Saturday, January 28, 2012

Architecture Books in Selections 106

Selections 106, the latest issue of our catalogue of new titles, has just been released.  This issue includes 3 titles on architecture:

The Practice Of Practice 2: Research in the Medium of Design edited by Leon Van Schaik and Michael Spooner. This volume brings together comprehensive excerpts from the catalogues documenting the design practice research of eighteen architects who were invited to participate in the 'invitational' research program at RMIT. The research here presented offers a wealth of evidence about the design practices of architects and practitioner academics. This is the Fifth edition of RMIT University's Postgraduate Masters work and features contributions from some of Australia's leading architecture practices, including Scott Balmforth, Gerard Reinmuth, Sara Cole, Riet Eeckhout, Ephraim Joris, Brian Donovan, Timothy Hill, Nikki Kalms, Michael Patroni, m3Architecture, Robert Simeoni, Leigh Wolley, Adrian Iredale, Finn Pedersen, Robert Morris Nunn, Dale Jones Evans, Roger Wood & Randal Marsh.

The Urban Design of Impermanence: Streets, Places and Spaces in Hong Kong by Peter Cookson Smith. The notion of impermanence underlies the urban design language of Hong Kong to a significant extent. The city's intensely urban environment has long reflected embedded patterns of change and temporality in both physical and cultural dimensions - a forever reconstructed city of dislocation, adaptation and imagination. These characteristics are intrinsically interwoven with street and spatial patterns, producing a sense of immediacy and transience, ingrained within the fabric and memory of the city. This might stem, on the one hand, from a philosophy of change inherent in cultural traditions, but it also reflects more tangible issues accumulated from historical imprints, regimes of displacement, and constant transformation of the urban environment. This collection of sketches, illustrations and essays seeks to reflect the evolving character and personality of Hong Kong - an informality in the way its older streets, urban places and spaces are used, and how this encodes the 'everyday' experience of the city through a profusion of visual incident, expression, and an intensity of fragmented features that exude Hong Kong's high density urban values.

Architectural Guide Tokyo by Ulf Meyer. In this guide to the city's architecture, vista photographs introduce the shape of the built area of Tokyo. Text and photo insets describe some 200 post-1945 buildings. Location details are set out with sketch plains which include subway route maps. Index of buildings.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


This is a selection of recent memoirs:

Memoirs of an Ice-Cream Lady by Emily Ho. Memoirs Of An Ice-Cream Lady is a charming and humorous series of anecdotes and reflections by a single Chinese lady, who established and managed an ice-cream parlor selling top-end ice-cream on the small outlying Hong Kong island of Lamma. Here locals and some residents from overseas live in close contact, as observed and recorded here by Emily's unblinkered eye. Comments on the traditional Chinese attitudes to girls and unmarried women mingle with reflections on meddling neighbours, the odd habits of customers, the ingratitude of teenage girls and the antics of feisty ferry passengers. Petty quibbles find perspective from Emily's account of the impact on her neighbourhood of the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), and her response to an earthquake disaster on the Chinese Mainland. Emily's perspective is quirky and unique, but unquestionably valid. Behind the amused and critical eye of a modern-day Mrs Gaskell is another object of concern -the writer herself: - what is her place in this world where her own values and emotions are so often at issue with most of those in her milieu?

Master of None: How A Hong Kong High-Flyer Overcame the Devastating Experience of Imprisonment by John Hung. From Stanley Prison, corporate high-flyer John T. Hung recounts his life in a sweep of Hong Kong history over five generations - from his family roots in the 19th century through World War II to the present. The story tracks the richness of his mixed heritage and upbringing, his steady rise and precipitous fall from the pinnacles of corporate Hong Kong to the life-destroying court case and heartbreaking incarceration. With wry and subtle humour, Hung describes his colourful yet volatile life, interwoven into the social, commercial, political and sporting tapestry of Hong Kong and South East Asia. Master of None is a soulful exploration of human achievements, frailties, resilience in the face of adversity, and above all, the importance of family support in overcoming whatever fate may deal us.

