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When someone tells you they don’t read fiction, that doesn’t mean they don’t read. On the contrary. Maj Gen MR Varoros Paribatra, or Khunchai Mai, is an avid reader who owns almost a thousand books. Having read Latin and ancient history at university, his interest lies in classical antiquity. “I don’t read fiction and novels. Most of my books are on history, particularly European military history with a focus on the ancient Greco-Roman world. I also read a wide range of other history books because of my profession as an army officer and because I’ve taught military students. Hence, I have a lot of books on wars, battles and leadership.”


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With such a large collection, Khunchai Mai explains that the family share books with each other, especially his daughter, ML Varabhanan, or Mint. Currently studying English literature and history at the prestigious Durham University in the UK, Mint has inherited her father’s love for reading. “My daughter goes through a large number of books very quickly. During her childhood, she spent a lot of time with her grandmother, Mom Dusdi Paribatra na Ayudhya, who was a writer and from whom Mint gained her reading habit. We do share books. Some history books, such as the ones on European history, are read by my daughter because she studies history as well, but I don’t read much of my daughter’s novels and poetry. I also share books with my wife, Varabhathip. I usually find books for her whenever she needs to look something up. As for my youngest son, ML Bhumi-Archava, he is a fast reader when he wants to read. He doesn’t buy books, but if he’s given a book he gets through it very quickly.”

Khunchai Mai continues, “Nowadays I read a lot of newspapers or online news but I still buy serious books which I try to get through, perhaps a few pages a day or about half a book a month. I find that as you get older you tend to read what you really want, as opposed to when you were a student and had to read required subjects. I read at my own pace and I find that I learn a lot more than when I was forced to read something.” The same can be applied to his children. “I don’t remember forcing them to read but as parents we have to provide the right environment to encourage reading. We have lots of books that they can pick up anytime or when they want new ones we support them with that.”

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(Next: Society Bookworms Part 3 of 5: Adisak Panupong)
(Previous: Society Bookworms Part 5 of 5: Shane Suvikapakornkul)

Tags: History, Books, Bookworm, Bibliophilia, Bibliophile, Literature, Maj Gen MR Varoros Paribatr