Arts and Entertainment

Faith in fantasy and fiction

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Aug 31, 2015-

Chief Editor of the comic magazine, Otaku Next, Shalini Rana, is also the author of The Ballad of a Pirate. A graduate of Kingston University, she is a project manager at Home Builder Production and also a board member of Children of the Mountain. The Post’s Timothy Aryal caught up with Rana and talked about her love for reading. Excerpts:

How did you first come to love books?

For as long as I can remember I have loved books. But it was my mother who instilled a love for them in me. She was an avid reader; she could not go to bed without reading a book. I would pick the books that she would be reading and flip through them. That’s how I was drawn to reading when I was a kid.

What was the last book that you read and how did you like it?

Palace of Illusion by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. It was written from the perspective of Draupadi—a character from Mahabharata. It shows Draupadi’s struggle in the patriarchal world.  I liked how the writer dealt with the characters and created an alternative version of the popular Hindu myth for us to delve in. It is the best book I have read in a while.

What is your favourite genre, and why?

Fiction; it is always an amazing experience to lose yourself in the virtual world of imagination. A good work of fiction can go so far as to change your perspective of life. Also, it is quite interesting to know the perspectives the characters in fictional worlds carry with them.

How do you select books to read?

I take recommendations from my friends. I browse through reviews on the internet. And once in a while, when I happen to visit bookstores, I just pick books spontaneously.

What is good writing for you? What would you say makes a good writer?

I think simplicity is what makes a great writer great. Along with simplicity, the writer should present his story logistically. I quite like writers who build honest, relatable characters. I love books which have characters I can relate to and those who create an impulse within me. Characters are the soul of a good piece of fiction.

How have books affected your life?

That’s an interesting question. I think books have heavily affected the way I think. One important thing that a reader can take away from a good book is experience. You can learn about the conditions of human lives from all over the world while sitting in your room. That’s how powerful a book is. I think books have infused into me various kinds of experiences and emotions.

One book that has inspired you a lot, and why?

I tend to recommend books to my friends as per their taste. If I had to recommend just ‘one’ book, it would surely be The Tiger for Breakfast: The story of Boris in Kathmandu. The book, written by Michel Peissel, is a second person account of Russian explorer Boris Lisanevich. It is an account of how Boris happened to come to Nepal and his struggles during his stay in this mountainous country of ours and his adventures. It also introduces us to a Nepal of 60 years ago. I think this is one book all Nepalis should read.

Your advice for general readers?

Discover your taste first. My suggestion would be: start out with light reads and read as much as you can. Reading books should not be a burden. You should be able to get information as well as entertainment from the books you read.

Published: 31-08-2015 09:41

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