Sunday, July 31, 2011

New Asian Literature Titles

These are recent additions to our wide collection of Asian literature titles:

Estuary by Sam Bunny. Estuary is a novel about legacy, and moving on. Mac is born in Melbourne during the war in Vietnam. Living with his adopted parents, Uncle and Meila, he experiences the reverberations of the conflict. In time, he meets Uluru, and they move to Sri Lanka, where together they realise that they can put the past behind them.

The Pilgrim by Iwan Simatupang. The Pilgrim is one of the most unusual novels to have ever been published in Indonesia. It is a complex mixture, uniting a poetic lyricism with meditation on life, death and art. The novels chief characters are an artist and a cemetery overseer; the former representing emotion and the latter, reason, conflicting aspects of human nature. Despite the characters' antagonism and cruelty they are, in some ways, very similar: both represent forms of creativity, philosophy and art. Both exist outside conventional society. Both are searching for genuine human values and are aware of their shortcomings. In The Pilgrim, the chaos of thought and feeling represent the chaos of life's own randomness. When first published, The Pilgrim was hailed as the first really modern Indonesian novel and the beginning of a completely new path in Indonesian writing.

The Reluctant Terrorist: In Search of the Jizo by Caleb Kavon. In this novel, set in contemporary Hong Kong and Japan, with flashbacks to the Second World War, a Japanese businessman takes a deliberately modest revenge against another Japanese family that damaged his own during the Second World War. His surprising act of terrorism is a paradoxical gesture for peace. We meet again characters from Kavon's first novel, "The Monkey in Me: Confusion, Love and Hope under a Chinese Sky".
The Embrace Of Harlots by David T.K. Wong. This new novel by David Wong enters into the lives of a well-to-do Hong Kong family at the end of the Colonial period. It ranges from London, Oxford and Paris where greed, family dissonance and different cultural contexts bear in on the main characters as they face the dilemmas of opportunity, decision and general confusion. Real human issues are presented with elegance.

The Hills of Singapore: A Landscape of Loss, Longing and Love by Dawn Farnham. Young, beautiful and wealthy, widow Charlotte Macleod leaves Batavia in the 1850s and returns to Singapore for the English education of her two young sons. She is determined not to be drawn back into a secret affair with Zhen, the married Chinese merchant, triad member and man she loves who is, unbeknownst to him, the father of her eldest son, Alex. Charlotte is convinced she can find happiness in a respectable marriage with the attractive but reticent Captain Maitland. But when murder and death strike, Singapore erupts in the violence of triad wars and Zhen's growing affection for Alex gives cause for alarm, she must make some hard decisions, for her children and herself. Drawing on the real-life historical personalities of the time, Dawn Farnham mixes fact and fiction to paint a rich portrait of mid-19th-century Singapore and the realm of the White Rajah of Sarawak, at a time when triads, piracy and crime were rife and life in colonial Southeast Asia was anything but safe.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

New Distribution Title: Liu Kang: The Colourful Modernist

Liu Kang: Colourful Modernist, part of the Asian Artists Series, and edited by Yeo Wei Wei, will be launched on 28 July 2011 at the Singapore Art Museum.

Liu Kang (1911- 2004) is widely regarded as one of Singapore’s most important artists, and a guiding figure in the development of Singapore’s art scene.
Liu was actively involved in various areas of the visual arts field, from the creation of artworks to playing a central role in education and criticism. Liu also played a leading role in the Society of Chinese Artists and the Singapore Art Society for many years. In recognition of the artist’s lifetime accomplishments and contributions to Singapore’s visual art community, he was conferred the Public Service Star in 1970, and the Meritorious Service Medal in 1996.

This monograph positions Liu Kang, one of Singapore’s first generation artists, as observer, commentator, and visionary of modernity in Singapore art history. The contexts in which his works were created consist of a colourful map of diverse cultures, places, influences, from China, Europe and Southeast Asia.
The cross-cultural richness in Liu Kang’s way of seeing and art making are explored in four essays by curators and art researchers. These essays present fresh insights about the artist’s engagement with European and Chinese modernisms in a Singaporean context. 
The book also contains close to 200 colour illustrations and archival photographs as well as an index and a glossary.
The book is being launched in conjunction with an exhibition to be held at the Singapore Art Museum from 29 July 2011 to 16 October 2011. This exhibition is held in commemoration of the artist's centennial year of birth. Featuring 100 works by Liu, this exhibition invites visitors on a journey of exploration into the life and mind of the artist.

