Prosaic soliloquies performed by a quixotic person


with 7 comments

Back in primary school, our class teacher would bring the whole class on a visit to the school library whenever she felt like it. Usually once a month; if we were lucky, twice a month. You see, the library wasn’t open en masse. Only on certain days could certain people be allowed to enter the library to borrow certain books. Which was odd, since there wasn’t much of a book collection in there. Besides, there was nothing worthy to steal from the library (unless you think old window lace curtains that were dusty and stained yellow beyond repair were worth stealing). With that sort of privacy the school maintained for the library, you’d have thought they kept some sort of a national treasure in there.

Anyhow, the library trip usually lasted for ten minutes top. If we were lucky, our teacher would add on an extra visiting-time of five minutes. Alas, being lucky happened to us only once in a blue moon, so on account of that, most of us kids would scuttle around in the library to get our grimy hands on whatever book we could get hold of. We’d push/pull others aside, get elbowed by the bullies, get thwacked in the face and the books in our hands would be snatched by them (it was in that library I started to learn the meaning of survival of the fittest). And there’d always be lots of drama what with the kids (translation: juvenile divos/divas) crying, screaming and the whole lot. Fifty-odd fourth-standard students acting like demon-possessed, book-deprived Neanderthals in the library, and no wonder the teacher often dreaded bringing us there. (OK, fine. So I exaggerated some. I figured a little hyperbole wouldn’t hurt.)

But you know, despite all that, those occasional trips to our school library were among the few highlights of my being a student back then. I just loved being in that room (even it had a skimpy book collection). Just the feel of being surrounded by those library books (or rather, lack thereof) made me feel…belonged. Happy. Contented. Oddly enough, although I really loved books, I wasn’t so much into reading them. I loved the feel, the smell, and just about every physical attribute of a book. The urge to read came only when I got hit by peer pressure and was being pulled into the vortex of Fear Street mania. The mania began when the ‘it’ crowd of my class and my best friends started reading the book series by R.L. Stine. Literally, everyone talked about it at school. It was a crazy and wild cult among us schoolchildren. Bieber Fever and the Twilight craze put together is nothing compared to this (not really).

Due to that, I was (and still am) grateful for the peer pressure I endured back then, as it was the turning point for me when the love for reading started to seep into my being. Reading became my passion. Since, and then. (And this is saying a lot, considering the fact that I constantly change, hobby-wise. What I fancy today, I may detest tomorrow.)

So, there you go. An excerpt of my when-did-I-start-being-a-bibliophile.

Now, with all that being said, I hereby announce my forthcoming personal project. A reading project. ‘Why?’ you may ask. Well, you see, I haven’t been reading much in two or three years. I suppose being busy with work, school and all that takes a toll on my reading time. And I really miss reading (ditto going to bookstores). So, I think it’s best to compile a proper list of books that I wish to and should read, and then from there, create a reading campaign. Mayhap by doing this, I will make a real effort to read instead of just putting it off because I don’t have time to do so.

Anyway, the list will contain, at most, one-hundred books of greatest literature which I’ll choose and pick from the endless book website links in Google and based on recommendations I get from avid readers. I haven’t started on this campaign hitherto as I’m yet to produce the to-be-read book list. However, I do have the first book to read in mind. Well, since John Steinbeck’s East of Eden is one of the greatest books and one of my all-time favourites, ’tis only fitting to start off this project with a book written by the said author. And the novel in question will be The Grapes of Wrath.

Having said that, let us just hope my incessantly-low monetary supply can afford to buy all them books.

Written by SZA

25 December 2010 at 5:52 PM

Posted in School, Things I Do

7 Responses

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  1. Very Nice website. I built mine and i was looking for some design ideas and you gave me a few. May i ask you whether you developed the website by youself?


    Antoinette Rothbauer

    4 January 2011 at 12:58 PM

  2. […] my lunch break. A brilliant idea it was, because I could finally get a good reading-starter for my book campaign and at the same time buy my lunch and get out of the humdrum office for a moment. So drive to The […]

    The Kick-off « Soliloki

    6 January 2011 at 7:08 PM

  3. Salaam Sharifah. you can really tell how much a person reads by how she writes, and your blog-writing is amazing 🙂 do share your list of recommended books, as adding a list of good literature to my non-academic reading books would be great! i must admit i don’t read much. i only get to brag about having read “to kill a mockingbird” just because our teacher made us read them for English back in school (i’m thankful she made us read it. and it felt like such a big achievement for reading it two more times on my own!). and then there’s murakami’s “kafka on the shore” in my list, because that’s the thickest book i’ve ever finished. I should really try your recommended Steinbeck’s East of Eden then eh? just wondering, is that written in first person?


