#allthingsbookish with Nazri Noor

Nazri Noor

Sabah-born, author and Amazon bestseller of “Darkling Mage” series, Nazri Noor, decided that Mean Girls would be an ideal movie to watch while waiting to be rescued from a deserted island. The man also does his laundry and the dishes alright, all while listening to an audiobook. Silent Book Club Kota Kinabalu caught up with Nazri to find out more about his passion for writing, and reading.
By Sheena M. Chok

Tell us a bit about your books. What was your writing journey like?

I was a journalist for many years, and spent some eighteen or so writing for lifestyle publications and working in public relations. Eight of those years were spent at the New Sabah Times, in case you’ve came across my bylines. I was in my late 20s and was still living in Kota Kinabalu when I first came across Amanda Hocking, one of the pioneers of self-publishing. It was then that I finally decided to give writing fiction a go. Now, some seven years later, things seem to have actually worked out. I’m lucky to be able to say that I do this for a living.

My books offer a more humorous take on urban fantasy. They have all the ingredients expected in supernatural suspense stories: strange paranormal creatures, thriller, and horror elements; plus a hell of a lot of magic. But while traditional urban fantasy is somewhat darker, mine throws some lighthearted comedy into the mix, to balance out all the blood and the mayhem. A little bit sassy and a little bit classy is how I like to describe my writing.

Unfortunately I’m exclusively bound to Amazon for pretty much everything. My ebooks are only available on Amazon, while my audiobooks are available on Amazon, Audible, and iTunes. Contractually, those are the only channels where they may be purchased. I am not permitted to sell them directly to readers. My paperbacks are fair game, though again are only available through Amazon, which prints and ships a copy of each book as it’s ordered through its print-on-demand system.

Last I checked, the cost to ship a full set of the series in its current state to Malaysia is around USD 200 – and that’s just for shipping – so this isn’t something I’d recommend. It is rather disappointing having to mention this to fellow Malaysians who’ve reached out and expressed interest in reading my books, but these are my limitations as things stand. Perhaps my books will become available in other regions in the future as my reach expands.

Who are your favorite authors?

In no particular order, Chuck Palahniuk, Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Anne Rice, and George R.R. Martin.

What are you currently reading?

I’ll have to answer this honestly: “Last Rites”, my next book. It’s coming out in a couple of weeks and I’m doing my best to nail final edits before putting it up for pre-order.

What were the last three books you read?

Two of them were non-fiction, which I tend to read a lot of: a finance guide called “You Need a Budget” by Jesse Mecham, and one on writing called “The Fantasy Fiction Formula” by Deborah Chester. The third is “Last Rites”, my sixth book, which I must have at least read four times in the process of editing and proofreading it. I’m going to read it one more time before this is over.

What book have you recommended the most?

Probably “Going Postal” by Terry Pratchett. It’s funny, touching, extremely creative, a great example of the late Sir Terry’s work. It also features one of my favorite protagonists of all time, Moist von Lipwig.

What is your favorite genre?

I would say fantasy in nearly all its flavors. But if I had to choose, it’s definitely urban fantasy.

Why do you read?

For both enjoyment and education. I like to see what my peers are doing within my genre, to sniff out what someone does that I could be doing as well. I also like to stay on top of things in terms of marketing, and I tend to read a lot of books about productivity and motivation.

How do you make time to read?

It’s incredibly difficult to do so with the nature of my work. Writing takes up so much conscious thought already that I generally want to unwind with things that don’t necessitate having to think, but I start to feel rusty if I haven’t read anything in a while. Generally I have to force myself to do it, and when I’m deep into a book I enjoy, I wonder why I even hesitated to begin with. What helps these days is listening to audiobooks, which I can do while I work on menial tasks like doing laundry or the dishes.

What book is next on your to be read pile?

I’m leaning towards either “The Magicians” by Lev Grossman or a reread of “Deep Work” by Cal Newport.

Roughly how many books do you own?

Less than 200, which is a surprising number for me. I thought there’d be more.

Where do you normally purchase your books?

I pretty much buy all of my books from Amazon. I do most of my reading on a Kindle Paperwhite. I’ve had to move around and either had to sell off or give away too many of my paperbacks that I almost never buy hard copies of books these days. A little bittersweet for me, you know? It’s nice having everything compiled on the same device. I can’t exactly explain how or why, but it’s definitely accelerated my reading speed, too.

If you could only take one book, one movie, and one TV series to a deserted island, what would they be?

Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk, Mean Girls, and Bob’s Burgers. I could enjoy all those on a loop until I am either finally rescued or run out of coconuts, whichever comes first.

Nazri currently resides in Goleta, California. His ebooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks are available on Amazon, Audible, and iTunes. To read a free copy of Penumbra, the prequel to the Darkling Mage series, visit nazrinoor.com.

Follow Nazri on Facebook and Twitter for his latest musings!

For further reading, click the following links: Daily Express | The Philippine Star.


April Meet-ups

Greetings from Silent Book Club Kota Kinabalu!

We are shifting things around a little this April, meeting up on Sundays (twice!), hoping to accommodate others who were unable to join us over the last five meet-ups; which were all held on Saturday afternoons.

Over the past month, we have received queries whether our meet-ups are teenager-friendly – the answer is YES – depending on the location (we do have plans to meet at bars some day). Just remember to send them off with a book and pick them up after! Under-13s are welcome to read with us but must be chaperoned.

