11 Books to get you in the right mood | The A List
Those seeking fun and adventure in a museum will find the book, Get Curious!, a trusty companion. (Photo: National Museum of Singapore)

11 Books to get you in the right mood | The A List

Pleasure, self-love, sense of purpose. Whatever it is you are seeking, you will likely find a way to them through a good book. Where should you start? We asked six book lovers for their recommendations on books that will get you in the mood for reflection and renewal, and leave you recharged.

Poet Loh Guan Liang
This period is a time to reflect on the year gone by and a chance to take stock of our lives. Kristin Neff’s Self-Compassion serves as a gentle reminder to treat our inner selves better in 2020. For something light-hearted, David Sedaris’ account of working as a Christmas elf at the Macy’s department store in Santaland Diaries is sure to hit the spot.

National Museum of Singapore assistant curator Rachel Eng
The Mixer by Michael Cox is a different kind of, and surprisingly enjoyable, history book. It delves into the Premier League’s 25-year existence through riveting accounts of games, goals, and a star-studded cast of English football players. Get Curious! – The Official Interactive Family Guide to the National Museum of Singapore by James Mclean, Kate Manson and Stephanie Yeo is a book that will help families have a fun-filled holiday while they explore the museum and create memories of their own. This is the first official interactive guide launched by the museum, and it is packed with activities that will unearth fascinating stories behind artefacts in the museum’s permanent galleries.

Entrepreneur and Bus Uncle chatbot creator Abhilash Murthy
The lessons in Sun Tzu’s Art of War are timeless and I can apply the strategies to day-to-day circumstances in both my personal and business life. I have learnt much about intention, purpose, and empathy from the book. Reading Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson on the other hand, taught me much about deriving inspiration from the everyday. I have always looked up to Jobs as an entrepreneur and it was interesting to learn, for example, that he drew inspiration for the Macbook from carpentry and calligraphy.

National Gallery Singapore’s audience development and engagement director Suenne Megan Tan
Invisible Cities is a celebrated novel by Italo Calvino, where Marco Polo describes a series of wondrous, surreal cities with an interplay of reality and imagination. The book was the inspiration for the upcoming Light to Night Festival 2020. It prompted us to reimagine the Civic District with art, innovation and ideas, through creative collaborations and artistic interventions. Awesome Art Singapore: 10 Works from the Lion City Everyone Should Know by Ryan How comes with fully illustrated stories and fun facts about 10 works by Singapore artists. Itencourages children to appreciate art through engaging activities that will inspire hours of creativity at home or in the classroom.

Teng Ensemble’s co-founder and creative director Dr Samuel Wong
I have a soft-spot for short stories. The Gift of the Magi is a short story by O. Henry that I read when I was young. The story was written in 1905, but it is so beautifully written and possesses such wonderful themes that makes it always relatable to contemporary society and life. Absolutely on Music by Haruki Murakami offers a view into the minds of two geniuses – Murakami and Seiji Ozawa, one of the most famous living conductors in the world. Their conversations on music carry a reader through the intricacies of the world of Western classical music.

ArtScience Museum executive director Honor Harger
I don’t think the museum’s exhibition, 2219: Futures Imagined, would have happened without Alvin Pang’s book,What Gives Us Our Names. It is really a beautiful set of stories that takes qualities like beauty, truth or failure, turns them into people, and tells stories of their relationships with one another. So, Joy and Purpose know each another, Service and Commitment are kind of good friends. It is a profound meditation on what makes us human in general, but there is also a very strong and specific kind of Singaporean quality that weaves itself through these stories. The book has recently come out in an illustrated edition.

The replies have been edited and condensed.

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