Childhood/Teenage Reading Obsessions

I’ve been thinking about some of the authors I loved to read during these periods in my life and how much I gained from them, almost insiduously. How I lugged their books home in heavy rusacks and snuck peeks during supplementary science and maths lessons. Discreetly of course, sneakily tucked inside text books. I travelled, cried, laughed and re examined the world. Thank God.

Rosa Guy, The Disappearance. I remember picking this up from a library. It’s an absorbing mystery. I liked the way it slowly unfolded and drew you in. After that, I had to read everything she wrote. Bird at My Window is another book by Rosa I enjoyed. It’s dark, complex and powerful.

Matilda, Roald Dahl. What can I say about this book that hasn’t been said already? I just love it. I read it several times as a kid and then again as an adult. It’s side splittingly hilarious. Dahl was genius, he just had this knack for creating unforgettable characters in crazy settings. Fantastic Mr Fox, The Twits, The Witches, James and The Giant Peach…So great he left an amazing body of work behind, there’s always time to reaquaint myself with the weird, funny worlds he created.

Some Love, Some Pain, Sometime, J California Cooper. I think she’s a really underrated writer. I love these short stories. They’re heart warming, funny, evocative slices of life about black women trying to make their way in the world, trying to find fulfillment and love.

The Outsiders, S.E Hinton. Such a brilliant coming of age novel. Urgent, haunting and mesmeric. I couldn’t put it down and of course bought everything she wrote after that. Hinton was only sixteen when this was published in 1967. Sixteen and so assured in depicting an authentic, teenage male voice. Following such a blistering debut, no wonder she suffered from writer’s block after being lumbered with the pressure of “The voice of youth” title. Her other novels are great too.

Irenosen Okojie