Other stuff – Language, genre, physical books, gadgets (tablets, e-readers, smartphones) – Whatever means and language you are comfortable reading in/with.

Important – If you’d like to host a meet-up that’s nearer to your vicinity (e.g. Kingfisher, Damai, etc.), please get in touch with the admin.

Last but not least – There’s no assigned reading at the Silent Book Club. Silent Book Club is about taking time out of your busy schedule to simply relax and read. Just put down your phone and spend quality time with fellow book lovers. This is a habit you’ll want to repeat.

Back to the meet-ups! Here’s what we have lined-up for April:

14th April, Sunday, 10am

For our first April meet-up, we will be checking-out our newest state library branch (congratulations), which is located at Tanjung Aru.

10am: Arrive, meet and greet, read. 
11.30am: (optional) Adjourn to Paper & Ink Café for some coffee and bookish banter!

We’ll be meeting on the 4th floor, at the Adult Reference Section. Look for us with the Silent Book Club placard. If you take the stairs, you’ll be greeted with a bright yellow wall with a brilliant quote by Mark Twain. Lastly – here’s the best part – You could use the opportunity to find a book and start reading – it’s a library after all.

28th April, Sunday, 7pm

ENCORE – We’re returning to World Travel Cafe at Aeropod this month! We are extremely grateful for their support especially in helping us to publicize our meet-ups through their Facebook page. There’s nothing better than encouraging more people to pick up that book and read again.

7pm: Arrive, order your own drinks/snacks (pay individually)
7.30pm: Read (or read and eat, for some)
10pm: Adjourn to Monday Blues

Look for the Silent Book Club placard. See you there! Don’t forget to BYOBook/e-Reader!

That’s it!

“Read what you want,
Come when you can,
Chat if you please.”

Just try not to distract others.

See you there!


Welcome to the inaugural issue of all things bookish (“atb”)! Here’s a little prelude: We shared a post in our Facebook group about book swaps and donations, one thing led to another, and voilà, here we are!

In this series, atb spoke with Beverley Marsha Jominit, who teaches English and manages daily administrative work at Montfort Youth Training Centre, Kinarut, Sabah. She speaks, with compassion, on her hopes to cultivate reading habits amongst the youths.

atb: Tell us a little about what you do?
BMJ: I teach English at Montfort Youth Training Centre in Kinarut. Currently, we have 134 boys, between the ages of 16 to 20 years old. Our Centre caters to underprivileged youths from poor and broken families.

atb: What are their reading habits like?
BMJ: To be honest, not encouraging enough, which is why we are in need of books from a wider range of topics and genres that we hope might kindle that spark. Although we do have quite a fair amount of books in our libraries, most of the books don’t seem to appeal to them as the topics are rather dry. Some are technical while others are old classics, which, in my opinion, are quite difficult for them to relate to.

atb: Can you give us an idea on the sort of books you are looking for?
BMJ: We are in search of books that are generally easy for our young trainees to understand, and books that match their current level of reading comprehension (beginner to intermediate). If I may add, due to reasons ranging from poverty to family problems and predicaments, most of our trainees were only able to complete their primary to middle school education. Having said that, we do have a few trainees who are SPM holders.

atb: Any specific genres you believe might appeal to the youths? What about language?
BMJ: We are currently seeking book donations* in English form only. Genres such as YA novels/series, short stories, essays, thrillers, graphic novels etc. are strongly preferred. Bear in mind that our trainees are teenagers and these young minds certainly have a lot of room for imagination!

atb: Best way to get in touch with you?
BMJ: Facebook Messenger – @beverley.jominit

atb: Anything else you’d like to add?
BMJ: I hope that whether as educators or as adults, we should do more to encourage and guide the younger generation to pick up an interest in reading. It is not easy, but if the youths end up with a genre or series that they enjoy, and read not just for knowledge but also for pleasure, that would be amazing.

atb: Can’t end this without asking for your favourite reads?
BMJ: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Three Cups of Tea and Stones into Schools by Greg Mortenson, and Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo.

To drop-off books:

Montfort Youth Training Centre is located along Jalan Lama Penampang-Papar, Kinarut. For directions, please click here.

Main library at the Centre
Monday – Friday: 8am to 5pm
(Closed on public holidays)

Library at Montfort residential campus (dormitory side)
Monday – Sunday: 8am to 9pm
(Closed on public holidays)

*Note: During our conversation, atb learned that the libraries at Montfort already has a decent collection of magazines, such as National Geographic, Reader’s Digest etc. Hence, they do not need more of those.

Some photos of the libraries at Montfort Youth Training Centre!

Launching Soon: “all things bookish”

Welcome to all things bookisha bi-monthly Q&A initiated and published by Silent Book Club Sabah.

We feature personalities who simply can’t get enough of all things bookish – simple as that! Everyday people, sometimes maybe authors, writers – you get the idea. We ask them about the joys of reading, their favorite authors, and maybe, what they do when they’re not reading.

Oh, we might even ask them about “going KonMari” on their books, e.g. “keep books that spark joy (30 books)”, among other things!

If you’d like to be part of our series, or know someone who’d be a great fit for our series, let us know by sending us a message on our Facebook page!

The all things bookish Q&A series (Jan/Feb/19) will officially kick-off next week, featuring Beverley Marsha Jominit, who teaches English at Montfort Youth Training Centre, Kinarut.

Watch this space!