Shaguni Singh Sakya, CEO of Kathmandu Guest House by KGH Hotels, grew up in an environment where reading was highly encouraged. She believes that reading allowed her to better understand herself and the world. In this interview with The Post, Sakya shares the genres she enjoys reading, how reading has helped her, and her favorite books.
What type of reader are you? Do you prefer reading in one go or do you want to spend your time finishing a book?
It all depends on what I read. Most fairy tales can be read at once if you have the time to do so. But I don’t have time nowadays, so even the sexiest novel takes a few days.
Were you raised in an environment that encourages reading?
Yes, we are a family of intellectuals, and our discussions always revolve around history books, art, philosophy and politics. Our favorite thing when we meet is reading and discussing books.
Can you name one interesting thing you learned from a book you read recently?
These days, I read a lot about Nepalese art. I am learning about the development of different artistic genres and styles in Nepal. One of the interesting things I learned recently is that in the land of mountains and such beautiful landscapes, we only started to paint it in the 19th century, after the Sugoli Treaty of 1816. The first British ambassador to Nepal was also an artist, and he taught landscape painting to the Nepalese. Before that, we painted only gods and goddesses.
Do you think your reading habit has helped you in your career?
Reading helps us hone our analytical skills. It also calms the brain. Easy access to information nowadays has made us very anxious, and reading helps to understand the topic in depth and enables us to think about issues more rationally. All the knowledge you gain by reading in some way always ends up helping you.
What genres do you enjoy reading the most? And what do you avoid?
I love reading anything that touches on the history of a topic – historical fiction, art history, world history, the historical development of science, philosophy, politics, fashion. Basically, I enjoy reading anything that has to do with history.
I avoid reading self-help books. I feel that those who are unsure of themselves and constantly need outside guidance read such books.
Can you name a few books that have made a lasting impression on you?
Raj by Geeta Mehta
“The Great Gatsby” by F Scott Fitzerald
“Crown” by Colin de Silva
“Ram Chandra Series” by Amish Tripathi
The Shiva Trilogy by Amish Tripathi
Do you have a favorite book by a Nepalese author?
I have read all the novels of Samrat Upadhyaya and those by Manjushree Thapa. I love Greta Rana’s The White Tiger (English subtitles by Seto Bagh). I recently read “All Roads Lead North” by Amish Mollmi and “Between Queens and Cities” by Niranjan Konwar.
I find books by completely gripping Nepalese English authors where you can better relate to the local topic and get a feel for what the author is feeling.
Can you name one book you never tire of suggesting and why?
The first has to be the Ram Chandra series of Amish Tripathi – Ram, Sita and Ravan. These three are the most interesting characters of all time. There is a lot we can learn from how the author interprets the story and characters.