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ABOUT

BooksActually is an independent bookstore located in Singapore. We specialise in Fiction and Literature (including obscure and critical works).

In our bookstore, you can often find literary trinkets in the form of stationery and other lovely tchotchkes.

We publish and distribute books under our imprint Math Paper Press. We also hand-stitch notebooks and produce stationery under Birds & Co.

BooksActually is now housed at No. 9 Yong Siak Street, in the heart of Tiong Bahru. Come, say hello !

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FRANKIE #59Break out the Ice Vo-Vos and grab a mug of your favourite beige or brown liquid: issue 59 is on sale today and we think you’ll find it a tiny bit spectacular. Inside we have chats with young documentary makers about putting real life on film while dodging the secret police; a look at what it’s like running a hotel in Hobart (Fawlty Towers references and all); and an epic discussion with Britpop icon Damon Albarn about elephant poo, amongst other things. We meet a lady who loves hand-drawn type and another who paints huge, building-sized murals – plus two Sydneysiders with the best job title ever: “Dean of Awesome”. There are tips on how to cook and make friends in the Antarctic; patterns for knitting your own galah, cockatoo and kookaburra pals; and the slightly disturbing news that words like “buxom” and “defecate” didn’t always mean what you think they do. Four of our writers take us through the splendour and angst of their first gig, and others pen odes to extra-large knickers and why it sometimes pays to be a goth. On top of all this, we asked some of our favourite makers, designers and general handy types to have their creative way with the humble grey jumper. The result is a lot of stitching, embellishing and awesomeness that we’ll be auctioning off for a good cause, so you might be able to get your hands on one if you’re quick. Hurrah!

3:38 pm  5 notes

FRANKIE #59

Break out the Ice Vo-Vos and grab a mug of your favourite beige or brown liquid: issue 59 is on sale today and we think you’ll find it a tiny bit spectacular. Inside we have chats with young documentary makers about putting real life on film while dodging the secret police; a look at what it’s like running a hotel in Hobart (Fawlty Towers references and all); and an epic discussion with Britpop icon Damon Albarn about elephant poo, amongst other things. We meet a lady who loves hand-drawn type and another who paints huge, building-sized murals – plus two Sydneysiders with the best job title ever: “Dean of Awesome”. There are tips on how to cook and make friends in the Antarctic; patterns for knitting your own galah, cockatoo and kookaburra pals; and the slightly disturbing news that words like “buxom” and “defecate” didn’t always mean what you think they do. Four of our writers take us through the splendour and angst of their first gig, and others pen odes to extra-large knickers and why it sometimes pays to be a goth. On top of all this, we asked some of our favourite makers, designers and general handy types to have their creative way with the humble grey jumper. The result is a lot of stitching, embellishing and awesomeness that we’ll be auctioning off for a good cause, so you might be able to get your hands on one if you’re quick. Hurrah!

THE CONDE NAST TRAVELER BOOK OF UNFORGETTABLE JOURNEYS: Great Writers on Great Places Vol I & IITravel writing maintains its seemingly endless popularity, and this volume offers a particularly transporting body of work, pairing exotic locales with writers of the highest caliber: Russell Banks writes on the Everglades, Francine Prose explores the secrets of Prague, Robert Hughes takes us on a tour of Italy, and more. From the most beautiful gardens to visit in Japan to the best free things to do in Provence, this book is as enlightening as it is entertaining. Whether off to the other side of the globe or to their favorite reading chair, wanderers of every sort will find this book truly indispensable.(NOW AVAILABLE ON OUR WEBSTORE !)

2:49 pm  106 notes

THE CONDE NAST TRAVELER BOOK OF UNFORGETTABLE JOURNEYS: Great Writers on Great Places Vol I & II

Travel writing maintains its seemingly endless popularity, and this volume offers a particularly transporting body of work, pairing exotic locales with writers of the highest caliber: Russell Banks writes on the Everglades, Francine Prose explores the secrets of Prague, Robert Hughes takes us on a tour of Italy, and more. From the most beautiful gardens to visit in Japan to the best free things to do in Provence, this book is as enlightening as it is entertaining. Whether off to the other side of the globe or to their favorite reading chair, wanderers of every sort will find this book truly indispensable.


(NOW AVAILABLE ON OUR WEBSTORE !)

4:37 pm  7 notes

MONOCLE #73

In it for the long haul: designs that go the distance. Sharp residences, a handsome classic, a neighbourhood on the rise and the buyers who get the goods — a MONOCLE DESIGN SPECIAL.

