My reading list: Marc Nair

My reading list: Marc Nair

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Text: Varsha Sivaram

Poetry, illustrations and hidden gems make up Marc Nair’s reading list. Check it out below

From working with the non-profit Word Forward to podcasts with mrbrown and jamming with his band, Neon & Wonder, Singapore poet Marc Nair is bringing spoken word to the mainstream. A new travel website, Mackerel, is also on his roster.

Amidst the hustle and bustle and poetry made entirely out of Britney Spears lyrics, we check in with what he's reading right now.

Puckoon by Spike Milligan


Synopsis: The fictional work, set in 1924, revolves around the consequences that occur when the Partition of Ireland, due to the Boundary Commission's folly, somehow passes straight through the fabricated Irish village of Puckoon.

Marc's take: "As a fan of Tom Sharpe and Douglas Adams, I'm stoked to find Milligan's first novel chock full of zany British humour, improbable characters and a madcap plot. Painful, yet utterly riveting."

The Birth of I La Galigo translated by Muhammad Salim and Sapardi Djoko Damono

The Birth of I La Galigo

Synopsis: I La Galigo is a Bugis epic myth, telling the story of the gods and their descendants' initial residence on earth. This book is a poetic retelling of one of the myth's most well known sections. 

Marc's take: "I've just finished a translation of I La Galigo in preparation for the Makassar international Writers Festival, where I'll be collaborating with dancers and musicians to perform part of this historic Bugis text. That in its full expanse rivals the Mahabharata for complexity and episodic encounters. The English translation by John McGlynn is coy, effervescent and highly poetic, and it is a joy to amble through the worlds of gods and kings and their foibles."

Bangalore – Swinging in the 70s by Paul Fernandes

Bangalore – Swinging in the 70s

Synopsis: A coffee table book of illustrations, Bangalore – Swinging in the 70s is a tribute to the city, from the author's perspective as a child growing up in the Cantonment area. 

Marc's take: "This beautifully illustrated tale of Bangalore in the 1970s is more a coffee table book, painting vignettes of a bygone era. Many of the buildings no longer exist, their inhabitants moved away or passed on. Yet the spirit of place still remains. Quirky, colorful descriptions abound in depictions of childhood days in the Cantonment area and beyond. Take for example the Annual Police Day Moustache Maintenance Competition, where, in order to win, policemen had to be careful to keep their moustaches away from rain as water 'can reduce a bristling moustache to a limp, pathetic collection of hair in mere seconds, a smart policeman quickly learnt to run indoors at the slightest sign of a cloudburst.'"