One thing I love about Instagram is how it offers people with the same passions and interests the ability to connect - whether it's through hashtags or a friend of a friend (of a friend of a...). Today, for #ShelfieSunday, you will meet one such kindred spirit of mine, Faroukh Naseem, who goes by @theguywiththebook on Instagram. I don't quite remember how I "found" Faroukh, but when I did stumble onto his feed, filled with eye-candy of books and bookish scenes, I was hooked! Then, I discovered that he has a book-loving sister, Sumaiyya, who will be my guest NEXT week! This brother-sister duo have taken the Bookstagram world by storm, and have introduced me to a new favorite writer, as well as several favorite books. It is fitting, then, to introduce you, my dear reader, to "TheGuyWithTheBook" -- perhaps you'll find a kindred spirit in him, too!
Quick, give us a Twitter-style bio!
32, Bibliophile who loves talking about books and authors. Is very opinionated. Loves to sleep when he’s not doing bookish stuff.
Your home is in Saudi Arabia. What is the bookish scene like there? Is there anything you'd change or want to keep the same about it?
The Bookish scene is pretty slow and almost nonexistent. You will seldom see someone walking around with a book in hand. Plus books aren’t cheap at all. You can’t always afford to buy books for (a minimum of) $20 apiece. I guess for the sake of reading, we need Kindles to really penetrate the market. I think it’s not even available here, although you’ll get the latest cell phone the same week it releases worldwide. *facepalm*
Chances are, many followers of the ShelfishlyAddicted blog have never read a book by an author from the Arabian Peninsula. Would you please suggest one to start off with?
I’ve actually not read a lot of Arab writers, mainly because I read in English and not many books have been translated. I have bought ‘The Bamboo Stalk’ by Kuwaiti writer Saud Alsanousi shich I intend to read soon.
If you could have coffee with one author, who would it be and what would you first ask him or her?
Definitely Japanese writer Haruki Murakami. A big part of my ‘reading’ habits actually consist of reading about authors. I’ve read a lot about Murakami, think I’d ask him to give me tips about writing and how I could find out if I actually do have a writers brain in me too?
What is your most treasured book and why?
I’m a renewed reader who had ‘left’ reading for about 10 years.
Yes, that happened. I read a total of 3-4 books between ’06 and ’15
Restarted reading on a flight back between Hong Kong and Dubai when the entertainment system bored me.
I had a book with me which I’d bought for my sister.
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami.
My favorite book.
My favorite author.
My favorite book related memory.
I got HOOKED for 4 hours on the flight. This was June 2014 during the Football worldcup.
I reached Jeddah (home) and didn’t continue reading because i had no bookmark to mark where i left off and I couldn’t be bothered (read:lazy) to look for my stop. And Football made it easier to forget about reading anyway.
One year on, somehow, I remembered that I had enjoyed reading the book and Aomame (one of the characters in 1Q84) kept coming to mind.
That’s where I started and that’s my favorite book.
Where do you feel most comfortable while reading?
I get easily distracted so my favorite place is any quiet place. Also, I sometimes read at café’s but not if there are too many people around. My favorite place is the balcony when the weather is good (which is about 6 months in an year here). I’ve setup my egg chair where I’ve read many books and had a few naps as well.
Why is reading important to you?
Apart from the obvious positives of learning more about different people/places, getting better at language and expression; I think one of the things that makes reading so important to me is that now I’m constantly thinking and exercising my brain, I’m always thinking about the book I’m reading, what will happen next, what I would have changed in a book…All these things might seem inconsequential but they are really good exercise to the brain and keep you on your toes all the time.
Would you mind sharing a picture of your favorite reading spot?
How about a shelfie?!
Special thanks to Faroukh for agreeing so to be my guest for #ShelfieSunday! His shelfies make me want to remodel my home library! I discovered Murakami through Faroukh and am so glad I did! Have you ever read anything by Murakami? If you check out Faroukh's Instagram page, I think you might just be convinced to give it a try! You can find and follow Faroukh at the following social media sites: