I want to talk about reading, and inevitably, it has to start with books.
Born with a silver bookmark
I have been surrounded by books for as long as I can remember. My grandfather ran a book store in an old town in Singapore, where I had access to a wide array of books. When I was still a preschooler, I had thumbed through countless pages of the Doremon and LaoFuZhi 老夫子 comics, and subsequently other children books.
By the time I reached primary school, I was ingesting one story book almost every day. The 2-book quota from the school was never sufficient, I cleaned off the likes of Charles Andersen collection in no time.
I was introduced to Chinese literature during my teen years, as part of my Chinese Literature study in school. They included the Four Great Classic Novels, Poems and Prose from the Tang and Song Dynasties, as well as the works of great modern Chinese writers like Bingxing 冰心, ZhuZhiQing 朱自清, LuXun 鲁迅, LaoShe 老舍, etc.
At the influence of my Chinese teacher, I read through most of Jin Yong’s (金庸) Martial Arts & Chivalry novels. Marveled at the mastery of his writings, my appreciation for Chinese writing deepened. I did not simply read, but savored every word, the plots and characters. The names and presentations of each persona were meticulously and passionately designed and curated.
Through their writings, I discovered parallel universe, fresh perspectives. The wisdom of thought leaders of new and old kept me absorbed for hours
The necessary pleasures
My English reading materials were, however, mostly non-fiction, business-related and more technical, which I read to build knowledge and stay informed. I used to subscribe to National Geographic, TIME magazines. And in recent years, I have included the Harvard Business Review and The Economists, in addition to online columns and news apps.
My appetite for reading and speed of reading grew over the year. It’s pretty normal for me to finish a 600-page business book or a 200-chapter Chinese novel, in less than a week.
I find reading highly therapeutic and extremely enriching.
And, here’s one advice for the girls…
Do you want to cultivate your inner beauty and be a person of substance? Read
You can be clad in the finest designer wear but what proceeds from out of your mouth exposes the substance of your mind. I truly believe that the best beauty product for a woman is culture and discernment. Reading right will get you there.
Code of an Addict
I never consider myself as a bookworm, because I have other passions.
Neither do I consider reading as a hobby nor a ritual, it’s just part of my life, something I do as naturally as taking my daily meals.
Upon deeper observations, I realize that I DO qualify as a book worm
- I love the smell of new books
- Amazon.com and book stores are places of great temptation for me
- The first furniture to be set up at my new house was not the bed, but the book shelves
- My favorite activities during short breaks are to chill by the pool or in bed, with books
- I simply love the library, especially when I am allowed to loan 8 books at one go
- I experience withdrawal syndrome and guilt if I had gone without books for days
Chasing the chapters
Many had asked how I could find time to read with all my responsibilities at work and at home.
It certainly helps that I have the ferocious appetite to learn and fear of missing out on the latest developments around the world.
Here are some ways to get started with reading more:
Allocate a reading spot
For me, it’s an armchair with footstool. Of course, I can practically read anywhere as a master bookworm.
Have reading materials readily available
This is what my bed-time reading stacks look like. Beyond these, I have some on my living room shelves, and a basket filled with light reading materials under my reading chair.
Reading need not revolve around a book, it can be an article or short blogs. I find audio books to be extremely useful when I am on the move.
Flipboard is an app that I discovered a few years ago where I can customize newsfeeds on subjects of my interest.
There are always pockets of time to read – in transit, at mealtimes, or even when waiting at a line…How often do we lose track of time while mindlessly scrolling though social media feeds?
Read to reflect and have your own perspectives – spar the ideas in your head. Or simply, read to enjoy. For me, these can take the form of coffee table books on designs and travel.
Be selective on what you read though, just remember – rubbish in, rubbish out. Does it profit you to devote your energy to other lives peoples’ lives either on social media or tabloid news? You decide.
So, what will you be reading today?