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  • kris ng

WANTED - Fiction Book Recommendations

I am getting a new book today! It is Rob’s birthday and he insists. I don't know which book yet except I want fiction.

I am halfway through Quiet by Susan Cain and The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo, the latter being a "spiritual daybook". Also by my bedside are The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates, In Praise of Slowness by Carl Honore and Time is a Mother, a poem collection by Ocean Vuong – all in various stages of being read. All are non-fiction or short-form as well.

My reading selection has definitely changed over the years. I have veered towards non-fiction and short essays like Anna Quindlen’s Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake and Cheryl Strayed’s Tiny Beautiful Things, both of which I tore through. I wonder if I enjoyed them so much because the female authors felt like older and wiser sisters dishing out advice between the lines, having been there and done that. Or was it more that the writing was bite-sized and easy to read?

It is likely my attention span has been irrevocably damaged from years of mobile phone usage and social media consumption that I can’t sit through longer forms nowadays. Or maybe I just haven’t gotten my hands on a really engrossing book in recent years. 

Last year, I read Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale but started to feel weary midway. I ploughed through the pages to finish the book only because Rob gave it to me as a Christmas gift. But I also read Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir by Natasha Trethewey from cover to cover and devoured Between Two Kingdoms: A Memoir of a Life Interrupted by Suleika Jaouad in the early days of COVID. It doesn’t escape me that I enjoyed the two memoirs but not so much the fiction. 

Thing is, books I’ve read many many years ago and still remember fondly today were all fiction. Top of my mind are:

  • Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

  • I am David by Anne Holm

  • Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout, and

  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer

and Annie Barrows

If you ask me to tell you the story or characters in those books now, you wouldn’t get much given my lacklustre memory. I am not even certain if I would enjoy the books as much if I were to read them again now. But these books remain close to my heart. They are special because at the time I read them, I was magically teleported to a different space and time, immersed and lost at the same time. 

I miss that feeling. 

Which brings me to: what fiction books would you recommend? 

Please send your picks my way!


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