Time to refresh your reading list

Nothing like National Day and the results of this year’s Singapore Literature Prize to reignite interest and support for our local authors. With a bunch of new titles launching this month, there’s no better time to furnish your bookshelves; you might just be reading the next bestseller.

Suicide Club

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The debut novel from Rachel Heng just barely hit shelves, but has already garnered global praise and plenty of buzz. Set in near future New York City, the book published by Sceptre dives into a science fiction reality where lives last 300 years, the New York Stock Exchange now trades human organs, and everybody wants to live forever. Protagonist Lea Kirino must choose between her perfect life of immortality and the sudden reappearance of her estranged father—who belongs to an underground world that refuses to live (and die) on anyone else’s terms but theirs. If it were made into a movie, we’re picturing a titillating cross between In Time and Netflix’s Altered Carbon.

Where to buy: BooksActually

Sophia and the Utopia Machine

Dystopia and skeletons in the closet seem to make a good match; in Judith Huang’s debut novel, that science fiction recipe flowers spectacularly in Singapore, where the future population is divided into three social strata. Schoolgirl Sofia has her cushy life thrown in disarray when she accidentally unlocks the gateway to a new world, a utopia even, which in turn puts her on the government’s radar. While on the run, she ventures into the lowest rung of society and begins unearthing secrets about both her family and the new world she was destined to discover. Author Judith Huang is a three-time winner of the UK Poetry Society’s Foyle Young Poet of the Year award, and will be releasing her first poetry collection later this year.

Where to buy: Epigram Books

Common Life: Drawings and Poems (launching Aug 11)

Common Life is exactly as it says it is—a reflection on the life of the common man in Singapore. More specifically, the book is a collaboration between poet and Cultural Medallion recipient Anne Lee Tzu Pheng and artist Ho Chee Lick. Going off Ho’s contemplative crayon drawings of the unremarkable scenes of everyday life in Singapore’s neighborhoods—from quiet moments at the bus interchange to the makcik selling tudungs—Lee breathes new life into them with her words, painting on pages the beauty of the familiar.

Where to buy: Ethos Books

Vital Possessions (launching Aug 11)

Poet and photographer Marc Nair’s newest book is an anthology of poems contemplating how city-dwellers negotiate their uneasy relationship with nature—particularly in a world like ours where growth comes in both trees and skyscrapers. The 2016 recipient of the Young Artist Award juxtaposes the mundane with nature, to reflect on how our garden city’s relentless pursuit of consumption and reinvention has taken a toll—on its inhabitants and its progress.

Where to buy: Ethos Books

B-Sides and Backslides: 1986-2018 (launching Aug 31)

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With 12 books under his belt, author Felix Cheong must have a wealth of experience and knowledge to share about creating literature in Singapore. B-Sides and Backslides charts his 20-odd year growth, journeying from an undergrad stepping out for the first time in the industry to where he is today; spliced with the various life events that have shaped his creative process. For an in-depth look into the mind of a Singaporean poet, this collection of poetic outtakes and writings comes close.

Where to buy: BooksActually