The most recommended books about Singapore

Who picked these books? Meet our 34 experts.

34 authors created a book list connected to Singapore, and here are their favorite Singapore books.
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Book cover of America: A Singapore Perspective

Burnaby Hawkes Author Of The Haze

From my list on understanding modern Asia.

Who am I?

Hawkes (MD, BScN, MGA) is a novelist, YouTuber, and former analyst for the NATO Association of Canada. His writings have appeared in Heater, The Raven Chronicles, ArabLit, and many other magazines and publications. His recent espionage novel, The Haze, is set in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

Burnaby's book list on understanding modern Asia

Burnaby Hawkes Why did Burnaby love this book?

A confession I have to make from the get-go: I met Tommy Koch in person in 2013, on a professional visit to Singapore. Koch struck me as the kind of Asian intellectual seldom seen in the West nowadays. He is competently versed in his civilization’s (Chinese) supremacy discourses and at the same time, is a global citizen of the first class. He knows where myth ends and reality strikes. We rarely see Western intellectuals of this sort any longer. The nearest we’ve ever had was Kissinger—and he’s too controversial to be a functional counterpart to Koch. In this book, Koch and his editorial partner compile a vision of America as seen by Singaporean decision-makers. This book is not only important to know how Asian nations have viewed us over recent years, but is a fundamental read for any international-relations buff interested in gauging the future ahead.

By Tommy Koh (editor), Saljit Singh (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked America as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The United States of America is the largest investor in Singapore. And in 2019, it channelled more resources into the city state than what it put into both China and Japan. That year, the value of US direct investments in Singapore was US$288 billion, or about 4.8 per cent of US direct investments abroad. This sum exceeded the combined value of those in China (US$116.2 billion) and Japan (US$131.8 billion), based on data from the Office of the United States Trade Representative and the US Bureau of Economic Analysis.

This illustrates the economic significance of the US to Singapore. Beyond…


Book cover of Coming Home

Rachel Hore Author Of The Hidden Years

From my list on making you fall in love with Cornwall again.

Who am I?

I’m a UK bestselling writer of historical fiction who has often used Cornwall as a setting. I wrote about a lost garden and a colony of Edwardian artists in The Memory Garden, about the Second World War in A Gathering Storm and The Hidden Years. My father was Cornish, which meant wonderful childhood holidays spent in the county. I fell in love with its breathtakingly beautiful landscapes - rugged cliffs, picturesque fishing villages, expansive sandy beaches where the sea thunders in. I’ve feasted on its history and legends, and on stories of danger, romance, and adventure set in the region. It’s fulfilled a dream to have written my own.    

Rachel's book list on making you fall in love with Cornwall again

Rachel Hore Why did Rachel love this book?

I often write about the Second World War, particularly the roles of women in it. Cornwall is another love, my father being Cornish.

The landscape and the culture have made a huge impression on me and when I read Coming Home I thought, yes, this novel was written for me.

It’s the coming-of-age story of Judith Dunbar. When still a young girl her mother leaves her with an elderly relative near Penzance in order to join Judith’s father in Singapore. After this relative dies Judith has to fend for herself, but is increasingly drawn into the orbit of the charismatic Carey-Lewis family of Nancherrow House. Through her relationship with them she experiences passionate love and betrayal as the storms of war are gathering on the horizon.

This novel completely absorbed me. 

By Rosamunde Pilcher,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Coming Home as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For Judith Dunbar, her first glimpse of Nancherrow, her friend Loveday's beautiful family estate on the Cornish coast, is love at first sight - after the rigours of boarding school it spells luxury. She falls in love, too, with all Loveday's family. They treat Judith as one of them. With their generosity and kindness, Judith grows from naive girl to confident young woman basking in the warmth of a surrogate family whose flame of love and affection burns brightly.



But it is a flame soon to be extinguised in the gathering storm of war. In the danger and deprivation of…


Book cover of How I Died and What I Did Next

Andy Tomlinson Author Of Exploring the Eternal Soul: Insights from the Life Between Lives

From my list on past life that are also great reads.

Who am I?

I’ve always had an inquisitive mind and was constantly asking questions as a child. I’ve kept this passion and following a mid-life career change from corporate, became a psychologist, psychotherapist, and eventually past life regression therapist. I founded the international Past Life Regression Academy in 2002 to teach others to heal the soul, and the Academy has trained more than 700 past life regression therapists throughout the world. I’ve written extensively in this area and know most of the pioneers, and I hope you enjoy the books on this list as much as I have!

