The Tolstoy Circle of the AIFA Book Club came together on July 27, 2019 for its 2nd book reading session at MILIKI, Victoria Island. The Tolstoy Circle is a cell of the AIFA Book Club created by Professor Fabian Ajogwu, SAN. The poignant speech of Frederick Douglass titled “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” was read and discussed at length by members and friends of the Club in attendance.

The speech which was delivered on July 4, 1852 at an event commemorating the signing of the American declaration of independence, held at Corinthian Hall in Rochester, New York, 1852. Members of the Club present lauded Frederick Douglass for boldly calling out the hypocrisy of the pre-abolition American society, and how he skilfully highlighted the plights of the African American man in pre-abolition America. Many present opined that the central theme of the speech is the speechwriter’s idea that the American declaration of independence bore no meaning or value to the African Americans.

At the end of the session, Professor Ajogwu commented that the book reading sessions of the Club is a continuation of the on-going efforts by the Society to promote the culture of reading in Nigeria, highlighting the fact that Book Clubs generally are a fantastic medium to discover new authors and literary works, and to network. Every individual’s opinion, their likes and dislikes make book reading sessions interactive, intriguing and animated, and this contributes to the development of positive personal attributes within individuals.

The AIFA Book Club an initiative of the Society is a strategy employed to reinstall the reading habit amongst members of the Society in light of the radical decline of the reading culture particularly amongst millennials in Nigeria. The AIFA Book Club aligns with the aims and objective of the Society, that is, to ensure that a majority of persons within the Society’s immediate sphere of influence develop an enthusiasm for reading.

Primarily, the purpose of the reading session is to create an opportunity for people to become enthusiastic and enthralled with the world of literature. However, the AIFA Book Club in a bit to revive the reading culture organises frequent groups allowing people share their various opinions and experiences as well as relate it to reality. This ensures that participants not only garner knowledge and insights from the book being read but also have fun while doing it.

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