Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Reader’s Haven

Malaysians read an average of two books a year. If you think the figure is shocking, consider what the national average was in the late 1970s and early 1980s: a miserable 2 PAGES per year! So, in the time span of about 30 years, jumping from two pages to two books is a great achievement. If we kept it up, in another thirty years—dare we dream?—Malaysians could be reading an average of 30 books a year!

Meanwhile our public libraries are stocked with a zillion books. Sometimes I wonder who actually read all these books. Within the last several months new libraries have sprouted all over the place. 
 Sabah now has:

Four regional libraries located at KK, Keningau, Tawau, Sandakan;
Nineteen branch libraries;
One hundred and nine village libraries.
That’s a total of 122 libraries not including the headquarters.

They’re havens for readers, these libraries. And a boon to book-lovers who find buying their own books an expensive affair. For a small yearly fee, members get to enjoy more books than they could read in their life time. And senior citizens pay nothing to become members!
The Penampang Library
I go to the Penampang library regularly—like once a week?—to read for free. There’re so many good books that I’m tempted to borrow more books than I could finish reading in a week. And although I could pick from thousands of books to take home, somehow I’m still searching for specific books which I’ve seen on the shelves but are now missing. And not missing for just a few months but for one or two years!

After reading Kublai Khan by John Man, I keep searching for his Genghis Khan but it has disappeared.  And so has Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. I read Glass Castle a few years ago and recommended it to a friend. That’s why I know it’s missing from the library.

 Now that Lincoln Corner has been moved to the Penampang library from the KK regional library, selecting books has become a little more difficult because there are more to choose from. If only I’m not such a slow reader. If only I could stop myself from re-reading the books I like. 

If only I could refrain from buying new books.

While my friends buy shoes and clothes and handbags, I walk around in well-worn clothes and flip-flops. I don’t remember the last time I bought a bag. Books are my only indulgence. I used to suggest to my friends—a little too pushy perhaps—to read this book and that book but I’ve toned down a wee bit. At my age, I can’t afford to lose friends. I know that not everybody likes to read. The national pastime, after all, is eating. But that’s another story!
BTW, my current read is The Help by Kathryn Stockett, a great novel about the plight of coloured maids working for white masters in the early sixties.

What are you reading?

Lincoln Corner at the Penampang Library

So many books to read for free!

More books...    


  1. nice to meet another book lover! i'm toggling between Six Great Ideas (Mortimer Adler) and the J.D.Robb murders right now.

  2. Hi Tina,
    Lol you're funny Tina!

    I'm reading MYOB software for dummies now. I know this is a lame book to read, but I need it. I'm doing book keeping for husband at the moment. Last software I used was UBS, still similar to MYOB but different. I can't wait to finish with it, I'm sooo eager to get back to my Australia series. You know the famous 12 books by Vivian Stuart? I'm up to the third book now.

    Cheers Tina! :-)

  3. Great post, I am reading Doris Lessing's The Golden Notebook.Quite a depressing read.

  4. Hi rugs! Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment. Glad to 'meet' you too! Enjoy your books!

    Gunagz, I can almost feel your impatience to be done with MYOB so you could go back to your Vivian Stuart! No, I don't know the 'famous 12 books'! Tell us... like blog about it?!!

    STC, thanks for popping in. I've never read any of Ms Lessing's books.
    I'm going to get some of the books on the local bestseller list. Can't wait to read 'The Man From Borneo' and some of the fiction!

  5. Hi Tina,
    I know now why we connect :) It's the book and words factors. Anyway, like you, I can't leave a bookstore empty-handed. Yesterday I bought five new novels by Nora Roberts, Sandra Brown, Tilly Bagshawe and Danielle Steel, justifying that I still have 3 weeks of medical leave left so I'd be needing them! Haha...I know I'd find all kind of excuses to buy books :)

  6. Glad to meet another book lover who's quite addicted to books. Enjoy your novels, Verone! I, too, bought a small pile just yesterday. Will keep me out of trouble for several weeks.