Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Ba-gelle

"As a child in Nigeria, I once read an American novel in which a character ate something called a "bagel" for breakfast. I had no idea what a bagel was, but I thought it sounded very elegant, and very exotic. I pronounced it "ba-gelle." I desperately wanted to have a ba-gelle. My family visited the US for the first time when I was nine, and at the airport in New York, I told my mother that, as a matter of the gravest urgency, we had to buy a ba-gelle. And so my mother went to a cafe and bought one. Finally, I would have a ba-gelle. Now you can imagine my disappointed surprise when I discovered that this ba-gelle, this wonderful, glorious ba-gelle, was really just a dense doughnut. I should say I've come to like bagels, but I love to tell this story because I think it illustrates how wonderful books are at enlarging our imaginations. So even though a bagel ended up not being some sort of exquisite confection, the moments in which I thought it was were well worth it, because my imagination soared in delight. And there was also something comforting and instructive in that discovery of a bagel, in the demystifying ordinariness of a bagel - the realization that other people, like me, ate boring food."

- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Site Meter