my public {mini} library trip

Sometime earlier this year I decided to visit a local mini library to check it out.
I visited it once when it first started; albeit out of curiosity.
It left me feeling really sad.
Feeling Malaysiana off late, I went to check it out again to see it’s progress and enquire if there’s any way I can contribute to the library.
iPhone Photo by Penelope Haque
This time around there were more shelves and it was bursting with books. But they weren’t organized and the selection was poor.
To be fair, very few people have the same reading interest as me.
Very few people would read what I read … though occasionally I pick up Robert Ludlum, Neil Gaiman, but mostly the likes of Haruki Murakami, Arundhati Roy, Jhumpa Lahiri, Salman Rushdie, Nora Ephron, Sue Townsend … and the odd copies of random authors for the heck of it including classics like Fyodor Dostoyevsky!

These however are read mostly in transit in airport lounges and hotel rooms. Or in the car park as a pick me up before I face a new day at work.
Mostly, on any ordinary day I read weird biography of unknown people, war, history and for some unfathomable reason behavioural economics and some graphic novels.  
I decided to get myself registered as a borrower – wow! how exciting … I feel 9 again
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FYI: that’s about when I first started reading; involuntarily and had my first library card.
Then, I went about combing every shelf, determine to leave with at least 2 books.
Close to giving up – no way was I borrowing some chick flick on girls, bangles and papadom by the likes {or wannabes} of Sophie Kinsella, or books on Chinese herbs confinement cooking, or corny titles that includes the word “bitch” to grab attention – I finally stumbled upon Murakami’s Dance, Dance, Dance.
Though half certain I have it on my shelf and potentially having read it in the past, I still grabbed it and held it close to my chest. Not out of fear of someone else yanking it away from me. There really was 5 other people in the library; not including the librarian. 3 kids playing at the computer and 2 ladies frantically looking and collecting all Chinese broth books! 
I did that purely with a silly superstition that the find may just bring me some luck … as if it was the tip of the iceberg, though intellectually I knew this was not the case. After some 30 minutes I decided to chat-up the librarian. It appears that they would be more than pleased to take donations and I had promised to boxed up some of my books for them … my peculiar interest forgotten for a moment.  
Returning to the only shelf that I have not combed, bending into two while sitting cross-legged on the floor, I found this purple looking book with a sketch on it: Confession of an Old Boy by Kam Raslan.
hmmm…
Not exactly the type of book I would buy.
OK. I am a snob.
I don’t buy and support local authors, other than Lat! Even then they were gifts for friends {Malaysians and foreigners} living abroad.
But wait, the name sounds familiar. Isn’t he the bloke that has heritage or was it cultural walks around Kuala Lumpur? The mat salleh looking bloke.
Hang on! That’s it. He’s Granpopsie Robbie’s friend.
And with that, Kam Raslan’s book cam home with me along with Murakami’s Dance, Dance, Dance.
I dug into Confessions of an Old Boy immediately and it consumed me for the weekend.
It was witty, dark, and so very pom! 
I loved it! I would recommend it to anyone.
If you’re Malaysian, you should so read it. If you are circa the generation of my mother who went through May 13th and all those shit, or even survived and witness how Malaya turned into Malaysia, you will totally relate to it.
And finally yes, we all know a Dato’ Hamid in our live. 

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