Books of the Month


Stay up to date with our monthly book recommendations and curated collections of the best stories this planet has to offer.

March



 

Whether it’s read out loud by a parent, or covertly read under the covers with a flashlight after bedtime — children’s books have the ability to capture imaginations, perhaps more than any other genre.

From George and Harold's time-travelling adventure to Wimpy Kid - Greg Heffley’s family misadventure; from Cornucopia’s mysterious “boogie monster” to the heroic Princess Incognito: here are March’s top five children’s books to be enjoyed during the upcoming March school holidays.

Title: Captain Underpants #08 The Preposterous Plight Of The Purple Potty People

Author: Dav Pilkey

Publisher: Scholastic Inc

 

George and Harold's time-travelling Purple Potty lands them in a crazy place in the eighth book of this #1 New York Times best-selling series.

The book begins with the boys pulling their usual pranks on the mean-spirited teachers at their school. When they plan to send their pet pterodactyl to the past in the Purple Potty, they accidentally plop into another reality where everything is the opposite of normal.

There, they discover they have evil twins — Evil George and Evil Harold — who plan to unleash some preposterous plans. There’s also an Evil Captain Underpants, known as Captain Blunderpants, who steals pizza and expensive electronic devices at the evil boys’ bidding.

Discover what happens when George and Harold come face-to-face with the alternate versions of themselves, and how the lovable Captain Underpants defeats his evil match, Captain Blunderpants in this pun-tastic, fun-filled adventure.


 

Title: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Deep End (Book 15)

Author: Jeff Kinney

Publisher: Amulet Books

 

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Deep End is the 15th book in the best-selling Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney.

Greg Heffley, better known as Wimpy Kid, and his family hit the road for a cross-country camping trip. This time the Heffleys need a budget-friendly vacation and borrow their uncle's abandoned recreational vehicle (RV). Soon, their visions of camp-topia turn into camp-ageddon when they’re met with a series of unfortunate events

Outdoor hijinks ensue with capsized canoes, hair-raising animal encounters, flaming marshmallow burns, and a panicked run to the camp store when the RV park gets cut off from civilization. As the misadventures start to add up, the Heffleys wonder if they should have left home at all.

Stranded in the RV park, things only get worse for the Heffleys when the skies open up and the water starts to rise, making them wonder if they can save their vacation — or if they're already in too deep.


 

Title: Princess Incognito #3: Wrong Time to Fight Crime

Author: NJ Humphreys

Publisher: Marshall Cavendish International (Asia)

 

Singapore’s best-selling author Neil Humphrey returns with his third book in this beloved children's series.

Undercover Princess, Sabrina, and her friend Charlie, accidentally stop a crime from happening outside an ice-cream shop. This accident turns an otherwise heroic endeavour into one of the worst days ever for Princess Incognito.

Being a crime-stopper in a small town makes her the local hero, but it also means Sabrina has to come up with one ingenious scheme after another to protect her true identity. But then, the Man in Black with the Long, Deep Scar shows up, recognises Sabrina, and things take a darker turn.

For Sabrina, it’s one lucky escape after another, until a mysterious policeman appears, which leads to the princess making some tough decisions.


 

Title: Rowley Jefferson’s Awesome Friendly Adventure

Author: Jeff Kinney

Publisher: Amulet Books

 

Rowley Jefferson's Awesome Friendly Adventure is the second spin-off story starring Rowley, the gullibly sweet best friend of Greg, aka Wimpy Kid.

The well-meaning Rowley is imaginative and creative, and he’s just decided to write his own book about a character named Roland and his muscleman sidekick, Garg the Barbarian, on a quest to save Roland’s mom from the wicked White Warlock.

Rowley just wants to write the story he wants to write, but much to his annoyance, his best friend Greg is determined to help by insisting on merchandising opportunities, big-budget–movie adaptations, and fast-food tie-ins.

The result is a hilarious peek into friendship and the inner workings of what does and doesn’t make a story work.


 

Title: The Ickabog

Author: JK Rowling

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

 

The Ickabog marks JK Rowling's much-anticipated return to the children's literature genre, and is her first children's book since Harry Potter.

The tale is set in the mythical land of Cornucopia, the happiest kingdom in the world, where everything is perfect. Adults tell tall tales about the mythical Ickabog to scare children into behaving. However, this myth starts to take on a life of its own, and the foolish King Fred the Fearless begins to trust the wrong people.

When all sorts of calamitous events unfold, casting a shadow over the kingdom, two children — best friends Bert and Daisy — embark on a great adventure to untangle the truth and find out where the real monster lies, bringing hope and happiness to Cornucopia once more.

The March school holidays are meant to be a time of play and relaxation for the kids. But don’t hit the pause button on your child’s reading, as spending a portion each day reading can take your kids on adventures, and introduce them to characters and places they would otherwise never come into contact with. Yes, children do need this time to unwind and relax, but they also need to keep their minds sharp and ready to go once they start school.


 

February



 

Get ready to level up this February by diving into some of the best self-help books. From memoirs to mental decluttering guides, here is your go-to list of self-care literature, to help your mind, body and beliefs.

