Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Book Bug

i love to read.

when i was younger, and it was past bedtime, i read under the covers using a torchlight. once i was caught coz i kept it running until daylight came. it was, i have to admit, a good way to make sure you wear glasses at 8* - but i wouldn't change it for the world. it was really a most wonderful experience - just you and the world in the book.

*alhamdulillah, my eyesight is still fine!

when khaleef hogs the tv - mickey mouse clubhouse is on - and mr khairul has the notebook on his lap, depriving me of the net - i always tell him 'be thankful that your wife likes to read'. no tv, no internet - and yet a good book is an equally satisfying alternative. i can have the theme song to ben10 blaring at the background, with mr khairul complaining about the current events while he browsed the net - and yet be in my own world of storybook characters...

i've wanted to write about this for the longest time. the Dubai Million Book Challenge got me thinking about this passion of mine. i was so into this IDEA, not just because of the immensity of its execution - but because eventhough it's so simple in idea, it just takes one single organization to step up and JUST DO IT.

the task is easy enough - ask kids to read a certain amount of books, make sure parents keep track and teachers make notes - and create a community service behind it too - like a huge donation. sounds so easy to think of, and to run but dubai stepped up and started DOING it and that i have to applaud.

this big idea is called the 'Million Book Challenge'
students all over UAE must read ONE MILLION BOOKS in 2 weeks. possible? the challenge is already over, btw but i was just wondering whether they achieved the number of books* - and that reminded me of this entry that i wanted to write about.

*at the end of the challenge, UAE kids collectively read 1,323,218 books

it's initiated by Dubai Cares, a charity establishment that will buy a new book according to the number of books the kids are able to read and donate it to children in need around the world. this way, the kids of uae can 'help transform the lives of less privileged kids around the world', according to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, and Ruler of Dubai.

rules of the challenge
One of the rules of this challenge was the kids are told about 'books that count', and 'books that don't count'. the cutest thing was in the list of 'books that count' are "Books read on the bus, in the car, on an airplane, in a hotel and under the bed covers with a flashlight.."

this is an official list of rules - released by Dubai Cares itself, and it includes books 'read under the bed covers with a flashlight'! which i think shows how the organizers were able to relate to the kids and understand their reading habits without making it sound like a negative thing. that's what kids do! had they written 'books read in class' or '..with teachers/parents' - yawn!

another interesting rule under the list of 'books that do not count' is 'books read instead of doing your homework'!

my reading influences
i seem to have more time to read when i was younger. less responsibility? i have to give credit to my mak and abah for my interests in reading. mak, as she was an avid reader herself and abah for taking us to the library every other weekend.

my mak was a reader. oh, yes she was - more than i will ever be. she read a variety of authors and genres. while i stick to ghost stories and tales of the unexpected, she read all that and more. she was the one who introduced me to stephen king (to be honest she introduced me to tons of authors including grisham but only the king rules and caught my attention!)

she really wanted me to read adam's 'watership down' - a tale of rabbits searching for a new place to live - and until the day she passed away i never did get around to read it. i still remember she said she wanted me to read the book ASAP...just so that she would have someone to talk about the book with.

abah had a different influence on me and my sisters. he encouraged reading in a subtle way. he made an effort to take us to the tun razak library, ipoh every weekend, and was willing to spend hours there, looking for books for himself and, most of the time waiting for US to finish picking our books.

going to the malls mean a pit-stop at the bookstore. it's simply a must. he did not mind spending a few RMs on books - not always, but often enough to keep us happy!

in my opinion, my sister syida has the most similarity to me in terms of her choice in books. yong is more like mak, trying every genre til she gets a good one while syima is more text-booky (she's the brainiest one anyways). azi, on the other hand tries more chick-lit and malay literature. any one by ahadiat akashah is a good one for teens.

so this is a small thank you for making me a reader. i wish i was half the persons that you are to my kids, and make them see the magic of reading a good book.

my reading habits

1> reading under the covers with a torchlight. still do it - but worse! with the hp lights!

2> reading right before sleeping - i'll be reading until i'm too tired to follow the adventures of the characters

3> reading over a snack - or worse - a hot bowl of maggi mee - risky!

