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;singaporean novels i had never heard about

singaporean novels i had never heard about

I feel like such a bad Singaporean for not reading books written by Singaporean authors! Honestly, growing up, there weren’t many that interested me*. The ones that everyone used to read were local ghost stories, and I have never been a huge horror fan.

But a few days ago, I was walking around Popular Bookstore in Singapore, and I came across a couple of YA novels written by Singaporean authors that I had never heard about, so I went looking for more books to add to my TBR**.

*I was a book snob, and I admit it.
**I have read none of these books, but they look interesting.

open book

  • Run by Gabby Tye.
    The reviews for this are a mixed bag, but this was the first dystopian written by a Singaporean that intrigued me. And she was 14 when this was published! The whole series is out, and I am still intrigued.
  • Aunty Lee’s Delights by Ovidia Yu.
    I don’t read so much mystery, but this mixes food and local intrigue, and I need it in my life. I am hoping the online library has a copy for me to borrow soon.
  • The Gatekeeper by Nuraliah Norasid.
    This sounds SO FASCINATING! A fictional world based near and on Singapore, pre-colonialism? Discussion of racism in our seemingly racial harmonious society? YES, PLEASE.
  • The Lights That Find Us by Anittha Thanabalan.
    This was the book I stumbled on in Popular, and it is a retelling of A Christmas Carol set during Deepavali with Indian influences, and if you don’t understand why that excites me, you do not know me.
  • Beng Beng Revolution by Lu Huiyi.
    Singaporean sci-fi? Never thought I’d see the day, but it sounds equal parts fun and intense, plus I laughed at the names of the characters because of the Singaporean context of using them, honestly.
  • Sugarbread by Balli Kaur Jaswal.
    I have seen a number of Balli Kaur Jaswal books in bookstores, and they seem interesting, but this one clicked with me. In so many ways, but mostly because it is about a young Sikh girl dealing with racial issues and family in Singapore.
  • The Black Tides Of Heaven by J.Y. Yang.
    I did not know this series existed, but now that I do, I am SO HERE FOR IT. It is a fantasy that pits sibling against sibling, family against family, and I am very intrigued by the premise.

book sleeve

I have thought about books intersecting Singaporean identity and Sikh identity, and now I find out Balli Kaur Jaswal has written something about it, and I am so excited. So many years I have wanted books like these, books reflecting my country and my people, and I am a little bit ashamed that I never went looking earlier, but now that I have, I am going to keep looking for more.

Are there any books that you would recommend based on a reflection of a part of yourself?


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I’m Ara, a Southeast Asian writer who someday hopes to have published a novel, and who is currently losing herself in the worlds created by others. I love books and food and television and blogging and I get distracted and sidetracked easily.

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