Posted on May 03 2018
Welcome to BooksActually's series of MBTI promotions, focusing on the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types.
This week’s reading recommendations for the INFJ type (Introvert, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging) come directly from an INFJ.
INFJs are known to be extremely rare types with a strong sense of right and wrong, an ability to inspire others and create a deep positive impact on the world, blah blah blah.
Truth be told, INFJs are rare mainly because of natural selection – we are the least likely to thrive in today’s social climate because we live for authenticity and can instinctively tell when something is fake or nefarious.
Thanks to social media, the farce of modern day society has been exacerbated. The INFJs who still remain in existence have little choice but to find ways to escape – a good book often helps.
That’s why a detective thriller such as Neil Humphrey’s Marina Bay Sins is something we enjoy reading. We like the notion of figuring out the real truth behind what is going on.
Even better if a book is set in a surreal and mystical context like Daryl Qilin Yam’s Kappa Quarter – INFJs love otherworldly stories that imply there are still mysteries in this universe and beyond.
Book I: Kappa Quartet by Daryl Qilin Yam
Set in Singapore and Japan, Kappa Quartet borrows one of my favourite aspects of Japanese literature – the recurring theme of quiet grace amidst intense darkness bordering on macabre. The writer also makes the supernatural seem like an everyday reality and does so in a highly original voice. Myth and magic are tied up with loss and heartache in a profound, indelible manner. The vivid imagery of dense forests, condominium swimming pool, fantastical creatures and a quaint Japanese café by the river stay in your mind long after you are done with the book.
Some quotes from the book:
“She seemed comfortable, somehow, hiding in the shadows. And yet her face had a way of catching the light, in a way I couldn’t explain. At the moment I realised that there are people out there who look like love, and then there are others for which love looks just like them. The difference was unmistakable.”
“We’ve been conditioned, I think. To view our true nature as something we ought to suppress. And so, whenever a kappa comes across another kappa, all the kappa can see is his hidden self, openly reflected in the other person.”
Book II: Marina Bay Sins by Neil Humphreys
It is all crass truth and vulgarities in Humphrey’s titillating thriller set in the most Instagrammed hotel in the world, Marina Bay Sands. The reader follows detective inspector Stanley Low as he investigates a murder-suicide at the hotel and uncovers the dark underworld machinations behind the incident. From making fun of scholars in positions of power to highlighting sexual dynamics in prostitution, the writer does not shy away from topics discussed openly in local coffee shops but rarely in polite company. If you are looking for a breath of fresh air and snarky truths about our conforming society, this book is definitely up your alley.
Some quotes from the book:
“They said she had been entirely manufactured by her husband, that they were a pop bubblegum money-making machine, that she had a face like a horse and belonged at the Singapore Turf Club. Her beloved fans in the Government tried to play catch-up but they couldn’t close the websites fast enough. She was persecuted so much online, the mainstream media had begrudgingly joined in.”
“Talk cock. Jalan Kayu prata must be in Jalan Kayu, that’s it. You take Cadbury’s chocolate out of the UK and bring to Singapore, you think it still tastes the same? You bring Guinness from Ireland over here and think it tastes the same. Rubbish.”
These reviews are written by Reena Devi, an arts and culture journalist who likes to pick up a book now and then. Sometimes she reads them.