Book Hunting Expeditions

Loading Up On Books

"You know, it's a truism that writers for children must still be children themselves, deep down, must still feel childish feelings, and a child's surprise at the world. "

I know I have shelves filled with unread books, but for some reason (could be my fixation in one of Freud’s psychosexual stages of development), I can not help but collect books. Of course, the ideal is for me to have several months off to do nothing but just read, read, and read and post my thoughts on GatheringBooks. But since, I do not have that luxury of time, allow me to sneak in a few peeks in this blog and share with you some of my loot, thus far.

There’s a place that I usually frequent to purchase not-too-expensive books in SG: it’s in Orchard, Lucky Plaza, Basement section. I forgot the name. Next time that I visit the place, I’d be sure to take a picture. They note that they don’t sell secondhand books, rather they merely dispose of the overruns by publishers and such, so we get a really good deal as consumers. Last Sunday, as per usual I can not help myself and bought the following:

I got Eragon’s Guide to Alagaesia for 9.90 sgd. Not bad for a hardbound book with lovely illustrations. While I don’t have the ERAGON collection, I have seen the film and enjoyed it. Plus, a hardbound, complexly-illustrated book such as this should be read and touched and smelled in my own place. Haha. I am bad at rationalizations.


I am a Maurice Sendak fan, regardless of how other people find his stories creepy and weird.Outside Over There apparently is also a Caldecott Honor book, in addition to being an ALA Notable Book and other awards. I got this for 5sgd.

I got Paul Fleischman’s Graven Images and Walter Dean Myers’ Somewhere in the Darkness for a “2 for 3SGD” bargain price. You have got to love that little basement bookstore in Orchard. Of course you’d have to comb through everything in order for you to see rare finds such as these:

And as if that was not enough, I couldn’t help but purchase some books yet again from Harris (I prefer this bookstore over Popular – well at least the ones we have in Jurong Point): people are much friendlier and the children’s section IS children-friendly, with kids allowed to sit on the floor to read through some of the books – something which is disallowed in Popular. My eight year old got a stern “can not sit here” in Popular – so very quickly we flew to Harris to buy books there instead.

I’ve been hearing about Ilustrado for a long time. The fact that it’s written by Miguel Syjuco, the first Filipino I think to receive The Man Asian Literary Prize – I figured it was worth the 30 sgd that I’d be paying for it. Plus that’d count as support for local authors, right? My mentor, Dr. Bernardo, who has been writing snippets of his thoughts about this book in his FB, told me that I shouldn’t read this yet since I might not want to go back to the Philippines. Hmmm. Intriguing. All the more reason to read it.

While my heart belongs to children’s lit and young adult fiction, I also am in love with Isabel Allende (and Marquez and other grown up writers) – and when I read the luscious way through which Aphrodite has been summarized and packaged at the back of the novel, I know it’s a wonderful read-aloud to the husband in one of these cold rainy nights. Ok. Done with PG-13 allusions. Back to regular YA lit programming.

I am not sure how the transition would be for me from the light reading and quick wit of Pseudonymous Bosch to AS Byatt’s The Children’s Book. I know that even if it is entitled as such, the contents would be hardly what can be called juvenile or elementary reading. Just going over the first few lines gave me a headache. But I love AS Byatt that way. I fell in love with Possession, and I am sure I would also fall in love with The Children’s Book.

Let’s just pray that I find the time to go over all these delectable dishes very soon. Until then, my precious ones.

Eragon’s Guide to Alagaesia by Christopher Paolini

Amazon | Book Depository

Outside Over There by Maurice Sendak

Amazon | Book Depository

Graven Images by Paul Fleischman’s

Amazon | Book Depository

Somewhere in the Darkness by Walter Dean Myers

Amazon | Book Depository

Ilustrado by Miguel Syjuco

Amazon | Book Depository

Aphrodite by Isabel Allende

Amazon | Book Depository

The Children’s Book by AS Byatt

Amazon | Book Depository

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

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