1:19 pm  34 notes

HOW NOT TO BE A DICK
by Meghan Doherty

On the one hand, nobody wants to be a dick. On the other hand, dicks are everywhere! They cut in line, talk behind our backs, recline into our seats, and even have the power to morph into trolls online. Their powers are impressive, but with a little foresight and thoughtfulness, we can take a stand against dickishness today. How Not to Be a Dick is packed with honest and straightforward advice, but it also includes playful illustrations showing two well-meaning (but not always well behaved) young people as they confront moments of potential dickishness in their everyday lives. Sometimes they falter, sometimes they triumph, but they always seek to find a better way. And with their help, you can too.

1:09 pm

GUP #040: Eyes on Brazil

As we slowly pull ourselves out of the darkness of another European winter, one country is already dominating the first half of 2014: all eyes are on Brazil, for obvious reasons… but let’s look beyond the pitch, towards another view on the country.

Eyes on Brazil has one cover available for its international distribution, and four covers available for its Dutch distribution. It is unfortunately not possible to request a specific cover.

Conversations with:Jollin TanFirst of all, congratulations on publishing your first two poetry books in the span of one year! That makes you one of Singapore’s youngest writers! What/Who was the initial inspiration for you to start writing? And how young were you when you started?Thank you! Heh <: When I was very young Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton were my main inspirations, but with regards to poetry it was really poets like Duffy and my own teacher, Pooja Nansi, who inspired me to start writing. That was when I was about 18. I wrote a lot of my own nonsense fairy tales when I was 8/9 but the real poetry writing started around 18 during JC when I was fed a lot of good poetry and started to seek it out on my own as well <:
Has the path of writing always been smooth sailing? What were the difficulties you faced with?Relatively smooth…I suppose I’ve just been very lucky because the worst I’ve gone through with regards to my writing is really long dry spells and periods where I doubt the strength of my own writing and what I have to say. For these, though, there have always been people around me to reassure me that I do have a talent for this and that I should just keep going.
One of your recent projects was a poetry exhibition, VEINS, in collaboration with Tan Li Xin. Are you planning on any other similar project this year?Yeah that was pretty fun! But no actually I don’t have any plans for anything like that this year. This year feels more like a year in which I want to focus on travelling and writing about what kind of person I am in different cultural settings. I’ve always thought things like that are particularly fun to explore.
You were a fan of Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl as a child as most of us were when we were younger – they both wrote stories. Do you think you’ll venture into that genre in the near future?I’m actually kinda intimidated by prose because I’ve always said that my writing writes me in that I keep taking different directions with my writing that I didn’t plan for. But I’ll definitely try it at one point! It would be a good exercise and you can’t be a sustained writer if you aren’t willing to try new things just because they scare you. Exploring scary things is what’s fun! In writing, at least.
If there’s one advice you could give the people of your generation out there, what would it be?I think always, always be honest. Be honest about where you are in your life, what space you occupy, and where you want to be, and what kind of person you are. If you don’t like the person you are, be honest about what you don’t like and whether or not it irks you enough to make a change. Same goes for the things around you. Always be honest about what you feel and don’t run away from it. Hiding from your feelings doesn’t do much but enable accumulation, which just kinda backfires as you grow older. Also, always ask yourself (and be honest about this too) about whether the things you say are necessary. 
So, what’s next? What can our readers expect from you this year, and in the years to come?I really can’t say for sure! I’ve gone back to writing for the sake of writing, and I’d actually like to work on my skills with regards to writing pieces that read more like spoken word but still retain some sort of poetic quality on paper. I’m also writing a lot of flash fiction prose, as a sort of baby step into actual stories, so…maybe stuff that’s more like what’s in Derivative Faith?Get her books here and here !

2:18 pm  122 notes

Conversations with:
Jollin Tan


First of all, congratulations on publishing your first two poetry books in the span of one year! That makes you one of Singapore’s youngest writers! What/Who was the initial inspiration for you to start writing? And how young were you when you started?
Thank you! Heh <: When I was very young Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton were my main inspirations, but with regards to poetry it was really poets like Duffy and my own teacher, Pooja Nansi, who inspired me to start writing. That was when I was about 18. I wrote a lot of my own nonsense fairy tales when I was 8/9 but the real poetry writing started around 18 during JC when I was fed a lot of good poetry and started to seek it out on my own as well <:

Has the path of writing always been smooth sailing? What were the difficulties you faced with?
Relatively smooth…I suppose I’ve just been very lucky because the worst I’ve gone through with regards to my writing is really long dry spells and periods where I doubt the strength of my own writing and what I have to say. For these, though, there have always been people around me to reassure me that I do have a talent for this and that I should just keep going.

