We are voracious readers and it’s interesting to note that we have different tastes on literary genre, the same way that we have different fashion styles. So we’re opening our bookshelves to you (the same way we opened our bags
) and will share you what our favorite books are so you have an idea what’s the best books in the city to kill boredom.
First up is the shelf of resident ice queen Sundrenched
, who recently celebrated her birthday
. Okay, before we show you her collection of books, may we just remind you that she’s just been in the Kingdom for a year and two months. If her book collection doesn’t tell you she’s quite a reader, we don’t know what will.
When asked when and where she got her reading habits, S said, “I started reading Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, Sweet Valley High, and pocketbooks when I was a kid. Who didn’t?! I’m not a picky reader. I even peruse brochures and flyers!” Sadly, she left all her books in the Philippines. “I didn’t buy a lot of books then (except for Bob Ong’s and Pugad Baboy) but I never fail to visit National Bookstore or Powerbooks whenever I go out. Even if I’m not buying, I just browse around.”
Now that’s she’s here in Riyadh, S has a small bookshelf bought from IKEA. Being narrow, her shelf is now full to the brim. Her books have overflowed to her couch, and bed, and side table… and practically anywhere in her room! She can finish one book in a day (if she’s not doing anything important). No wonder she has an eyesight of 250/250! Anyway, here’s what kept her pre-occupied for the year she’s been here in Riyadh:
TOP SHELF The Partner (John Grisham) / The Summons and The King of Torts (John Grisham)
L-R: Rage of Angels / Doomsday Conspiracy (Sidney Sheldon) / The Templar Legacy / The Third Secret / The Romanov Prophecy (Steve Berry) / The Afghan (Frederick Forsyth) / The Venetian Betrayal (Steve Berry)
S says of her collection, “I was surprised this grew into some sort of a mini library. Only three among those books came from the Philippines. Three came from amazon.com. Most of them are bought here in Riyadh. Reading has become my solitude when I went here. The first book I bought here is Nicholas Sparks’ The Rescue from Jarir Bookstore. I also bought and read Arab fashion magazines before just so I can see the difference between their mags and the ones I did in the Philippines.”
SECOND SHELF Water for Elephants (Sara Gruen) / In the Country of Men (Hisham Matar) / Born Under a Million Suns (Andrea Busfield)
L-R: The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini) / The Almost Moon (Alice Sebold) / The Bookseller of Kabul (Arne Seierstad) / The Time Traveler’s Wife (Audrey Niffenegger) / Saudi Customs and Etiquette / Vagabonding (Rolf Potts) / Hope for the Flowers (Trina Paulus) / Stolen Lives (Malika Oufkir) / The Story of Edgar Sawtelle (David Wroblewski) / The Hour I First Believed (Wally Lamb)
Her three main book genre are Middle Eastern novels, adventure/crime, and popular fiction. “I became interested in Middle Eastern fiction since I went here in the Kingdom. I want to know more about the Middle Eastern countries. They’re so different from our South East Asian culture yet as interesting. Meanwhile, I’ve always been a fan of Sidney Sheldon. I have read all his books. I like Steve Berry’s and John Grisham’s books because they’re very much like Dan Brown’s. Very intriguing and action-packed. Most of the other popular fiction I bought has movies out so before watching the movie, I read the book first.” You do not see any Harry Potter or Twilight books there because “I’m done with the 7 Harry Potter books in the Philippines. As for Twilight? Hmn, I will eventually pick up the vampire books and read them when all the rave die down. :P”
THIRD SHELF Brotherhood of the Holy Shroud (Julia Navarro) / The Client and The Street Lawyer (John Grisham)
L-R: A Thousand Splendid Suns (Khaled Hosseini) / Prisoner of Tehran (Marina Nemat) / The Memory Keeper’s Daughter (Kim Edwards) / Girls of Riyadh (Rajaa Al-Sanea) / The Rescue (Nicholas Sparks) / Love in a Torn Land (Jean Sasson) / The Coroner’s Lunch (Collin Cotterill) / The Attack (Yasmin Khadra) / The Sirens of Baghdad (Yasmin Khadra)
One thing though, S rarely re-read books. “I want my first impression on a book to stay, along with the learning and insight I gained. If it’s a really, really good book… then that’s a different story. It will be like a favorite movie that I watch over and over again.”
Her favorite books? “I would say Khaled Hosseini‘s The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns made me teary-eyed for the most part. Those books are sure tear-jerkers! I’m sure even guys will cry buckets, especially on The Kite Runner. Honeymoon in Purdah by Allison Weaving is also a good book. It’s such a good read that I sent it to the Philippines for a traveler girl friend to read. Vagabonding and Hope for the Flowers hold a special place in my heart because they were given by friends.” Her least favorite ones? “The Philippine Constitution from college! Hehe.”
Books waiting to be read.
T-B: No Country for Old Men (Crmac McCarthy) / The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd) / Three Cups of Tea (Greg Mortenson) / Gate of the Sun (Elias Khouny)
S is currently reading The Secret Life of Bees
. “It was turned into a movie in 2008 and before watching the screen version, I want to read it first. It’s a poignant read. My favorite insight from it so far? ‘You gotta imagine what’s never been.’ I can’t wait to finish this book.”
S is planning to buy the Steve Berry books she didn’t have yet (The Alexandria Link and The Charlemagne Pursuit) and Dan Brown’s soon-to-be-released book The Lost Symbol. But first, she needs a much wider shelf!
Do you share S’ type of literature? Share the books you’ve read that you found here and let’s start a book lovers’ club! Hehe.