“The best lessons are learnt from experience and the best experiences are from reality rather than imaginary” —Habibllah Ayoola Ayodele.
Reading Culture in Nigeria is fast growing and being part of the growth makes me happy especially on nights I have insomnia. I remind myself I am doing something, it’s small now, but it is just the beginning. And sometimes, the reminder makes sleep comes faster.
YOU Read is a series primarily created to promote literature by speaking and learning from bibliophiles and booklovers.
On the First episode, Habibllah Ayodele. A Mechanical Engineering undergraduate, an avid reader and a diehard fan of non fiction speaks about his love for the non fiction genre.
Read the whole conversation with him below.
1. Which book(s) incited your love for books? And what age was that?
Though I can’t say precisely when I started reading or what made me enjoy it. But there is a particular book on Greek mythology – Vengeance of the gods – that got me addicted to lengthy books. I was seven at that time.
2. Two books that REALLY changed your life?
The first book that has really had a great impact in my life is ‘Transform Your Habits‘ by James Clear.
The second one is ‘The Autobiography of Malcolm X.’
3.Name that one book you’d love everyone to read. And why?
Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude’ by Napoleon Hill and W. Clement Stone. The book to me is sacred; preaching in depth the different ways of attaining success without infringing upon the rights of other human beings and most importantly, without straying away from God’s path.
4.How do you choose the books you read? Anything you lay your hands on? Recommendations? Based on a particular subject?
It is quite hard to lay hands on books of great quality so often times, I find myself reading from my family’s collection. But when I do have access to getting a book myself, I can be extremely choosy. I check recommendations from professionals, authors, ratings on online libraries and platforms.
a. Fiction or Non Fiction? And Why?
Books are meant to teach us lessons. The best lessons are learnt from experience and the best experience comes from reality rather than imaginary.
For me, there is difference between reading for entertainment and reading for education. Non fiction is more of learning than pleasure seeking.
b. Paper Books, Ebooks or Audio books? And why?
Paper books. I love the scent of books, especially the ones with brown pages that have spent a lot of time sitting among other books in the library.
I also like to highlight whenever I read. My ‘Terminator moment’ is when I’m sitting reading a book with an highlighter stuck at a corner in my mouth like a cigarette. (I don’t smoke though)
c. Classics or Contemporary? And Why?
I have no preference. I love good books be it classic or contemporary.
d. Do you reread books? And Why?
Yes I reread books. In fact, I’m currently reading a book now for the second time. I read this up from a book though I can’t recall where -Too often, the books we read and profess become a part of our libraries and vocabularies rather than a part of our lives.
I try to avoid this, so I always reread books till I’m sure I’ve gotten the message embedded in them.
e. Would you rather be a writer or publisher? And Why?
Writer. Publishing doesn’t even interest me. I enjoy writing to a great extent. Writer. Publishing doesn’t even interest me. I enjoy writing to a great extent.
f. The Book Or The Movie? And why?
When we read books, our mind creates the imagery of the text we read. When we watch movies however, the imagery work has been done already. This sort of discourages us from exercising the creative ability of our minds. And the painful truth is; what you don’t use, you lose.
Also, the books are always more detailed and interesting than the movies.
6. Why do you love books, how does reading make you feel?
I have learned a lot through reading; one of the most important one is to keep reading. To quote Thomas Bilyeu who quoted a great man that came before him –Read so that you can learn with ease what others have learned with great difficulty. Imagine reading a biography; learning all the lessons a person learnt all his life in few days, it is indeed a great privilege. Apart from the fact that it increases our wealth of knowledge, it also makes us learn lessons without experiencing the experience.
Reading is my superpower, the cover page is my vortex, I have a special ability to jump into it and ‘live’ the pages till the very end.
7. How has reading benefited you?
It has in a lot of ways. I am a Muslim and reading the Holy Qur’an has been my major source of guidance.
I am also a writer and I believe we can write mainly because we can read. The subconscious needs to be fed in order to produce.
8. What’s your definition of a Good Book and A bad Book.?
I once read somewhere that imparting knowledge without taking moral values into cognizance will only help in making better devils. A good book is that which aside from sharing knowledge or entertainment or the two taken together, also strives to preach good moral ethics and values.
A bad book is the exact opposite.
9. Do you ever regret reading a bad book? Or any book?
10. Who are your favourite Authors and why?
I don’t really have a preference for authors because I often read biographies, autobiographies and self-help books.
But George Orwell does have a special place in my heart. He is the type I would call gifted.
11. How many books do you read in a month?
Minimum of four
12. Most Booklovers don’t read poetry, do you? Why do you think poetry are barely read by a lot of bibliophiles?
I love poetry but the only poetry collection I’ve ever read is ‘Vampires in the Empire.’ I read poems singled out from others most times online. I plan on including poetry to my collection very soon but I don’t see it coming.
I think the reason a lot of bibliophiles don’t take to poetry is because of the complexity of the language in which most are written; requiring time to think through before the message is digested.
13. Do you think there’s a bend in the reading culture amongst Nigerians. Yes? how do you think we can promote reading culture?
It is not only Nigerians and it’s not a black thing, it’s happening all over the world, people are no longer reading. Jim Kwik says that the average man now reads two to three books in a year and the statistics keep reducing daily.
Libraries should be made readily available to people and they should be stocked on a frequent basis. Free digital libraries should also be proliferated to increase accessibility to everyone.
Lastly, the gospel of the power in reading needs to be preached in all nooks and crannies of the country.
: 14. What are you currently reading?
Think Big by Ben Carson
15. What are your next reads?
Sapiens: A brief history of mankind’ and ‘Homo Deus: A brief history of tomorrow‘ both by Yuval Noah Harari
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16. In your opinion, Why should we read books?
So as to learn with great ease, what others have learned with great difficulty.”
17. What’s your definition of being well-read?
To have minute ideas about almost everything.
Habibllah Ayoola Ayodele is a student of Mechanical Engineering. He aspires and work towards being an inventor, a writer and a poet.
Reading is Habibllah’s superpower.