BooksActually's January 2019 Shelf

We’re celebrating the new year by sharing ideas for your 2019 reading list. 
Here’s a list of the bookstore elves and cats’ favourite new reads and rereads of January! 
(Books not in order of enjoyment)

 

 

 

 

Atlas: The Archaeology Of An Imaginary City by Dung Kai-cheung

Set in the long-lost City of Victoria (a fictional city similar to Hong Kong), Atlas is written from the unified perspective of future archaeologists struggling to rebuild a thrilling metropolis. Much like the quasi-fictional adventures in map-reading and remapping explored by Paul Auster, Jorge Luis Borges, and Italo Calvino, Dung Kai-cheung's novel challenges the representation of place and history and the limits of technical and scientific media in reconstructing a history. It best exemplifies the author's versatility and experimentation by blending fiction, nonfiction, and poetry in a story about succeeding and failing to recapture the things we lose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bang My Car by Ann Ang

Uncle: we all know him. This is the man who picks his nose on the bus, who will fight for his country and fight you to do it his way. He will shout you into submission while astounding you with his tenderness towards his wife. His standard answer to all your questions is “nothing.” Singaporean to the core, Bang My Car is a volume of short stories narrated in a mixture of colloquial Singlish and standard English reinvents classic prose forms from the ghost story to the university admissions essay through the figure of Uncle.

 

 

 

 

 

The Power by Naomi Alderman

What if the power to hurt were in women's hands? Suddenly - tomorrow or the day after - teenage girls find that with a flick of their fingers, they can inflict agonising pain and even death. With this single twist, the four lives at the heart of Alderman's extraordinary, visceral novel are utterly transformed. The Power was awarded the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction in 2017.

 

 

 

 

Lonely Face by Yeng Pway Ngon

Set in Singapore's late 1980s, Lonely Face tells the story of a man on the cusp of middle age, left behind by changing times. Fleeing his crumbling marriage on an overnight bus to Genting Highlands, he tries his luck at slot machines rather than the vagaries of modern romance. This snapshot of a society in flux is a newly-translated early work by acclaimed novelist Yeng Pway Ngon, three-time winner of Singapore Literature Prize and Cultural Medallion recipient.

 

 

 

The Summer Book by Tove Jansson

Tove Jansson tells the story of an elderly artist and her six-year-old granddaughter on a summer away together on a tiny island in the gulf of Finland. As the two learn to adjust to each other's fears, whims and yearnings, a fierce yet understated love emerges - one that encompasses not only the summer inhabitants but the very island itself. Written in a clear, unsentimental style, full of brusque humour, and wisdom, The Summer Book is a profoundly life-affirming story. This new edition, with a foreword by Esther Freud, sees the return of this European literary gem - fresh, authentic and deeply humane.

 

 

 

 

Bijoux In The Dark by John Yau

At the conclusion of Bijoux In The Dark, John Yau states, "I did not write a hauntingly beautiful book." A line that contrasts with the book's introductory poem, in which hauntings and beauty abound. With all of Bijoux In The Dark, the answer is multifaceted as Yau disavows pretension and expectation and instead heeds a candor beyond categorization. Sonnets and pantoums abound alongside graffiti and Top Ten lists. Yau's work veers from satire, ekphrasis, and homage to imagined histories, surreal dimensions, and Egyptology. The book's list of characters includes Albrecht Durer, Hieronymus Bosch, Francis Bacon, Mark Wahlberg, Donald Trump, Dante, and Meng Chiao. Yet, from this miscellany there comes an ingenious whole deft in its wit and bite. Here John Yau is at home with the quirky and the profound, and any combination thereof.

 

 

 

An Epic Of Durable Departures by Jason Wee

An Epic Of Durable Departures stands as a record of a friendship between two artists formed in the shadow of illness and mortality. Using the renga and haiku as departure points, Wee wrestles with the limits of art and of the document even as he summons werewolves, ghosts, and other myths. Faced with the inadequacies of witness, An Epic moves towards the living in reverse time, opening with obituaries and ending with a renewed beginning.

 

 

 

 

The Art Of Logic by Eugenia Cheng

Emotions are powerful. In newspaper headlines and on social media, they have become the primary way of understanding the world. But strong feelings make it more difficult to see the reality behind the rhetoric. From thorny political questions like public healthcare, Black Lives Matter to Brexit, Eugenia Cheng shows how mathematical logic can help us see things more clearly - and know when politicians and companies are trying to mislead us. Clear-sighted, revelatory and filled with useful real-life examples of logic and illogic at work, The Art of Logic is an essential guide to decoding modern life.

 

 

 

The Story Of English In 100 Words by David Crystal

In this entertaining history of the world's most ubiquitous language, David Crystal draws on one hundred words that best illustrate the huge variety of sources, influences and events that have helped to shape our vernacular since the first definitively English word — ‘roe’ — was written down on the femur of a roe deer in the fifth century. Featuring ancient words ('loaf'), cutting edge terms that reflect our world ('twittersphere'), indispensable words that shape our tongue ('and', 'what'), fanciful words ('fopdoodle') and even obscene expressions (the "c word"...), David Crystal takes readers on a tour of the winding byways of our language via the rude, the obscure and the downright surprising.

 

 

 

Consolations Of The Forest by Slyvain Tesson

Winner of the Prix Médicis for nonfiction, The Consolations of the Forest is a Thoreau-esque quest to find solace, taken to the extreme. No stranger to inhospitable places, Sylvain Tesson exiles himself to a wooden cabin on Siberia’s Lake Baikal, a full day’s hike from any ‘neighbor’, with his thoughts, his books, a couple of dogs, and many bottles of vodka for company. By recording his impressions in the face of silence, his struggles in a hostile environment, his hopes, doubts, and moments of pure joy in communion with nature, Tesson makes a decidedly out-of-the-ordinary experience relatable.

 

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