Readers: In Their Own Words is a series in which we pose four questions to some of Wardah's top readers. These are their answers:
Salaam! Could you introduce yourself?
I am in my mid 40s. I buy too many books and read too much fiction. A mother of 3 young adult children between 13 to 20. A loyalty marketing consultant by day and a student of Qur’an by night. Oh. I am also a personal shopper of books for my friends.
What motivates you to read regularly?
My mother reads. Mostly novels. So I remember weekends when we would go to town and visit a small book rental store in Central Market. She would have her stack of books and I would have my own stack of books. And that was how I grew up. Reading. I don't think I know how to do anything else but read. (I started to wear spectacles from when I was 7 years old).
Reading is my escape. Reading is travelling for me. I am in awe of words. Most days I read young adult fiction (This genre has really pretty good Muslim authors). Some days, I read my Qur’an books as part of my Qur’an study journey. In between these, I read positive psychology books and anything that can help improve my spirituality. And I can tell you that I find spirituality even in young adult fiction. Words that can summarise my feelings and emotions and spiritual state in that particular moment.
This quote by Alberto Manguel says it perfectly:
"Maybe this is why we read, and why in moments of darkness we return to books: to find words for what we already know."
Do you have a specific reading method?
I don’t have any specific method. My reading is really driven by my emotional state at that particular time. I always carry one book with me all the time. But I do like to have a highlighter and sticky note nearby so I can mark the words that I want to refer back to. And I love sharing these words with my friends.I am blessed in the sense that I have a reading space and time to read peacefully accompanied by a cup of coffee. The only challenge for me is that most days, it is a battle between fiction and my Qur’an study books.
Amongst all the books you've read, what are 3 titles you find yourself recommending to others all the time, and why?
Only 3? This is hard!
1) If The Oceans Were Ink by Carla Power
Why? I love how the author is so objective in her writing and that she captured so much wisdom of Sh Akram Nadwi in this book.
2) The Gratitude Diaries by Janice Kaplan
I always tell people that if you want to do a tafseer on gratitude, this is the book to read.
3) Nearness To You by Nur Fadhilah Wahid and The Secrets of Divine Love by A. Helwa
Both are authors that I aspire to be. When I read their writings, I feel like I am having a conversation with my best friend. I would label their writings as the captured wisdom.