General

Hong Kong Book Fair 2021

It is Hong Kong Book Fair time once more. We had the last physical one in 2019. The trade Development Council first postponed the 2020 Fair to December due to Covid-19, but eventually had to cancel it. I checked on my website and reminded myself that I had posted a blog on 24 July 2016 after I visited the Book Fair that year, in which I griped about writing in general and writing my autobiography in particular. I must have attended most of these annual fairs when I typically would took home tons of cheap books and sometimes stationeries, including the time I carried back a very thick and heavy ink slab stone which I had never used and which my friend Peter suggested was mainly concrete. In later years, I had learnt to have the books delivered home through the Post Office.

It is interesting that it took a year when the Book Fair could not be held in Hong Kong to finally have me completed my autobiography. Life is indeed funny.

The primary motivation for Su and me to attend the Book Fair this year is to render moral support to Marty, my godson’s father, who had his memoir published recently through a proper Publisher who is participating in the Fair and who had invited Marty for an interview and a book signing ceremony yesterday. Su and I went early because we were not sure whether it would take long to queue up for entry etc., and we were there ahead of the author and his family. So we bought quite a few books from other stores, including HKU Press, Open Page and other publishers while waiting for Marty and his family. They arrived, but I had to leave early after having had a few pictures taken so as to make another party in the evening; and in a moment of weakness, chivalrously volunteered to carry the bulk of the load home by public transport. It was hard work. Su reported that the interview went well, the family had a good time, and the kids had thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Su stayed on to collect more spoils, details on which she had already posted on the social media. She had better luck with transport though.

Still on authors and memoirs, though not exactly on the Book Fair, I read from today’s Post Magazine that Tara Westover would speak at the Hong Kong International Literary Festival and will discuss her memoir, Educated, on 24 July, i.e., next Saturday at the Xiqu Centre in the West Kowloon Cultural District. Post Magazine described that the American author was “born to Mormon fundamentalists in Idaho (and) despite having no formal education, managed to study her way to college and earn herself a PhD at Cambridge University.” You can read about her other details from the article under “My Life” in the Magazine. Very briefly though, I picked up from Wikipedia that Tara Westover was born in September 1986 in Clifton, Idaho (with a population of 259) and has five older brothers and an elder sister. All the siblings were loosely homeschooled by their mother. She managed to graduate from Brigham Young University with honours in 2008, earned a Master’s degree from University of Cambridge at Trinity College and a doctorate in intellectual history in 2014. She published her memoir Educated in 2018 which became a No. 1 New York Times bestseller and stayed on the list for two years as of February 2020. She was chosen by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of 2019. In 2020 though, her mother wrote a new memoir “Educating” which presents an alternative view of life in the family portrayed in the bestselling book by her daughter Tara.

I was not aware of Tara Westover or her works until now, but I am not sure I would go out of my way to pick up her bestselling memoir. I am tempted to pay a visit to Xiqu Centre next week, but I have fixed up a dinner at my friend’s place near Kam Sheung Road which would feature roast piglet and plenty of drinks. I would hate to miss the dinner.

I might discuss what happened, if anything happened, at the BBQ dinner, but before I go, would share with you that I have placed order for an electric car last Thursday by giving up my almost 20-year old Lexus, a gas guzzler, and accepting the government’s offer of nearly $200K subsidies. Life would be somewhat different afterwards. I would need to adjust to another mode of driving and adjust to new technology.  

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