opinion piece, Uncategorized

What kind of a reader are you?

Those who knows me would know that I love to read.

Reading, to me, is an essential part of my life. It molded me into becoming 70% of the person I am today. It was a hobby I take pride in, so much that I used to write “I devour books” (so extreme I cannot lol) in my social profiles. Reading has lead me through so many doors of opportunities, and also helped me build a strong foundation in my writing skills.

But the more I think about it, the more I realized I am not the kind of reader I expected myself to be.

Why? Because naturally when you hear a person saying “Oh, I love to read”, your mind would automatically think of the amount of books that person has actually read, and the higher the figure of books read, the higher ranking that person has as a reader.

Well, I am not that kind of a reader.

I am a selective reader. Though I love to read, I admittedly have not read a lot of books. I am a picky reader, as I am a picky eater too. For example: I only read Fiction genre books and articles. I read autobiographies but only in article format. I have my own standard of quality writings and only a few authors have made the cut. I am more keen to buy books from my favourite authors. I am not open to buy books from other authors unless it gets highly recommended from a friend who really understands my taste in books.

I am not the type of reader who finishes a book and will anxiously pick up a fresh new book from the shelf. I am the type of reader who would read till the end of the page, set the book down, mourn for a few days and then pick up the same book to read over and over again.

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In my defense, I do read a lot – but of the same books by the same authors that I own. Reasonbeing: I am comfortable with their style of writing. I know their books have the power to make me want to continuously read until I reach the end – regardless how many times I have read it. I know I will not be disappointed with the quality of writing. I guess I am loyal like that.

Which brings us to my favourite authors. If you were to take a glance at my bookshelf, you would know immediately who my favourite authors are, because it’s basically filled with books by them!

Haruki Murakami

Surprise, surprise. If you follow me on Instagram, you would kinda guessed I am a Murakami fan, as my photos are laden with quotes by him. My love for Murakami’s works ignited 11 years ago, at the tender age of 15. My neighbour (AKA my library) introduced me to him and my first Murakami book was “Kafka by The Shore”. I didn’t fall in love with his writing because of the trend. I fell in love with his talent. Murakami has this ability to spin words so beautifully. His ability to churn the insides of your stomach with moments that are highly relatable to your own life. His ability to form imaginations in his readers’ minds with thought-through process of skillfully placed words. His ability to explain life’s wonders with the cold, hard truth – questions that most people try very hard to avoid. It’s astonishing how well produced his writings and stories are, so good that it is truly captivating.

I get a sense of fulfillment after reading Murakami’s books. I have read most of his books (except the non-fiction ones) but my favourite has got to be “Norwegian Wood”. The book cover of the edition that I have is dated 2003, yet it’s still in good condition, although I have read it countless of times. Imagine my delight when they announced there would be a movie coming up years ago! (Bet most of you didn’t even know it was adapted into a movie! I loved it, and although it didn’t give me goosebumps as how the book did, it went on brilliantly.)

I also loved “Colourless”, which I thought was packed with so many life lessons. Here are some of my Haruki Murakami collection, some are still missing due to moving houses, but these are the ones that I found.

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Sidney Sheldon

Ah Sheldon… the reason why I love reading thriller and crime fiction books. I accidentally came across Sidney Sheldon books from my mom and aunts’ dusty book collection years ago. Every one of his books have story lines that are unimaginable – so articulate, so mesmerizing. The mastermind of all crime and thriller fiction, hands down would be Sidney Sheldon. Sadly he passed away back in 2007, which means there won’t be new books but he definitely left behind a legacy. His books are the kind that could make you pant after chasing page by page to figure out the mystery. His books are the kind that could make you stay in a state of trance because you are too absorbed in his well thought paths that connects every puzzle laid out since the beginning of the book. His books are the kind that could leave you breathless the moment you finish reading the last page, and get you thinking frantically “OK WHAT JUST HAPPENED” and “THIS CAN’T BE THE END THERE SHOULD BE MORE”.

When I was in the US, I bought a whole box filled with secondhand Sidney Sheldon novels for about $15. I was not seen leaving my bedroom since that moment, for about a month. (Yes I can finish reading a Sheldon book in 2-3 days cuz they are that good.) Here are half of the Sidney Sheldon novels I own.

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Sophie Kinsella

This has got to be everyone’s favourite. Well of course I need to have at least one author under the “light read” category! And I cannot think of any other author other than Sophie Kinsella. Her novels are funny, witty, enlightening. Her books are my “feel good” go-to books. It makes me laugh and happy, and I secretly wished I was Becky Bloomwood. Luke’s birthday happen to fall on the same day as my husband’s! We are kind of similar, except that I don’t have shopping bags stashed to the back of my closet, or a bank overdraft, or 18 similar grey T-shirts… but I love how well Kinsella has managed to position Becky as a fun, loving albeit crazy character. Although she’s well-known for her Shopaholic series, I also love her one-off books too (I loveeee “I’ve Got Your Number”). It’s not easy to distinguish each character differently after having to write about the same character for quite some time, but Kinsella pulled it off.

Again, due to the moving process I might have misplaced some of the books. But I do have all of the Shopaholic series, which I would personally pick up to read for leisure.

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There are a few other authors that I really like ie: Markus Zusak, but both of his books were lent to me by my neighbour. In regards to how good these books are… I cannot justify it for you. Because that’s the magical thing about books – you need to pick it up, read it yourself and then understand why. That’s why I get very picky about books. You need time to consume it, and if it doesn’t meet my standards, I would grieve about the time I have lost. It is important to me to be able to indulge myself in books that test my imagination and curiosity, that makes my mind working and also help expand my vocabulary.

Sometimes, it is sufficient to face life through carefully curated words. Words that form stories as a way to escape the world temporarily. Strong enough of a presence to soothe a fragile heart. As a way to chase worries. That in turn transforms sorrows into multiple folds of diversed perspectives.

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