She never thought her passion for reading would get her on to a book cover. But that’s exactly what happened to Dubai resident Shipra Roma.
Every woman, at some point in her life, might have wondered how she would look when she was old, or older. Hollywood actress Cameron Diaz helps answer this question. Her new book, The Longevity Book, is a personal and practical guide that examines the art and science of growing older. It offers concrete steps for women to focus on their health and resilience as they age.
On the back of the book’s jacket are pictures of women from around the world. Roma got her selfie selected as one of the faces on the back cover, after responding to a global call by the publishers.
She said: “I wasn’t sure if I would be selected, even though they did repost my selfie on Instagram several weeks before announcing the winners. When that confirmation came, I was completely ecstatic! I could not believe that I was going to be on a book by such a famous celebrity, who is a great role model of mine. It is definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity that came true for me.”
Gulf News speaks to Roma about her passion for all things books:
Do you enjoy reading?
“Absolutely. I love getting lost in my own imagination between each page. Reading allows me to shut myself off from the rest of the world for a while, so that I can relax. I find it very therapeutic, and the smell of new books is my favourite.”
Who is your favourite author?
“My favourite author is F. Scott Fitzgerald, because I can read The Great Gatsby over and over again, and experience so many different and powerful emotions each time.”
What is the one book you recommend everyone should read?
“The Longevity Book by Cameron Diaz. Not because I’m featured on it, but because it is an amazing read with a very powerful message. Women should not be afraid of the ageing process since it is the most natural part of our lives. We do not need to cover our wrinkles, they are just lines of life experiences, which make us even more beautiful. Diaz was bold to post so many photos of herself with no makeup on, and every woman in the world should stand in front of a mirror every day and scream ‘I am beautiful!’, no matter how old they are.”
What do you think about the culture of reading in the UAE?
“At first I thought it was dying due to social media distractions, but lately I have been surprised to see so many people reading again. I was very proud to see Gulf News launching a book club. It is so encouraging to be a part of this community, and I love seeing what titles other people are engaging in, so that I can read them, too, and discuss my feelings about them.”
How can people be encouraged to read more?
“Discounts and offers on bestsellers at local bookshops would be a positive step. There can also be a points system with rewards for each book people have finished reading. These points can further be redeemed to get new titles at a cheaper price. The community feel of the book club is very important, because it is motivating to share that enthusiasm for reading with so many other people, who can relate.”
How does reading help a person?
“For me, it helps with language, personality and character. My writing skills have improved a lot since I started reading, which helped me immensely when I published my blog, wrote cover letters for a new job or wrote business proposals. When I find a good character in a book, I want to become like him or her, especially if the character has a lot of confidence, it makes me feel like I can be bold and fearless, too. Every girl can be as strong as Katniss Everdeen if she puts her mind to it, and every boy can be Harry Potter. It’s all about the imagination, which reading allows us to make the most of.”
If you would like to discover a new world, too, come be a part of the #GNBookClub. Register on www.gulfnews.com/your-say or post on our Facebook page. You can also tweet us @gulf_news or whatsapp us on 0565245977