I started making my 2021 reading list sometime in the last quarter of 2020. I wrote down the names of books I’d read about or heard about (from friends and in the many book-focused podcasts I listen to). The list got longer and longer and continues to lengthen as I continue to add to it. It now comprises one-hundred-and-fourteen titles and I have started on some of them, and completed two (one audiobook at the end of last year, and one e-book this year). Oh, the list doesn’t include the eleven books that the book club I belong to has scheduled for this year, nor some of the book I am currently reading.
I don’t believe I will read all the books on my list, but it’s a useful list, obviously. My reading is guided by my moods and so, who knows what I will end up reading.
I’ve spent a fair bit of time since Malaysia’s first lockdown period began, in March 2020, cataloguing my book collection. Last week, I started on my South-east Asian (including Malaysian) books and have found myself thinking that I should spend a year reading only these books. I’ve also thought how lovely it’d be to devote a whole year doing nothing but re-reading. Maybe next year …
I doubt I’ll finish another book between now and 1st January, so here are the books I read in 2020, not counting picture books.
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I’ve been thinking of writing a personal memoir that has a house I lived in as a child as its centre. Although I lived in 281 Jalan Pawang for only eight years (from age three to eleven), this house had a huge impact on my life and my imagination, and it continues to be a source of inspiration in my writing.
This blog post describes the house in terms of it being haunted. It’s what comes up most frequently when my sisters and I reminisce about living there, but of course it was much more than that. Those years I lived at 281 were definitely the happiest of my childhood. My best friend lived across the street; we had a large beautiful garden filled with flowering shrubs and fruit trees; my mother’s siblings and their families, and my grandmother (before she died, when I was eight) and great-grand mother came to us for large, loud and merry reunions every Christmas and Chinese New Year; there was even one morning when I looked out the window and saw a pony in the garden.
I’m going to push myself to work on this. My tendency is to think about writing for a long time (years even) before even putting down a single word, but I don’t have time to wait. I would like this book to be written before I turn seventy. Is that too ambitious?
I did the #bookwormchallenge on Instagram, but had to edit my answers because of the word limit.
Here is the unedited post, in case you’re interested in learning more about me and my reading-related preferences.
Why do you love to read?
I love stories, and I love reading about different lives, types of people, and worlds. Reading and liking a new book is like meeting a really cool person. Old books are like old friends.
My parents and my older sisters read to me before I could read, and the feeling of being read to is one of the best in the world. I enjoy listening to audio books and I do it when I’m cooking and hanging out/folding the laundry. The narrator has to be right though. Otherwise, it can spoil the experience and the book. Im struggling with the book I’m reading now (The Red Threads of Fortune) and the one before it (The Black Tides of Heaven), both by Neon Yang because the narrator puts on accents I find jarring.
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