April 2017 Bestsellers

April 2017 BestsellersThe wheel of time turns and we welcome the new month by looking back at the bestsellers’ list for April. It contains both familiar titles but also newcomers. Top of the pops is the brilliant memoir by our good friend, the late Benedict Anderson, A Life Beyond Boundaries (SIRD), a wise and amusing account of his working life in Southeast Asia. A dozen copies of the book are on their way to students in Burma (Myanmar) thanks to the efforts of Francis Loh. Mike Gibby has not one but two recent titles in the top ten: his outstanding study Penang Hill (Entrepot Publishing) offers an illuminating journey through time of one of Penang’s iconic sites; while his Street Art: Penang Style (also from Entrepot) is a lavishly illustrated compendium of some of the very best murals across the island. And once again, Tan Yeow Wooi‘s definitive guide to George Town’s enduring built form, in Penang Shophouses (Tan Yeow Wooi Culture & Heritage Research Studio) did well. Last month’s bestseller, Letters to Home, edited by Ooi Kok Hin, Aish Kumar and Nik Rashid Nik Zurin (Matahari Books), also did well, offering as it does a platform for younger writers to reflect on current dynamics in Malaysia. Anthony Milner‘s modern classic, Kerajaan (SIRD), his pathbreaking study of Malay political culture in the nineteenth century, continues to show there is a readership for intelligent, thought-provoking history. It was joined in the top ten by two very different history books, both newcomers. Neil MacGregor‘s A History of the World in 100 Objects (Penguin Books) is absolutely brilliant – a hundred short essays on items that have shaped the world, from a chopping tool from the Olduvai gorge in Africa to objects which characterise the world we live in today. Meanwhile, Ian Morris‘s Why the West Rules – for Now (Picador) is an audacious attempt to examine the long-term patterns of human history across the last 15,000 years. Then there is Catalina Rembuyan, Eelen Lee, Ted Mahsun and Tshiung Han See‘s anthology Little Basket 2016 (Fixi Novo), offering an excellent taste of some of the best Malaysian writing and visuals. The bestsellers’ list is rounded off with Clément Chéroux‘s study of the great French photographer, Henri Cartier-Bresson in the New Horizons series from Thames & Hudson.

Charis Loke
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