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Tuesday, 7 July 2015

On Fear, Writing, and Life

Three stories up. Unforgiving concrete below. My heart was hammering in my throat as I swung my leg over the balustrade of the balcony, and I froze, suddenly and acutely aware that dying was a possibility if I messed this up.

But I had to get out of the house. Everything I wanted was out of the house. I simply couldn’t stay in the house any longer.

Climbing from my balcony to my next door neighbour’s balcony was the only way out, since there was a party in the street below and many guests had parked their motorbikes and were sitting at tables right outside my front door. I didn’t know how long the party was going to continue. Eyeing the celebrations below me, I wondered how traumatic it might be for the guests if a phalang (foreigner) suddenly crashed their party—literally.

Monday, 6 July 2015

10 books that have influenced my life in some way

When a friend recently challenged me to list ten books that have influenced my life in some way, I was presented with two problems. The first was the painful process of whittling my favourites down to just ten. I hummed and hawed over the issue for several days and had to suppress some serious feelings of guilt at 'betraying' some of my other favourites before reaching any kind of resolution. The second was the frustrating feeling that Facebook (where the challenge was circulating) wasn't an adequate platform for conveying just how much I loved these books. After all, as Jorge Luis Borges wrote, 'I am all the writers that I have read, all the people that I have met... all the cities that I have visited.' To redress that wrong, therefore, here are my picks in the order that I discovered them, alongside some of my favourite book covers and quotes for each.

1. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Lord of the Rings Fellowship Collins edition book
Collins edition (2002)