"Of course, Nigerians read. There are the readers of newspapers, such as the gentleman next to me. Magazines of various kinds are popular, as are religious books. But to see an adult reading a challenging work of literary fiction on Lagos public transportation: that’s a sight rare as hen’s teeth. The Nigerian literacy rate is low, estimated at fifty-seven percent. But, worse, actual literary habits are inculcated in very few of the so-called literate. I meet only a small number of readers, and those few read tabloids, romance novels by Mills and Boon, or tracts that promise “victorious living” according to certain spiritual principles. It is a hostile environment for the life of the mind. Once we pass the fly-over at Ojota, the rush-hour congestion eases. The speed we are gathering on the road means the journey is surprisingly cool. The breeze through the open window is constant. The man next to me folds away his newspaper and begins to nod. Everyone else stares into space. The reader, of whom I can see only scarf and shoulders, reads."
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