Recommended reads
Authors’ best books read lately

Given Word of Mouth TV was interviewing a couple on this occasion, we had so many recommended reads, we thought it best to split them out. Herein are Sarah and Kate’s recommendations.

Sarah Mills recommends and reviews:

Crazy Rich Asians
By Kevin Kwan

One would think upon reading Crazy Rich Asians that it is too shallow and stereotyped to be worthy of a recommended read – it presents an implausible world full of cardboard cutout characters living an existence that can only be described as materialism on steroids. But that’s the whole point. For those who know anything about Singapore, where the book is set, this book scores an arrow straight to the nation’s heart. It couldn’t be closer to the truth – and there lies the humour and the literary merit.

It is no accident that Australia’s billionaires have expressed an affection for the country. Australians would be astounded to comprehend the depth of materialism of Singaporean culture, which sports the five “Cs” – condiminium, career, car, credit card and cash – as a badge of honour. To turn Jane Austen’s quote on it’s head, in Singapore, it is widely acknowledged that a single man not in possession of the five “Cs” must forever be in want of a wife, as marriage will elude him for eternity.

Author Kevin Kwan recognised the fertile material in the absurdity of certain elements of Singaporean culture. A country that is highly controllable by virtue of its tiny size, Singapore is a world of its own, far divorced from the complexities of wilder, rambling countries, and it is in this petri dish that hierarchies dictated by materialism, thrive.

Kevin Kwan focuses on the outrageous world of Singapore’s high net worth society and luxury brand culture and takes many pot shots with such humour and heart, they could easily go unnoticed.

The plot reads something like a Mills & Boon novel. New Yorker Rachel Chu is about to be introduced to her boyfriend, Nicholas Young’s, parents, but she has no idea that he happens to be Singapore’s most eligible bachelor – old money – and heir to a fortune. But everyone wants a bit of Nicholas and a bite out of her. The claws are out. Old money meets new money, and social climbers and society snobs team up with purveyors of ancient Chinese family values to tear down the would-be romance between these naive, idealistic and starry eyed lovers. After all, what is love compared to a fortune …

Kate Forsyth recommends:

Tracking the Seven Sisters
By Margo Neale (Editor)

This stunning companion to the National Museum of Australia’s blockbuster Indigenous-led exhibition, Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters, explores the history and meaning of songlines, the Dreaming or creation tracks that crisscross the Australian continent, of which the Seven Sisters songline is one of the most extensive.

Through stunning artworks (many created especially for the exhibition), story, and in-depth analysis, the book will provide the definitive resource for those interested in finding out more about these complex pathways of spiritual, ecological, economic, cultural, and ontological knowledge — the stories ‘written in the land’.