Bookworm Interview 1: with Maddy M from SM Books And Collectibles
Welcome to Fadima Mooneira Bookworm Interview episode 1. Starting the year 2020, I plan to do bookworm interview series on my blog. This interview is open to any bookworms to participate in. For the first episode, I interviewed Maddy M - an entrepreneur, and the owner of SM Books and Collectibles. Maddy M sells books and she is definitely a bookworm. Maddy M is also a blogger for books and travel. You can check her blogs in her profile below...
Maddy M's Profile
I identify myself as the owner of SM Books and Collectibles (because in this world of the gig economy, I cannot definitely say I work as this or that).
I am a book lover, book collector, and book merchant. I am interested in many things, but for the purpose of this interview let’s just see me as a bibliophile, yes? All four corners of my bedroom are lined with bookshelves and stacks of books. I also have a strange habit of collecting magazine covers (I would tear the cover page after reading, put it in a clear pocket and file it according to its publication date).
Social Media Links:
(both are my personal journals, but people are most welcome to read)
1. When did you first start reading for pleasure?
When I was around 12 or 13 years old, if I remembered correctly. Prior to that, I was practically forced to read a book – what a pity!
2. Hehehe... I was also forced to read too when I was around your age. But that makes me started to love books. So what is the first book/novel you read?
The first book I read – the one that spurred my love for reading until today – is the Nancy Drew series. The first Nancy Drew book I read is titled The Mysterious Mannequin... I don’t have the book with me now; it was borrowed from the library.
3. What genre do you read?
I read all genres, be it fiction or non-fiction. But I read some genres more than others. Until today fantasy never goes wrong with me, so I usually go for the fantasy section first during every bookstore visit. I also read mystery, though I don’t read many authors under that genre – I read, amongst others, Agatha Christie, the Sherlock Holmes and Nancy Drew series, as well as that Japanese mystery manga, the Kindaichi Shounen series. For relaxation, during stressful times I also enjoy young adult fiction and some Malay romantic novels.
4. Do you judge a book by its cover?
Yes of course! The cover and the blurb both play vital parts in helping me decide whether to buy the book or not. Unless the book is a part of a series which is needed to complete my collection – in this case I would still buy it even if it has a blank cover, haha!
5. What is your all-time favorite book/novel and why? Do you repeat reading it?
Hmm, this one is a tough question to answer for me! To say one book is my all-time favorite would be unfair to the thousands of books that I have yet to read. Who knows, today I said I like this book, and then tomorrow I will be reading another book that I would love even more?
Anyway, as of the time I answered this question, I can say I love Agatha Christie’s Cat Among the Pigeons. It was the first Agatha Christie book I read and it secured me as her avid reader to this day. The story – of course not very pleasant, because of all those deaths - nevertheless is satisfying. However, I never repeat reading Cat Among the Pigeons because that book was not mine, it was borrowed from the library.
6. Awesome! Agatha Christie is one of the best authors of all-time. Would you recommend your favorite book / novel to other bookworms?
I will only recommend if I know the other person will also like and appreciate the book. I will never recommend a crime-thriller to someone who loves chick-lit, for example.
7. Who is your favorite author?
Agatha Christie. Her stories have the right amount of suspense without being too gory, and I like that. I also love the fact that her plot are not too fast-paced – she gave enough clues for readers to try and guess who is the criminal before the main protagonist revealed it.
8. What ambiance do you prefer for reading? Quiet at home or somewhere green and serene?
I can read anywhere as long as it’s quiet and nobody’s watching behind my back. The ideal situation when I read is to be in a world of my own where I ignore everybody and everybody ignores me. It will be just me and the book.
9. How’s the reading culture in your country?
I believe the reading culture among Malaysians are improving now compared to, like, ten years ago. Recent research also showed that Malaysians now read around 12 to 15 books per year, which is an improvement compared to the previous embarrassing record of two pages per year. Ironically, book publishers in Malaysia are not doing well nowadays and many publication houses are downsizing their business, or worse, closing down. At the same time, based on my observation, individual booksellers selling online and also at flea markets are getting so much attention from readers out there. I am also one of those small booksellers, and I can see some patterns regarding our reading culture – though I cannot say this is the absolute truth:
- People are looking for good books from the past that is now out of print. This actually made me wonder whether newer books are not that good compared to older books, thus explaining why book publishers nowadays cannot do much sales of their new products. It is not about pricing. People are willing to pay a hefty price to get very good, rare and out-of-print books.
- Malaysian history and culture books, especially published in the Malay language, are very much sought after. Ditto Malay literature books from our National Laureates.
- As for children’s books, people are looking for the cheap ones. Sometimes they don’t mind very worn-out books as long as it’s cheap. I observed that some parents seemed not willing to pay too much for their kids even if it means investing in a new book.
10. I agree with your points. Do you have any ideas on how to improve the reading culture in your country?
For me, it is down to what makes people don’t want to read at the first place. Is it because reading materials are too expensive? Is it plain laziness? No time to read? Or are there any other unknown reasons? We have to tackle the problem based on that reason. Meanwhile, for people who never try to read because they are just too lazy, I wish we have some sort of mechanism that can force people to read at least one interesting book and get the realization that reading is a wonderful hobby. Have you ever read Haruki Murakami’s The Strange Library? I know, it’s heartless to lock people up in a library and force them to read, but you get the idea... what if we can give these people a chance to see that reading is actually an enjoyable thing to do?
If you are a bookworm and want to be feature on my blog, pls feel free to contact and email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) your answers to the 10 questions below.
That's all for now. Thank you for reading ^_^
Fadima Mooneira ^_^
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