Booksellers on: Why is diversified reading so important?

Posted on February 09 2017



Kenny Leck, Bookseller, Cat Owner, Assemblage Box Artist, Grinch of Yong Siak Street:

"As wonderful as the idea that we are all uniquely individual beings, we have a finite lifespan which means that we can only experience a limited amount of perspectives. But if one reads with a very diversified appetite, there is a good chance that one will have the opportunity to 'live' a different life and see things with another person's perspective. The best way to parse it down in pragmatic terms is that, the closest a male can 'experience' the full trial of childbirth is reading a female's experience of the process. And with that, we can hope that the male individual will understand why motherhood is a much more intricate process than fatherhood."

Kenny recommends this poem from his diverse reading list: 

The Burning Field by Cyril Wong
(from the poetry collection "Unmarked Treasure")
The perfect poem 
would arrive

when I am forty,
or maybe older, I told myself
before coming home this evening
to the voices of ma and pa

scraping like plates of the earth
along a fault, while my sister

crumbled like a house on fire
outside their bedroom door.

And I knew
I could not wait. That night,

I sat before my computer screen
and waited for the poem

to come like rain
upon a burning field,

and did not sleep.


Renée Ting, Bookseller, Graphic Designer, Film Photographer, Traveller, Chocolate Lover, Cat Owner:

"I think because we cannot choose the person we are born into — our gender, sexuality, race, social status, or even the global environment — reading is our only way of seeing the world through someone else's eyes. I will never know the tumultuous struggles a transgender woman has to live through, or what it's like to survive the Nanking Massacre, and these are privileges that we take for granted. Reading diversely does not mean we will fully understand but at least we are not entirely ignorant."

Renée recommends this poem from her diverse reading list: 
your goodness by Arthur Yap
(from the poetry collection "The Space of City Trees")
for Keith

your goodness, i sometimes light 
my anger with, is what you have. no one 
can burn it away; it is not for my discussion. 
i know, near you, i myself feel good. 
& this is enough for me, my friend. 

this is a life-time friendship; the poem 
is short, inadequate &, except for a word, 
totally redundant

All books and some more at


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