Sunday, August 20, 2006

Late night conversation with Aileen

Sometimes, it is good to take a break from consuming the constant supply of moving media that bombards us and indulge in a healthy dose of unadulterated literary writing. But relatively speaking, people prefer watching something more to reading lengthy chunks of text. As for myself, I prefer reading books to watching programs on television. Reading affords me with the luxury of letting my imagination take flight. And that is indeed, enjoyable.

I was in the study with my sister one late night. Seemingly distracted by her idle presence, I turned away from the computer and tried to strike up a conversation with her.

I: “Hey, you want to read this book that I have borrowed?”
Aileen: (Looks up from her scab peeling session) “Nope!”
I: “Whoa! I am so tickled by that resolute tone of yours. You really don’t like reading har?”
Aileen: “I read sometimes, especially while traveling on the MRT. But then, I always fall asleep after a few pages.”
I: “Wah liew…”

We giggled.

I: “Aiyah, you! This book is really good. The author writes beautifully! You should read his descriptions man…”

Thinking that I should inspire her interest in the book, I launched into an unsolicited reading of a short descriptive text from the book.

“I can still see Hassan up on that tree, sunlight flickering through the leaves on his almost perfectly round face, a face like a Chinese doll chiseled from hardwood: his flat, broad nose and slanting, narrow eyes like bamboo leaves, eyes that looked, depending on the light, gold, green, even sapphire. I can still see his tiny low-set ears and that pointed stub of a chin, a meaty appendage that looked like it was added as a mere afterthought. And the cleft lip, just left of midline, where the Chinese doll maker’s instrument may have slipped, or perhaps he had simply grown tired and careless.” (The Kite Runner, Chapter 2, page 3).

I looked up from my book.

I: “Isn’t it really well written? Can you visual Hassan? I can see him in my mind’s eye. So vividly…”
Aileen: “Mmm...Hm…” (answered distractedly and continued to pick on her scab)
Aileen: “Eww…got blood!”
I: “Never listen to what I was reading! Sian lah, you!”
Aileen: “Aiyah, I hate this type of long long description. I always skip paragraphs like these and go straight to the next thing that happens.”
I: “You don’t enjoy savouring every bit of a good book, har?”
Aileen: “Descriptions are boring. I only like to know what happens next. Like, why spend a bloody paragraph describing the door? Just write, ‘She opens the door’ lah! Siao!”


Blogger snow angel said...

I guess it takes time to cultivate interests in reading novels, compared to watching television which is a more passive form of leisure activity.

4:37 AM  

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