Notable titles from the Singapore Book Awards 2020: Way of Kueh, Fall Baby, and more
With no news of Singapore's transition to Phase 3, it seems we'll continue to be deprived of large social gatherings and the like. For those seeking a thousand and one ways to stay entertained and engaged, we say there's nothing quite like a good read to scratch that itch. Lucky for you, The Singapore Book Awards has just concluded — a recognition of the outstanding works and titles across multiple book categories. These award-winning titles are now available on Amazon alongside hundreds of local reads. From avid bookworms to casual readers, here are some titles you would definitely enjoy if you're getting bored of watching Netflix all day.
Book of the Year: The Way of Kueh by Christopher Tan
Seasoned food writer Christopher Tan has been entralling audiences and aspiring home chefs with his informative cookbooks — including the bestselling, NerdBaker, which features over 60 different types of breads, cakes, cookies and dishes inspired by his life. However, this Book of the Year winner isn't just any regular cookbook. Tan sprinkles his own cultural insights and personal stories over the complex technicalities of making kueh, providing the perfect blend of tradition and innovation. A comprehensive title, it will keep you entertained for months with over 100 detailed recipes for kuehs across Singapore's diverse communities.
Best Literary Work: Fall Baby by Laksmi Pamuntjak
Like plenty others, award-winning Indonesian novelist Laksmi Pamuntjak went through several stages during her self-quarantine. In her first two months in isolation she felt incapacitated, finding it difficult to write anything other than emails and messages. It was only in the third month where she began to read and write again, albeit in a different way. Fall Baby, a sequel to The Question of Red, follows the story of Siri. It focuses on a mother-daughter story, a strong leitmotif in most of her fictions: parenthood, adoption and the struggle of children trying to escape generational shackles. If you're the type that loves to dive deep into personal stories that reveal larger cultural issues, this book is right up your alley.
Best Non-Fiction: Homeless by Liyana Dhamirah
Not many has a life story like Liyana Dhamirah. From being homeless to becoming an entrepreneur, Dhamirah ran as a member of the newly-formed Red Dot United in Jurong GRC for GE2020. Not too long ago, she was living in a tent on the beach at Sembawang Park. She was 22 and pregnant with her third child. An eye-opener, her title serves to remind us that things may not be what they seem, and we might just be looking at what we choose to see. If you're a realist and are getting tired of Singapore's fixation on the "success story" narrative, this book is for you.
Best Picture Book: Counting Sheep by Pippa Chorley
A new take on the frolicking, farmyard tale. Sit down with the little tots and read this simple bedtime story which details the story of Sam and her flock seeking to find a way over the fence. Read this if you're too lazy for words and you're more of a visual person, or if your young ones need a little tuck-me-in.
Best Educational Title: How to Build a Dragon or Die Trying by Paul & Julie Knoepfler
What if you could breed your own dragon? Something that once seemed entirely out of this world is now a reality thanks to advances in cell biology, CRISPR gene editing and bioengineering. A scientific epic, this tongue-in-cheek book is perfect for all you science buffs out there, or if you're a Game Of Thrones fan and you have dreams and aspirations of being the present-day Mother of Dragons.
Best Book Cover: Angel Tiger and Other Stories by Barrie Sherwood
Don't let the award tell you otherwise — this book is so much more than just a pretty cover. With an assortment of delightful short stories, Barrie Sherwood brings insights to how relationships work in a journey of self-identity in a world that is constantly changing with every short story. Read this if you don't have the attention span for an entire novel, and if you want an aesthetically-pleasing book cover to boot.