4> reading during commercial break - good use of wasted time waiting for your movie to come on again

5> i CAN NEVER read in a moving vehicle - but i was able to on the lrt - for unknown reasons - and it's nice that in spite of the crowd and the awkwardness of accidentally making eye-contact with a stranger sitting opposite you - you can still get away, your eyes buried deep in a good book

6> i did read during my confinement when i had khaleef - sometimes aloud especially when i had to hold him to sleep (you cant go out, cant eat out, you cant do pretty much anything physical - so sitting around reading is just the thing to do!) hey he should be thankful when i read aloud, coz when i dont read, i'll sing...and that could be more traumatic!

7> i used to list out the words that i don't understand and looked it up later - but i stopped doing that coz it disturbs the flow of the story and my grasp of the world in the story - i learn how to go along with the whole sentence, try to figure out the meaning in the context of the sentence - and hope that i'm right!

why i like stephen king and terry pratchett
if you have read stephen king's 'IT', `Salem's Lot' and 'Shawshank Redemption', you are sure to know how versatile King is. the three masterpieces range from a psychological terror (IT is basically about your fears and past haunting you), classic vampire to a tale of friendship born in adversity (the movie staring morgan freeman is the ONLY movie that did justice to a king's book, other than 'Stand By Me' - google it up!).

my king's collection - my fav would be IT, misery, 'salem's lot, christine and the shorties

i love plain ol ghost stories with the length of just 2 pages - stories that get to the point quick and yet scares the hell outta ya - like one day there was a man walking around and he came to a crossroad and saw a man, then he asked for the time and the man answered 'it was past midnight when i left hell' and yet i can't help but be engrossed king's rich description of people in his stories. he sees people (wait, is that line from titanic?).

some of my collection of ghost stories - great company on a dark stormy day

terry pratchett was introduced to me by a friend much later - and i wondered where had he been all my life - coz he's freaking funny! when this friend of mine described his obsession of terry pratchett, i couldnt understand it - he was blabbering away about a 'discworld carried on top of a giant turtle' and the book is about stuff and people on this 'discworld'.

hook on pratchett too? please contact me so we can discuss what's so freakin great about this man's work!

so? and yet, a chance meeting with one of pratchett's books at the IIU library got me started. and i am hooked ever since. if you wanna try pratchett, go for the discworld series coz the characters will just charm you - a human raised by a dwarf so he thinks he's just an oversized dwarf; a vampire who swore off blood and now trying to make an honest living by being a flash photographer but turned to dust everytime he takes a picture; death itself who speaks only in CAPITAL LETTERS; and many other weirdly interesting characters that colour the 'discworld' in all its wonders and oddities.

so if you like good humor in a fantasy world of dwarfs, trolls and an orang utan librarian at the local university - then try pratchett.

fancy a comic strip?

are you one of those people who go straight to the comic sect of a newspaper? of course, laughter is the BEST medicine - so i have my own share of fav comics. calvin and hobbes is one - absolutely adorable and amusing in the way calvin thinks. he thinks about big issues from the eyes of a kid, and has hobbes knocking some sense into him.

and then there's 'the far side' - absolutely wacky, zany and ridiculous in the most wonderful way. in one single comic frame, he is able to depict crazy humor in the most normal, everyday things.

shakespeare rocks!

ok, yeah - i'm into shakespeare - i believe that when you really put your knowledge of the basic english language into gear, you WILL BE able to understand shakespeare and not be dissuaded by the 'thee's and 'thou's. my fav is absolutely without a doubt - 'twelfth night' and 'macbeth'.

if you wanna brave shakespeare and yet want something light - and have BASIC knowledge of a few or at least ONE of his plays (i know you're all thinking of romeo and juliet right?) you can try this one on top by the reduced shakespeare company - calling it a spoof actually degrades the work - as it is more of a tribute than a spoof - it combines ALL of shakespeare works in a 40 mins play! what a feat! and it's SUPER funny!

unpredictable road with roald dahl

ok, syida! remind me to return this to you ASAP

roald dahl is known more for his children's books. amazing work! but if you want a nicely told story with simple words and easily digestable description AND with a really shocking, unexpected ending cleverly twisted at the end - try roald dahl's work for the adults.

you would want more.

hey, visit my bookshelf! http://www.shelfari.com/syigim or pick up a book today!


jo said...

Nice and elaborated thoughts on your passion, the authors and the stories.

I've read Shakespeare's "Merchant of Venice", but got me asking a few questions about Portia's actions.

Syigim said...

...i admit i almost felt really really kesian at shylock.. you should see the movie version starring al pacino as shylock - excellent performance!

check out these postings too!

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