In February, we are inviting Joy Fang, a Singaporean editor and writer, to our Curated Collection.
Joy Fang has more than 13 years of experience in the media and communications industry. She first cut her teeth as a news journalist in Singapore Press Holdings’ My Paper before joining Mediacorp’s TODAY, where she rose to the rank of deputy editor for its lifestyle section. She went on to edit and write digital content for titles under SPH Magazines. Most recently, she was the digital editor for SilverKris.com, the online platform of Singapore Airlines’ award-winning inflight magazine, before she took on a writing role in the healthcare industry. She now specialises in content creation and has a particular soft spot for good food and good reads.
Link to her curated collection is here. Read along to get to know Joy!
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m Joy and I’m a born and bred Singaporean. I have a toddler and a baby, as well as a 9-year-old mongrel. So you can imagine what my hobbies are - whatever activities that keep them entertained! When I’m not falling off my feet with exhaustion, I try to read or watch stuff on Netflix, Disney, Amazon Prime and HBO. Yes, I’m obsessed (job hazard from my past life as an entertainment reporter).
2. Why/how did you start bookstagramming?
Back in late 2019, I was working in a publication that specialised in travel and lifestyle stories. It was doing well, until Covid-19 hit and decimated the travel industry. As much as I love travelling and writing about glorious places abroad, I grew disheartened because I didn’t feel that my pieces had any meaning or impact. I decided to start writing about things that brought joy to me - my reads. I love books (you can tell from my burgeoning bookshelf that I have a huge problem) and wanted to keep track of my thoughts for the stuff I read. More importantly, I wanted to write for myself, for no other reason except because I enjoyed it. So I started Bookstagramming in November 2020.
3. What is your favourite genre, and why?
My favourite would be thriller because I love a good, gripping book that keeps me in suspense. I like being shocked - and that is only possible if the author was really clever in coming up with an airtight plot and good character development.
4. What is your desert island book/ favourite book?
One Day and Time Traveller’s Wife
5. How did you hear about Thryft?
I have an obsession with antique/vintage books. I used to get them from European flea markets for a song, but now that travelling is tough, I had to turn my gaze to bookstores here to get my fix. I found Thryft through one of those searches and was delighted by some of their offerings. The books came in really good condition too.
6. Tell us more about your collection topic “Loss and Recovery”.
I am personally a little pessimistic, and a little dark and twisty (Grey’s Anatomy reference!). I am fully aware of life’s harsh realities and have been preparing for its cruelty to strike me from a young age. Because my mother passed away early, her absence defines the lens through which I view all things. In line with that, I tend to gravitate towards books that deal with heavy and sad topics. I’m still trying to find peace with my loss and the only way I know how is through consuming materials that help me build resilience and understand the human purpose, whether in word or in film.
This collection might seem a little depressing at first glance, but they have a positive slant, which is something I still struggle with sometimes. Optimism is not my strong suit. I hope that I can bring some hope to others, and at the same time draw lessons from them myself.
7. What are your top 3 books from the collection, and why?
a) Time Traveller’s Wife - It’s so painful dealing with a situation where your husband is constantly away (albeit not of his choosing) for days, weeks and months, and you never know where he went or when he is coming back. To have to deal with running the family on your own, and worry constantly about him while you’re at it, requires true strength. Clare is the epitome of resilience and grace, showing us one can survive through the toughest tragedies.
b) Loss Adjustment - It’s immeasurably unbearable for a parent to lose a child, even more so when it’s via suicide. Linda writes with such raw grief, such devastation, but also tenderness and reflection. Through her story, you learn how to deal with grief and hopefully spot tell-tale signs in those around you who might be battling the same issues.
c) Marley and Me - There’s just something heartwarming about a tale charting the life of a cheeky dog who is hellbent on creating mischief, eventually changing the lives of its owners for the better. There’s also something tragic about watching this same rambunctious dog age and having to deal with his eventual death. This book is a love letter to the most loyal companions in our lives and teaches us how to appreciate the small things in life. Dogs may have short lives but they are easily content and love unconditionally and wholeheartedly. We have much to learn from them.
8. What are your experiences with second-hand books, and why would you choose second-hand?
I love secondhand books. Many before you have touched them and scribbled in them, which means you hold history in your hands. I find those with inscriptions or names particularly valuable. What are their stories? How were their lives lived? It’s fascinating for me to be a part of this chain of life, and to be able to pass it on. Practically speaking, secondhand books also help to reduce waste and curb this culture of overconsumption. We don’t need a brand-new book to be able to enjoy the same reading experience.
We hope you enjoyed hearing from Joy as much as we have! If you have not already, be sure to check out her curated collection at the link below!