My father used to say that conflict is the meat of life: you spice it, grill it and eat it.

Ok! I just made that up…hahaha. I coined this quote from reading. However, let’s think about it. We always move from one conflict to another, as long as we live, we will struggle with something. There is always a challenge waiting for us.

This is one of the reasons I love books. In life, the struggle doesn’t end until we die. In books, the struggle is usually resolved by the end of the book. One of the key things books show us is how to resolve conflicts. They show us the good, bad and ugly ways to solve our challenges. It is left for us to choose which we should apply.

The Covid-19 global pandemic hit us unexpectedly. The dreams and aspirations we wrote out this year has changed to a singular goal – to stay alive. Governments are struggling to curb the spread. We are scrambling to fix this challenge because it is a novel one. Most of us alive have not experienced a pandemic before – this is the grueling conflict! To get a better understanding of how to cope, I retreated to medical thrillers I had read and watched before.

I started with Robin Cook’s ‘Contagion’. It is a story of how a deadly epidemic engineered and spread by a medical conglomerate was killing a subset of people. The protagonist, Jack Stapleton, was determined to solve the mystery and exposed the sinister organization. This was an illuminating read when the rumours went round that Corona Virus may have been created in a Chinese lab.

I moved on to watch the Steven Soderbergh’s classic movie Contagion (same name with the novel I mentioned earlier), written by Scott Z. Burns. This 2011 thriller aptly foretold all that we will experience in 2020. The plot is about the rapid spread of a virus transmitted by respiratory droplets which leads to quick death in some cases. As the novel virus spreads, several cities are lockdown and placed in quarantine to curb the spread. Fear springs up and spreads virulently too and this leads to breakdown of law and order, looting and violence.

This pandemic made this book and film race back to the top of the book and film charts. People ran to them for ideas on how to survive this. I watched this movie with my whole household to drop the message that we are in extraordinary times. We are to be careful in all our dealings.

Thank God the looting and violence didn’t occur in Nigeria. The Nigerian government was proactive enough to ease the lockdown before it pushed people to their breaking point.

Reading is important for preventing mistakes. It is useful in preventing mistakes that have happened before.

I will always advocate reading for all people. Leaders and followers should all read. People should be devoted to knowledge. There is no excuse for people failing to read. Books are far more accessible in this generation than the last century. We all should read far and wide. We should read through our conflicts. In books we would find solution to our problems. Let us retreat to the comforting arms of a man’s past experience and insights condensed in a book.

Thankfully, we have more time to stay indoors. This period should strengthen our reading ability. Readers in every home should spend time converting people to our way of life. So that when we tell the tale of how we overcome this trying times we would write about it and also say that we overcame partly by reading.