Reality Hunger? No Thanks... I'm Full!

on Tuesday, November 23, 2010
A strange thing has begun happening on my bedside table. Other than the discovery of food scraps of unknown origin or age and the attendant biological bi-products thereof, I have noticed another possibly unwelcome fungus intruding on my book pile. Somehow, and I really can't account for this, there seem to a number of... I can barely bring myself to say it... non-fiction books creeping their way in.

At first I didn't pay them any heed. Patti Smith's Just Kids seemed a decent addition to any respectable library. Next came two of my favourite African writers' memoirs - Andre Brink's A Fork In The Road and Chinua Achebe's Education of A British Protected Child. Three non-fiction titles by my bed? Something was indeed afoot and, before I could say eukaryotic outbreak of epidemic proportions, two cultural figures whom I greatly revere, albeit on opposite ends of the spectrum, released books. First came Keith Richards with his widely-acclaimed Life, followed closely by The Box, the next work in Gunther Grass's autobiographical series.

It was all getting rather ominous. Something had to be done. I quickly rushed out and bought some more novels and piled them on top of the non-fiction works, most of whose spines I had turned to face the wall anyway. But any inkling I might have had that the tide had been successfully stemmed was shot to Hell when my brother gave me Blood Lands by Timothy Snyder, a book about Europe under the twin menace of Hitler and Stalin which might just prove invaluable in my own work. So what am I to do? I have already read one book of non-fiction this year (this of course depends on how you choose define the biblical texts), which is one more than I usually attempt. Do I finally give in and allow the levee to break? Dare I try becoming a more well-rounded person? Damn them all! Reality, as they say, is for those who can't handle novels (well, they actually say drugs, but grant me the liberty to paraphrase here). Or do I have before me the ultimate year-ending challenge? Ah, what the heck. It's gotta be better than Twilight!


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