Take Five: Summer Reads

Summer is here and if you're finding some great reads for the next couple of months, we've got you covered. From comical snobs to interesting "self-help" (not really, but it'll help you understand some things about the digital age), these are some of our favourites. So interesting, and such compelling reads were they, that we found it difficult to stop and put down. 

Check out our top few reads below.

1. Rich People Problems
by Kevin Kwan

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What is it? The final instalment of the three-part best-selling trilogy about the "wealthiest of wealthy" families in East Asia. The first two instalments - "Crazy Rich Asians" and "China Rich Girlfriend" - introduced you to the Youngs and the Shangs through the love story of Rachel Chu, a middle-class American Chinese girl, and her boyfriend Nick Young, from the mega rich powerful branch of the Young-Shang family of Singapore. Much of the language used is in Singlish, which brings a personal local flair to the book. 

Why read it? Apart from the usual family drama and casual name dropping of couture designers who are at the beck & call of these moneyed elites, the final instalment ties up all loose ends presented in the first two books. Full of conniving relations and conspicuous consumption, think Dynasty but Asian. This time, the family comes together in Singapore as the matriarch - the all-powerful Shang Su-yi (so powerful is she, a commercial plane with the family doctor on-board was made to turn back to Singapore so he can attend to her. How's that for mega-wealth?) - is on her deathbed. 

Sidenote: The first book, Crazy Rich Asians has been confirmed for a movie franchise with a star-studded cast of international Asian actors, including Constance Wu, Gemma Chan, Michelle Yeo and Awkwafina. It'll be directed by Jon M Chu, who also directed Now You See Me 2 and GI Joe: Retaliation. Filming has started (the cast were all here in SIngapore last month) and the movie is slated for release sometime next year. 

2. A Little Life
by Hanya Yanagihara

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What is it? A compelling winding story of four men living in bustling New York City. The story follows them from their university days through their fading adulthood, trying to work their way and surviving life.

Why read it? To be honest, this novel - all 700+ pages of it - is a powerful novel that sends any reader into a pool of emotions. It's such a compelling read from start to finish that you will find yourself having to put the book down; not because you want to, but because you need to. It's captures your attention and deals a powerful blow of emotions you're left needing a breather and perhaps an emotional mess by the end of it -- we were. Trust me, it is a worthy read for the summer. 

Sidenote: London's The Guardian called it a "modern classic" and we couldn't agree more. In the New York Review of Books, Daniel Mendelsohn noted the novel “reveals itself as a very twenty-first century tale indeed: abuse, victimisation, self-loathing” and wondered if a “generalised sense of helplessness and acute anxiety have become the norm”.

3. Hit Makers
by Derek Thompson

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What is it? The Hit Makers compiles theories of why certain things such as popular songs and those master pieces became as such. At the same time, the author debunks the myth behind the whole concept of “going viral” for popularity. The author mixes anecdotes with theories to make his point. 

Why read it? If you enjoyed reading The Tipping Point as well as The Power of Habits you will enjoy this book. Full of anecdotes as well theories behind some successful stories and some less successful ones. It's an easy and pleasant read and one that will keep you wondering about how one's opinion on things are really formulated. 

Sidenote? If you are a fan of music, this book is made for you as a lot of the anecdotes are about it. If you are looking into how to make your product go viral, however, this is not where you are going to find the answers.