Books: My Hedonism

I don’t want to talk about exams other than to say that it was the hardest exam of my whole life and I am done grieving and worrying. I am going to stop ruminating. Done! Finito! Khalas!

Whether I pass or fail is something I only need to worry about in one month time (when the result will be announced or e-mailed to me). In the mean time, I am going to enjoy myself.

Be hedonistic.

Be carefree.

Get utterly lost in my internal world of adventurous heroes and daring women in all those books I am currently reading and will be reading.

I am also going to stop feeling guilty for being hedonistic for now (I kind of deserve it, right? After all those months of grueling midnight oil burning…I deserve a down time, kan?)

My reasoning goes something like this: I shouldn’t feel any guilt for putting off studying now because at the moment I don’t know what to study, anyway. If I pass this exam (Part A), then I will have to study the syllabus for my next exam of part B. Whereas if I fail this exam, I will have to re-study my syllabus in part A. Since I don’t know my exam result yet, I don’t know which part to (re)study anyway. So, I might as well just enjoy myself. Because by the time the result comes out,  I simply would not have the time to be hedonistic anymore regardless of which part of the syllabus I have to (re)study.

So at the Changi Airport the next day after my exam, while awaiting to board my flight to KLIA, I went a little crazy buying books. Even though I know that buying books in Malaysia will be heaps cheaper than in Singapore, but I just couldn’t help myself. I have always had some problems with delayed gratification. I gratify myself stat, if I can help it. I practice delayed gratification if I really have no choice. I subscribe to the idea propagated by Oscar Wilde when he said “The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it” (Ah…what a wise man, especially when I desperately needed a quote to justify my impulsive spending.)

To take care of the guilt, instead of buying merely commercial books, I also bought one modern literature by a Turkish author, Orhan Pamuk… and also a classic literature by Rudyard Kippling. I have mentioned before that I like to force myself to read literature even though I always enjoy commercial fictions heaps more. Literature upgrades your reading repertoire to a level of sophistication that you will feel proud of when you discuss your reading with fellow readers. Trust me, if you are a reader, you will feel really embarrassed if you have to admit to other readers that you don’t read literature. If you have ever been a part of a readers forum or a readers whatsapp group, you will know what I mean. Seriously…readers can be really snobbish sometimes (Alas, I admit this failing in myself. We do judge you based on what you read or don’t read. Of course, we only do the judging in our head without telling you. If your reading is too impressive, we will feel quite jealous of you and won’t want to even admit it out loud. If your reading is lacking, we will be too polite to say it to your face.  So don’t worry…all the judging that we do will only be inside our head; it won’t ever translate into how we treat you as a person, hahah…well, mostly.).  So, you must keep up and force yourself to read literatures so that you can brag about the latest classic literature you have read and have analyzed to your heart’s content.  And make sure you remember some quotes that you can use to show off with. (Hahha. We  readers are a competitive lot! But we won’t admit it. On the surface, it’s all friendly bantering, of course.)

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Exactly right!  Does it make sense now why readers silently and unconsciously judge each other’s reading habits? We are trying to see the sort of person you are. Whether or not we should extend a hand of friendship towards you. I have even heard stories of how readers fall in love with each other because they have read similar books and have similar thoughts about the books they have read. I tell you, the connection is electric!

So, shall I show you the first book I have read after my exam? 😉

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The Midas Code by Boyd Morrison : not literature, just simple, fun fiction of adventure and cunning wit. I love it! Finished it in two days! You may read the reviews for this book at Goodreads

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A Strangeness In My Mind by Orhan Pamuk: This is a modern literature! This is the book that will increase my self-esteem the next time I discuss my reading with the rest of my reading mates. Hahaha. (Yeah, forgive my narcissism. But at least, I am honest about it).I am currently reading it at the page 146. It has 700+ pages. Usually, I can finish reading 700 pages in 3 days. But bear in mind that this is literature; not commercial fiction. I can only read a few chapters of it in a day because it is so heavy. Filled with messages and imageries, and facts about life in Turkey after World War II and the passing of Kamal Ataturk . What do you expect from Orhan Pamuk, a Nobel Prize winner for literature in 2006?! He is the superstar of the literary world. You can only take him in small doses. He is too great to be gulped. He must be slowly savoured. (So, for the rest of the day, I read other commercial junks. Haha). As a very competitive reader, I feel slightly mollified knowing that others have taken 2 months to finish reading this one. Just to beat them, I will try to finish it in one month. More bragging point for me, lol!  For the reviews of this book, please click Goodreads.

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Plain Tales From The Hills by Rudyard Kipling: Everyone knows Rudyard Kipling, right? He wrote The Jungle Book which I had read when I was 17 in MRSM Langkawi. And of course, we all have learned his poem ‘If’ in high school, arguably the best coming-of-age poem that ever has been created! Rudyard Kipling is a gem! Unfortunately, If and The Jungle Book are the only ones of his works that I am familiar with. So I was very pleased to find this book Plain Tales From The Hills (a collection of short stories) by Rudyard Kipling in the store. I couldn’t wait to start on this book. This is also another book that will puff up my self-esteem to the sky! No readers would ever look down on Rudyard Kipling, I assure you. He may not be Chaucer or Shakespeare, but he is really a decent enough read without being too heavy.

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The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins: This is a commercial fiction that has been made into a film. I haven’t watched the film yet. I am going to finish this book first before I hunt for the movie. This book was recommended to me by a fellow reader whose taste in books I have trusted in the past. So when I saw this book at the airport, I made a grab for it with no hesitation. This is the link to the book’s review if you are interested: Goodreads

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I also bought a couple of non-fiction books out of pure interest.

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I picked up the book The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, simply because I am a psychiatric MO and happiness sounds like my core business. I don’t know what this book is about but I am looking forward to reading it at the earliest opportunity. It says on the book cover that this book is #1 New York Times Bestseller, so hopefully I would enjoy it even though it is a non-fiction. I don’t usually buy non-fiction, you know. I think I have read enough non-fiction to last me a lifetime (in the form of textbooks and academic notes that I have been ploughing through ALL MY LIFE!) But occasionally, I do give non-fiction a try. For example, I have bought A Doctor In The House (by Tun Dr. Mahathir) and I have also bought Nelson Mandela’s biography. But like I said, non-fictions are not my favourites at all.

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I decided to buy A History of God by Karen Armstrong simply because this book is so famous that you must at least know about it even if you don’t read it cover to cover. This is the book that everyone who searches for God would have come across at one time or another in their lives. We are lucky that we are born into Islam. Not everyone is as fortunate as us. Some have listed down all religions that exist out there and actually cross them out one by one by reading on them or experiencing the religion itself…until they arrive to the truth. And this book is one of the books recommended to be read. This book is for the searching souls who don’t want to simply believe what is told. Instead they want to believe after having understood. I have glimpsed this book when I was a medical student in Newcastle. The book was available in my uni’s library. But I was always too busy to properly read it back then. So this time, I decided to keep this book in my own collection and read it in my own sweet time just for the sake of a well-rounded knowledge into the history of religion. I don’t know when I am going to be able to start on this. After all,  this is a non-fiction, and I have all these enticing fictions around to distract me. Furthermore, I have my own academic studying to do, which is very non-fiction in and of itself.  (And knowing me, I keep non-fiction to a bare minimum). So, we’ll see.

I am going to get back to my reading now. Until we meet again, dear readers!

In the mean time, please pray for my success.

ADIOS!

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