A few weeks ago, my Facebook book club, Kuala Lumpur Book Appreciation Club, had a little project of sorts. Members were encouraged to post photos for a few days on a theme of their choosing. Mine was "the ways books made me happy".
1. they Record history
I am part of a unique culture that is quickly fading away: I'm Peranakan, which means I descended from Chinese who moved to then-Malaya more than a hundred years ago. These Chinese - called Peranakan or Baba (for the men) and Nyonya (the women) - adopted local Malay culture and have a very unique culture. In a way, our culture is a cross between Chinese and Malay traditions. Unfortunately, Peranakans are fast fading from the pages of history because descendants like me don't carry on the unique traditions. Although Peranakan food is still a strong force in Malaysia, we rarely see modern Peranakans walk around in kebayas anymore. Perhaps we should change that? Still, books like Lee Su Kim's Kebaya Tales keep the history alive.
2. Great dining companions
No one to eat with during lunch? Never fear! Bring a book. That's my No.1 favourite thing to do when I'm at my favourite restaurant - read a good book while I tuck into a good meal. So, yes ... sometimes I prefer to dine "alone".
3. Writing aid
Yes, the No.1 method to become a better writer is to a) write a lot b) finish your s**t. But the No.2 method? Read lots of books on writing. And read a lot, in general.
4. Sleep aid
Forget sleeping pills. Books help me go to sleep. Maybe it's the lull of a good story or maybe it's the act of reading itself. But nothing tells my brain to relax and let go of the day's troubles than a good book.
I never understood why self-help books get a bad rap because they've helped me become a better person. Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover helped me become (mostly) debt free. Dale Carnegie's books helped me cultivate a more positive mindset. I can go on, but it would probably take a whole page. In the past, books can only be read by the elite. But now, books are widely available. Why don't we learn from the wisdom of the ages - now packaged in a nice little bundle?
6. Kindle magic
I can carry a library of hundreds of books in a small, slim device that barely weighs anything. Now, what can be a more wonderful to the reader than that? It's a good time to be a reader, thanks to wonderful devices like the Kindle.