WHAT ARE YOU READING?
Nil Paksnavin is a director and general practitioner at Koh Yao Chaiyapat Hospital on Yao Yai Island in Phangnga province. Mor Nil _ "Doctor Nil" as most people call him _ lives a double life as both a medical professional and literary enthusiast. And it sounds all the more enviable that he can do both while living on a tropical island.
The doctor has written a few collections of short stories, with the latest one, Ok Pai Khang Nai (a pun, Going Out Inside), just out last month.
"It's a collection of my own history," says Nil. "But some people say it's a personal history that also reflects the larger history."
He also runs a small bookshop and film screening space in downtown Phuket, and that's a portal to another interest of his _ Nil has made several short films, most of them experimental, and he's in the process of shooting his first feature-length movie, as yet still untitled.
No wonder his reading selection is heavily cinematic. "I learn filmmaking through reading," he says. And we can hear the island breeze blowing behind him.
_ Kong Rithdee
What are you reading?
For Tomorrow For Tonight, a book that accompanies an art exhibition by filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul. There's a part that's his diary, and I learn a lot about moviemaking from it.
What is the book you've always wanted to read, but haven't?
Remembrance Of Things Past _ Proust. It's a big set of books, and because I read English more slowly than I read Thai, I haven't got around to really do it. I envy those who can read the French original.
What was the last book that made you laugh?
Strange, I don't have that response when I read. I can't think of any.
What was the last book that made you cry?
A pilot copy of Utopia Chamrud (Damaged Utopia) by Wiwat Lertwiwatwongsa. Poetry by Tosapol Boonsinsook and Uthane Mahamitr also makes me cry.
Did you ever buy a book because everybody was talking about it, but when you read it you didn't like it?
So many. When I was in secondary school, I tried to read the classics, but they bored me.
At home, how many books have you bought that you haven't started reading?
Not many. I have so much free time on the island that I can read a lot at night.
You also make films. What's your favourite book on the subject of cinema?
Nang Wannakam A-Z, a book made by Filmvirus group about the relationship between literature and cinema. It opens me up to the history of film.