The Jakarta Post BookWORM interview

BookWORM; Intan Paramaditha:
Escaping her comfort zone

As her life revolves around scholarly work, she now reads a lot of humanities and social science books. However, she still reads literature and other popular books.

“I still read popular books that everyone talks about just to keep me updated, but many times I don’t finish them because I need to save my time for more challenging books,” said Intan, whose short story, Klub Solidaritas Suami Hilang (The Missing Husband Solidarity Club), won Kompas’ daily best short story.

“I’m not sorry for being highly selective because I am not getting any younger, so I don’t have time to read for the sake of killing time.”

The 34-year-old, who is currently reading Publics and Counterpublics by social theorist Michael Warner, says she relies greatly on reading applications as she is always on the move.

“E-books and PDFs are life savers,” said the writer of Goyang Penasaran (Obsessive Twist), which was adapted into a play.

Intan shared the best three books from her shelves.

Frankenstein

by Mary Shelley

I had been a fan of dark stories when I first encountered Frankenstein at 19, but it was the first book that inspired me to read — and later, write — horror with a feminist perspective. It deploys the myth of Prometheus to critique the notion of creation, technology and patriarchal society. The themes of women and horror in my short story collection Sihir Perempuan (Black Magic Woman) were influenced by this book as well as other work by women writers such as Margaret Atwood and Anne Sexton.

Plays
by William Shakespeare

I always love Shakespeare’s evil women (Lady Macbeth, Goneril, Gertrude, Sycorax) and don’t we all have a bit of Shylock and Iago (Shakespeare’s fictional characters) in ourselves? Tragedies aside, A Midsummer Night’s Dream was the first play I read in high school. It was the reason why I studied English literature as an undergraduate and became an avid reader of plays.

Orang-orang Bloomington
by Budi Darma

I dismissed this as a teenager and rediscovered it in my early 30s. I did a close reading of the book with my boyfriend as mature readers and writers. Today, I treasure the book as the best Indonesian short story collection I’ve read. I am inspired by its perverse characters, anti-romantic cosmopolitan worldview and subtle but sadistic storytelling.

— JP/ Novia D. Rulistia