I love books, always have. And I love bookshops. As a tactile person, I love the feel, texture and smell of books especially the special leather-bound editions.  When I travel abroad, my first stop upon arrival is always a bookshop….sometimes even before my first meal!

Happily, there are plenty of great bookshops in UK, especially in London - big chain bookstores like Waterstones and Foyles and smaller ones like Hatchards in Piccadilly (though now owned by Waterstones too), Daunt Bookshop in Marylebone and the London Review Bookshop. In Singapore, the Kinokuniya Bookshop at Takashimaya in Orchard Road to me is by far the best one in Asia. I can stay there for the entire day….and I do! The photo on the right shows the books I bought in London last month.

booksBooks I am currently reading

In grade school, I devoured The Famous Five by Enid Blyton, the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mystery novels, Archie and Marvel comics. During my teens, I discovered Perry Mason and Nick Carter. Perry Mason inspired me to want to become a lawyer until I was told I had to stay in college for eight years! The prospect of being with mostly male classmates for that long just didn’t appeal to me.

I read primarily to learn and feed my insatiable curiosities. So, I mostly read nonfiction: autobiographies, biographies, and books about current events, world history, Philippine history (so few written though), food & wine, design, and of course, about business and marketing. But in saying this, I managed to finish Kevin Kwan’s trilogy of Crazy Rich Asians, China Rich Girlfriend, and Rich People Problems in less than 10 days last September.

While I do have Kindle and Audible (best during traffic and on long-haul flights with Bose wireless headphones), I still prefer to buy and read physical books. I spend my work days in front of a computer screen, which I know is really bad for my eyes, so I choose to be digital-free during my reading time. Holding, smelling and reading a book relaxes and rejuvenates me — and it is one of the few activities that can cause me to totally lose track of time.

Scientific studies have proven that reading not only expands one’s vocabulary and improves writing skills, but it also offers many health benefits like stress reduction, depression control, stimulating empathy and memory improvement. And if you have young children, they will only learn to love books if they see you reading too.

Keep your body, mind and soul healthy. Happy New Year!

Best of Health,

Romy Sia

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