In Conversation With Leila O....

Leila O. is an avid reader and Instagrammer currently living in Nagoya, Japan.
Some of her favourite books include Animal Farm by George Orwell and Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.

Tell us a bit about yourself?
I'm Leila, or Lei for short, born in Japan but moved back and forth between the US and Japan. Now in Nagoya. I prefer my coffee black and tea straight, both piping hot all year round. I prefer to stay in than go out. If you have a dog, cat or bird, brace yourself for the deluge of questions my affinity for them will rain upon you. I like to read a lot.

If you could only wear one colour for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Black. Black never goes out of style (^.^).

Where must we all travel at least once in our lives?
Japan! There are so many wonderful places to see from Hokkaido to Okinawa, from the tippy top to the bottom. There's such a harmonious dichotomy between modernity and the traditional.

You are compiling a weekend/road trip playlist. What do you add to it?
Music is nice. But for long stretches of time...I prefer listening to podcasts. It's comforting to listen to people talk. Some podcast can be a bit weighty so it helps to sprinkle in some lighthearted banter in between. My top picks are:
Sword and Scale (True Crime Podcast)
Criminal (True Crime Podcast)
Stuff You Should Know (Educational Podcast)
Sawbones (Medical History/Comedy Podcast)
The Adventure Zone (Dungeons and Dragons Podcast)
Oh No Ross and Carrie (Investigative Journalism Podcast)
International Waters (Comedy Podcast)
Ear Hustle (Journalistic Podcast)
Stop Podcasting Yourself (Comedy Podcast)

You are about to go on a holiday, what book do you bring?
I'd bring my current read so I can finish it. And one unlikely read, the book I had been putting off for a while, so I'd be most inclined to reach for it.

You can write a book in any genre. What would it be and why?
Children's books. That is where my reading hobby started, and it still holds a precious place in my heart. Writing for children would be a dream, even if it is just one book. I'm hoping to partner with an illustrator to get this started. Fingers crossed!

What are your favourite book/s?
The first few that spring to mind are:
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Matilda by Roald Dahl
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
The Woman in the Dunes by Kobo Abe
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa
...and so many more! I can go on and on.

What is one of the strangest books you have read?
The one book that comes to mind is The Box Man by Kobo Abe. The story follows the phenomenon of Box Men, men who chose to abandon their stable, established lives to live in a box. They are different from the homeless and beggars; the box is taller than it is wide and functions like a hermit crab's shell. They observe the world through a slit cut at eye-level in the box and wander the streets simply watching people without wanting to be seen. They are voyeurs.
Surprisingly, I did not enjoy this. This should have been more engrossing, but it's not. After reading Abe's The Woman in the Dunes, I had expected more than this. Read that instead.

Do you have a favourite quote from an author?
"I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, "if this isn't nice, I don't know what is."" - Kurt Vonnegut

Do you have any advice for when it comes to reading?
If you're looking for interesting books to read, try to tackle the recommended reading list from middle school and high school. These are considered classics and carry literary importance for a reason, so why not find out why? If you'd read them once then, try rereading them now. It is surprising how much our adolescent brain might have missed. It's an endeavor I am currently undertaking and it has been a thrill!