Title: Joy at Work: Organising Your Professional Life

Author: Marie Kondo

Publisher: Little, Brown Spark

 

If you thought Marie Kondo was done tidying up, think again. For within the pages of Joy at Work: Organising Your Professional Life, she tackles a whole new realm of clutter and confusion.

Joy at Work offers readers practical tips for maintaining a tidy workspace, as well as life-changing advice on finding a career that actually sparks joy. “This book offers stories, studies and strategies to help you eliminate clutter and make space for work that really matters,” Kondo wrote on Instagram. Marie Kondo hopes to help free readers from those countless paper piles and crumbs caught in the keyboard.

Whether you work from home or go into the office every morning, this book will provide you the tools to maximise your professional life. Get ready to KonMari not just your work desk, but your career, too.


 

Title: Letter to My Younger Self

Author: Jane Graham

Publisher: Blink Publishing

 

The book brings together 100 of the best weekly Letter To My Younger Self interviews that has been running in the UK newspaper publication, The Big Issue, for 12 years.

Conceived by books editor, Jane Graham, who also compiled the book and conducted the majority of the interviews, it sees some hugely known global figures provide advice to their 16-year-old self based on what they know now.

According to the synopsis, Letter to My Younger Self features “some of the most brilliant and successful people from the worlds of entertainment, politics, food, sport and business, including Paul McCartney writing on how he found inspiration, Olivia Colman on overcoming confidence problems, Mo Farah on the importance of losing, Arianna Huffington on knowing your motivations and Jamie Oliver on trusting your instinct”.

This book is a profound exploration into the wit and wisdom that age brings, and of the unique insights that looking back can reveal.


 

Title: The Ikigai Journey: A Practical Guide to Finding Happiness and Purpose the Japanese Way

Author: Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles

Publisher: Tuttle Publishing

 

This book is a follow-up to Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles international bestseller, Ikigai: the Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life and goes into the question of how we can develop the mindset and habits that help us find and live our best life.

Ikigai stands for the meaning of life, the thing that makes you get out of bed each day in eager anticipation. Our ikigai might change over time, but it’s important to tune in and be in harmony with our ikigai at every stage to feel meaning in our lives. Otherwise, according to the writers, we will feel as though we have strayed from our own path and outside forces have taken control of our everyday life.

The Ikigai Journey takes us on an adventure through the future (resembled by the city of Tokyo — a symbol of modernity and innovation), the past (the city of Kyoto — an ancient capital moored in tradition) and the present (the coastal city of Ise — with its ancient shrine that is destroyed and rebuilt every twenty years) and shows us practical steps we can take to seek a balance between these stops. At the end of the book, you will have all the tools to achieve complete personal fulfilment.


 

Title: The Psychology of Stupidity

Author: Jean-François Marmion

Publisher: Penguin Books

 

Are people getting dumber, or does it just look that way? That question underlies this collection of essays by and interviews with American and European psychologists, neurologists, philosophers, and other well-credentialed intellectuals.

Most of Jean-François Marmion’s contributors acknowledge the obvious fact that stupidity, rather than being a fixed characteristic of an irreducible segment of humanity, is instead a migrating condition that all of us blunder into once in a while; some farther and more frequently than others. It’s true but still an inescapable shortcoming of the species.

Among the wealth of insights, one of the salient takeaways is the importance of humility and self-skepticism, acutely stated by social psychologist Ewa Drozda-Senkowska: “Ignorance is a strong engine of knowledge, provided that you know you’re ignorant, and that you know what you don’t know.” Urgent and transformative, this anthology will leave readers equally amused, appalled, and enlightened.


 

Title: The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down: How to Be Calm in a Busy World

Author: Haemin Sunim

Publisher: Penguin Books

 

Haemin Sunim is a Buddhist monk and former professor, so when it comes to calming your mind and finding peace — he is most certainly your guy. Sunim started answering people’s questions about life and mindfulness on social media (he has over 1m followers on Twitter and Facebook), and was contacted by a publisher to turn his writings into a book.

This book is focused on ways to embrace and appreciate everyday moments. It has eight short chapters with topics including rest, relationships, life and spirituality. Each chapter is introduced with the author’s experience and perspective, followed by a collection of observations and thoughts like this one: “My dear young friend, please don’t feel discouraged just because you are slightly behind. Life isn’t a hundred-meter race against your friends, but a lifelong marathon against yourself. Rather than focusing on getting ahead of your friends, first try to discover your unique color.”

Written with a touch of humour and a lot of insight, reading it invokes feelings similar to those when engaging with a wise older relative. The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down is as thought-provoking as it is practical! It is an easy read filled with bite-sized chunks of wisdom and poignant insights. These are accompanied by beautiful illustrations by Youngcheol Lee, which provide excellent pauses for thought in themselves.


 

Sometimes it’s a particular teacher’s words, or even a life experience that explodes your conception of what’s possible in the world or what’s possible in you. And sometimes it’s a book (or five) that shapes how you think, forever. We hope that these books will continually spark new ideas and led to moments of reinvention.

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