Bookends

Al Hafiz Sanusi is in The Second Breakfast Company's rendition of Family.
Al Hafiz Sanusi is in The Second Breakfast Company's rendition of Family.PHOTO: MARK BENEDICT CHEONG

Who: Freelancer Al Hafiz Sanusi, 26, is a member of the ensemble cast of The Second Breakfast Company's rendition of Family by Leow Puay Tin, a play which marks its 20th anniversary.

He graduated from Nanyang Technological University last year with a bachelor's degree in English Literature and now teaches speech and drama as well as performs in assembly shows in schools.

Directed by Adeeb Fazah, Family will be staged at Centre 42 from Oct 13 to 16.

What are you reading?

I am reading Written Country: The History Of Singapore Through Literature by Gwee Li Sui.

I'm an avid reader of Singapore literature and a history geek as well, so this anthology is the perfect amalgamation.

It tells the history of modern Singapore through several defining moments written by some of Singapore's finest writers. Writers I look up to, such as Boey Kim Cheng and Haresh Sharma, are in this anthology.

At the same time, I'm re-reading Rainer Maria Rilke's Letters To A Young Poet. This is my go-to book whenever I need guidance in writing or in life. It is a short read, but the letters dispense insights that are so counterintuititive in today's world. I discovered this gem in 2013 and I have different take-aways every time I read it.

What books would you save from a burning house?

I would "cheat" and save an anthology instead and that would be my The Norton Anthology of English Literature (Volume 1 & 2). I bought it during my freshman year in university. It is the most expensive book I have in my collection. That way, I will be occupied for months reading works from Oscar Wilde to Wilfred Owen. Then again, I'm quite a utilitarian. I would probably just save my current journal. It contains a compilation of my private musings and creative writings. If I have a bit more time, I'll salvage a stash of my past journals.

•Written Country:The History Of Singapore Through Literature, edited by Gwee Li Sui (2016, Landmark Books, $25.01), Letters To A Young Poet by Rainer Maria (1929, Inel Verlag, $22.42) are available from Books Kinokuniya, and volumes of The Norton Anthology of English Literature (1962, W. W. Norton & Co) are available at Amazon.com at varying prices.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 02, 2016, with the headline 'Bookends'. Print Edition | Subscribe