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Read All Over - Ken Tsui

Read All Over celebrates the bookworm in all of us, showcasing readers in Vancouver and the books they love most.

Filmmaker, events coordinator, podcaster, pop-up restaurateur, and now, the new Program Director of the brilliantly refashioned Chinatown Night Market—If you haven't met Ken Tsui yet, you probably will very soon. He's one of the good ones out there currently hustling and redefining the meaning of summer in Vancouver. Check out the market this coming long weekend for the Kingsgate Chorus and Weekend Leisure Karoke. And be sure to subscribe to On Second Thought, for a fortnightly dose of humourous ruminations.

Read All Over celebrates the bookworm in all of us, showcasing readers in Vancouver and the books they love most.

Image courtesy, Chinatown Night Market

What's on your nightstand right now? Are you enjoying it?

I have David Hickey's The Invisible Dragon sitting on my nightstand. But therein lies the problem. It should be in my bed because a book on my nightstand is one I'm about to startthe book wedged between my pillows would be the one I'm actually reading. Currently, there's isn't anything on my bed besides a blanket and two pillows.

Is this the genre you usually prefer? Why?

I do prefer non-fiction. I have the attention span of a five year old and a sieve-like memory. I read selectively and non-fiction essays tend to be ideal for these kind of traits. Furthermore, non-fiction can often be practical, and I tend to retain more of it in hopes to have it become useful one day.

What's next on your list?

David Foster Wallace's essay, The (As It Were) Seminal Importance of Terminator 2. I don't plan on reading the rest of the book [Both Flesh and Not]. You see what I mean about reading selectively?

What magazines or journals can you not live without?

I feel like I'm out of touch and desperately trying to keep up with contemporary cinema. Sight & Sound is the low-commitment update that keeps me relevant.

Do you read mostly online or print?

Print. I stare at screens practically 10 hours a day. Looking at anything that isn't lit up is a relief.

Where is your favourite place to crack open a book in the city?

My couch at home... No pants.

Image Courtesy, Ken Tsui

What is your reading style, in five words or less?

Slow as f***.

Which books/authors have influenced you the most?

I bought Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook after being run through the emotional meat grinder of my first big break-up. So imagine a sad-sack wandering aimlessly in the aisles of a Chapters looking for a book to read, coming across the Les Halles Cookbook and impulsively deciding to pick up cooking as a hobby. I'd never owned a cookbook before, let alone made a decent meal for myself. But working my way through Bourdain's book was an initiation into food culture that taught me all the fundamental cooking skills, leading me to do stupid things like opening up pop-up restaurants years later.

What were your favourite stories growing up?

Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone wrote this series of single-player adventure game books [Fighting Fantasy] that were basically choose-your-own-adventure novels for adult nerds. Reading one always involved an accompanying ziploc bag with my six-sided die and notepad that kept track of my skill, stamina and luck scores. Deathtrap Dungeon, Rings of Kether, Fangs of Fury, Night Dragon, I practically read them all.

What is the most cherished item in your library?

Alison Castle's The Stanley Kubrick Archives is a book I crack open from time to time to remind myself what care and desire for good work looks like.

Are you a hoarder or a give-away-er with books? 

Most of what I read is from the library so I guess I'm more of a "give-backer" with books.

What's the last book you purchased?

Eddie Huang's Fresh Off the Boat.

What's the last book you lent/gave away?

I lent Woody Allen's Side Effects to a cute girl a few years ago and haven't gotten it back yet.

Your life story is published tomorrow; the title is...?

Who Invited This Guy?

Image courtesy, Ken Tsui


Oh, and check out this sweet video for The Defektors Ken directed!