I read 80+ plus books in 2020. Come join my book club

July 11, 2022
The Creative Arts

By Sesede Simeon

At the beginning of 2020 (or possibly the end of 2019), one of my secondary school mates made a Facebook post about her reading goals for the New year. She said her goal was to read 50 books by the end of the year. I found that really impressive. Being a reader-holic (I coined that, mind you) myself, I decided to take it up as a challenge; so I set myself up to read 50 books in 2020.

Before then I routinely read two books in a month (It takes me two weeks to finish a book), regardless of the volume or tightness of my own schedule. With my decision, I was willing to stretch myself beyond two books a month.

I also made up my mind not just to read 50 books, but 50 books on and about Africa: this meant reading available literature on history, leadership, governance, politics and what have you.

Sesede Simeon on a research visit to an archives in Ibadan

I must confess, though, that a part of me was really scared; here was I who then worked in an art gallery, which opened Mondays through Saturdays, from 9am to 7pm.

Reading during work hours was out of the question. And so the only time I had to read was on Sundays — and maybe the idle periods when I commuted from home to the office.

But I had set myself a target, so I was determined to read 50 books in the year 2020.

To make it easier and fun, I decided to start a book club on whatsapp (silly thing to do if you ask me). I reasoned that having people to read and discuss reading with would be great. Subsequently, I made a Facebook post to communicate the WhatsApp book club idea to anyone who might be interested. 

In my mind, I reckoned that there were countless book lovers out there who would love to, not just read but read and have like-minded persons to discuss with. Immediately I made the post, lots of people indicated interest and I believed the process would be a walk in the park.

Our first meeting was really fun.  The was positive energy throughout and it gave me hope that something good was going to happen with the book club. I picked three books to be voted as Book of the Month:

Fela: This bitch of a life

Oil, Politics and Violence

Power, Politics and Death

The book with the highest vote would be the title to read.

Carlos Moore’s Fela: This Bitch of a Life was the pick. But when it was time to buy the book, the book club members pulled a disappearing act on me. They went AWOL.

How were we going to discuss a book when 95% of the discussants had not read the book? 

That was the end of the online book club — it died a natural death. While the memory still hurts, I am still open to the idea of an online book club. But it will be with those who are ready to buy books.

That said I pushed on regardless: I did not let what happened with the book club get to me or slow down my reading progress.

I ended up reading 86 books in 2020 and I owe that feat to the Covid-19 lock down (so for some of us the lock down was not totally a bad thing).

I did not make money during the lock down, but I gained a tonne of knowledge — and I am hungry for more. 

Why do you think my online book club members ran away when it was time to buy books? Are you open to the idea of an online book club via WhatsApp? Let me know what you think in the comment section.

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