Singapore Shelf: 10 home-grown reads to check out this month

   In this month's edition of Singapore Shelf, readers can dive into books such as The Messiah Virus by Meihan Boey and Signs of Life by O Thiam Chin.
In this month's edition of Singapore Shelf, readers can dive into books such as The Messiah Virus by Meihan Boey and Signs of Life by O Thiam Chin.PHOTOS: MATH PAPER PRESS

In this monthly feature, we line up 10 hot-off-the-press Singapore books that readers can dive into.

FICTION

1. 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 karang guni trader and an insane engineer to help her save humanity.

2. 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; actors in a horror movie discover the special effects are less artificial than they appear.

3. THE LIGHTS THAT FIND US


PHOTO: EPIGRAM BOOKS

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. BENG BENG REVOLUTION


PHOTO: EPIGRAM BOOKS

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, while Beng Hock discovers a power growing inside him and struggles to control it.

5. INTERPRETER OF WINDS


PHOTO: ETHOS BOOKS

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's Orbit series of slender reads is a quartet of magic-touched stories, from the dreamlike 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.

NON-FICTION

6. FAMILY AND POPULATION IN ASIA


PHOTO: FOCUS PUBLISHING

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 issues, 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.

7. SEVEN HUNDRED YEARS: A HISTORY OF SINGAPORE


PHOTO: MARSHALL CAVENDISH

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.

8. RELUCTANT EDITOR


PHOTO: MARSHALL CAVENDISH

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 to a hit-and-run accident.

9. THE STREAMING MEDIA GUIDE


PHOTO: ROUTLEDGE

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.

COMICS

10. MR KIASU IN SINGAPORE HISTORY


PHOTO: SHOGAKUKAN ASIA

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.