Singaporean literature is far more diverse than the restrictions our little red dot dictate. And these 14 books captures the diversity of our culture and writing, while adding that little bit of Singapore into each and every page.
1. The Diary of Amos Lee (Adeline Foo)
Singapore’s entry into the diary genre of literature, about a kid’s writings while on the can.
2. Mr Midnight (James Lee)
Written by Jim Aitchison , the book captures the essence of horror fiction for children and adds a bit of Singaporean for good measure.
3. Ministry of Moral Panic (Amanda Lee Koe)
A stark change in tone from the previous two entries, Amanda Lee Koe sheds light on a rarely seen side of Singapore, placing icons like The Merlion and Maria Hertogh in distinctively different roles.
4. True Singapore Ghost Stories (Russell Lee)
The granddadddy of Singapore ghost stories, True Singapore Ghost Stories captured the true Singapore ghostly aspect of an urban city rather well.
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5. Sonnets from the Singlish
A wonderful collection of sonnets in a language that is uniquely ours. Joshua Ip blends humor and literary techniques with a healthy dose of Singlish.
6. If We Dream Too Long (Goh Poh Seng)
Widely considered to be Singapore’s first novel. Issues of class and diverging paths are addressed with subtlety and wit. A must read for anyone interested in Singaporean literature.
7. Unmarked Treasure (Cyril Wong)
A collection of poetry detailing the life and times of one of Singapore’s most talented poets.
8. Bookworm Club (David Chong)
Every 90’s kid was reading the bookworm club and its easy to see why. It was the first piece of literature (Yes, Bookworm Club is literature you snobs) that reflected a reality we were familiar with.
9. Mr Kiasu (Johnny Lau)
Another local series that took off in all the right ways, Mr Kiasu took a small dose of colloquialism and transformed it into a sustainable model of monthly adventure.
10. Notes from an even smaller island (Neil Humphreys)
An Ang Moh’s take on our sunny island. It is humorous, incisive and full of heart… stop stealing our jobs Neil Humphreys
11. Hard truths to keep Singapore going (Lee Kuan Yew)
There are gonna be a lot of ideas you will vehemently disagree with in this tome, buttt it’s by the man who founded Singapore, so it is still essential reading for Singaporeans to get a glimpse of our founders head.
12. The Bondmaid (Catherine Lim)
A tale of love, both forbidden and lost, in a time when castes were still prevalent. The Cheongsams spring from the pages in this vivid painting of early Singapore.
13. Heartland (Daren Shiau)
Darren Shiau captures the essence of Singapore, deftly weaving through the unseen social structures that still govern Singapore’s heartlands.
14. The Teenage Textbook (Adrian Tan)
We round it off by focusing on the trials and tribulations of the Singaporean teenager. It was both silly and astute, weighty and completely irrelevant, which basically sums up teenage life.
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