For the last few years, I have been using Goodreads to track my annual reading. While I didn’t surpass my record, I was still proud of 36 books read in 2019.
In a new place this year, I put a conscious effort into reading books by Singaporean authors to learn more about my (adopted) country. I discovered Amanda Lee Koe, the youngest winner of the Singapore Literature Prize. I learned about the history of kampongs (villages), the former red light district (Keong Saik Road) and a tiny island’s approach to foreign policy (from the former Foreign Minister). I flew through some light fiction (including the enjoyable sequels to Crazy Rich Asians). I spent a ton of money at Books Actually, Singapore’s best (and most adorable) independent book store (money well spent!).
Without further ado, here are my 2019 recommendations (see if you can spot the theme)…
- Fiction: State of Emergency by Jeremy Tiang (an interconnected family saga spanning Singapore, Malaysia & the UK)
- Short stories: Ministry of Moral Panic by Amanda Lee Koe
- Beach read: Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan (the enjoyable third novel in the Crazy Rich Asians series, skip the second one if you can)
- Non-fiction: Billion Dollar Whale by Tom Wright (Crazy Rich Asians meets Bad Blood in this unbelievable tale of the forming and undoing of 1MDB)
- Non-Asian reads: Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow and How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollen
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Cheers to more reading in 2020!