“Reading is a means of thinking with another person’s mind; it forces you to stretch your own” -Charles Scribner

I have a friend. His name is Michael. He speaks through the books he has read. Every now and then, he quotes writers. He quotes Kipling, Sylvia Plath, Coelho, et al. The first time I had a conversation with him, he made me doubt my proficiency as a writer. How do I claim to play football if I do not even watch the game? Do not get me wrong, I read. However, a pile of uncompleted books with bookmarks somewhere on mid page lay on the table in the house. My reading mojo is slowly dying and is being replaced by a ravenous desire for shortstories from just one Author, Margeret Atwood. My memory span is slowly being trained by blogposts to last as long as the existence of a mosquito on a wall, one swat away from death.

Let them say what they may, let them hide banknotes on books and claim that we can never find them, but I realise that a good population is still holding on to the tradition of reading. Whether reading them on ‘e’ or on paper for those who like the smell of yellowed paper as the eyes feed on words, still, someone is reading.

Wamathai did a survey last week on facebook and twitter, asking people what they were reading. I must say that after the response, I felt the need to hide my face behind a shroud after the discovery that I am part of the children left behind, or slowly being. Why are we saying that people are not reading? Reading books is apparently, the cool thing in town. Tech-savvy and book-savvy are the things. In fact, being savvy is the thing.

Unfortunately, in between coming up with seemingly witty tweets and enjoying those of others, we get lost and the little playtime we have to spare for a page or two is dissolved in the timeline. I might be pointing an accusing finger, but in a way I do believe that social media has done major cockblocking on reading. Even the internet reads on our timelines, we are becoming sluggish on clicking and reading. I am sure that not all of us read all the blogposts we are tagged in, no matter how well written they are. We are too busy on our TLs that we have forgotten other hobbies. Movies are becoming a little difficult to follow because a glance into the timeline every five minutes is the lifesaver that holds us between the edge and death. Maybe this works for me, maybe my scrutiny is a little implausible, maybe you are with me here.

I have managed to bring the little monster reader in me back to life. When I want to read, I switch off from the social networks, and burry myself into the book. I dissolve my mind into the story and the memory of twicca or tweetdeck is a dying echo in the distance, sometimes completely inaudible. However, I do understand that for some of us, the 140-character tweet, or a facebook update is a good read enough. We are too busy to sit and flip from 2  to 345 of pages. Old habits however die hard. We are the same people who found the afro hairstyle uncivilised and still went back to it at the heart of 2st century civilisation. We ‘uncivilise’ with time. This excitement dies. The adrenaline rush from the red notification of a DM on twitter washes off. However, books are indispensable! Whichever way we go, we shall still return to that which moulded us.

In the same spirit of reading books, Michael Onsando reviews books on this site every Thursday. If you are like me and you want to resurrect that girl/boy who used to read books under the desk during Mathematics or Geography lessons because the mojo was insatiable and edgy, how about we talk about books. What are we reading? How do we like it? Where do we get these books? Don’t you ever wish you could pass by a library and borrow a book rather than rush into the DVD centre and buy that pirated copy of Game of Thrones? I wish. I do wish for that. But my legs fail me. They always do. And the books published aren’t what I love reading. And it is easier to watch a movie. And twitter is too addictive. I have excuses! And other excuses.

A chest, an eye or a casket for the books? Which one shall we go by?