‘It’s only very recently that I started reading books on filmmaking’

Sisan Baniya, one of the most recognizable names in Nepal’s vlogging scene, started reading at an early age. As a schoolchild, Baniya read fiction to escape the reality of student life. In this interview with the Post, Baniya shares the types of books he loved reading as a kid and how he now makes it a point to read different genres.

Were you interested in books from a young age?

I was fortunate to have been introduced to reading novels at a young age. Although I wasn’t the best at academics, I’ve always loved hearing and reading stories. Growing up I loved reading fantasy books and I spent a lot of time reading such books in my school library. I would even hide them under course books and read them during class. I particularly liked The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain and Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield and Great Expectations. These books were my escape from complex math, boring classes, and teachers.

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How often do you take the time to read books now?

Although I always carry a book in my backpack, I don’t read as much as I used to. Every time I sit down to read, one thing or another always pops up to distract me.

What genres do you like to read the most? And which ones do you avoid?

I’m constantly changing from one genre to another. Since starting my podcast channel, I’ve started reading across genres to better understand the topics my podcast guests specialize in. When I read books that deal with complex topics, I take a break in between and read through books that are simpler. I also read self-help books, but I try to avoid those that try too hard.

Books you have read that have left a lasting impression on you.

I remember reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain and David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. I really enjoyed Tom Sawyer’s character development from a mischievous child to an adult who takes good care of loved ones.

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I vividly remember enjoying reading David Copperfield because the novel’s title character loses his girlfriend. At this point in my life I had a huge crush on a girl for the first time in my life and reading the book made me think about her a lot.

Are there any books you have read recently that have helped you in your professional life?

I recently read Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life.

by Francesc Miralles and Hector Garcia, and “Rework” by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried. The former partially helped me to reorganize my lifestyle. The latter showed me the advantages of a small team and that an informal work environment is not a bad idea.

A book you’ve always wanted to read but never got around to.

“Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind” by Yuval Noah Harari. I will start reading the book as soon as I have answered your questions.

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You are one of the most popular Nepalese video content creators on YouTube. How often do you read books about filmmaking?

I’ve only recently started reading books about filmmaking. Ever since I decided to pursue filmmaking seriously, I have felt the need to read extensively more about filmmaking and all things related to it. I’ve found that reading books about filmmaking is very helpful if you want to make technically flawless films.

What are you planning to read next?

I just started reading What Makes You Not a Buddhist by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse. I’m enjoying it so far and looking forward to finishing it.

Three books you want to recommend.

That is hard. Try not to think too much into my list.

“A Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hosseini

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

“Outliers: The Success Story” by Malcolm Gladwell

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