By Chinwuba Iyizoba
A recent article in the New York Times caught my attention. Uzoamaka Maduka, a 25-year-old woman and Princeton graduate, born to Nigerian parents and raised in Maryland is starting a literary magazine called the “American Reader”. Asked why she is starting such a magazine, she said, “So many of the voices in fiction that are out there are deeply neurotic white male stories of how, ‘Oh, I had weird sex’; I kind of felt like, I really don’t want to sit still for this.”
My sentiments exactly! I have planned many quiet weekends, indoors; cuddled up with books I thought will be great reads only to be discomfited by their lurid and sleazy contents. Every now and then, I find myself immersed in the deeply disturbed ramblings of a madman pretending to be an author. Well, I don’t need to tell you how unpleasant this is. I am surprised how little help readers get in choosing appropriate reading. I find there are few helpful reviews on the internet or anywhere else. In a world littered with every unsavory publication, good literary reviews are essential, yet many, though desiring it, are too lazy to promote it. A failure in sharp contrast to speedy and often vitriolic outrage directed at literary works challenging gay agenda, pornography or pro-life views. In my view, such outrage, though based on false agenda, achieve its immediate object of scaring off dissenters or at least getting themselves a hearing. This can cut both ways, for silence often means consent. I hope American Reader will compliment efforts of others like MercatorNet and Almudi, to fix the broken back of contemporary literature.
“The American Reader is restoring literature to its proper place. It seeks to be principled, but not dogmatic; discerning, but not cruel; popular, but not populist. It honors the dignity of the reading public,” says the website.
What is more? Ms Maduka is a practicing Catholic who is ready to defend her beliefs. She attends weekly Mass at St. Ignatius Loyola on Park Avenue with her boyfriend Mr. Mullen, who became Catholic while they dated at Princeton; together, they hope to bring their fledgling magazine to everyone who needs it. To them, I say, Good luck!
Chinwuba Iyizoba is an Engineer. He is also the author of “ After the Juju Man”