In 2011 when I first arrived in Singapore, I read close to 30 novels thanks to my non-existent social life. I spent most of my Saturdays (rain or shine) holed up in my room in Queenstown devouring a fictional world.
Paperback after paperback was purchased mostly from Sultana Book Store, my favourite second-hand bookstore in Singapore. As soon as I finished with a batch, I shipped them back to my hometown in Penang, which is where I archive my items.
Last year, I’m glad to say that I cut this down to just a little over 20 books. In bold are the books that were my highlights:
- Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk (Jan)
- Matrix Revelations by Steve Couch (Jan)
- The Horse and His Boy by CS Lewis (Jan)
- Prince Caspian by CS Lewis (Jan)
- The Silver Chair by CS Lewis (Feb)
- The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer (Feb)
- The Island of Dr Moreau by HG Wells (Feb)
- The Invisible Man by HG Wells (Apr)
- The Diving-Bell and The Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby (Apr)
- Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (Apr)
- Say You’re One of Them by Uwem Akpan (Apr)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (May)
- Consumer Detox by Mark Powley (May)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (May)
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (May)
- Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (June)
- Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (June)
- Ripley Under Ground by Patricia Highsmith (September)
- Choosing God’s Best by Don Raunikar (September)
- Ripley Under Water by Patricia Highsmith (September)
- Memnoch The Devil by Anne Rice (November)
Murder on the Orient Express was my first Agatha Christie novel ever. It was so gripping that I went into work 30 minutes late because I was sat in a cafe trying to finish the last 15 pages. I just had to know the ending or I couldn’t begin my day. Consumer Detox is another book I enjoyed, mostly because I already share most of Mark Powley’s values on consumerism, freedom of choice, downsizing and not maximising your life because you are content with how much you already have.
Lastly, I recommend Patricia Highsmith, one of my all-time favourite authors, simply because she can make you like a monster of a man like Tom Ripley. I love her detailed descriptions of Ripley’s home in Belle Ombre, the French food his servant Mme Annette serves, and the little mundane details like the cup of coffee he has every morning at eight and his purchase of a silk pyjama. Her skill is that she can make you empathise with the main character and covet his life, to the extent that you forget who he truly is at the core.