Andy's book list on past life that are also great reads

Andy Tomlinson Why did Andy love this book?

I’ve been a colleague of both Peter and Toni for many years.

Toni is a clear spiritual channel and Peter asked the questions for this book and published it. What many people may not know is Toni used to be a state attorney and as her channeling developed she did the one thing attorneys should never do and that is to ask questions of a witness without knowing what the answer would be. Yet the intuitive questions she asked resolved cases in a dramatic way.

In this book 25 souls share what happened at their moment of death and shortly afterwards.

This includes someone who died in the twin towers, a Vietnamese diplomat is tortured and shot, a serial killer who suffered the torment of a self-induced hell and two little Italian girls were too frightened to believe they had died and spent time as ghosts. A great read that…

By Peter Watson Jenkins, Toni Ann Winninger,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How I Died and What I Did Next as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Doubts and misgivings about life after death can be set aside with the gift of this special book." (Dr. Austin Ritterspach, Religious Studies, Indiana University) In How I Died (and what I did next), an office worker dies in the North Tower on 9/11. A little girl is drowned in the 2004 Indonesian tsunami. A Canadian man is run over by a bus. A Vietnamese diplomat is tortured and shot. A Chinese woman dies having a back-street abortion, a drunken Brazilian playboy drives his car over a cliff. Twenty-five such stories are told by souls from all over the globe.…


Book cover of Darwin Comes to Town: How the Urban Jungle Drives Evolution

Kristin Poling Author Of Germany’s Urban Frontiers: Nature and History on the Edge of the Nineteenth-Century City

From my list on nature in the city.

Who am I?

I have always been both a nature lover and committed urbanite, and those twin passions have shaped my approach to history. My very first published writing (when I was ten years old) was an essay about a willow tree in an urban park I loved in Minneapolis, MN. Now, as a historian, I have written about guerrilla gardening in the shadow of the Berlin wall, forestry outside Detroit, and working-class foraging practices in the nineteenth century. My interest in urban nature remains not just academic, but personal. On weekends, you’ll find me mapping native and invasive species with my ten-year-old son along the River Rouge in Dearborn, MI.

Kristin's book list on nature in the city

Kristin Poling Why did Kristin love this book?

An evolutionary biologist and an excellent storyteller, Menno Schilthuizen gives a lively, upbeat survey of the myriad ways in which nonhuman life adapts to urban environments. Schilthuizen frames the city as one of nature’s many engineered environments: just as beetles evolved to live in anthills and whole-food webs rely on beaver-constructed wetlands, human cities provide homes for plant and animal life all over the world. This story goes far beyond peppered moths adapting to smog-stained trees. Schilthuizen delves into concepts like preadaptation and fragmentation to provide a nuanced and varied picture, allowing a more precise understanding of what is new in the Anthropocene and drawing connections between cities from Singapore to Paris.

By Menno Schilthuizen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Darwin Comes to Town as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

We are marching towards a future in which three-quarters of humans live in cities, more than half of the landmass of the planet is urbanized, and the rest is covered by farms,pasture, and plantations. Increasingly, as we become ever more city-centric, species and ecosystems crafted by millions of years of evolution teeter on the brink of extinction - or have already disappeared.

A growing band of 'urban ecologists' is beginning to realize that natural selection is not so easily stopped. They are finding that more and more plants and animals are adopting new ways of living in the seemingly hostile…


Book cover of Urban Jungle: The History and Future of Nature in the City

Sian Moxon

From Sian's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Academic Architect Educator Sustainable designer Urban wild gardener

Sian's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Plus, Sian's 10-year-old's favorite books.

Sian Moxon Why did Sian love this book?

I applaud this book’s ambitious but highly plausible vision of our future cities being filled with urban nature. I found the narrative flowing and convincing and enjoyed the many examples of what has already been achieved to integrate more green space and wildlife into cities around the world, from Berlin to Singapore.

I think it’s a great primer to reimagining how we can, and must, one day live in perfect harmony with nature, especially in the city. It filled me with hope, which is a real challenge for any writing on the subject of biodiversity.

By Ben Wilson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Urban Jungle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An eye-opening and urgent re-examination of nature in our cities, from the Sunday Times bestselling author.


'Awe-inspiring... full of wonder, warning and hope'
ISABELLA TREE, author of Wilding

Our modern-day cities might seem to represent our separation from the vitality of the natural world. Yet, as Ben Wilson reveals in this invigorating re-examination of urban landscapes across the globe, nature has always been at the heart of the city.

