Sisan Baniya, one of the most household names in the vlogging scene in Nepal, started reading at an early age. As a school-going child, Baniya read fiction to escape the realities of being a student. In this interview with the Post, Baniya shares the kind of books he loved to read as a child and how he now makes a point of reading various genres.
Did you like books from an early age?
I was lucky to have been guided towards reading novels from an early age. Even though I was not the best academic, I always liked to listen and read stories. Growing up, I loved to read fantasy books and spent a lot of time reading such books in my school library. I even hid them under course books and read them during class. I particularly liked ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer’ and ‘Huckleberry Finn’ by Mark Twain and ‘David Copperfield’ and ‘Great Expectations’ by Charles Dickens. These books allowed me to escape complex math, boring classes and teachers.
How often do you take the time to read books now?
Although I still carry a book in my backpack, I don’t read as much as I used to. Whenever I sit down to read, one thing or another always pops up to distract me.
What genres do you enjoy reading the most? And which do you avoid?
I constantly switch from one genre to another. Since I started my podcast channel, I have started reading different genres to better understand what my podcast guests specialize in. When I read books on complex topics, I take a break in between and read books that are easier to skim. through. I also read self-help books, but try to avoid ones that try too hard.
The books you’ve read that left a lasting impression on you.
I still remember reading “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” by Mark Twain and “David Copperfield” by Charles Dickens. I really enjoyed the growth of Tom Sawyer’s character from a mischievous child to an adult who takes good care of his loved ones.
I vividly remember enjoying reading “David Copperfield” because the main character of the novel loses his girlfriend. At that point in my life, I had a huge crush on a girl, the very first crush of my life, and reading the book made me think a lot about her.
Have you recently read any books that have helped you in your professional life?
I recently read ‘Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life’
by Francesc Miralles and Hector Garcia and ‘Rework’ by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried. The first helped me, to some extent, to rethink my lifestyle habits. The latter made me realize the advantages of having a small team and that a relaxed work environment is not a bad idea.
A book you’ve always wanted to read but never had time to read.
“Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” by Yuval Noah Harari. I will start reading the book as soon as I finish answering your questions.
You are one of the most popular Nepalese video content creators on YouTube. How often do you read books about cinema?
It’s only very recently that I started reading books about cinema. Since I decided to devote myself seriously to cinema, I felt the need to know more about cinema and things related to the process. I realized that if you want to make technically sound films, reading books about cinema helps a lot.
What do you plan to read next?
I have just started reading “What Makes You Not a Buddhist” by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse. So far I love it and can’t wait to finish it.
Three books you would like to recommend.
It’s hard. Try not to think too much about my list.
“A Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hosseini
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
‘Outliers: The Success Story’ by Malcolm Gladwell