October 2016 Bestsellers

october-2016-bestsellersOCTOBER BESTSELLERS. We’re a little late with this, so let’s get straight down to business with the bestsellers for October. As always there’s a mixture of the new and the familiar. It’s surely interesting that the top three titles all engage with the historical and social dynamics at play in the country (and region). Top of the pops is the collection of essays, The End of UMNO? edited by Bridget Welsh (SIRD), which contains a particularly fine piece by the estimable Clive Kessler on Malaysia’s dominant political party. The runner-up is the memoir of the much-missed Benedict Anderson, A Life beyond Boundaries (SIRD), a beautifully written reflection on not being the frog under the coconut shell. And rounding off the podium is the new edition of Anthony Milner’s classic Kerajaan (SIRD); for those who are interested, we are hosting Tony Milner at a forum in Penang this Saturday. Tan Yeow Wooi’s excellent Penang Shophouses: A Handbook of Features and Materials (Tan Yeow Wooi Culture & Heritage Research Studio), a state-of-the-art introduction for George Town’s iconic built form, keeps selling well, as does Mike Gibby’s splendid new book, Street Art: Penang Style (Entrepot Publishing), offering a beautifully illustrated guide to the work of the muralists of George Town and beyond. And what more is there to say about Rehman Rashid’s exemplary volume, Peninsula (Fergana Art), which seems to have as much stamina as the author on one of his legendary bike rides. Tan Twan Eng’s The Gift of Rain (Myrmidon Books) is the gift that keeps giving, and whets the appetite for the promised new novel. The Oil Palm Complex, a hard-hitting collection of essays edited by Rob Cramb and John F. McCarthy (NUS Press) continues to find new readers. The final two titles are linked by the fascination for the culture of the Peranakan communities: Felix Chia’s The Babas (Landmark Books) offers the only decent history of the subject, while Nonya Flavours: A Complete Guide to Penang Straits Chinese Cuisine by Julie Wong (Star Publications) is a cut above the run-of-the-mill foodie books, and capture many familiar and many almost forgotten recipes of this distinctive creole cuisine. Here’s the full list:

1   Bridget Walsh (ed.), The End of UMNO? Essays on Malaysia’s Dominant Party (SIRD)
2   Benedict Anderson, A Life beyond Boundaries (SIRD)
3   Anthony Milner, Kerajaan: Malay Political Culture on the Eve of Colonial Rule (SIRD)
4   Tan Yeow Wooi, Penang Shophouses: A Handbook of Features and Materials (Tan Yeow Wooi Culture & Heritage Research Studio)
5   Rehman Rashid, Peninsula (Fergana Art)
6   Mike Gibby, Street Art: Penang Style (Entrepot Publishing)
7   Tan Twan Eng, The Gift of Rain (Myrmidon Books)
8   Rob Cramb and John F. McCarthy (eds), The Oil Palm Complex (NUS Press)
9   Julie Wong, Nonya Flavours: A Complete Guide to Penang Straits Chinese Cuisine (Star Publications)
10  Felix Chia, The Babas (Landmark Books)

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