Book Stack: 10 reads to wrap up April


SINGAPORE - In this monthly feature, The Sunday Times pick out 10 books from around the world that have just hit shelves to add to next month's reading pile.

Top of the Stack

1. In The Margins: On The Pleasures Of Reading And Writing


By Elena Ferrante, translated by Ann Goldstein
Non-fiction/Europa Editions/Hardcover/111 pages/$27.82/Buy here/Borrow here
4 out of 5

Fans of the hugely popular Neapolitan Novels by Italian author Elena Ferrante will get a glimpse into her writing process in this short compilation of four heartfelt essays.

Beginning with a memory of how she was taught to tame her writing so that her letters remained within the margins on a piece of writing paper, Ferrante talks about writing as a painful struggle, putting paid to myths of words coming to authors as if in automatic writing.

The famously pseudonymous writer, who has never revealed her identity despite numerous attempts by others to guess it, candidly discusses her two writing selves.


2. The Way Spring Arrives And Other Stories


Edited by Yu Chen and Regina Kanyu Wang
Fiction/Tordotcom Publishing/Hardcover/385 pages/$46.95/Buy here 

This veritable trove of Chinese science fiction, fantasy stories and essays was put together by a team of female and non-binary creators.

The pieces range from Xia Jia's What Does The Fox Say?, an irreverent look at language and translation in flash fiction, to BaiFanRuShuang's A Saccharophilic Earthworm and The Alchemist Of Lantian

3. The Power Of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward


By Daniel H. Pink
Non-fiction/Riverhead/Paperback/256 pages/$30.90/Buy here/Borrow here

Most people, American author Daniel H. Pink argues, have four core regrets, which function as a "photographic negative" of the good life.

Drawing on research in fields such as psychology and economics, he makes a case for how people can transform regrets into a force for a better life.

4. The Family Chao


By Lan Samantha Chang
Fiction/Pushkin Press/Paperback/320 pages/$30.94/Buy here/Borrow here

The Chao family run the best restaurant in Lake Haven, Wisconsin. When their patriarch is found frozen to death in the meat freezer, all eyes turn to the three Chao sons: heir apparent Dagou, successful banker Ming and college student James. This story by American writer Lan Samantha Chang is a modern retelling of Fyodor Dostoevsky's 19th-century Russian classic The Brothers Karamazov.

5. Edgware Road


By Yasmin Cordery Khan
Fiction/Head of Zeus/Paperback/356 pages/$29.95/Buy here/Borrow here

Khalid, an immigrant from Karachi, Pakistan, works nights in London's West End and likes to gamble.

In 2003, two decades after his disappearance, his daughter Alia sets out to find the truth about her father.

6. Glory


By NoViolet Bulawayo
Fiction/Chatto & Windus/Paperback/416 pages/$30.62/Buy here

NoViolet Bulawayo, who in 2013 became the first black African woman to be shortlisted for the Booker Prize, is back with a provoking allegory of dictatorship inspired by the 2017 ousting of former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe. The novel is set in the animal kingdom of Jidada - a nod to George Orwell's 1945 novel Animal Farm - and its denizens are horses, donkeys, dogs and cattle, in a time of Twitter.

7. Violets


By Kyung-Sook Shin, translated by Anton Hur
Fiction/Orion Publishing/Hardcover/212 pages/$32.81/Buy here

San, born in a village in South Korea, is an isolated and repressed young woman. She moves to Seoul to become a writer, but ends up working in a flower shop and becomes obsessed with a magazine photographer.

This novel by Man Asian Literary Prize-winning author Shin Kyung-sook was first published in 2001, and shines a light on the harsh standards of contemporary South Korean society.

8. In Praise Of Limes


By Shirley Geok-lin Lim
Poetry/Sungold Editions/Paperback/106 pages/$30.44/Buy here

In her latest poetry collection, veteran Malacca-born poet and scholar Shirley Geok-lin Lim turns her gaze to her adopted home of California and its natural world - a landscape of fruit, stones and fire.

9. All My Rage


By Sabaa Tahir
Young adult/Razorbill/Paperback/384 pages/$20.87/Buy here/Borrow here

Pakistani-American teens Salahudin and Noor navigate a choppy friendship in a desert community in present-day California. This story was inspired by Pakistani-American author Sabaa Tahir's childhood in her family's motel in the Mojave Desert.

10. Queen Of The Tiles


By Hanna Alkaf
Young adult/Simon & Schuster/Paperback/304 pages/$21.94/Buy here 

Immersed in the world of competitive scrabble, Malaysian teen Najwa Bakri is forced to investigate the death of her best friend - a former Scrabble queen - after the latter's Instagram account comes alive with mysterious messages.

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