Friday, July 01, 2011

Episode 1012: 25% Off At BooksActually!

As expected, I'm getting through the plays fairly quickly. Finished Haresh Sharma's Those Who Can't, Teach, an updated version of the 1990 play, which I thought was interesting, but felt somewhat disjointed when simply read off the page. Also mildly frustrated by his deployment of the scholar stereotype. We're not all like that, honestly! Still, it wasn't like one of those cheerfully optimistic videos they broadcast to try and recruit teachers, so that was a relief. Also finished Jean Tay's Everything But The Brain and Boom, both of which I'd heard of when they were premiered, but which for some reason or other, I never went to see. The former seemed like it'd have been particularly interesting to watch, with its use of a chorus. The latter drew parallels between the Singaporean passion for en bloc sales and the government's decision to exhume graves after 15 years. Have now been reading Adeline Lee Zhia Ern's Lethal Lesson And Other Stories, the Malaysian teenager's first collection. There's definitely potential here, although I'm not entirely convinced by the effusive praise that the publisher Silverfish Books lavishes on her. Will finish off the book tomorrow and make up my mind about her then. I'm trying to go back to the one-book-per-day routine I had a couple of vacations ago. Should be entirely possible, since I plan to be reading a lot of poetry, really. There's tonnes of fiction I want to sink my teeth into, but realistically speaking, that's largely going to have to wait, simply because of the sheer number of unread series I have.

Not that this has stopped me acquiring more books! Today happened to be the last day of the BooksActually sale, so I met up with Claudia and Shirley to take full advantage of it. (Read this hilarious book, by the way, on the MRT to Tiong Bahru. It's titled Addictionary, compiled by Jim Banister from the user-driven website, The Addictionaries. Hilarious stuff! Website itself seems to be on hiatus though, which is a shame.) Blew more than $300 on books, mostly anthologies of Singaporean writing and criticism that I'm hoping will prove useful in some way for my MA dissertation. My friends were convinced that's why Kenny recognises me, as I'm such a big spender, but I think that's ridiculous, since it's not like I spend that kind of money every time I visit BooksActually! Also picked up the new issue of Ceriph, and while it might be premature to say this, especially given what I personally felt was an uneven quality of work in the earlier issues, I think the publication has a chance of slowly morphing into Singapore's answer to Timothy McSweeney's Quarterly Concern. Dinner after our book spree, and then drinks along the Singapore River at The Merry Men, just one of those really interchangeable watering holes lining the river. Very reasonable prices, however, and they serve an intriguing Black Forest Mojito (mixed berries replacing lime) that is absolutely delicious. Definitely sticking it on my list of places to revisit in future, maybe before seeing a play at the DBS Art Centre or something.

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