As the year comes to a close and we start to reflect on some of our favourite reads, we'd love to share what books flew off the shelves for us and the titles we'd recommend over and over again. 

Here we have our most popular books of 2021 in order of appearance on our shelves:

1. Moon and Sun

Rumi has the unique honor of being recognized as America’s best loved poet, though he was a Muslim who lived eight hundred years ago and wrote in Persian.

These authentic new translations embrace the enigma of Rumi’s relevance today and dive heart first into the world of the Sufi mystic.

They explore ecstatic love, spiritual longing, and the deepest of human friendships, in a fresh language that speaks clearly and universally to modern readers and yet echoes the music of another time.
A perfect gift for the hopeless romantics and mystics amongst you. 

[Get your copy here]

2. Eating Chilli Crab in the Anthropocene

From chilli crab to Tiger Beer, Changi Airport to Pulau Semakau, O-levels to orang minyak films, these essays offer fresh perspectives on familiar subjects, prompting us to recognise the incredible urgency of climate change and the need to transform our ways of thinking, acting, learning, living, and governing so as to maintain a stable planet and a decent future.

[Get your copy here]

3. 17A Keong Saik Road


17A Keong Saik Road recounts Charmaine Leung’s growing-up years on Keong Saik Road in the 1970s when it was a prominent red-light precinct in Chinatown in Singapore. An interweaving of past and present narratives, 17A Keong Saik Road tells of her mother’s journey as a young child put up for sale to becoming the madame of a brothel in Keong Saik.

A beautiful dedication to the past, to memory, and to the people who have gone before us, 17A Keong Saik Road tells the rich stories of the Ma Je, the Pei Pa Zai, and the Dai Gu Liong—marginalised, forgotten women of the past, who despite their difficulties, persevered in working towards the hope of a better future.

[Get your copy here]

4. Homeless

Ten years ago, Liyana Dhamirah was in a precarious situation: at 22, she was heavily pregnant and had no place to call home.

For Liyana, home was often unstable. Once a bright teenager full of optimism, she faced uncertainty and found no support from family, government agencies and welfare groups. She had nowhere to go, no one to turn to. When she started living on a beach in Sembawang, she discovered a community of people—families—who were homeless just like her. 

Months later, journalists eventually uncovered Liyana’s story and how she navigated a bureaucracy of obstacles. Today she is a successful entrepreneur and this is her memoir.

[Get your copy here]

5. Growing Up Perempuan

Growing up as a woman is hard. Growing up as a woman in the Muslim community is harder. Growing Up Perempuan is a collection of stories written by women, for women. This book offers stories of love and loss, strength and endurance, confidence and courage - stories that inspire and empower.

[Get your copy here]


Our staff on the ground love chatting with all of you, recommending books and sharing stories of what makes Chinatown special. Some of their favourite books to talk about are the ones they personally enjoy reading, as they've better able to share the love of the tale, so do swing by and ask them what they're currently reading! 

We hope that your 2021 was full of adventures and constant delving into the magical worlds available through the medium of the written word. And fret not if you had a bit of a reading slump this year, we've put together a brand new reading challenge for 2022 that will be sure to add a spark of excitement to your 'To-Read' list.

The Reading Challenge 2022 will be published on our website and socials on the 1st of January, so keep your eyes peeled. A very happy New Year to you all, and may the new year bring many a delightful read into your life.