PASIR GUDANG - A 41-year-old housewife, who used to hide in the school library during recess because she did not have enough money to eat, has started her own library at home. So far, Haminah Yahya has amassed over 4,000 books.
Her collection includes biographies, travelogues, novels and books on finance.
"I have been collecting these books since I was 13 years old. Nowadays I make it a point to read at least three books a week," she said, adding that her three children, aged 21, 20, 17, were also avid readers.
Her passion for books began when she spent time in the library reading "to save my pocket money and kill my hunger pangs at the same time".
"Every month, I would save about RM30 (S$12) and used the money to buy books by post," she said in an interview at her house here.
"I only got RM2 pocket money daily from my mother after my parents divorced," she said, adding that her family was too poor to pay for tertiary education after Form Five.
She credited her late grandfather for nurturing her love of reading.
After she married her engineer husband about 22 years ago, she has been getting RM500 each month to buy her favourite books.
Her daily routine is to read a motivational book in the morning, a novel at noon and a religious book before going to bed.
To encourage others to pick up reading, Haminah started a blog in 2009.
She is willing to rent her books for RM1 to RM3 for up to two weeks.
"I have been lending my books to school teachers, friends and neighbours over the past few years," she said, urging parents to spend time reading with their children to get them started early. .
Haminah can be contacted at her website http://jomsewabuku.blogspot.com/ and her recipe blog http://daridapurmina.blogspot.com/.