“The more you read, the more places you will go,the more places you go, the more things you will learn.”
― Dr. Seuss,
I sometimes wonder: had I not stumbled into investment banking 25 years ago, what career path would I have pursued? An English Literature teacher, a writer, or both? I love to read. I love to write and of course, I always have lots to say about everything and anything. LOL
For me, books are the most magical things. They allow me to live vicariously in another life, another place and another time at each turn of a page. I love the excitement of opening a book and finding a great first line that leaps off the page and stabs you in the eye. I love the musky smell of paper, yellowed with age. I love the sharp crisp smell of ink. It is like comfort food. Like having a bowl of soupy ramen noodles on a winter night miles away from home.
When I was younger, there were alot of things we couldn’t have on a whim. I grew up in a small town in Malaysia. There was only one bookstore which stocked a limited choice of storybooks, novels and flashy magazines. Most of these books especially by my favourite writer, Enid Blyton, were expensive imports from the UK.
Hence, storybooks were something my parents could not really splurged on us whenever they felt like it. To this day, books are always associated – at least in my mind – with a blessing. A gift. Something treasured. A special occasion.
For a small town girl, books flew me to places which I could only dream of, and embarked on reckless adventures which my parents frowned on.
When I was 9, my friends and I converted a space in my dad’s garage into a secret meeting place after reading Famous Five storybooks. Things came to head after a neighbour complained to our parents about us snooping in his backyard.
When I was 12, a couple of my friends were sent to boarding schools in UK. I begged and cried and nagged my parents for weeks to allow me to go too. When they finally asked me why on earth would I want to leave the comforts of home for a boarding school, I told them about how fun I thought boarding schools would be — just like Whyteleafe School from The Naughtiest Girl in School storybooks. “But it’s not real school. It’s a s-t-o-r-y,” my mother rolled her eyes and groaned.
When I was 16, I went to college and befriended Nell. Nell was from the City and she was worldly. She would change into street clothes after school and wore lipstick. We were in awe of her. More importantly, Nell introduced us to Mills and Boons. She had an endless supply of these deliciously naughty books with pictures of couples french-kissing on the covers and with their clothes way too tight, too low-cut, too scant. I would carefully wrap these books with the dust jackets from some hardcover reference books, just in case someone came into my room (cue: nosy pesky sibling)
Regardless of school week or term holidays, my parents were a stickler for early bedtime and would demand lights off by 9PM. I would read with a torchlight under the blanket way into the night so that my parents can’t see the light coming from under my bedroom door.
Now nearing five decades since my first book, my love affair with books have not wane one bit. There’s always a quick skip in my heart when I have a book in hand. I still love reading a book under the blanket with a mini reading light clipped at the top; until my better half decides to fart under the blanket.