    17 January 2011 at 9:01 PM

    • Waʾalaikumussalām, O my-very-first-real-commentor-and-the-others-are-just-spams.

      Aww, Kayla. Thank you. You are just too good for my ego :). Well, actually, ‘serious literature’ was not really my cuppa tea until I started to read East of Eden. I’m pretty finicky when it comes to choosing what I read, and obviously that limits my range of reading topics (and thus, the reading project). Yes, I know what you meant when you said that reading a good literature from front to back felt like a massive achievement :D. I felt exactly that after I finished reading The Diary of Anne Frank that our English teacher forced us to read.

      Yes, you should try East of Eden. I do not quite remember if it was written in first person or otherwise (ha, so much for being my favourite book, I cannot even remember the writing style :P). Personally, I do not like reading books written in first person. It sort of confines the characters’ POVs, no?

      Anyway, I do not have my book list yet. Maybe I shall have one soon, InšāʾAllāh. Or maybe I will just read whatever strikes my fancy as I go along. Oh, by the way, most probably I will get my book recommendations from these sites: and Feel free to check them out! 🙂


      18 January 2011 at 9:59 PM

      • oh, didn’t know that spam could also post comments nowadays! same here, I read Diary of Anne Frank also because of English class, and also Lord of the Flies (long before I knew about Lord of the Rings). And guess what, most of the books that actually kept me reading page to page are the ones written in first person! hehe. First person writing is definitely my kinda book. I guess it’s easier for me to get ‘into’ the character in some ways, or make the plot easier to relate sort of la kan, at least that’s to me. Oh I haven’t read any good books in such a long time. The latest that was not a novel was Malcolm Gladwell’s The Outliers and in the process is Tipping Point. I’ve been so buried with research stuff that few months back decided to read Breaking Dawn (still only like one-tenth through) after watching all the 3 Twilight Sagas (and did I mention I’m 30?). Then picked up at the airport my first copy of Sophie Kinsella’s novel (as I’ve always heard friends reading her collection, and thought I needed a light reading in the plane). Not bad gak la actually general novels ni to read kadang2 kan. But now, from you, I feel the urge to read more classics! You suka buku2 Haruki Murakami? I only liked Kafka on the shore, tried reading the Wild Sheep Chase tapi mcm tak best sangat. My friend strongly recommended Norwegian Wood – really have to read that before watching the movie. Ok, such long reply. I can really get carried away. Oh I’m going on a road trip soon, I should really get a copy of East of Eden then 🙂


        20 January 2011 at 8:54 PM

        • Yeah, you are right about that; first-person writing style can get you intimately immersed with the story. Like you are the character itself rather than observing the plot as an outsider. Hm, The Outliers and Tipping Point, eh? Those two sound interesting. Mayhap I shall check them out.

          LOL. Oh, a thirty-year-old reading Twilight sagas is not a tragedy, believe you me. ‘Tis the fanatic ‘Twimoms’ that I have seen on Oprah are the ones that make you cringe with embarrassment :oops:. I do not know why, but when a book turns into a film fad, I just cannot get myself to read the book :?. That is why I stopped reading Harry Potter book series. Entahlah kenapa. So lucky me that I had read Arthur Golden’s Memoirs of a Geisha and Vikas Swarup’s Q & A way before they were made into films.

          Ha, memang betul sangatlah tu. General novels (which I think is an euphemism for chick-lit) are not bad at all. I have read some. They were fairly good, despite the cliché characters; cheating hubby, domineering mother, gay & bubbly friends, et cetera. Tapi belum pernah lagi baca Sophie Kinsella punya, although I have been getting wild raves about her books.

          I have seen loads of Murakami’s books before but never actually picked one up in a bookshop and gave it a try. I think I will add one or two to my TBR book list.

          Wow, a road trip! Ooh, I very lah the jealous :P. Have fun, Kayla! And have a safe trip, too :D!


          23 January 2011 at 10:03 AM

  4. You are a very clever person!

    Levi Neidecker

    18 January 2011 at 6:18 AM

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