Singapore writer Melanie Lee (left).
Singapore writer Melanie Lee.PHOTO: COURTESY OF MELANIE LEE

Who: Singapore writer and part- time lecturer Melanie Lee, 37 Lee is behind the children's book series, The Adventures Of Squirky The Alien. The six-part series is about a five-year-old alien from Singapore who travels through space in search of his birth parents.

She is married to photographer Darren Soh and the series was inspired by the adoption of their son, Christian, four years ago.

The fifth book, The Adventures Of Squirky The Alien #5: How Do You Get To The Garden Galaxy?, published by MPH Publishing and illustrated by David Liew, is out in stores. The final book in the series will be out later this year.

The books in the series retail for $10.70 each at Books Kinokuniya, MPH Bookstores, Time Bookstores and Books Ahoy.

What are you reading now?

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout. This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is a series of interwoven stories centred on the residents of a seemingly sleepy coastal town in Maine, United States. It digs deep into its characters, even if some of them are featured only in a chapter or two.

Strout's brutally honest take on ageing, loss and contradictory facets of human nature, actually kept me up for a few nights. While kind of emotionally draining, I appreciate books that get me introspective about life.

What books would you save from a burning house?

The Bible because it grounds me. The Art Of Charlie Chan Hock Chye by Sonny Liew because the artwork and storytelling are stunning. I would also save For My Son by my husband. In 2013, he self-published a book of 15 architectural photos featuring buildings in Singapore that were about to disappear - and now, they have already disappeared. It is a legacy for our son.

  • Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout (2008, Random House, $19.80) and The Art Of Charlie Chan Hock Chye by Sonny Liew (2015, Epigram Books, $37.34) are available from Books Kinokuniya. For My Son by Darren Soh is sold out.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 20, 2016, with the headline 'Bookends'. Print Edition | Subscribe