August 2016 Bestsellers

Waugust-2016-bestsellersith all the excitement looking forward to the George Town Literary Festival, it’s time to sober up and look back at the movers and shakers of August. With the arts calendar dominated by the cornucopia of the George Town Festival, it’s really gratifying to know that three titles related directly to festival events. Top of the pile came Mike Gibby’s splendid new book, Street Art: Penang Style (Entrepot Publishing), launched last month and offering a beautifully illustrated guide to the work of the muralists of George Town and beyond. A close runner-up was Kaori Fushiki and Robin Ruizendaal’s bilingual book, Potehi: Glove Puppet Theatre in Southeast Asia and Taiwan (Taiyuan Puppet Theatre Museum), a spin off from the magical performances by troupes from Taiwan, Indonesia and Penang during the festival’s Potehi Journeys. And then there was the quirky, leftfield photographic book Panicrama (Tan Yeow Wooi Culture & Heritage Research Studio) with images by Tan Yeow Wooi and texts by Gareth Richards. For the second time, Putera Cilik, the Malay-language translation by Ezzah Mahmud of Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince (Peanutzin) – as charming as it gets – did well, as did Ooi Kee Beng and Wan Hamidi’s Young and Malay (Gerakbudaya), which has been going strong for the best part of nine months now. It was encouraging to see two offerings from the Fixi stable also featuring: Little Basket 2016: New Malaysian Writing, edited by Catalina Rembuyan, Eenie Lee, Ted Mahsun and Tshiung Han See (Fixi Novo), and Heat: A Southeast Asian Urban Anthology, edited by Khairani Barokka and Ng Yi-Sheng (Fixi Novo), showing that there’s a ready market for fresh, well-written short fiction. The modern classic that is Rehman Rashid’s Peninsula (Fergana Art) has now spent five consecutive months in the top ten, a testimony to the lucid prose style and salience of an important book. The last two on the list – the brand-new edition of Anthony Milner’s classic Kerajaan: Malay Political Culture on the Eve of Colonial Rule (SIRD) and Bernard Arps’s fascinating Tall Tree, Nest of the Wind (NUS Press), a riveting study of classical Javanese wayang kulit – demonstrate an appetite for the best scholarship on the region. Here’s the full top ten:
1  Mike Gibby, Street Art: Penang Style (Entrepot Publishing)
2  Kaori Fushiki and Robin Ruizendaal, Potehi: Glove Puppet Theatre in Southeast Asia and Taiwan (Taiyuan Puppet Theatre Company)
3  Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Putera Cilik (Peanutzin)
4  Ooi Kee Beng Ooi and Wan Hamidi, Young and Malay (Gerakbudaya)
5  Tan Yeow Wooi and texts by Gareth Richards, Panicrama (Tan Yeow Wooi Culture & Heritage Research Studio)
6  Catalina Rembuyan, Eenie Lee, Ted Mahsun and Tshiung Han See, eds, Little Basket 2016: New Malaysian Writing (Fixi Novo)
7  Khairani Barokka and Ng Yi-Sheng, Heat: A Southeast Asian Urban Anthology (Fixi Novo)
8  Anthony Milner, Kerajaan: Malay Political Culture on the Eve of Colonial Rule (SIRD)
9  Rehman Rashid, Peninsula (Fergana Art)
10 Bernard Arps, Tall Tree, Nest of the Wind (NUS Press)

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