“So many books, so little time.”
― Frank Zappa.
In the midst of juggling a lot of things, and still trying to find time to watch my favourite TV channels, I suddenly remembered that I hadn’t read any book in a while and had a craving to indulge in a world of beautiful fiction and sophisticated vocabulary.
As I walked past the Florida Bookshop which I pass everyday to work and back, I saw a sign board that read ‘50% off most of the books’. So I thought that I check it out.
Two days after, during my break at work, I strolled to the Bookshop and decided to have a look, and honestly I was blown away. It was huge. Books stood so tall on shelves close to the ceiling. There were Books, there were Books and there were Books. So I went on a search to explore and guess what I found – Everything. From politics, governance, science, economics, fiction, non-fiction, African literature. It was such an experience.
It brought back fond memories of the little library we had back in primary school which. There were only about 2 or 3 shelves filled with fiction, babysitters club and all those kind of books that were read to AJEBO kids during bedtime. My first time inside there, and I knew I belonged in that world. Funny enough, I did not consider myself the ‘novel-reading’ kind, I was very mentally hyperactive which made my mind always busy, making me hate indulging in any activity that seemed slow and require patience like reading novels. I was more interested in the fashion industry and dancing, reading novels felt so boring to me even though I used to read a lot of newspapers and magazines. I think the reading thing is genetic and just hit me when I was just about 8 years old, the moment I took up that Babysitters club book from the shelf at the library. That was it, I borrowed some more, read that of my sisters’, bought some, hoarded all. Lol. The hoarding part was typical in secondary school especially if you were in the boarding house, leave you novel unattended to for a second and it will disappeared forever or you might be lucky enough to spot it in the hands of junior or senior student who would insist that it is hers.
To the main purpose of this blog post, I would be writing on the images that came to my head as I stepped into that Bookshop. The possibilities of what coukd become of it, if properly given attention and how it would expose the minds of people of my city to various parts of life, art and culture they never thought existed.
‘Owerri people don’t read’ we answered. Reading the answer to the question right off the lips of the lady at the bookshop. The question was ‘Why don’t people come here often?’
A section of the Bookshop could be turned into a library where people can be charged hourly or per book seeing as it’s a private business and money needs to be made. Little wooden tables and chairs, Ankara covered couches, and seats made from recycled materials such as tires, Dunlop slippers etc. As seen here at Landmark Event Centre. Also, a tea table for coffee and a dispenser for water, popcorn and smoothie could be made available there as well. Imagine how perfect that would be. You could read the books there, and if you can’t finish it on time you could just purchase it. Sweet, innit?
Mini Art Gallery.
On the walls, artworks by indigenous artists could be displayed, exhibiting the culture of the people of Imo State. Sculptures of dieties, people, paintings, wooden carving, woven articles, photographer works etc. Also some made available for purchase. It would create an aura for creatives to be inspired, seeing as art inspires art.
Book Readings & Creative Writing Classes.
Authors could hold their book reading there or book signings. Allowing people to also explore the other facilities that the Bookshop offers. Creative writing classes could be held by the weekend by already published authors, bloggers, writers etc inspiring and teaching those interested the art of storytelling.
I thought of all these things whilst there, and felt an urge to share these ideas. It might inspire someone to want to collaborate with them or even start up something similar.
This bookshop has been in existence for over 15 years, still striving to survive despite the poor reading culture of the people. It says a lot about those behind it and I am inspired by those who do it for the art, it might not be the most popular spot but as long as people come in here and feel something – Mission Accomplished.
I also came across some classics from Beethoven and some other artists whom looked quite trendy back then, but being a 90’s baby I’ve never heard of them.
On going plans are in place for me to keep discovering the hidden beauties in my city.
Art is everywhere.
You don’t have to look too far.
So for those asking, this is Florida Bookshop, one of the treasures in Owerri, Imo State. I really hope this doesn’t die like the others. I’m encouraging everyone to try as much as possible to explore and keep this dream alive.
Trust me, it is a phenomenal journey to creating the perfect mindset towards creativity.
Till next post, soon. You wouldn’t believe what I have to reveal 😂.
Love xx ❤.