Nadia Ho is a novelist from Taipei. We sat down with her to discuss some of her favorite books and authors.
I like searching through used bookstores in different cities. I am always curious about the book’s journey before I found it. I bought a copy of Then They Started Shooting by Lynne Jones. Only later did I realize it was inscribed “not for sale, uncorrected page proofs” with the editor’s handwritten corrections on the pages. There’s a kind of strange intimacy in acquiring someone’s unique, non-replicable moment of a work in progress.
I read dull, but important books in the bathroom because when I am there, I usually have nothing else to do. Recently it has been Game Theory and The Book of Raising Pigeons.
Not only was it my favorite book from childhood, but Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was always my favorite book until recently. It’s like sooner or later you realize that you and your childhood friends do not share the same view on life anymore and you are meant to go in different directions. That is a bit sad, but natural.
I can’t figure out if I’m saving the 1Q84 trilogy for old age or if that’s just an excuse for not liking them now. I realized recently that there’s nothing I can identify with from Haruki Murakami’s novels anymore. But I also think it might just be the age difference. Murakami wrote 1Q84 in his 60s, so maybe I will see what he sees when I get there, though I wish to be happier in my 60s.
I’ve never had crushes on characters, only the authors, especially those who have experienced war like Ernest Hemingway, Romain Gary, or J.G. Ballard. I am a fan of novelists with war wounds.
The last book I read was Animals Make Us Human by Temple Grandin. I admire Dr. Temple and enjoy the way she writes about animals. She has that scientists’ straight-forwardness and her study took care of farm animals from their birth to their death.
The last book I bought was Roots of Heaven by Romain Gary before I went to Thailand to visit an elephant camp. I spent two years writing my new book that covers 14 zoos I’ve visited around the world, and I finished the manuscript before the Thailand trip. I think the time after finishing writing a book is the only time I can really enjoy reading, and I love elephants!
Pick up a copy of Nadia’s The Zoo Book at Book Design Shop Beijing.
To read the May 2014 issue of the Beijinger online, click here.
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