Reading has made me the person I am today
Jul 19, 2015-
Prabin Bikram Thapa is a surgeon by profession. He is the chairman of the Department of Digestive Diseases, General Surgery and Laparoscopy Surgery at Grande International Hospital; he is also an associate professor of the Department of Surgery at Kathmandu Medical College. The Post’s Chiran Raj Pandey talked to him about his reading habits. Excerpts:
When and how was it that you became fascinated by books?
Books were my sleeping tablets since I was a kid. I could curl up in bed with a book and I wouldn’t know when night ended and morning started. During my student days in India, books used to be the cheapest source of entertainment.
What is your favourite genre and why?
Well, this has changed long since, as I’ve matured with age. During my childhood, I used to read a lot of thrillers. Later, I became infatuated with biographies of famous people. Then, as a professional for the last 20 years, my favourite genre has been thick volumes of textbooks. You have to change pace with time; otherwise you will be lost in the horizon.
What is good writing for you? What would you say makes a good writer?
Good books will have fun with words. They will make you dream about the author, know more about him/her. They will make you dream about writing books yourself. A good writer can give you goosebumps; some will make you feel like you’re the character.
How has reading affected your life?
Reading has made me the person I am today.
One book that has inspired you a lot and why?
Lee Iacocca’s bestselling autobiography, co-authored with William Novak and originally published in 1984 has inspired me quite a bit. Lacocca’s business acumen and entrepreneurship drove me to success as a young man.
How do you think books can be more accessible to the people in Nepal?
My younger brother Prajesh Thapa was involved in Doko Dai, a project involving mobile libraries to make books available for the underprivileged. Perhaps this model can be used in rural areas of Nepal. However in the long run, free Internet should be provided to all Nepali people so that universal access to e-books is available.
There are other factors that one must account for such a model, of course. This would be a very long-term project.
You co-authored a book on colorectal surgery recently. Do you also plan to write more books? And if yes, what kind of books?
Our first book was titled Gastrointestinal Surgery Series-Colorectal Surgery and was co-authored by Dr. Dhiresh Kumar Maharjan and me. The book has been quite successful; my elder brother Pradummna Thapa said our book was highlighted under ‘New Authors’ in Barnes and Noble in the US. This has encouraged us to write another series of textbooks targeting postgraduate students and junior students titled Hepatobiliary and Pancreas Surgery with Dr Tseten Y Tamang.
How do you think your academic discipline affects how you interpret books?
More than in the interpretation, my academic discipline affects the type of books I read. Every day, I read an hour on my subject material in order to update my knowledge and share it to my colleagues and students.
What would you say are the challenges in writing an academic book in Nepal?
Limited access to free journals in order to collect information and conduct secondary research is, I think, the greatest challenge in writing an academic book in Nepal. To print a single chapter from a journal, we had to pay $35; imagine how much it would cost to write an entire book?
Do you usually read paperback or on an e-reader? Which one do you enjoy more and why?
With change in time and technology, e-reading has been the most efficient way of reading anywhere and anytime. I find it very efficient and I prefer to read on an e-reader nowadays.
Your advice for young readers?
Keep reading and stay up-to-date with new technology and context.
Published: 20-07-2015 08:22