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Opinions of Monday, 30 August 2021

Columnist: Abdul Rahman Odoi

The joy of reading

A group of pupils reading a book A group of pupils reading a book

Book opening comes with a lot of indescribable sensations. Like how pregnancy treats women differently, so does reading, too.

Every reader will confess that the process of reading is like running a long or short race. Especially when he has few pages to complete a book, he feels very relieved relishing success like an athlete taking some long sprints to secure the first position.

There is satisfaction in buying books. Parking them on the shelves is another feeling. Readers get the latitude to discharge their authorities because they could assume the roles of protagonist and antagonist in a book.

Imagining reading the story of Prophet Joseph (as), you would discernibly wish you’re like unto him, that when a woman of good social standing accosts you with sexual advances you will boldly say “I fear God”.

Similarly, the scent of a fresh book, to some readers, smells much better than perfume. The thought of owning a book alone, even without reading, is in itself satisfying. And above all, reading an interesting book — one that is resonating — and you can relate to each plot, scene, page, content, etc.

These and many other factors have instigated right-thinking men like Eric Nuamah Korankye, Reader Maazi Okoro, and King Zico to channel their zeal into the establishment of books reading clubs.

Some years ago, the craze was all about the creation of social groups, which later inured into hangout clubs, where pleasure-seekers tend to join purposely to plug in and plug out at the least chance. But today the narrative is slowly getting changed.

Success Book Club (SBC) is building reading potency in the masses. Read Camp is also doing a marvelous job.

Unlike (SBC), their focus is mainly on the kids, as the saying goes, ‘catch them young and they shall be yours forever.’ A privilege many of us couldn’t get in our days. Even if we had gotten it, it would have taken the help of an excavator to pull us from the football field to sit and read with these volunteers. They’re not only sharpening their reading skills but teaching most of the kids how to construct sentences.

These caboodle of children are already in a better position to lord over the Queen’s language — articulating exquisitely than their peers who aren’t making any conscious effort, or privileged like them.

And if all other things being equal, hardly are they going to fail their final English papers at the junior or senior level. Many of them will take to writing in the near future. They will grow to become responsible citizens who can speak truth to power; remember that readers can’t be gagged.

In Ghana, for instance, failure to express oneself in English denies you opportunities upon opportunities. The severity among them is losing a job interview, and the least is always crushing on potential spouses without opening your mouth to propose love. Between these two changes, your self-esteem will wane and die off.

“Oh, poor me?”Propitiously, the first revealed verse to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) wasn’t to worship Allah, nor to perform pilgrimage, He was commanded to “Read” (Iqra). For it’s through reading men are well exposed, informed, and get composed.

So be not be like an armed robber who could ransack a house and commit murder without stealing a book. Visit the bookshops. Own a book.

Open its pages. Smell its fragrance. Read it aloud. Learn from it. Teach it to others. Emulate its good lessons. Trust me, you won’t be the same you after reading. And let me assure you one thing — you will always have peace!