The Accidental Entrepreneur: Life and Reflections of Choo Heng Thong by Choo Heng Thong. Born in the post-war baby boom years in Malaya, Choo Heng Thong rose from his humble beginnings in Johor Bahru to become an entrepreneur in the heady days of Singapore's industrialisation in the 1970s. In a very personable style, he has encapsulated his thoughts and experiences, giving a real - and at times whimsical - account of the last six decades of development in Malaysia and Singapore.

Growing Up With Ghosts by Bernice Chauly. Two Malaysians, ethnic Chinese Jane and Sikh-born Surinder, a teacher, married with family disapproval in 1967. Surinder died in a drowning accident in 1973. In this unusual family saga, Bernice uses letters and archival material to tell often-tragic stories from the lives of her forebears. After becoming aware of apparent connections with a family curse involving snakes and their deities, she traces an aged Sikh relative who knows the family's traditions. She tells of her 2009 visit to him near Amritsar and her action at his snake shrine which breaks the curse. With archival documents, family photographs and glossary.

What Glass Ceiling? The Memoirs of Rohini Nanayakkara as told to Michelle Gunawardana by Michelle Gunawardana. Having done it all, from being Sri Lanka's first woman banker, to reaching the very top in the country's financial sector, as CEO of the Bank of Ceylon and later of Seylan Bank, and becoming one of the most highly respected bankers and business leaders in Sri Lanka, Rohini Nanayakkara has no time for dwelling on gender inequalities and inequities. She didn't fight chauvinism; she just ignored it. And for her it ceased to exist. This book tells how she made it despite coming from an average family.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Children's Books on Art

Select Books stocks a large collection of books that are great for teaching children about art, both as teaching aids and reference books for the children.  We have worked with several schools to supply them with these titles.  Do contact us about possible events and titles.

This is a small selection of titles:

13 Art Inventions Children Should Know by Florian Heine. From the use of perspective to the invention of the paint tube, 13 examples of some of the most important breakthroughs in artistic technology offers kids an exciting new perspective on the world of art. This new volume in the highly successful "13" series uses colorful reproductions, glossaries, and a timeline to explore milestones in the history of art. Kids will learn about important innovations in art while they discover answers to questions such as: Why was oil painting invented? What were the subjects of the first photographs? How do you depict the world on a flat canvas? Filled with accessible, fascinating facts as well as creative suggestions for independent art projects, this unique introduction to art history shows young readers how art is made as well as how to enjoy it.

Coloring Book - Art Nouveau by Rahel Goldner. Big art for little hands, these enchanting activity books allow young artists to explore the world's masterpieces on their own terms and with plenty of space to color outside the lines.

When I Grow Up I Want To Paint Like Liu Kang (Colouring Book). This book introduces the world of Singapore artist Liu Kang to young children ages four and above through fun and engaging ideas and activities.The influence of cultural heritage and art from Europe and Asia is found everywhere in Liu Kang's colourful and lively paintings. Making pop-up pictures and creating one's very own Balinese headdress provide opportunities for play-based learning about different cultures. The book can be used at home or in the classroom. Biographical information and colour images about the artist and his works are included. A glossary pitched at young readers is also included. This is the second book in the Little Artists series of activity books, which allows children to create new works of art and learn about important Singaporean artists. The first book in the series is When I Grow Up I Want to Paint Like Cheong Soo Pieng.

Earth, Sea, Sun, And Sky: Art In Nature by Barbara Stieff. This engaging book introduces young readers to the enormous variety of art that exists within the natural environment. Art can be a garden; a spiral of broken pebbles or dandelions; a wheat field in a former garbage dump. It can be made of wood carved with a chainsaw or a drawing using dust and earth. It can be transitory-painted on sand only to be erased by waves; or it can be built to last, like sculpture gardens by renowned artists. Filled with beautiful images, this book will help children appreciate the different ways that artists employ nature in their work. It examines an array of examples, including sculpture gardens, mazes, land art, and nature-related works in museums while exploring the works of international artists, including Niki de Saint Phalle, Daniel Spoerri, Antonio Gaudi, Christo, the Ant Farm, Nancy Holt, Joseph Beuys, Agnes Denes, and Andy Goldsworthy. The book provides readers with a wealth of ideas for creating their own paintings, drawings, sculptures, and experiments. Children will experience hours of inspiration as they discover the artistic possibilities that exist in the natural world.

