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Delightful reads for grown-ups and kids

Need a gift for friends and family this festive season? BT Lifestyle offers some recommendations for book and music lovers
Dec 12, 2014 5:50 AM


The Narrow Road To The Deep North

Richard Flanagan


Richard Flanagan's 2014 Booker Prize-winner is a haunting love story set in a Japanese prison camp in Burma. Spanning over half a century, it follows the life of Australian military surgeon Dorrigo Evans who, with his fellow POWs - sickly and barely alive - is forced to do hard labour in the construction of the so-called Burma Railway.

Haunted by his affair with his uncle's wife before the war, he grapples to keep his spirits high and hope alive in what is known now as the Death Railway. Even after the war ends and he returns home, the nightmare doesn't end as he fights to leave the horrors of war behind him and create a new life for himself.

A captivating read that lingers long after you've put it down.

Funny Girl

Nick Hornby


After a five-year hiatus, Nick Hornby is back with his seventh novel - a rollicking tale of a girl named Sophie Straw who wins the title of Miss Blackpool in 1964 and later becomes the star of a TV sitcom, with a dream to be like her heroine Lucille Ball.

Dept Of Speculation

Jenny Offill


"I want to be an art monster," says The Wife, protagonist of Jenny Offill's Dept Of Speculation. A hapless marriage and a child later, she struggles to carve an identity for herself that is separate from her role as wife and mother.

When her world comes crumbling down and everything she knows is put into question, she turns to the past to rediscover who she really is.

Writing in an eccentric mix of prose, quotes and poems, Offill quickly navigates the highs and lows, captivating readers with tidbits, both funny and heartwarming.

10 Things My Father Never

Taught Me and Other Stories

Cyril Wong


Local writer Cyril Wong's collection of short stories cover all genres, from the supernatural to love, friendship and even autobiography.

Winner of the Singapore Literature Prize 2014, this book is a testament to Wong's story-telling skills.


The Self-Portrait: A Cultural History

James Hall


Before the selfie, there was the self-portrait. James Hall's book explores the why's and the who's behind history's most famous self-portraits, starting from the Middle Ages to contemporary art, providing historical and cultural insight into everyone's inner narcissist.

Plenty More

Yotam Ottolenghi


Following the success of his previous vegetable-only cookbook Plenty, Israeli chef Yotam Ottolenghi continues to prove that there really is an art to cooking vegetables.

Plenty More demonstrates how deliciously indulgent a meat-free meal can be with a variety of techniques and more than 150 recipes, ranging from salads to main dishes and even desserts, perfect for both vegetarians and omnivores alike.

You Only Live Once

Lonely Planet


Don't say you haven't been warned: one major side effect of reading a book like Lonely Planet's new photo book You Only Live Once is a serious case of wanderlust. The book itself is a visual feast for the eyes, what with its striking photography and comprehensive infographics that will inspire readers to start planning their next holiday.

What's most unique about it is that its list of over 1,000 experiences are categorised by the suggested amount of time needed for each of them - an hour, a day, a week, a month, a year - so you can start small and take it from there.

The Monocle Guide To

Good Business


It may be a business book, but The Monocle Guide to Good Business certainly makes a suitable gift for almost anyone, as it retains the rich illustrations and flavour that the magazine has gained a reputation for.

While it won't give you the top five tips to building your own million-dollar empire, it seeks to inspire with charming stories about small artisanal companies from around the world and shares little details about running your own company - right down to what pen to use and whether to have an office pet.


Once Upon an Alphabet: Short Stories for All the Letters

Oliver Jeffers


Author Oliver Jeffers has once again created a book that fuels children's imagination and captures their attention.

With a mini story for each letter of the alphabet, starting from A for Astronaut all the way to Z for Zeppelin, the book is both educational as well as a delight to read for children of all ages.

Find and Seek Singapore

Sally Roydhouse


Sally Roydhouse is an Australian expatriate living in Singapore since 2007. To chronicle her experience, she decided to write and illustrate Find and Seek Singapore - a "travel book for children".

It's a beautifully illustrated version of Singapore viewed through the eyes of a young boy travelling through the country. Beyond the colourful illustrations, the book teaches young ones to explore, question and accept adventure and diversity.

The Book With No Pictures

BJ Novak


It's hard to imagine how a book without any pictures can capture the attention of young children, but actor and writer BJ Novak has managed to do just that, and more.

Tickling the funnybone with the use of strange, funny-sounding words, like "Blork" and "Blurf", this read-aloud book just might prove to your child that they don't need pictures to enjoy reading.

Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor

Brian Biggs (Illustrator)

Jon Scieszka (Author)


Jon Scieszka's Frank Einstein series combines real science with adventure, allowing children to let their imagination run rampant and learn at the same time.

In Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor, Frank brings to life his two robots - Klink and Klank - but soon finds himself racing against time to save them from the clutches of his arch enemy, T Edison, who has stolen them for his evil doomsday plans.

All prices quoted from Books Kinokuniya Singapore