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Best Books About Singapore

From colonial history to modern skyscrapers, these essential reads about Singapore top the charts on esteemed literature lists, offering a multifaceted view of this vibrant city-state.

Recommendations from 8 articles.
13 books on the list
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Ministry of Moral Panic by Amanda Lee Koe book cover
Ministry of Moral Panic by Amanda Lee Koe
Amanda Lee Koe - 2013-10-01
Goodreads Rating
This award-winning book is a collection of original and striking stories that explore the complexities of Singapore and its people. Meet a heartbroken Laundromat owner, two middle-aged women in the Galápagos, and more. Reimagining national icons and tackling issues of prestige anxiety, moral relativism, and human connection, this debut by Amanda Lee Koe is a must-read.
Crazy Rich Asians book cover
Crazy Rich Asians
Kevin Kwan - 2013-06-11
Goodreads Rating
This hilarious debut novel follows the scandalous gossip and scheming of three ultra-rich Chinese families when the heir to one of Asia's biggest fortunes brings home his American-born Chinese girlfriend. Rachel Chu is in for a twist when she discovers that her boyfriend's family live in a palace and with him on her arm, she finds herself a target. Get ready for an inside look at the extravagant lifestyle of the Asian JetSet, the clash between old and new money, and the infamous divide between Overseas and Mainland Chinese.
The Singapore Story book cover
The Singapore Story
Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew, Vol. 1
Kuan Yew Lee - 1998-10-14
Goodreads Rating
Discover the incredible history of how one man built a thriving nation from a tiny island with this unprecedented guide to nation-building. Gain unparalleled insight into the mind of a visionary leader who transformed a struggling community into a global powerhouse. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in politics, history, or leadership.
State of Emergency book cover
State of Emergency
Jeremy Tiang - 2017-05-01
Goodreads Rating
A gripping and poignant tale of family, political turmoil, and personal sacrifice. State of Emergency takes readers on a journey through the turbulent history of Singapore and Malaysia, exploring the impact of leftist movements and political detentions on an extended family. From the jungles of Malaya to the modern streets of Singapore, this powerful debut novel reveals the intricacies of loyalty and the ties that both divide us and bring us together. Winner of the 2018 Singapore Literature Prize for Fiction, Jeremy Tiang's State of Emergency is a must-read for anyone interested in the complex social and political landscape of Southeast Asia.
Durians Are Not the Only Fruit book cover
Durians Are Not the Only Fruit
Notes from the Tropics (Cultural Medallion)
Yoon Wah Wong, Jeremy Tiang - 2013-10-01
Goodreads Rating
Step into the rich tropical landscape of Singapore and Malaysia in this captivating mix of memoir, lyrical essays, and nature writing. In "Durians Are Not the Only Fruit," author Wong Yoon Wah transports readers to a world where fruits, food, trees, and animals take center stage. Discover the fascinating cultural insights behind the names of dishes like thunder tea rice, unravel the secrets of the raintree as a timekeeper, and learn how the behavior of ants can predict the arrival of a monsoon. With every page, Wong delves deep into the allure and mythology of the rainforest, and the enduring bond between humans and their surroundings.
The Wayang at Eight Milestone book cover
The Wayang at Eight Milestone
Stories & Essays
Gregory Nalpon - 2013-10-01
Goodreads Rating
Experience the vibrant and sometimes perilous Singapore of half a century ago through Gregory Nalpon's long overdue collection of short stories, essays, and sketches. This collection showcases Nalpon's ability to blend close observation, legend, local superstition, and eclectic reading to create imaginative and exciting writing. With authentic descriptions of indigenous culture and working-class men and women rarely found in Singaporean writing of the time, this collection gives voice to a vital Singaporean perspective. Nalpon's stories, accompanied by evocative commentaries, capture the spirit of a pre-development Singapore and offer moral lessons about human desires, death, and the natural world. Editor Angus Whitehead has unearthed a lost treasure and opened up new perspectives on Singaporean literary history. Rediscover this enchanting and magical storytelling that brings to life the diverse and cosmopolitan nature of old Singapore.
Notes from an Even Smaller Island book cover
Notes from an Even Smaller Island
Neil Humphreys - 2001-10-29
Goodreads Rating
Experience the colorful and diverse culture of Singapore through the eyes of Neil Humphreys. In "Notes from an Even Smaller Island," the author takes a witty and insightful look at all aspects of Singaporean life, from the "hard" determined aunties to the materialistic younger generation. Explore Singaporean culture, language, and attitudes with candid humor and honest perceptions. A delightful portrait of Singapore and its people that will have you laughing and learning along the way.
Adrift book cover
My Childhood in Colonial Singapore
David T. K. Wong - 2015-05-01
Goodreads Rating
Explore the rich, cultural tapestry of a young man's journey through colonialism in the compelling book, "Adrift." Follow Tzi Ki as he navigates the complexities of his upbringing; from being taken away from his mother in Canton to living with extended families in Singapore. Experience his lean and turbulent years in Perth as he tries to find his place in the world. This captivating memoir is a must-read for anyone interested in captivating coming-of-age stories.
Confrontation book cover
Mohamed Latiff Mohamed, Shafiq Selamat - 2013-05-01 (first published in 1997)
Goodreads Rating
Experience the anxiety and loss of the Malay community in 1960s Singapore with "Confrontation." Follow Adi, a young boy living in Kampung Pak Buyung, as he navigates political upheaval, race riots, and gang wars. This beautifully written novel by Mohamed Latiff Mohamed brings to life a period of uncertainty and change in Singapore's history. With its rich portrayal of village life and exploration of the consequences of political alignment, "Confrontation" is a captivating read for anyone interested in history from a different perspective. Don't miss out on this disarmingly powerful voice.
Aunty Lee's Delights by Ovidia Yu
Ponti by Sharlene Teo
Son of Singapore by Kok Seng Tan
Singapore at Random by Editions Didier Millet