My parents inculcated the reading habit in me - Supul Wimalarathne | Sunday Observer

My parents inculcated the reading habit in me - Supul Wimalarathne

13 September, 2020

If ever I have free time, I try to read a book. And I have no specific time and place to read, I can read books in a noisy place too. Moreover, when I start to read a book, I try to finish it as soon as possible

Supul Wimalarathne, a budding medical student, had his primary education at Maliyadeva Maha Vidyalaya, Kurunegala and then entered S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia for his secondary education.

Supul, an Instagram writer, joins Youth Observer to discuss his favourite book, reading habits and present readership in society.


Q : What is your favourite book?

A: Generally I enjoy mysteries and detective stories. So my favourite book is Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie.

Q : Why do you like it?

A: It is because of the story. The elegant train of the 1930s, the Orient Express, is stopped by heavy snowfall. A murder is discovered and the protagonist, Hercule Poirot, a Belgian detective intervenes to solve the murder as he is on the way to London. There is a great curiosity in the novel and it ends quite unexpectedly. I enjoyed that in the novel.

Murder on the Orient Express was first published in the United Kingdom by Collins Crime Club in 1934. It was published in the United States in the same year under the title Murder in the Calais Coach to avoid confusion with the 1932 Graham Green’s novel Orient Express.

Q : When did you get the book?

A: I came across the book in April 2019. But before that I read an abridged version of it. I enjoyed that book too.

Q : How did you find the book?

A: I always have a good bunch of reading friends from whom I got to know about this book. However, I couldn’t read it as I was occupied with my studies. But during the Corona curfew time, I purchased the book and read it.

Q : How did you get used to reading books?

A: Since my childhood my parents told me the value of reading. When I was in Grade Four my friends and I exchanged books to read. Mostly we exchanged Sinhala translations of Sherlock Holmes books as we were much interested in them. So, I started this habit of exchanging books in my years at Maliyadewa and I continued it after I entered to S. Thomas College too.

Q : What is your favourite library?

A: My favourite one is the St. Thomas’s College’ library. But I like all the libraries I have visited. I borrowed books from Public libraries too. When I was at Colombo, I got membership of the Nugegoda library, British Council library and Colombo Public library. All of them helped me lot.

Q : Do you join book clubs?

A: No. I didn’t. Mainly I have reader friends and we constantly discuss about books and exchange them among us.

Q : How did you get into reading English books?

A: I started during my elocution classes when I was young. And then my mother constantly brought books to our house. Father also encouraged us - me and my elder brother – to read in English. My mother is a nursing sister and father is a doctor. In this way, I found a fashion to read in English.

Q : You talked about detective stories. Don’t you like classics?

A: I like classics, but I haven’t read many classics. However, I love Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. And I love to read Sinhala classics. I like Russian books too, especially Maxim Gorky’s books. But I read Sinhala translations of those books.

Q : How do you select a book?

A: When I come across a certain book, I generally go on Google and search about it, mainly what are the reader’s responses on the book. I actually do a lot of research before I select a book. And I consult from my friends too with regard to books.

Q : Who are your favourite authors?

A: Two of my most favourite authors are Emily Brontë and Charlotte Brontë. Then I like Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle, Arthur C. Clark, James Patterson. Sometimes I like some children’s authors too, because I love to read children’s books for fun.

Q : Do you have a personal library?

A: Yes. I have one and it has a lot of books as I’ve collected books since my childhood.

Q : What are your reading habits?

A: If ever I have free time, I try to read a book. And I have no specific time and place to read, I can read books in a noisy place too. Moreover, when I start to read a book, I try to finish it as soon as possible.

Q : How do you feel when you finish a book?

A: I feel really satisfied and feel productive. And I gain knowledge from a book. I learn by reading books.

Q : What do you think about the present day readership in society?

A: Everybody says it has been decreased, but we shouldn’t neglect that there are vast online reading too. However, over all we can guess the readership in society has been decreased to some extent.

Q : Do you like online reading?

A: No. I like to read hardcopies, because I like to touch the pages and smell of them. The feeling you get from a hardcopy book is never vanished from you if you are a hardcopy reader. But I don’t oppose to online reading, we cannot give orders to read hardcopies only.

Q : What do you think about Sinhala literature?

A: The main problem is that there are only a few books which have literary quality in Sinhala literature. In English literature we find much literary qualities. Those authors know how to deal with the language and touch with the feelings.

Q : Do you write or engage in any sort of literary medium?

A: I’ve not written a book so far, but I write some of my ideas in my Instagram page called Pickled Achcharu. I carry articles and photos not only my own, but also others in that page. The main purpose of that page is to inspire the people to read.

Q : Is reading or writing a disturbance to your academic life?

A: Not at all, because they are two different things. You engage in studies for one reason and you read or write for another reason. One reads for fun or enjoyment. But you cannot study for fun. And you read when you are tired of studies or to take a break.

Q : What is your advice to aspiring readers?

A: You don’t have to read all the books in the world, some people try to read as many books as possible. I say read books for enjoyment. Read books for gaining knowledge. I try to catch some knowledge from each and every book I finish reading. Try to analyse the language, narrative techniques and the author’s intention of a story when you read. With this sort of analyzing you can gain knowledge about how to create a story and how to read a book.