The Liu Kang: A Centennial Celebration is a special research exhibition organised by the National Art Gallery, Singapore, supported by the National Heritage Board and held on the premises of SAM.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

20 Eductional Architecture Books

We've recently been informed about this very interesting article on a list of educational architecture books that anyone can enjoy.  Follow this link for the full article:
You don’t have to be an architectural expert to appreciate a building that has been impeccably designed and built. From the medieval cathedrals of Europe to the engineering feat that is Burj Khalifa in Dubai, there are architectural gems aplenty to ogle no matter where you are in the world. For those who want to learn more about these gems, whether you’re an architecture student just learning the ropes of your trade or simply a casual admirer of all things architecture, there are plenty of books out there perfect for introducing the practices and theories of architecture in a way that isn’t too technical for the layman to understand. Here, we’ve chosen 20 such books that will let you appreciate the ideas, artists and processes behind the great architectural work of the world, whether you know a little or a lot about architecture.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Books on Oriental Jewellery

This is a selection of titles from our collection of books on Oriental jewellery:

Old Javanese Gold: The Hunter Thompson Collection at the Yale University Art Gallery by John Miksic. While ancient Javanese bronze and ironwork have long elicited interest, there is a lesser-known yet equally fascinating aspect of the Indonesian island's history: gold artefacts, including jewellery, clothing accessories, statues, coins, and containers. Not only do these objects display exceptional craftsmanship, they also provide a significant source of information on Javanese society, culture, religion, economy, technology, and art from the 1st century BCE to 1500. This revised and expanded edition of the 1990 publication Old Javanese Gold celebrates Valerie and Hunter Thompson's 2007 gift of Javanese gold objects to the Yale University Art Gallery and the subsequent founding of the Department of Indo-Pacific Art. Along with entirely new photography and a fresh design, the book's essays have been updated to incorporate recent discoveries-including the Wonoboyo hoard, one of the most important gold hoards ever excavated in Southeast Asia.
Jewellery from the Orient: Treasures from the Bir Collection by Wolf-Dieter Seiwert. Jewellery sets off beauty and reveals wealth. Traditional Oriental vernacular jewellery has, moreover, a magical function. It attracts heavenly blessings and wards off evil. On his extensive travels throughout the Orient, Dr Bir amassed one of the world's largest private collections of traditional jewellery. Over 400 illustrations reproducing more than 750 objects as well as a rich store of maps to enable readers to place pieces by region make this encounter with the fascinating world of traditional Oriental vernacular jewellery a memorably exciting adventure. With bibliography and index.
Beads of Borneo by Heidi Munan. For centuries, beads have played a vital role in the cultures of various peoples in Borneo. The beauty, mystique and variety of beads and bead cultures there are examined in this richly-illustrated volume. This book traces the history of the bead trade, the use of beads as jewellery and in costume, their religious and social significance, and the modern trends in bead use and design in Sabah, Sarawak and Kalimantan.
Indian Silver by S.K. Pathak. Indian Silver is the story of a metal that has the glitter and finesse of gold, and in India, its greater affordability may well give it an edge over gold. Here, for the first time under the covers of one book, all aspects and uses of silver in India are brought together, from the history and techniques of making silver items to the prized objects themselves, from jewellery to coins to modern utility items. In the process, the book brings out India's continuing fascination with silver objects, as reflected in palaces, museums, private collections, and even in ordinary Indian homes.
Inspired Jewelry from the Museum of Arts and Design by Ursula Ilse-Neuman. This book features selected pieces of art jewellery from the Museum of Arts and Design's internationally renowned collection. It was published to celebrate the opening of the Museum's new home on Columbus Circle and the inauguration of the Tiffany & Co. Foundation Jewelry Gallery.

Monday, July 11, 2011

New Title: Australia-Singapore Relations

Select Books is pleased to announce the publication of its latest title: Australia-Singapore Relations: Successful Bilateral Relations in a Historical and Contemporary Context edited by Ian Patrick Austin.

Australia-Singapore relations throughout the 1990s and 2000s have matured—be it politically, strategically, commercially, educationally, culturally, or socially. Security, diplomatic and commercial exchanges have both broadened and deepened. Equally important, the social, cultural and educational exchanges—from Australian theatre groups touring Singapore to extensive school exchange programs—continue to gain even greater strength.  This book examines these different key aspects of the relationship.

The contributors to the volume are Ian Austin, Stephen Dobbs, Simon Minaee, Calvin Wang, Yeong Han-Cheong, Cecilia Leong-Salobir, Aaron Hales, Terence Lee, Ivee Palgrave and Sebastian Cox.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Autumn Wonders book inspires Esplande Show for Children

One of the children’s books under our Autumn Wonders imprint has inspired a Esplanade show under its PLAYtime! series. 

This is a series designed for audiences aged two to four that seeks to nurture their interest in performing arts. PLAYtime! performances are interactive and encourage toddlers in the audience to join in the narration with simple actions. Each presentation aims to developing toddlers’ linguistic and physical awareness, while encouraging interaction and play with other members of the audience.

Baby Panda Finds His Way is the inspiration for the second production in the series: Rocky, the Baby Panda.


There will be three shows staged staged daily from 20 July (Wednesday) – 24 July (Sunday).  Tickets are selling out fast.  At the time of this post, 10 of the 15 shows have already sold out.  So, hurry to get your tickets! 