Moving from Los Angeles and Delhi to Singapore and Amsterdam, Wilson explores how the bond between humans and nature has oscillated throughout history, and shows that - in a time of…


Book cover of Healing Deep Hurt Within: The Transformational Journey of a Young Patient Undergoing Regression Therapy

Andy Tomlinson Author Of Exploring the Eternal Soul: Insights from the Life Between Lives

From my list on past life that are also great reads.

Who am I?

I’ve always had an inquisitive mind and was constantly asking questions as a child. I’ve kept this passion and following a mid-life career change from corporate, became a psychologist, psychotherapist, and eventually past life regression therapist. I founded the international Past Life Regression Academy in 2002 to teach others to heal the soul, and the Academy has trained more than 700 past life regression therapists throughout the world. I’ve written extensively in this area and know most of the pioneers, and I hope you enjoy the books on this list as much as I have!

Andy's book list on past life that are also great reads

Andy Tomlinson Why did Andy love this book?

I first met Peter when he attended my training in Singapore.

As a surgeon he had become frustrated at the limits of medical solutions and wanted a more holistic approach. Delighted with the results of the past life regression therapy he started a small practice in hospital and gave talks to other hospital staff about his amazing results. One day he was approached by one of the psychiatrists and told to stop as it was his area of expertise. Peter gave him a copy of this book and was never bothered again.

What I like about the book is the description the amazing transformational journey of a young nurse who had depression, insomnia, dissociative amnesia, suicidal thoughts, auditory hallucinations, and flashbacks. It shows when a traditional medical approach does not work how past life regression therapy can help.

By Peter Mack,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Healing Deep Hurt Within as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It describes the amazing transformational journey of a young female patient in a hospital environment who had depression, insomnia, dissociative amnesia, suicidal thoughts, auditory hallucinations and flashbacks. When the traditional medical approached did not work she underwent regression therapy with one of the surgeons in the hospital. This rapidly brought her out of the depths of despair and helped her to move on in life. It is a story of hope, inspiration and the dedication of a doctor's courage in facing the medical community with his beliefs of the power of regression therapy


Book cover of Crazy Rich Asians

Saz Vora Author Of My Heart Sings Your Song

From my list on Asian and South Asian cultures.

Who am I?

My debut duet came out of necessity to handle the grief of losing our first child almost thirty years ago. As part of my writing journey, I searched for stories by people like me, migrants who draw on their upbringing and living with their heritage in their adopted country. One thing I came across was the use of the language, the food, and the many family gatherings and music. I enjoyed reading of people from all communities and liked exploring new cultures and these books do just that for me. They take me to families who embrace the joy of their life in a foreign land.

Saz's book list on Asian and South Asian cultures

Saz Vora Why did Saz love this book?

Kwan’s book is an introduction to the life of Chinese migrants in Singapore. Nicholas takes his American Chinese girlfriend, Rachal, to Singapore for his best friend’s wedding. Rachel discovers the lavish lifestyle of the Young family in Singapore and the excesses of crazy rich Asians. It is a story of prejudices, from Rachel’s American attitude that going back means witnessing poverty and from Nick’s mother that Rachel’s single parent modest upbringing will never fit with Nick’s wealthy upbringing. It is a story of arranged marriages, a family’s influence on children’s lives. It is about wealthy upper-class Chinese families and their scheming behaviour when one of their own breaks with tradition and how the younger generation is rebelling against tradition.

By Kevin Kwan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Crazy Rich Asians as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Crazy Rich Asians is the outrageously funny debut novel about three super-rich, pedigreed Chinese families and the gossip, backbiting and scheming that occurs when the heir to one of the most massive fortunes in Asia brings home his ABC (American-born Chinese) girlfriend to the wedding of the season.

When Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home, long drives to explore the island, and quality time with the man she might one day marry. What she doesn't know is that Nick's family home happens to look like a…


Book cover of The Great Reclamation

Daryl Qilin Yam Author Of Lovelier, Lonelier

From my list on thick novels about star-crossed, ill-fated lovers.

Who am I?

I’m one of those writers who’d identify themselves as readers first, and as an oft-bullied queer kid growing up in Singapore, I often found refuge and salvation in writers whose works were able to refashion and reimagine our lives, however intimately or grandly. I grew up devouring fantasy of all kinds; I went from Enid Blyton to Charmed, for instance, before discovering in my later adolescence the manifold possibilities of magical realism and the other expanses contained within the realm(s) of speculative fiction. Many of the books in this particular list were especially useful in crafting my second novel, Lovelier, Lonelier

Daryl's book list on thick novels about star-crossed, ill-fated lovers

Daryl Qilin Yam Why did Daryl love this book?

