Do You Read Books?

I was reading a book I recently bought at the teacher's table in front of the class. (Terry Pratchett's 'Unseen Academicals, I love this author) I gave the class (13 yrs olds) a lot of assignments to keep them quiet as I pursue leisure in government's own time.

"Sir, what are you reading?" the boy right in front of me asked, his pen poised on his exercise book.
"Apparently this is what we call a book."

And I continued reading.

"What is it about?" he asked again after a few minutes. His buddy next to him was also not interested to continue his assignment.
"That's what I'm trying to find out."
"That's a very thick book." (only 540 pages)
"No it is not, I've read thicker books than this."
"Where are the books now? You got many?"
"At home. Yes, Three cupboards."
"Wow. You must be very rich." He noticed the price sticker at the back of the book.
"Nope. I collected them for years. When I was your age, I have no money, so I steal books from richer friends and even the library."
"WOW! Cool!" Now I have a couple of round-eyed boys not doing their assignments.

"Finish the work or I'll kick you in the shins." (I am infamous for this, usually aimed at unaware naughty / noisy boys from behind. Among the reason I love wearing construction boots with steel tips for work).

"I cannot finish reading a book that thick." I was assaulted by the same boy again.
"I am not surprised."
"I would get easily bored and sleepy." 
"That is not the real reason. You are intimidated because this book is in that alien language nobody here speaks - English. Right?" I put down the book.
"Sir, if you give him a dictionary and force him to read the book, he cannot even finish until the End of Days." the boy next to the chatty one jabbed in.

There was laughter.

But it is quite sad and true. Malaysian society has never risen far from its old nook. Reading is not yet a strong culture here...


Casey Freeland said...

I love Terry's books, even have a few, although I haven't read any for years. You ever read Piers Anthony? His Xanth novels are similar in style.


Rock Chef said...

I love Terry Pratchetts books. Got that one for Christmas!

We do everything we can to encourage our kids to read - it feeds the mind!

Not everyone thinks this, though. We once had a neighbour who seriously thought that reading a young boy "bedtime stories" (something that we did religiously) would make him gay.

Rock Chef said...

Casey - I liked the Xanth books but they are not as good as PT's books.

TechnoBabe said...

Please tell me you do not wear steel toed boots to teach. I agree with you in showing by example. Just your reading and showing you like it to your students could sway some to try reading again even if they were turned off to reading previously. I like it so much that my kids were readers and they still are. They did get something good from me after all!

Tenchi said...

its had been years that i had read any book since the days i left school...ahahhaa

Shadowthorne @ Ramzu Zahini said...

Casey; I fell in love with TP when I 1st read 'Lords and Ladies' in 1997. Ever since then I collected every Discworld novel he ever written.

I've read Piers Anthony once, but he's not as memorable.

Shadowthorne @ Ramzu Zahini said...

Rock Chef; Gay?! Really?! Ha ha ha!
I believe if we read children to sleep, it heightened their imagination. I read books before sleeping too, thus the many adventures in my dreams :)

Shadowthorne @ Ramzu Zahini said...

TechnoBabe; ??? I did mention in this blog at least twice that I wear a pair of black construction boots (without laces) to work.
Yes, they do have steel tips. I like kicking the door, table, etc when I got angry. I don't kick humans very hard to injure, be assured. :)

Shadowthorne @ Ramzu Zahini said...

Tenchi; Kamu sangat malas!

Grayquill said...

Maybe a thin book would best. Sad....

Shadowthorne @ Ramzu Zahini said...

Grayquill; For them? yes. Me, never. I like my books in great quantity. :)

Eveline said...

umm . . . I'm a voracious reader; at least I used to be. But Terry Pratchett is definitely new domain. I compulsively buy books, usually two or more at a time, and then watch them sit there on my shelves collecting dust. It's like when I buy craft supplies I never use, although I am learning to curb the impulse.

Aizan Suhaira said...

Books are friggin' expensive in this part of the world. Yes, there are e-books but how many Malaysians can afford a Kindle or an i-pad?

A library is not made available in every corner, like it is in the USA.

Let's face it. You and I, when we were younger, we had our perks. You spent a lot of time in the library because your mother was a teacher-librarian. My mom was a librarian as well, and hence I had perks when it came to the accesibility of books.

And now our education system is screwed because the teachers can't communicate in english and even the bloody english teachers speak horrible english.

Angry? Yes.

Shadowthorne @ Ramzu Zahini said...

Eveline; Give those dusty books to me! :)

Shadowthorne @ Ramzu Zahini said...

Aizan; Who told you about my mom?!! You still remember the ghost entry, yes?

et said...

Wow the bookcover is so artistic! I would just pounce upon such a book at the very first sight. Grr!!
Reminds me of HP, but I havn't read HP anyway. I was on a beeeg reading break just when all the HP wave was going on!
Books are just being promoted a lot these days. Very soon, the children would rise up and get their hands on every thickest books :)

Shadowthorne @ Ramzu Zahini said...

et; Books are promoted, yes. But we WANT those children to read in English, other than books in the mother tongue. And that is difficult with the current grasp of the language.

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