My beloved country, Malaysia – the place where I was born and grew up at has turned 61 on August 31st last Friday.
To be honest this year we’ve been through a lot and from seeing how invested everyone is during the last general election in March, I knew that every Malaysians – whether they still live in Malaysia or reside overseas, care about our country, our home.
The sight of people scrambling to vote and people donating money so students could go home and vote is touching.
So what else is a great way to celebrate Merdeka (read: Independence Day) than flaunting my 10 all-time favourite books.
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Who doesn’t know Paulo Coelho and the book that shoots his writing career upwards forever? If you don’t go to your nearest bookstore or library and get yourself a copy. Now.
- A.D.A.M. by Ramlee Awang Murshid
Ramlee Awang Murshid aka RAM has written many great books and the way he portrayed Malay culture and identities in his novel is beautifully done. It’s rare to see him using ‘bahasa rojak’ (mixing Malay and English in sentences like Malay novelists always do) in his writing.
- Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
In this book comes the famous 10,000 hours rule – a concept popularized by Gladwell that said 10,000 hours of practice is needed to be above average in something.
There are a lot of debates and controversies surrounding the 10,000 hours rule but I personally love it. Practices make perfect.
- Contengan Jalanan by Hlovate
I found Hlovate works when I first read Tunas and I’ve never looked back. I’ve read most of her works except for the short story that she released when I’m in Japan. #the cons of living overseas
It was from this book that I found myself changes from the better.
The man that decided to change on the 12th hours died at the 11th.
HLOVATE, CONTENGAN JALANAN
- The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie
If you haven’t heard of Agatha Christie, the queen of mystery novels then you’re missing out. Big time. I love most of her novels and was torn between Murder of Mesopotamia and The ABC Murders but in the end, ABC murders won because I still remember most of the story plot.
- For One More Day by Mitch Albom
What’s great about Mitch Albom is that he writes with such a simple way without any unnecessary lyrical prose but his writing is effortlessly beautiful. Tell me your secret, please!
I’ll keep my mouth shut.
- Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
I grew up with the Harry Potter series and it has been such a huge part of my childhood that no one can take it away from me. HP is one of the series where adult me can still enjoy unlike Enid Blyton series (sorry)
I love everything about the books and my most favourite is the last instalment of the series. When I get my hand on the Death Hallows, I devour all the chapters in one night and cried a river when Dobby died to save Harry. I’m still frustrated that the movies downplayed Dobby’s role and it makes his death in the movie less sad than how it was supposed to be.
Who put onions on my face?
- The Rebirth of the Malicious Empress of Military Lineage by Qian Shan Cha Ke
Shen Miao is love, Shen Miao is life.
- Gu Fang Bu Zhi Shang Series
If you’re a fan of Chinese drama, then you’ve surely heard of General and I. The drama is based from these 3 volume books and Bai Ping Ting, the MC is a kickass. She might not be the most beautiful but she’s smart, play zither beautifully and can create a countless deadly strategy to win a war.
- Ze Tian Ji by Mao Ni
Ze Tian Ji is my 2017 most favourite book. If I were to rate all the books I’ve read last year, Ze Tian Ji will come out on top. With no competition.
The storyline, the plot twist, the characters – I love everything about the novel, even the rush ending.
I had a long book hangover after finished reading the book and I feel all empty inside.
That’s how great Ze Tian Ji is in my heart.
So recently, my favourite book publishers company, Jemari Seni has announced that they’ll close for good means no more great Malay language books from JS and there are also bookstores closing one by one with the recent one being MPH branch in One Utama that makes me think
Is reading dead?
Personally, reading to me is not dead but I could feel that reading culture is dying.
01 TOO PRICEY
As a Malaysian, books are pricey. You have to work for 8 hours to buy a single book (especially the English imported books) and for students who barely manage to survive university and living expenses, how on earth could they buy books when they’re broke?
Books are getting more and more expensive but luckily there’s sales and websites like Book Depositary or Wordery to get cheap books.
On a side note, am I the only one who dislike the recent trend of making book fonts bigger and wider. You can see how much difference is how the contents are published from 10 years ago and now.
02 RISE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
We live in a generation where contents are published every millisecond. How many social media do you guys have?
I have 15.
WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, Bloglovin, Reddit, Linkedin, Medium, Quora, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Line and Whatsapp.
Technically WordPress and the likes belong to a blogging platform category but the point is I used most of them regularly and would check on every single account without missing a day.
And it results in too many contents. Not to mention that social media are in bigger fonts, lots of pictures, shorter paragraphs and it leads to a shorter attention span.
Fun fact: On average, research has shown that people only linger on a website for less than 15 seconds.
03 CHEAPER ALTERNATIVES READING SITES
Wattpad. Tumblr. Fanfiction.
You can now read stories without breaking a penny with these writing platforms and it’s free. People love free stuff and when you could get books for free why bother buying books and that leads us to point no. 4.
04 PIRATED E-BOOKS ONLINE
I’m going into dangerous territory here.
I used to read pirate books.
And the worse thing is that I try to justify it by telling myself that it’s okay to do that because everyone else is doing it.
My problem is that I’m living far away from home and it’s impossible to bring all my books in physical forms because limited space (Japan’s apartment is freaking tiny) so I want the books in both physical (I’m building a library at home) and e-book for convenience.
I want both but I don’t want to pay for both.
I’ve stopped reading from pirated sites after I entered college and bought both e-book and physical ones (my wallet is crying) and this piece of writing shared by Maggie Stiefvater, the famous author of The Raven Cycle on how her next books almost couldn’t get published because of piracy makes me feel really guilty about what I’ve done from the past years reading pirated books.
Of course, the choice to read pirated books is yours but if you don’t have any problem with buying, please support the author by buying the book.
So what do you guys think? Is reading dead and if the answer is yes do you have anything to add.