13 Art Mysteries Children Should Know by Angela Wenzel. In this intriguing book, young readers will be introduced to the unsolved mysteries behind some of the world's greatest art and artists. For as long as people have been viewing the masterpieces in this book, they've been asking the same questions: Why is the Mona Lisa smiling? Who was that girl with the pearl earring? What made Magritte's reading woman so frightened? These and other great mysteries of the art world are explored in this colorful, fun, and informative children's book. Each masterpiece is presented in a double page spread with stunning reproductions, biographical information about the artist, historical context and the pressing questions themselves. From Bosch to Banksy, the mysterious life of Caravaggio to the strange room in Velazques' Las Meninas, Surrealism to stolen art-young readers' interests in some of the world's great masterpieces will be piqued by the puzzles they offer and that remain unsolved to this day.

Monday, January 9, 2012

New Distribution Partner: Blacksmith Books

We are pleased to announce that Select Books has been appointed as the Singapore distributor for Blacksmith Books

Based in Hong Kong, Blacksmith Books focuses on publishing China-related non-fiction – biography, business, culture, current affairs, photography and travel – and presents the works of their local and expat authors to a global readership.

Blacksmith Books was profiled in Time Out — read the article here.

This is a selection of their recent titles that we will be supplying to the book trade in Singapore:

Waiting for the Dalai Lama: Stories from all Sides of the Tibetan Debate by Annelie Rozeboom. Why does the issue of Tibet rouse such passions on both sides? And is there any way to find common ground? Chinese-speaking journalist Annelie Rozeboom worked as a foreign correspondent in China for ten years. During that time she was able to interview numerous Tibetan people inside and outside Tibet, as well as Chinese residents, Western observers and the Dalai Lama himself. As these people explain their life stories, it becomes clear to the reader why they think the way they do. The book also shows how history washed over this remote kingdom and how the Tibetans and the Chinese came to take such opposing positions. Waiting for the Dalai Lama is a uniquely valuable book which approaches the emotive issue of Tibet from all angles.

Master of None: How a Hong Kong High-Flyer Overcame the Devastating Experience of Imprisonment by John Hung. From Stanley Prison, corporate high-flyer John T. Hung recounts his life in a sweep of Hong Kong history over five generations - from his family roots in the 19th century through World War II to the present. The story tracks the richness of his mixed heritage and upbringing, his steady rise and precipitous fall from the pinnacles of corporate Hong Kong to the life-destroying court case and heartbreaking incarceration. With wry and subtle humour, Hung describes his colourful yet volatile life, interwoven into the social, commercial, political and sporting tapestry of Hong Kong and South East Asia. Master of None is a soulful exploration of human achievements, frailties, resilience in the face of adversity, and above all, the importance of family support in overcoming whatever fate may deal us.

The Eurasian Face by Kirsteen Zimmern. No one represents diversity better than Eurasians - those individuals with a mix of Caucasian and Asian heritage. Once a source of shame, the Eurasian face has become the face that sells. It is the face with which everyone can identify. In an ever-shrinking world, the search is on for a one-size-fits-all global image. Eurasians have become the world's poster boys and girls, much sought after as actors and models. Taking advantage of increasingly tolerant times and the growing commercial and cultural exchanges between East and West, Eurasians have gained prominence as entrepreneurs, professionals and athletes. This book of interviews and black-and-white portraits reveals how seventy Eurasians of diverse backgrounds see their place in the world today.

