SINGAPORE – From poetry inspired by 1980s pop to a “pandemic cookbook” illustrated by Eisner-winning graphic novelist Sonny Liew, here are some books to add to this month’s reading pile.
1. Anatomy Of A Wave by Yong Shu Hoong
Poetry/Dakota Books/Paperback/125 pages/$19.26/Books Kinokuniya
Poet Yong Shu Hoong’s seventh collection, Anatomy Of A Wave, is a nostalgic blend of poetry and memoir. Poems, many of them referencing 1980s songs, are interspersed with prose reflections on the past – shops hawking pirated cassettes, Yong’s experience writing for the indie music magazine BigO and other personal memories.
True to its title, the book abounds with waves – from Hokusai’s famous woodblock print The Great Wave off Kanagawa, to the music of 1980s “new wave” groups such as Duran Duran and Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark.
2. All Broken Up And Dancing by Kelvin Tan
Fiction/Self-published/379 pages/e-mail Tan at firstname.lastname@example.org
Revisit this 1992 cult classic by author-musician Kelvin Tan, who has just released an album to mark the novel’s 30th anniversary.
3. The Pandemic Cookbook: Some Voices And Dishes In The Years Of A Novel Coronavirus by Hsu Li Yang and Sonny Liew
Comics/Epigram Books/Paperback/176 pages/$30.92/Books Kinokuniya
This book by infectious diseases expert Hsu Li Yang and Eisner-winning graphic novelist Sonny Liew looks back on the earlier days of the Covid-19 pandemic.
It draws on interviews with frontline workers, journalists, policymakers, academics, migrant workers and more.
4. Every School A Good School by Ng Ziqin
Fiction/Epigram Books/Paperback/262 pages/$22.36/Books Kinokuniya
Thanks to a new exchange programme, two Singapore teenagers – Rowena, a middling student at a top girls’ school, and Janice, an overachiever at a heartland institution – end up studying in each other’s school.
This debut novel was a finalist for the 2022 Epigram Books Fiction Prize.
5. Someone Is Coming by T.A. Morton
Fiction/Monsoon Books/Paperback/174 pages/$15.78/Books Kinokuniya
Philip Goundry, a 93-year-old living in a care home in England, receives a visit from a Singapore researcher who wants to find out more about Goundry’s old life on a rubber plantation in Malaya.
6. My American Sister by Judy Tham
Fiction/Penguin Random House South-east Asia/Paperback/238 pages/$28.78/Books Kinokuniya
A couple in China flout the one-child policy by having a second daughter, Ying. She is taken away by corrupt officials, sold to an orphanage and adopted by a woman who raises her in San Francisco. As Ying’s biological family falls apart, her father sets out to find his American daughter.