Onye Akwukwo

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For the love of books

There are many modes of expressing thought, this is dedicated to books.
I fell in love with Maths as a kid. I have wondered what the attraction was because I loved English too. And with all due respect, English has not always been the African’s best friend. Ever heard a grown man shouting, “My frem, pay me my lent! A bag of lice is now 20 tauzin naila. Evn dorrar have lise na brack market.” Don’t blame the man, pity English for making herself an international caricature.
I’m still in love with Maths. Many of my fellow lovers broke up with her, accusing her of being difficult. They say she is not understanding and has grown distant with time. I disagree because now I love Physics too. I used to think it was just the logic I liked. Now I know it’s more than that. It’s also about the pictures and the patterns. Where you see meaningless numbers, I see beautiful patterns. Where you see formulas, I see art- shapes and drawings. I see thought captured in those numbers. Literature captures feelings with words. Physics may not be such a good talker. He captures those same feelings with numbers. Art is very much like science. The major difference between both is their respective mediums of expression.
Books are fascinating. By the way, books are generally divided into history, philosophy and science. I think the greatest inventions of all time are the mediums for recording and transmitting thought. Apart from speech, the other media are written and visual. Books, whether print or virtual, are one of humanity’s greatest. A little digression, I beg your pardon. The imagination has been called the greatest nation on earth. The reason is that a man who has never owned a bicycle tire can be Bill Gate’s heir in his dreams. It’s really a matter of perspective. A vibrant imagination will colour reality the way he/she wants. That’s why children are always so happy. They imagine the useless patch of sand behind the house as potential castles befitting of Arthur and Lancelot. Give them a minute and your little shack has become Japan in the time of the Samurais. And in case you don’t have swords, don’t worry. They will improvise. Your spoons just gained employment! Every expressed thought, no matter how stupid, is a product of the imagination. In these expressions of thought we have the opportunity of capturing the greatest and the best of humanity.
Reading a good book is a lot like talking to a wise best-friend. It’s the writer’s heart speaking to yours, like a heart-to-heart tete-a-tete. That’s the attraction of art- sculptures, paintings, photographs etc. it’s also the attraction of literature and science. Books speak like your TV does. They get you to converse with the writer, to open up your mind and see pictures rather than words; patterned decor rather than a bunch of numbers. They bring you to the shore by the sea of imagination. Their aim is to help you see the writer’s world and the look further and find yours. That was how Einstein found Relativity. He stood toe to toe with Maxwell at the clearing by the sandy woods, and then he looked.
Read a book. Learn.

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