THE morning rush hour is never the same without hearing her distinctive voice on radio.

Bubbly radio personality Shazmin Shamsuddin, who is better known as Shaz, is no stranger to the Malaysian public with over 17 years of air experience.

Currently on Lite Breakfast at Lite FM alongside Steve, Shaz’s voice (and her poems!) can be heard over the radio waves, ready to lift you out of your morning doldrums as you battle the usual weekday traffic snarl.

Besides an obvious passion for her work, the modern-day mum of two loves animals and, of course, her books!

Shazmin Shamsuddin

What's currently on your reading list?

I'm reading a few books simultaneously at the moment: Philippa Gregory's Three Sisters, Three Queens (a historical fiction novel about Margaret and Mary Tudor — the sisters of Henry VIII — and their sister in law, Katharine of Aragon). I'm a history buff and I love a good story, so this is just up my alley.

I'm also reading some esoterica and a book on herbal remedies.

What's the last great book you read?

It's been a few years now, but the book I've enjoyed reading the most is Hawaii by James A. Michener.

Historical fiction is my favorite genre. What amazes me the most about this book is that he wrote this epic novel in the 1950s, before Google and Wikipedia obviously.

The amount of historical detail interwoven into this work of fiction, connecting the many lives through the ages in it, up until recent modern times and how these events impacted modern day Hawaii is no mean feat.

Michener is a prolific story teller. I find myself researching things I didn't know about every time I pick up a Michener novel.

I loved his other novels: Chesapeake, Alaska, The Drifters and The Source. I found an old copy of Sayonara in my grandfather's house when I was 11 and have been hooked on Michener since.

What's the one book that most people would be surprised to find on your bookshelf?

Dog Training for Dummies. You never know when information like this may come in handy.

What's the best book-gift that you've ever received?

My friends have stopped giving me books because too many times they've gotten me books I already own or have read, so I get a lot of book vouchers now.

The best literary gift was actually a Kindle, from Umapagan Ampikaipakan. It was my first Kindle. I love that you can just buy and download the books you want in less than a minute.

I do still prefer a physical book. My kids always get me the latest Stephen King for my birthday because they know it's a guilty pleasure.

If you were marooned on a island, what would be the five books you would take with you?

This is so hard to answer! You know what, I'm going through a Game of Thrones fetish at the moment with the new season coming up again, so I'll say that entire series, plus the ones George RR Martin has yet to finish.

If I'm stranded somewhere on an island, at least I could reread all this and find all the minute theories and come up with some of my own — God knows I'll have the time for it!

If you were to organise a literary party and was given a chance to invite three writers (dead or alive), who would they be?

Easy! James A Michener. William Shakespeare (or all the people said to be 'him'), and Pat Rodegast, who channelled an entity called Emmanuelle, who had a lot of wise words for us in our current state of 'forgetting'.

What's your favourite childhood book?

I was a late reader, I took my time to learn to read but I became a voracious reader when I finally learned how. I loved Judy Blume's Superfudge series. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing came out when my little sister was born so of course I related to it.

I also enjoyed Enid Blyton's Malory Towers series. It got me so excited to go to boarding school until I actually got there in Seremban for Form 1 and the experience was underwhelming and absolutely NOTHING like in the books!

I read a lot of PG Wodehouse because they had them in my school library and I loved his English public school stories as well.

What is the one book you'd wish for every Malaysian to read?

Oh dear. Everyone has different interests and tastes. I don't have a ‘Malaysiana’ recommendation per se, but I feel that everyone should read some Austen, Dickens or some J.K. Rowling for a bit of magic.

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