged students dictionaries with watered down definitions, it was a proper dictionary, Longman Dictionary Of Contemporary English the low priced edition.

longman dictionary of contemporary english low priced edition

A dictionary which someone had painstakingly searched and found every “bad word” in it and underlined it in red, I don’t know who or why; neither should you ask why I was looking them up…. but it was an interesting game trying to think of a word and see if it had been highlighted, the dictionary won every single time….

I remember reading Pearls by Celia Brayfield, a six hundred page book when everyone around me was reading Enid Blyton novels, while they read Goosebumps by R. L. Stine, I was reading Stephen King and Dean Koontz, and Scruples by Judith Kranzt because it said on the cover if you loved Pearls you would like it too

 pearls celia brayfield

Then I had torrid affair with African literature when I discovered Pacesetter novels, they had various stories and themes but what I love most of all was how relatable they were to my everyday world. If I did not read all of them, I went through a significant number and I was sad to discover the series ended before I could add my own volume to it. Funny how someone read something of mine and exclaimed it reminded them of a Pacesetter novel…

Image result for pacesetter novels

As one who grew up in house full of books, sometimes, it seems like the reading culture is dying out..

show me an avid reader and I will show you a writer…

Maybe that is why I write.

~B

A flashback look into my reading journey

18 Comments

  1. Dear B,

    Thank you for sharing your journey into reqding. I am reminded of mine as well. Though I didn’t achieve speed-reading at the age you did, I sure learnt and loved (don’t which came first) to read earlier than my peers.

    You also reminded me of the days I read books from Pacesetters. I wish I can get them for keeps now. Every one I read was borrowed.

    Yes, an avid reader is almost always a writer.

    Thanks a bunch.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you JeNom
      I guess I sort of fell into speed reading because I was playing with words I had never spoken out loud only read and it was simpler just knowing what they meant hahahaha

      I really loved the Pacesetters rage, it was like a crazy phase, those books were addictive. The last copy I owned was Nanasi Girl I bought it from a street vendor to read in a bus trip then lent it to a beautiful stranger sitting next to me, we supposed to meet the next day and she return the book to me, I hadnt finished reading it, I never saw her again…. she broke my heart lol
      ~B

      Like

  2. Wow!

    I have found out that when I read, and try to write about what I have read, I find myself WRITING. Looks like other writer’s stories only open themselves to me when I write about them.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I grew up in a house full of books as well. I can totally relate when you say the reading culture is slowly dying. These days most people spend most of their time in front of the tv or their phone only a few are reading novels. They seem to be waiting for the series/movie version of the book.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I certainly can relate to this. When I was younger, I loved reading a lot. I still do but then, it felt different. All I wanted to do was learn the stories in the pages and dream about the characters lives. I am older now and I read less. Thank you for reminding me of something l once had.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for dropping by
      There is a certain magic to reading at an early age before age creeps in and start reading and analysing themes and lessons and all sorts in stead of just reading for the sheer reading pleasure, to get lost i the pages of a remarkble story
      ~B

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    1. Pacesetters were life at some point, and I remember tucking some in the covers of a textbook to look like I was studying and there I was reading about Ca’fra Osiri Ba’ra aka Cobra
      high five!!!!
      ~B

      Liked by 1 person

  5. When my oldest was little she was a fast reader. Like you, her teachers became frustrated until they realized she was at a different level. Reading is important, especially at a young age and to be able to comprehend at a higher level is such a huge mark in life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. people arent the same, we develop different, we process things different and we think different… and if from a young age we learn to comprehend the things around us I am fairly sure we grow into fairly adjusted adults and not just into one person.
      ~B

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It was quite a complicated story spanning over generations and countries reading the escapades of the children the flashing back to the parents lives from before the kids and then fast forward to the unexpected plot twist, hahaha do you remember anything about it?
      ~B

      Like

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