Until I attended this event last night, I hadn’t known how much the National Library Board (NLB) has done to promote reading and writing among the community. I was invited to the event as I belong to the Singapore Literature Club, a book club for reading of books by Singapore authors, which was started by Sharmima, a fellow writer I met when I participated in the memoir writing workshop conducted by NLB two years ago. Sharmima is an active member of NLB, as she traverses the island to attend the various book clubs and writing workshops at different libraries. Also actively involved is Grace, another memoir classmate who started with the Queenstown library book club in the 80s and is still volunteering as a story teller to kids at the library.
I found out all this when we played book lovers bingo last night in a warm up game as we went around, getting names to questions such as (who) : has read a comic book this year – Myka for Blanket , has visited at least 10 public libraries – Florence , can recall all the books their book club discussed in 2016 – Hena Roy, likes to write – Wu Xun, published two Chinese books.
Then we were divided into small groups to discuss the last book we had read. My group was facilitated by Soon Huat, a librarian in charge of Heartland Book Club at Bukit Batok Library. They meet every last Friday at 5pm and since I have to miss my Singapore Literature Club meeting due to my MA class, I might just join them.
It was a diverse group reading list. Although I last read Xinran’s Sky Burial, I decided to talk about A Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng, so as to promote this book. My neighbour Pei Jin, a publisher with Ethos, read a book on publisher. Serene, who is also with Singapore Literature Club, spoke about Between Stations by Boey Kim Cheng. Poh read a investment book by ex local journalist, Sophie on a Jewish community, Edwin on Risk Taking, about women taking risks every time they choose a man to marry or have children (interesting for a man to read this – into my reading list). Clement, the youngest talked about a local fantasy book called Werewolves in Woodlands 😃, and Soon Huat spoke on a investment book written by his late classmate, a banker who succumbed to muscular disease after completing it. (I am impressed with my memory, especially on the names.)
I really enjoyed the evening and felt so at home in this social event of strangers that I am amazed, as I loathe small talks with strangers and had contemplated canceling when I heard my mentor Josephine and colleague Dev, who are both in Singapore Literature Club were not attending. I am glad I didn’t, for I would have missed getting my hands on these spectacular books which I have been eyeing before, all for free!
Thank you NLB, for all the work you have done. This reader fully appreciates it and I will definitely try to be more active.