#Discourse: Jazzhole, Brymo and other Fun Throwbacks

book reading in Lagos

Jazzhole gives me the Waterstones X Costa vibe. Home to some of the finest books, set as the location for Brymo’s ‘Ori Mi Pe’ video, a scene in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s ‘Americanah’, as well as being a venue for book readings and intimate music gatherings and some movie screenings, forty four year old Jazzhole is a landmark.

On our visit to Jazzhole, my Dups and I have carrot cake and Cranberry Juice and take loads of pictures. We also buy Oyinkan Braithwaite’s ‘My Sister The Serial Killer’. I read this book in like 2 days, and it’s the 3rd book I read this year. It has a mixture of prose and poetry, and a lot of funny lines. It was good and funny and stuff, and I enjoyed the author’s writing style, but I wasn’t so ghen ghen about it the book. Now this was because I think the book had a bit of a suspenseful approach to it, like in ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’, the way Olanna and Kainene were not talking and we did not know why until much later. Chimamanda’s narrative style was urging us to be patient. Oh Lord, I was annoyed. At a point, I even dropped the book and said I was not reading again-but I finished it later on. I think I was looking forward to more detail about Ayoolaa’s father and how she emerged in her serial killer ways even more. All in all, it was a great book, and I laughed out loud a couple of times. Although it wasn’t as heavy as I would have liked, it did have a lot of Nigerian influences that I appreciated . It was definitely a great first book, and it was nominated for the Man Booker prize, so yay.

book reading in Lagos

Honestly, amazing things happen in bookstores, and there’s nothing like being surrounded by books. This book reading series on the blog was born out of a desire to grow my personal love for reading and talking about books, as well as carrying on that conversation with people about books because books are fun. I remember when I went for my masters in the UK, the distinct thing I noticed about people on the tube was that they were always reading. There were so many candid moments of a girl on the train reading ‘The Girl on the Train’ by Paula Hawkins. It was so cool. And I thought to myself that this must be the mentality of success. The funny thing was I already decided I wanted to read more books whilst in Nigeria, and one time, I was reading a book on public transport, and the conductor reprimanded me saying, ‘Instead of you to be looking for your bus stop, you are reading’. LOL. I laughed at the oddity of the contrast with the tube experience. The whole reading experience was really non stop because there were so many free magazines at the train station and so many free online subscriptions, that the only reason one would not read is a lack of knowledge of its value.

#Discourse: Nigeria’s Reading Culture, Piracy and Patabah at 30

book reading in Lagos

I have been researching the reading culture in Nigeria, and  Jazzhole’s Co-owner, who insists on anonymity, says reading is a good thing. ‘I used to hide my novels in my school books and now I am the owner of 2 book reviews.’ She also says consistency is the key to reading. She mentions the most outrageous book tale she has heard of and it’s about Zadie Smith, who doesn’t mind being jailed, so long as she has an opportunity to read. I chime in about Emma Roberts who was stopped over by airport security when she was about to fly because her luggage contained too many books.

Check out a video me and Dupe, where we have a discussion on Branding in Show Business in Nigeria here

I mention that it is lovely that movie screenings and mini concerts are held at Jazzhole, reminiscing over my awesome time at the Celine Rudolph and Lionel Loueke Obsession Tour. Co-owner says, ‘That’s not a big deal. It’s the fact that we do book readings that is the big deal. Don’t you think that is good?’

book reading in Lagos

Of course, I say yes. I ask how long Jazzhole has been in existence and Co-owner says, ‘Jazzhole is 44. Glendora is the bookshop  which has been in existence since 1975. Jazzhole has been in existence since 1991. Jazzhole is really a music store. Our mother was running the book store, but we got this big store, so we decided to put the music store and the bookstore together about 11 years ago.’

Going to Jazzhole is always so much fun, so peaceful and amazing. And I think there is nothing more amazing than bonding over books.

book reading in Lagos

Image Credits:

Dupe Oyebolu

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