Reading: 6 books to read Summer 2020


Everyone’s travel plans got canned thanks to Coronavirus, but it’s nice to a different side of every city with people exploring their own backyards… well for now, until another lockdown and curfews of sorts take place again. I’ve been enjoying my friend’s feeds on exploring different parts of Hong Kong neighbourhoods.

If you’re a HK resident and fancy seeing the city through a different lens, I highly recommend Jason Wordie’s history tours, I’ve been on a couple myself and he caters to people who live in HK, not tourists. Another fun tour is with Daisann of Little Adventures Hong Kong (Disclaimer: I’ve worked with Daisann on the walking food tours sharing my own personal favourites in my neighbourhood). She’s running special tours for HK expats to discover the islands and HK street food, showing you a different side of Hong Kong.

  1. Out by Kirino

As far as Japanese authors go, it’s not familiar territory for me. Apart from being a fan and having read most of Haruki Murakami’s books and having picked up a few other books by Japanese authors in the bookstore, I didn’t know Natsuo Kirino was a brilliant author famous for her thrilling novels until I picked up “Out” and passed it to a friend who was familiar with her works. This book is sinister, thrilling and dives deep into the dark psyche of a group of demure Japanese women who all work in the same food factory.

It’s a page turner with revelations at every turn. I highly recommend it as a summer poolside read if you’re lucky enough to get out to busk in the fresh air with Covid regulations.

2. Americanah by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This was a gift from my brilliant friend Nalis a couple of years ago while I had lots of free time during chemo cancer treatment back in Singapore. I highly recommend reading it, timely with the Black Lives Movement gaining momentum across the world. It examines everything from sense of self/place/immigration and being a woman of colour in America.

3. My Brilliant friend by Elena Ferrante

My Swiss German friend sent this to me, the first of a four part series. It’s one of her favourite books. I was lucky enough to have situational context as I read this book last spring in Naples, where the story was set. It’s a beautiful story on friendship and growing up through the lens of the protagonist Elena and Lila, her childhood friend.

4. Overstory by Richard Powers

You’ll find many stories in one and so many protagonists connected to their multi-generational histories, all magically woven together across time and geographical spaces bound by the subject of trees. There’s darkness, joy, identity and the relationship and dynamics with trees and nature.

5. One Good Deed by David Baldacci

I picked this up at the airport for some light reading and never previously heard of the author. But I got so many comments about his crime thrillers that friends love from this same author. I had just finished binge watching ‘The Blacklist” on Netflix and dived into this. It’s a great plot and suspenseful, but I still prefer Lisa Garner’s series that I discovered randomly at the library and binged read most of her collection.

6. Joyful by Ingrid Fetell Lee


This book is a powerful resource on how to derive more meaning and joy from our environment – an exercise in mindfulness. Designer Lee worked with IDEO and has a brilliant Ted Talk, here, she dives into the simple things from colour, spaces and how design makes a complete difference to how we feel. She reminds us that joy is all around and free, if we’d just take the time to give everything a careful look.

It’s good to know that polka dots, circles, sparkles, sprinkles, confetti, colours, googly eyes and all the things that spark joy for children connect to our inner children.

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