Singapore Shelf

10 reads for July

The Messiah Virus by Meihan Boey
The Messiah Virus by Meihan Boey
Signs of Life by O Thiam Chin
Signs of Life by O Thiam Chin
The Lights That Find Us by Anittha Thanabalan
The Lights That Find Us by Anittha Thanabalan
Beng Beng Revolution by Lu Huiyi
Beng Beng Revolution by Lu Huiyi
Interpreter of Winds by Fairoz Ahmad
Interpreter of Winds by Fairoz Ahmad
Mr Kiasu in Singapore History by Johnny Lau
Mr Kiasu in Singapore History by Johnny Lau
Family and Population in Asia; edited by Wei Jun Jean Yeung and Tang Leng Leng.
Family and Population in Asia; edited by Wei Jun Jean Yeung and Tang Leng Leng.
Seven Hundred Years: A History of Singapore by Kwa Chong Guan, Derek Heng, Peter Borschberg and Tan Tai Yong.
Seven Hundred Years: A History of Singapore by Kwa Chong Guan, Derek Heng, Peter Borschberg and Tan Tai Yong.
Reluctant Editor by PN Balji
Reluctant Editor by PN Balji
The Streaming Media Guide by Michael D’Oliveiro
The Streaming Media Guide by Michael D’Oliveiro

In this monthly feature, Olivia Ho lines up 10 hot-off-the-press Singapore books that readers can dive into

1 FICTION

THE MESSIAH VIRUS

By Meihan Boey

Math Paper Press/ Paperback/ 102 pages/ $19 before GST/ Books Kinokuniya and BooksActually

Boey, known mostly for her work in comics, turns her pen to space opera with this novella set in a colonised universe run by the Empress, the operating system of a vast civilisation.

When the Empress is disabled by a virus called the Messiah, a little girl with psionic powers recruits a famous courtesan, a cyborg karung guni trader and an insane engineer to help her save humanity.

2 FICTION

SIGNS OF LIFE

By O Thiam Chin

Math Paper Press/ Paperback/ 176 pages/ $19 before GST/ Books Kinokuniya and BooksActually

In O's sixth collection of 12 short stories, a mysterious force terrorises schoolgirls at a campfire; a couple try to conceive in a post-apocalyptic world; and actors in a horror movie discover the special effects are less fake than they seem.

3 FICTION

THE LIGHTS THAT FIND US

By Anittha Thanabalan

Epigram Books/ Paperback/ 194 pages/$18.90 before GST/Major bookstores, Huggs-Epigram Coffee Bookshop and epigrambooks.sg

This debut novel, which was shortlisted for the Epigram Books Fiction Prize, puts a Singapore twist on Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.

Shreya made a mistake at Deepavali two years ago that tore her family apart. During this year's celebrations, she is visited by three celestial beings who want to help her right her wrongs.

4 FICTION

BENG BENG REVOLUTION

By Lu Huiyi

Epigram Books/ Paperback/ 218 pages/ $18.90 before GST/ Major bookstores, Huggs-Epigram Coffee Bookshop and epigrambooks.sg

Another finalist for the Epigram Books Fiction Prize, Lu's dystopian debut is set in a steampunk Singapore where oil and gas have run out and bureaucratic red tape tangles with post-apocalyptic violence.

Brothers Beng Hock and Beng Huat - who would really prefer to be called Archibald - are trying to get by in a crumbling shanty-town behind what used to be City Hall MRT station, while Beng Hock discovers a power growing inside him and struggles to control it.

5 FICTION

INTERPRETER OF WINDS

By Fairoz Ahmad

Ethos Books/ Paperback/ 104 pages/ $10 before GST/ Books Kinokuniya, Huggs-Epigram Coffee Bookshop and Wardah Books

The fourth book in Ethos' Orbit series of slender reads is a quartet of magic-touched stories, from the dream-like title tale in which a dog who desires to be Muslim converses with a camel who pursues errant words in the desert, to the story of a witch's murder in Dutch-occupied Java.

6 COMICS

MR KIASU IN SINGAPORE HISTORY

By Johnny Lau

Shogakukan Asia/Paperback/ 128 pages/ $12.90/ Major bookstores

Mr Kiasu, the iconic home-grown cartoon character who is afraid to lose out, observes tumultuous events and meets characters from Singapore's history, including Sir Stamford Raffles and Sang Nila Utama, in this anthology by Lau and eight artists.

7 NON-FICTION

FAMILY AND POPULATION IN ASIA

Edited by Wei Jun Jean Yeung and Tang Leng Leng

Focus Publishing/ Paperback/ 200 pages/ $16.05/Times, Books Kinokuniya and Union Book

This collection of 30 essays spans issues on children, marriage, fertility and gender, from how to age successfully to the role fathers play in a child's upbringing. These are based on research by the National University of Singapore's Centre for Family and Population Research associates. The book includes a foreword by Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

8 NON-FICTION

SEVEN HUNDRED YEARS: A HISTORY OF SINGAPORE

By Kwa Chong Guan, Derek Heng, Peter Borschberg and Tan Tai Yong

Marshall Cavendish/

Paperback/ 314 pages/ $37.45/Major bookstores

This revamp of a 2009 book, A 700-Year History: From Early Emporium To World City, updates the earlier text for the Singapore Bicentennial. It is the only single volume to cover 700 years of Singapore history and represents 30 to 40 years of collective research.

National University of Singapore Associate Professor Borschberg joins the original trio of historians who authored the first edition.

9 NON-FICTION

RELUCTANT EDITOR

By PN Balji

Marshall Cavendish/ Paperback/ 196 pages/$23/ Major bookstores and Huggs-Epigram Coffee Bookshop

Balji, a veteran journalist and editor who has worked at five newspapers, including The Straits Times, The New Paper (TNP) and Today, gives the inside scoop on his newsroom experiences and what went on behind the headlines.

He opens up on his time in tabloid journalism, brushes with the Government and the infamous "Toh Chin Chye Affair", in which TNP erroneously reported that former deputy prime minister Toh Chin Chye had been arrested in connection with a hit-and-run accident.

10 NON-FICTION

THE STREAMING MEDIA GUIDE

By Michael D'Oliveiro

Routledge/ Hardback/ 152 pages/ $62.40/ Books Kinokuniya

Singapore-based media executive d'Oliveiro aims to demystify streaming media - such as Spotify, YouTube and Netflix - for business professionals.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 02, 2019, with the headline '10 reads for July'. Print Edition | Subscribe