In which our man in Nigeria reflects on the hustle of the local book-seller.
The man who sells second-hand books close to the University's gate, from whom I get most of my novels from, is in the habit of wanting to recommend books for me.
Apparently, he has read a whole lot of them and feels he is in a better position to decide the best for me. I am often amused at this. I agree that I am quite terrible at making the right choices for commodities I need, but definitely not when it comes to books. I like to browse through and have a good look at them before I decide, and I like to make the decisions myself.
The few times I decided to humor him so as not to hurt his feelings, and go with his recommendation, I ended up not enjoying the reads. The man is a fan of sci-fi. I hardly understand sci-fi (unless it has a touch of reality, as in Lesley's or Innocent's) and I have tried without success to make the man understand that I would rather select the books on my own. He doesn't even seem to notice I usually don't go with his recommendations, Oga would still jump up to select books for me the next time I drop by wanting to buy. And I observed that he sells far cheaper to me than to others.
A few days ago, he asked me why I hadn't been coming to check out the books this semester. I thought of how he successfully led me to starve in Year 1 all in the name of book-buying, until I took on the form of a dehydrated okporoko.
In this season, who has that kind of money to spare?Chukwuebuka Ibeh is a stringer for New England Review of Books, studying in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.