Singapore Books
8 Singapore Books to Give As Gifts

Gifting a locally published book to a guest from out of town is one way to foster greater understanding about our history and culture. Sharing ideas and memories through collections of stories, anecdotes and recipes allows the taste of Singapore to linger long after a visitor has left our shores. We give books in hope that the words within the pages will give our visitors a different context in which to understand Singapore culture.

Before purchasing your next book gift, remember that any impactful souvenir is easy to carry and matches the receiver’s personality. We suggest bypassing any hardcover coffee table books that weigh the equivalent of a small child, or dense political commentary for people who find even the most light-hearted graphic novels exhausting.

Our Neighbourhoods Series
By Urban Sketchers Singapore

We Love Chinatown, We Love Katong, We Love Little India

These beautiful picture books are part of a series illustrated by Urban Sketchers Singapore, an informal group of artists who draw the places they visit, capturing what they see from direct observation on location.

Instagram is seldom as personal as hand-drawn illustrations, and these books are filled with pictoral vignettes of popular Singapore neighbourhoods. One for watercolour enthusiasts, people who linger far too long in museums, friends who like fast facts, and people who prefer doing things “free hand” versus straight lines.

Singapore Books, I Love Little India

Illustration from “I Love Little India”

Mum’s Not Cooking: Favourite Singaporean Recipes for the Near Clueless or Plain Lazy
Denise Fletcher

What do you do when you’re homesick for some Singapore food, but you can’t really cook, mum’s nowhere nearby, or there’s no hawker centre you can shuffle to in your shorts and flip-flops?

One for the time poor, those in places where Asian food is still interpreted as a “stir-fry” (though surely these food deserts must be on the decline!) or people who who can’t tell the difference between Chinese parsley and English parsley – or who don’t eat parsley at all.

Singapore Books, Mum's Not Cooking

Regrettable Things That Happened Yesterday
Jennani Durai

A collection of ten short stories connected by the motif of newspapers, and the unexpected ways they end up affecting our lives.

Consider the stories episodes for the Netflix generation. A good read for those with short attention spans, “kaypohs” (busybodies) who like to eavesdrop on other people’s business and people who aren’t afraid of newsprint and pour over every inch of the newspaper.

Singapore Books, Regrettable Things That Happened Yesterday

The Gatekeeper
Nuraliah Norasid

When young medusa Ria inadvertently turns an entire village to stone, she and her older sister flee to Nelroote, an underground settlement populated by other non-humans also marginalised by society.

Chances are your guest will have their thinking face on while they flip through the pages. For fans of “The Handmaid’s Tale” or any dystopian movie with strong female leads, and great if you want to show the receiver that creativity is alive and well in our literary community.

Annabelle Thong
Imran Hashim

Devout Catholic school teacher Annabelle Thong never thought her chastity was a liability – until she runs away to Paris to find Prince Charming.

Before you start rolling your eyes, ask yourself if you know someone who would rather watch a romantic comedy featuring Katherine Heigl than a Merchant Ivory period piece. This is a beach read and a guilty pleasure akin to eating too much chocolate while hanging out at home in pyjamas or drinking one too many delicious cocktails poolside.

Singapore Books, Annabelle Thong

Misdirection
Ning Cai

The first book in a YA mystery trilogy about a teenage savant on the trail of her family’s killer.

It would be wrong to say that this book is exclusively for those between the ages of 12 and 15 as we all know that adults like elements of mystery, suspense and magic too. One to gift to inspiring Copperfields and to young readers before long haul flights.

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