Monday, July 4, 2011

These are a selection of titles from our South Asia collection:

Heterotopias: Nationalism and the Possibility of History in South Asia edited by Manu Bhagavan. Laid out as a series of three inter-related conversations, this volume investigates the diverse discourses of identity politics that relate the nationalist movement to current concerns and debates. Focusing upon the peripheries of the modern Indian states of Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, the first section explores the ways in which people living on the margins of homogenizing nation-state critique the centre and carve out different spaces of experiences. It highlights their relationship with the homogenising nationalism of the centre. The next part analyses the works of Mirza Ghalib and epic traditions in South India to delineate the plurality of narrative and consciousness in literary production. The final part explores the works of Mohammed Iqbal and Mohandas Gandhi, while the conclusion provides a post-history of communalism. Taken together, the essays present an account of the multiplicity of historical experiences in India both within and without the discourse of nationalism. 

Nationbuilding, Gender and War Crimes in South Asia by Bina D'costa. This book gives a detailed political analysis of nationbuilding processes and how these are closely linked to statebuilding and to issues of war crime, gender and sexuality, and marginalisation of minority groups. With a focus on the Indian subcontinent, the author demonstrates how the state itself is involved in the construction of a gendered identity, and how control of women and their sexuality is central to the nationbuilding project. She applies a critical feminist approach to two major conflicts in the Indian subcontinent - the Partition of India in 1947 and the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971 - and offers suggestions for addressing historical injustices and war crimes in the context of modern Bangladesh. Addressing how the social and political elites were able to construct and legitimise a history of the state that ignored these issues, the author suggests a critical re-examination of the national narrative of the creation of Bangladesh which takes into account the rise of Islamic rights and their alleged involvement in war crimes. Looking at the impact that notions of nation-state and nationalism have on women from a critical feminist perspective, the book will be an important addition to the literature on gender studies, international relations and South Asian politics.  

Routledge Handbook of South Asian Politics: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal edited by Paul R. Brass. The Routledge Handbook of South Asian Politics examines key issues in politics of the five independent states of the South Asian region: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. Written by experts in their respective areas, this book introduces the reader to the politics of South Asia by presenting the prevailing agreements and disagreements in the literature. In the first two sections, the handbook provides a comprehensive introduction to the modern political history of the states of the region and an overview of the independence movements in the former colonial states. The other sections focus on the political changes that have occurred in the postcolonial states since independence, as well as the successive political changes in Nepal during the same period, and the structure and functioning of the main governmental and non-governmental institutions, including the structure of the state itself (unitary or federal), political parties, the judiciary, and the military. Further, the contributors explore several aspects of the political process and political and economic change, especially issues of pluralism and national integration, political economy, corruption and criminalisation of politics, radical and violent political movements, and the international politics of the region as a whole. 

Islam in South Asia in Practice edited by Barbara D. Metcalf. This volume of Princeton Readings in Religions brings together the work of more than 30 scholars of Islam and Muslim societies in South Asia to create a rich anthology of primary texts that contributes to a new appreciation of the lived religious and cultural experiences of the world's largest population of Muslims. The 34 selections - translated from Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Bengali, Tamil, Gujarati, Hindavi, Dakhani, and other languages - highlight a wide variety of genres, many rarely found in standard accounts of Islamic practice, from oral narratives to elite guidance manuals, from devotional songs to secular judicial decisions arbitrating Islamic law, and from political posters to a discussion among college women affiliated with an "Islamist" organisation. Drawn from premodern texts, modern pamphlets, government and organisational archives, new media, and contemporary fieldwork, the selections reflect the rich diversity of Islamic belief and practice in South Asia. Each reading is introduced with a brief contextual note from its scholar-translator, and Barbara Metcalf introduces the whole volume with a substantial historical overview. 

Culinary Fictions: Food in South Asian Diasporic Culture by Anita Mannur. For South Asians, food regularly plays a role in how issues of race, class, gender, ethnicity, and national identity are imagined as well as how notions of belonging are affirmed or resisted. Culinary Fictions provides food for thought as it considers the metaphors literature, film, and TV shows use to describe Indians abroad. When an immigrant mother in Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake combines Rice Krispies, Planters peanuts, onions, salt, lemon juice, and green chili peppers to create a dish similar to one found on Calcutta sidewalks, it evokes not only the character's Americanisation, but also her nostalgia for India. Food, Anita Mannur writes, is a central part of the cultural imagination of diasporic populations, and Culinary Fictions maps how it figures in various expressive forms. Mannur examines the cultural production from the Anglo-American reaches of the South Asian diaspora. Using texts from novels - Chitra Divakaruni's Mistress of Spices and Shani Mootoo's Cereus Blooms at Night - and cookbooks such as Madhur Jaffrey's Invitation to Indian Cooking and Padma Lakshmi's Easy Exotic, she illustrates how national identities are consolidated in culinary terms.