On Books, With Haresh Sharma
Need a good book to read this weekend? Read on for suggestions from Haresh Sharma, Resident Playwright at local theatre company The Necessary Stage.
What was your favourite book growing up?
I mostly read books from my primary school library and the second-hand bookshops, such as The Famous Five, The Secret Seven and The Five Find-Outers. But my favourite was the Amar Chitra Katha Indian stories for children [written in English]. I loved reading the fables, folktales and epics from Panchatantra and the Ramayana.
What books are currently on your ‘to-read’ list?
Fear of Writing by Tan Tarn How
Map of the Invisible World by Tash Aw
Wish You Were Here by Graham Swift
On Canaan’s Side by Sebastian Barry
Who are your top five authors?
This is a random selection: EM Forster, Haruki Murakami, Jhumpa Lahiri. As a playwright, I also admire the works of Caryl Churchill. For Singapore writers, I would say Arthur Yap and Alfian Sa’at.
Have you ever faked reading a book? If so, which one(s)?
Unfortunately, I had to fake-read in university. There were too many books and too little time. When I discovered theatre, literature took a bit of a back seat.
Have you ever bought a book just because you thought the cover was beautiful? If so, which one?
If you could pick just one book to recommend, which book would it be?
These are my favourites which I read in the last year or so:
In a Strange Room by Damon Galgut
The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai
Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri
Room by Emma Donoghue
Is there a book that changed your life? If so, which one?
There isn’t one specific book that changed my life. But when I was introduced to modern English literature back in school, I was heavily inspired, both by the writing and the writers’ world-views. The writings of Thomas Hardy, Virginia Woolf, DH Lawrence, TS Eliot, EM Forster among others, sealed my love for literature and yes, changed my life.
What is your favourite line from a book?
I don’t recall lines from books––except the quotes I had to memorise as a literature student!
What book would you want to read again for the first time?
There isn’t any book I want to read again for the first time. But there are books I DO want to read for the first time, especially great classics which I’ve missed out on––writers like Tolstoy and Nabokov, CS Lewis and Tolkien, and Lorca and Marquez.
What book or book character would you want to be real?