This is what I said when Singapore Unbound invited me to nominate my personal Book of the Year on their blog, Suspect: “Rachel Heng's The Great Reclamation is a novel that thoroughly deserves the moniker of the Great Singapore Novel.”

And I mean it: I’m hardly patriotic, so trust me when I say that I was totally swept away with its vision, its heart, its loving attention to detail. Here, the only parallel realities that split our lovers apart are the sides of history they’ve chosen to occupy. 

By Rachel Heng,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Great Reclamation as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE NEW AMERICAN VOICES AWARD

LONGLISTED FOR THE ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR EXCELLENCE AND THE JOYCE CAROL OATES PRIZE

NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY TIME, TOWN & COUNTRY, KIRKUS, ELECTRIC LITERATURE AND BOOKPAGE!

"Stunning…epic…impressive…It is a pleasure to simply live alongside these characters.”—The New York Times

"A deep and powerful love story."—NBC The Today Show

"A beautifully written novel. I loved so much in this book: the richly imagined setting, the complicated love story, and the heartbreaking way history can tear apart a family."—Ann Napolitano, New York Times bestselling author of Hello Beautiful

Set against…


Book cover of The Sacrifice of Singapore: Churchill's Biggest Blunder

Cecil Lowry Author Of Frank Pantridge MC: Japanese Prisoner of War and Inventor of the Portable Defibrillator

From my list on prisoners of war held by the Japanese during WW2.

Who am I?

My father was taken prisoner by the Japanese at the fall of Singapore on the 15th of February 1942. He spent three and a half years slaving on the Thai Burma railway. During my early years growing up, my father rarely talked about his experiences, and it wasn't until after he died in 1990 that I became interested in what he went through as a prisoner of war. Since then, I've spent my time researching the Japanese prisoner of war experiences and have read countless books on the subject. I myself have published four books and I consider myself one of the leading experts on the Japanese prisoner of war experience.

Cecil's book list on prisoners of war held by the Japanese during WW2

Cecil Lowry Why did Cecil love this book?

The fate of Singapore was sealed long before the Japanese attack on Malaya in December 1941. The blame lay with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill who refused to listen to warnings from military advisers to reinforce defences in Singapore and Malaya. Her was convinced the Japanese would never dare to attack a white power. Obsessed with beating Rommel, Churchill poured into the Middle East massive resources that should have gone to the Far East. However, when inevitably Singapore fell to the Japanese in February 1942, Churchill attempted to deflect criticism by accusing the defenders of spineless capitulation.

By Michael Arnold,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Sacrifice of Singapore as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The fate of Singapore was sealed long before the Japanese attack in December 1941. The blame lay with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill who refused to listen to warnings from military advisors to reinforce defences in Singapore/Malaya, convinced the Japanese would never dare to attack a white power . Obsessed with beating German General Erwin Rommel, he poured into the Middle East massive resources that should have gone to the Far East. However when, inevitably, Singapore fell to the Japanese in February 1942, Churchill attempted to deflect criticism by accusing the defenders there of spineless capitulation. Recently released information from…


Book cover of Himawari House

E.L. Shen Author Of The Comeback: A Figure Skating Novel

From my list on that perfectly capture Asian American identity.

Who am I?

E. L. Shen is a writer and editor living in New York City. Her debut middle-grade novel, The Comeback (Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers) is a Junior Library Guild Selection, received two starred reviews, and was praised for its “fast-paced prose, big emotions, and authentic dialogue” in The New York Times. Her forthcoming young adult novel, The Queens of New York (Quill Tree Books) was won in a six-figure preempt and is scheduled to publish in Summer 2023.  

E.L.'s book list on that perfectly capture Asian American identity

E.L. Shen Why did E.L. love this book?

I was absolutely delighted by this young adult graphic novel which details three Asian girls’ lives as they live and study in Japan. One is from America, one from Korea, and one from Singapore, and each has such a profound story to tell about their path to self-acceptance and personal freedom. 

By Harmony Becker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Himawari House as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A young adult graphic novel about three foreign exchange students and the pleasures, and difficulties, of adjusting to living in Japan.

Living in a new country is no walk in the park-Nao, Hyejung, and Tina can all attest to that. The three of them became fast friends through living together in the Himawari House in Tokyo and attending the same Japanese cram school. Nao came to Japan to reconnect with her Japanese heritage, while Hyejung and Tina came to find freedom and their own paths. Though each of them has her own motivations and challenges, they all deal with language…