Publisher Monsoon Books and bookshop Books Actually organized a reading by author Rosie Milne from her new novel Circumstance. Moderator Elaine Chiew followed up the reading with insightful commentary and questions.
See below for a bit of author Q&A and photos from the event.
Toa Payoh, Tiong Bahru, and Katong are sold out at the publisher.
When and Why I Read We Love Chinatown, We Love Geylang Serai, and We Love Serangoon Gardens
These are attractive locally-produced books.
Genre: non-fiction (art)
Date started / date finished: 07-Jan-19 to 07-Jan-19
Length: 96 pages
ISBN: 9789810778231, 9789814615181, 9789811700569 (paperback)
Originally published in: 2015, 2016 and 2017
So you want to read Alexandre Dumas’ classic adventure, The Count of Monte Cristo. And you don’t read French.
No problem. This massive novel has been available in English since the 1840s. You’ll find a copy in any decent library or bookstore, and if you like reading ebooks, you can download the novel for free because it’s not under copyright. That’s sorted, then.
Not so fast!
As soon as you visit the library or bookshop or click over to Amazon, you realize there are a host of publishers offering a myriad of paperback and hardcover editions and dozens of digital versions. What’s the difference?
Unexpurgated, unabridged, abridged, children’s, illustrated, and film versions are available. Keep reading to learn how to choose an edition that’s right for you.
Genre: fiction (young-adult, political speculative fiction)
Date started / date finished: 03-Dec-18 to 08-Dec-18
Length: 261 pages
ISBN: ASIN B07KDTHQCT
Originally published in: 2018
Amazon link: Sofia and the Utopia Machine
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was not very fast-paced for a thriller. For many pages, the journalist character conversed with his ageing employer or sat in a cabin reading documents about an old, unsolved case. The girl is an interesting character. I don’t really want to read any of the other books about her, though. This one had too much sex, violence, and violent sex for my taste. I mean, I like George Martin’s Ice and Fire series, but his characters live in a separate, fictional world, whereas I’m fairly convinced, never having been there, that Sweden is a real place.
When and why I read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
I have finished my book club reading for the year so now I can read stuff that’s just sitting on the shelf…
Genre: fiction (thriller)
Date started / date finished: 26-Nov-18 to 30-Nov-18
Originally published in: 2005/2008
Amazon link: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
What does “free-market” mean? Does it mean everything is for sale to everyone all the time, for whatever price a buyer and seller can agree on? Maybe not. There are cases where everyone involved benefits from a common set of rules, whether those rules are created by a government, a financial exchange board, a consortium of private hospitals, or a professional association of lawyers and judges.
This book was cheerful, interesting, and accessible. If anything, I found it too accessible; I felt I didn’t need quite so much explanation and exemplification of the relevant concepts. Still, the sections on the “market” for kidneys alone make the book worth reading: markets among large groups of cooperating participants don’t just provide us with a variety of pleasant goods and services, they save lives. With highly trained, specialized minds like Roth’s working on improving methods of organ exchange, we have reason to hope for even better results in the future.
When and why I read Who Gets What and Why
From the title, I would have imagined a law book about wills, but it’s an economics book about markets.
Genre: non-fiction (popular economics)
Date started / date finished: 17-Nov-18 to 25-Nov-18
Originally published in: 2015
Amazon link: Who Gets What and Why
The structure of Station Eleven is undeniably clever. (The skill that must have been required is comparable to Toni Morrison’s when she crafted the story of Beloved.) Only gradually do readers piece together the relationships between the characters as Station Eleven skips around in time. Some slivers of story are from the time when a global plague first hits, and some are from the empty, bleak years following the deaths of most of the Earth’s people.
I found the story depressing. I tend to dislike stories about epidemics; they make me feel both disgusted and powerless. Add to my distaste for unstoppable illness the inevitable collapse of civilized society, which gives rise to the spread of lawlessness and dangerous cults, and you have a recipe for misery. The faint glimmer of hope tacked on at the end failed to console me in the slightest.
When and why I read Station Eleven
I keep hearing about this book.
Genre: fiction (speculative fiction)
Date started / date finished: 13-Nov-18 to 17-Nov-18
Originally published in: 2014
Amazon link: Station Eleven
The Diamond of Darkhold, the fourth and last City of Ember book, is not my favorite in the series. Still, DuPrau on a bad day is a better writer than most folks out there!
Here are three of her ideas I particularly liked.
Trogg had a knack for figuring things out, Doon had to admit it. And yet he did not see Trogg as a truly intelligent person. Trogg seemed to think that he knew everything, but strangely enough, it was exactly this that made him seem stupid to Doon. A person who thought he knew everything simply didn’t understand how much there was to know. (120)
Trogg and his family are ignorant and destructive. They think books are useful—for fuel. Doon is horrified that they don’t believe “figuring out squiggles” (reading) can teach them anything they don’t already know. See pages 139–140.
“I don’t agree that it’s good to speak only when spoken to…. If everyone did that, no one would ever speak at all! What you mean is that people should only speak when you speak to them.” (150)
When and why I read The Diamond of Darkhold
I was reminded of The City of Ember when I read The Ship. I decided to go back and re-read it, and read the two sequels and the prequel. (Previously, I only read City of Ember itself and the first sequel.)
Genre: fiction (children’s fantasy)
Date started / date finished: 10-Nov-18 to 13-Nov-18
Originally published in: 2008
Amazon link: The Diamond of Darkhold