Hong Kong: State of Mind, 37 Views of a City that Doesn't Blink by Jason Ng. Hong Kong is a mixed bag of a city. It is where Mercedes outnumber taxi cabs, partygoers count down to Christmas every December 24, and larger-than-life billboards of fortune tellers and cram school tutors compete with breathtaking skylines. Hong Kong State of Mind is a collection of essays by a popular blogger who zeroes in on the city's idiosyncrasies with deadpan precision. At once an outsider looking in and an insider looking out, Ng has created something for everyone: a travel journal for the passing visitor, a user's manual for the wide-eyed expat, and an open diary for the native Hong Konger looking for moments of reflection.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Books on Social Issues

This is a selection of titles addressing social issues, such as domestic violence, the sex industry, and poverty among others, in Asian countries.

Nightingale Songs: Survival Stories from Domestic Violence by Kendra. In Nightingale Songs: Survival Stories from Domestic Violence, Singapore-based counsellor and mental healthcare professional, Kendra, speaks to survivors of abuse and the professionals who help those impacted by violence in the home. The diversity of stories reflects Singaporean society, illustrating that this social problem is not limited to one class or ethnic group but crosses all boundaries of race, religion, education, and socio-economic background. Private stories are revealed for the purpose of raising public awareness about violence in the home. Kendra presents domestic violence as a social issue needing to be understood and addressed at the community level. This book provides useful information for those considering working in the field of domestic violence, especially the importance of self-care, and will resonate with anyone whose life has been personally touched by this issue.

Many Roads Home - Stories from the Muhammadiyah Welfare Home edited by Stephanie Ho, Jaime Koh et al. Since 1989 the Muhammadiyah Welfare Home (MWF) has cared for Muslim children in need. This account of the Home's origins and work shows how the government, Courts, Muslim community and volunteers of many of backgrounds have come together in providing care and support for children families who have experienced all kinds of problems and disasters. Twenty residents or former residents tell of their life in the Home, of their plans or ideals, and of some of the burdens they carry. The role of the staff, future plans for the Home, the contribution of volunteers of many backgrounds are all described, with the help of lively drawings and illuminating photographs. Profits to MWH.

Hearts of Resilence: Singapore's Community Engagement Programme by Asad-Il Iqbal Latif. Singapore's government-sponsored Community Engagement Programme (CEP) was set up after London's incident of fatal terrrorist violence in July 2005 to foster the local development of inter-community cohesion and understanding. The CEP's aims and programme and the ideas of its leading personalities are set out. Twelve Singaporeans who are actively engaged in encouraging community interaction in their own local context are then introduced with photographs and biographical sketches which show how hearts and minds can and are promoting social cohesion in Singapore's diverse society.

Dangerous Sex, Invisible Labor: Sex Work and the Law in India by Prabha Kotiswaran. This is a widely based exploration of contemporary sex work and related law in India based on substantial investigation and field study of many of the elements involved in the industry and its management and funding. Part One looks at theories which have and do influence sex work perceptions, inside and outside India, including exploitative, legal, abolitionist, materialist-feminist religious and medical constructions. Part Two offers indepth studies of the work patterns and life prospects of travelling sex workers of Tirupati and of brothel workers in Kolkata. Part 3 explores regulation, the workings of the law and pressures for its reform. The possible construction of a postcolonial materialist-feminist theory of sex work is related to the Indian and international scene. With notes, bibliography and index.

Invisible People: Poverty and Empowerment in Indonesia by Irfan Kortschak and Poriaman Sitanggang (Photo). Who are Indonesia's invisible people? They include people with physical disabilities in Aceh; people from a village with a very high rate of congenital deafness in Bali; malnourished children and their parents in West Timor; widows and female heads of households in Lombok; people with leprosy- related disabilities in South Sulawesi; women surviving domestic abuse and communal violence in Ambon; people with HIV and AIDS in Papua; children in a village in West Java without access to a secondary school; sex workers in West Kalimantan; and transgendered persons in East Java. As this book shows, through first hand interviews with members of vulnerable groups in Indonesia, these people are not passive victims, merely waiting for assistance. They are actively working to improve their own lives. With more than 100 photographs, Invisible People tells the sometimes heartbreaking but often heartwarming stories of their lives.