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Top 10 Bestselling Books Of 2019


BooksActually reflects on the top 10 best-selling books of 2019


We might already be making headway into the new year, but the customers have spoken, so the elves are here to present our top ten best-selling books of 2019 (no lies, we’ve got the receipts to prove!)

We’re proud to say that everything on this list is proudly #singlit #madeinsingapore, so if you’re wondering where or how to start dipping your toes into Sing Lit, this is a great place to start! #sglitftw!!!


10. The Rainbow Hearted Boy by Malvina Kang
Math Paper Press

Much like its heartwarming title, The Rainbow Hearted Boy is an inspiring book for all ages that teaches mindfulness and empathy for everyone. As we follow the journey of the rainbow hearted boy and his friend, we learn that the openness of one’s heart and mind will always win the day. This is a great one for all parents out there who are looking to read to, and with, their child(ren).


9. Balik Kampung edited by Verena Tay
Math Paper Press

How will you remember living in Singapore years from now? How it felt to walk or drive down the same street every day on your way home? How do we hang on to our memories of a city that changes too fast?

Balik Kampung draws from various authors’ love for their respective neighbourhoods (in which they’ve lived for at least ten years), and presents heartfelt stories anchored in places over our city. They're funny, sad, thoughtful, and most importantly, they'll make you look at our surroundings with newfound love. No matter where you live, you’ll definitely find a story to resonate with.

p.s. there's a whole series to Balik Kampung, and through it we take you all across the island.


8. This Is What Inequality Looks Like by Teo You Yenn
Ethos Books

Since its publication, this national bestseller has been selling steadily everywhere, including here at the bookstore. Now sporting a new cover (goodbye, gorgeous vellum 😢), this collection of essays is an accessible yet enlightening discussion on what being low-income is like in Singapore, and how these experiences are linked to structural conditions. This Is What Inequality Looks Like forces us as a society to think, to challenge our prejudices and to do better. Keep the discussions going, because that’s how we start making a difference.

p.s. check out a review by one of our book elves here!


7. SQ21 by Ng Yi-Sheng, edited by Jason Wee
Math Paper Press

What is it like for men and women to grow up queer in Singapore, to come out to their families, to find love and work and meaning? What are their stories? First published in 2006, this collection of coming out stories was the first affirming non-fiction volume accompanied by real names and faces. It may have been years since the voices here were first recorded, but they remain an important representation for the LGBTQ+ community.

Honest, raw, and insightful, SQ21 is a necessary piece in Singapore’s literary scene, and a testament to the bookstore’s values of being an inclusive and safe space for everyone.


6. Modern Myths by Clara Chow
Math Paper Press

What do you get when Greek mythology crosses over into contemporary Singapore? Modern Myths explores just that.

One god is a club DJ, one god is a tissue seller, another god opens a roasted meat stall, and others take on other roles. If you’re a lover of mythology, we invite you to tell us which gods you’ve managed to identify!


5. I Will Survive edited by Leow Yangfa
Math Paper Press

What is it like going through all the rites of passages in conservative Singapore being gay? How do you deal with being rejected by your family and religious group because of your sexual orientation? What is being transgender like and what struggles might you face? But perhaps the most important question is, how do you survive?

In I Will Survive, ordinary gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in Singapore tell their stories on surviving extraordinary circumstances. While there still needs to be more representation for the LGBTQ+ community in Singapore, we hope this reaches out like a warm embrace to anyone who is exploring their gender and sexual identity. This is a celebration of bravery, love, grace, faith, and dignity; and is yet another proof that – We will live. We will thrive. We will survive.


4. Somewhere Else, Another You by Tania De Rozario
Math Paper Press

Leave it to fate? Nah. This choose-your-own-adventure novel will make you the master of your own destiny. Are we the sum of our actions, or of our possibilities? Inspired by theories of the multiverse, this one may be short, but it’s super fun and we think you’ll have a blast like we did too!

p.s. Somewhere Else, Another You is available as an online interactive game-book for the month of March here!


3. Perfection by Debbie Lee
Math Paper Press

*trigger warning: sexual abuse, suicide, depression, and anxiety

In Singapore, mental health remains a stigma and is a topic that is not discussed often enough. So, we’re thankful that Debbie Lee wrote Perfection, because in this eye-opening and highly personal memoir, she recounts how she survived self-doubt, sexual abuse, depression, anxiety, suicide and the struggles she faced during recovery. Reading this allows us to put ourselves in her footsteps, and while we may never be able to fully relate, it gives us a better understanding of mental health. Featuring Debbie’s own illustrations, we say this is an absolute must read.

Sometimes the going gets tough, but we will get tougher. And for anyone who is going through a tough time, help is available at:

Mental Health Helpline: 63892222 (24h)

Community Mental Health Assessment Team (CHAT): 64936500 / 64936501 /

Samaritans of Singapore (SOS): 1800 221 4444 (24h)


2. Others Is Not A Race by Melissa de Silva
Math Paper Press

Everyone knows that Singapore has four main races – Chinese, Malays, Indians and Eurasians. But did you know that unlike the Chinese, Malays, and Indians who have their own category, Eurasians are classified ‘Others under our multicultural policy? Increasingly, as Singapore becomes home to many from all over the world, Eurasians now share this once-predominated category with our new citizens.

What does this mean for the Eurasian identity? What stories do our micro-minority have to tell? We might know them, but do we really know about them? A tapestry that weaves together genres of fiction, nonfiction, memoir and more, Others Is Not A Race is an essential read for gaining insight into Singapore’s multicultural social fabric.


1. What Gives Us Our Names by Alvin Pang
Math Paper Press

Believe us when we say this is our perennial bestseller. To date, we’ve sold more than 10,000 copies of the original English edition – and counting. In celebration of this amazing feat, we published a limited-edition illustrated version, a Mandarin edition, a Malay edition, and even a French edition. We want this book to reach all corners of the earth, to become a classic, and to touch the hearts of many.

What Gives Us Our Names might be small, but it has a big heart and universal, timeless, warm stories to tell. This is a book for anytime, anywhere and anyone.


And there you have it, our top 10 best-selling books of 2019! How many have you read, or how many have you not?



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