Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Line of Beauty

I am currently reading The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst

It's been a hectic week, but I managed to do most of what I could, and now I can sit back and read this book. The reason I am writing about it is because of how I came to buy it.

Yes, this is not a review because I am on page 13.
I still have 478 pages to go and to review it would be foolish.

So, back to how I got picked this book. I had gone to Nakumatt (Mega Plaza, here in Kisumu) hoping to enjoy the #BooksFirst offer (buy three get one free). I walked to the book section and started going through the books that were on offer- reading each title, each author's name, looking at the font and the blurb about the book.
I did this for some time and then found myself kneeling on the floor when I caught site of Sharon Maas' "Of Marriageable Age" novel- and decided it'd be worth it.

The next thing I knew there was this man standing before me, he had the tag- and all and I assumed he worked at the supermarket but he must have been someone senior in rank. I knew all the attendants in the book section.

I hadn't seen his face, let alone heard his voice- but what he said perplexed me.

"You love to read, I have noticed you always come here and take your time going through the books and never leave empty handed. It's funny that- every time you come, you always kneel at this section...are the books better here?"

"Excuse me?"

"I'm sorry, it's just we rarely get such dedicated customers. Kenyans don't read." I looked at him and wondered how final his tone was on reading. "Kenyans don't read."

I thought about it. I let it sink for a second, then mused, "I am a Kenyan, and I read."

I looked at him and he frowned then went on to say, "You know, it's true- but you are one of the few." I realized that I had said this out loud. I smiled at him and extended my hand "I'm Dora, and you are?"

"Francis. I am the Supervisor."

"Do you read these books Francis?"

"No. I have to admit that I barely have the time to, but I try."

"Okay, Monica, Mom, Chez, Uncle Martin, Grace, Bill, Lucy, Lavender, Fred, Joyce, Shillah, Jill, Nancy, Brian...are Kenyans and they love reading."

"Who are those?"

"Family and friends."

"I get it, maybe I was to quick to jump into conclusions...'Some Kenyans don't read."

"I'd accept do you have any new books coming in?"
"We do, that's why we have this offer and..." The intercom buzzed and his phone rang- seemed like his boss wanted him to report to his office. He smiled and then walked into his office, came out with a yellow folder and locked the door- then said 'work calls."

I never asked him why his shoes were brown. I just thought that if he wore black shoes then it would radiate much more balance in his attire: a sky blue shirt, grey tie, black belt, black trousers...and brown shoes?
You see it too, don't you?

But, then I noticed this book just where he was standing and I picked it and thought...for a book to be made into a film, and then TV Series, there has to be something that reflects the society in it...and so I bought it!
Read a book, will you?

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