I like to read. It’s a habit picked up since my primary school days and continued through secondary school and college. It was only after I joined the work force and later became a mother, that reading was put on the back burner.
Occasionally when I did manage to pick up the odd book or two, I got into trouble. If the book is unputdownable, I’m done for. I have got to finish the book NOW. Even if it means serving Maggi Mee to the kids or letting the laundry languish in the washing machine.
So I read sparingly, fearful that the lack of discipline will rear its ugly head and mess up priorities. Then someone reminded me that as a writer, I must read and voraciously too. That woke me up. Since then I’ve returned to my first love.
In 2007, I set a target of reading 20 books a year. I ended up reading 25 books plus another three which I couldn’t finish. Last year, I didn’t manage such a good haul but I met the target of 20 books.
These included The Gift of Rain and Evening is the Whole Day. Both books have snared rave reviews in the press and The Gift of Rain was long-listed for The Booker. I enjoyed Tan Twan Eng’s debut novel and could see it being turned into a movie, a tear jerker at that. I cried four times while reading the book. My only grouse is that the first part of the book had too many references to Aikido, the martial art practised by the protagonist. It slowed down the pace considerably. My daughter couldn’t get through the first part. Though I told her to persevere and that she’ll be rewarded when she comes to the second part, she’s still not convinced to give it another shot.
Evening is the Whole Day is too literary for my taste. Preeta Samarasan really has a way with words but after a while the wonderful descriptions couldn’t compensate for the plodding turn of events.
I also read three of Cecilia Ahern’s books, taken from my daughter’s collection : If You Could See Me Now, PS I Love You and Rosie Dunne. Rosie Who? For the life of me I couldn’t remember a thing of what I read in this book. That’s how forgettable it is. The other two are slightly better.
I only read one classic in 2008 : Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. It was a yellow, warped copy I picked up from the second-hand book bin and worth more than the money I paid for. It deserves its classic tag. Go read it if you haven’t. Janet Tay wrote about it and other little books with a big punch in The Star.
Here’s to another 20 books this year, maybe more.