One of your recent projects was a poetry exhibition, VEINS, in collaboration with Tan Li Xin. Are you planning on any other similar project this year?
Yeah that was pretty fun! But no actually I don’t have any plans for anything like that this year. This year feels more like a year in which I want to focus on travelling and writing about what kind of person I am in different cultural settings. I’ve always thought things like that are particularly fun to explore.

You were a fan of Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl as a child as most of us were when we were younger – they both wrote stories. Do you think you’ll venture into that genre in the near future?
I’m actually kinda intimidated by prose because I’ve always said that my writing writes me in that I keep taking different directions with my writing that I didn’t plan for. But I’ll definitely try it at one point! It would be a good exercise and you can’t be a sustained writer if you aren’t willing to try new things just because they scare you. Exploring scary things is what’s fun! In writing, at least.

If there’s one advice you could give the people of your generation out there, what would it be?
I think always, always be honest. Be honest about where you are in your life, what space you occupy, and where you want to be, and what kind of person you are. If you don’t like the person you are, be honest about what you don’t like and whether or not it irks you enough to make a change. Same goes for the things around you. Always be honest about what you feel and don’t run away from it. Hiding from your feelings doesn’t do much but enable accumulation, which just kinda backfires as you grow older. Also, always ask yourself (and be honest about this too) about whether the things you say are necessary. 

So, what’s next? What can our readers expect from you this year, and in the years to come?
I really can’t say for sure! I’ve gone back to writing for the sake of writing, and I’d actually like to work on my skills with regards to writing pieces that read more like spoken word but still retain some sort of poetic quality on paper. I’m also writing a lot of flash fiction prose, as a sort of baby step into actual stories, so…maybe stuff that’s more like what’s in Derivative Faith?

Get her books here and here !

12:41 pm

FANTASTIC MAN #19

What a return! The unmistakable form of Mr. BORIS BECKER, as photographed by his compatriot JUERGEN TELLER, graces the cover of this 19th edition of Fantastic Man – the issue for Spring & Summer 2014. Part of the accompanying interview takes place at tennis legend BORIS’ London home, in the familiar district of WIMBLEDON. Where else, after all, would a six-time GRAND SLAM singles champion choose to live and work? Elsewhere in the issue, a quartet of ELITE MENSWEAR designers – Mr. TOM FORD, Mr. STEFANO PILATI, Mr. ALESSANDRO SARTORI and Mr. BRENDAN MULLANE – are interviewed and photographed as part of unprecedented investigation into the LOFTIEST and most lucrative echelons of the fashion business. The magnificent archive and working practices of the mononymous SNOWDON are discussed at home with the society portraitist. Plus, what is the humble DRY CLEANER actually doing with the garments you hold most dear, why do airline cabin crew particularly adore the celebrated newshound Mr. RICHARD QUEST, and how does one get involved in the fabulous vintological craze that is HYPERDECANTATION? These questions and more are answered in the brilliant new Fantastic Man.

VINTAGE SINGAPORE MAPcirca 1964now available at BooksActually&#160;!

4:41 pm  31 notes

VINTAGE SINGAPORE MAP
circa 1964

now available at BooksActually !

THE EARNEST MASKby Xi Ni ErIn this Singapore Literature Prize-winning collection of stories, an aging Japanese ex-soldier, ignorant about the horrors of the Japanese Occupation, returns to Singapore for a nostalgic visit; a young boy’s sole contact with his father consists of a weekly meeting at McDonald’s; and a hopeful employee tries to win over his tumour-stricken boss with traditional Chinese medicine. Set against the backdrop of Singapore’s rapid development from the 1980s to the early 2000s, the poignant and witty stories in The Earnest Mask peel back the veneer of official history, revealing flashes of the personal stories buried beneath.(NOW AVAILABLE ON OUR WEBSTORE&#160;!)

11:41 am  8 notes

THE EARNEST MASK
by Xi Ni Er

In this Singapore Literature Prize-winning collection of stories, an aging Japanese ex-soldier, ignorant about the horrors of the Japanese Occupation, returns to Singapore for a nostalgic visit; a young boy’s sole contact with his father consists of a weekly meeting at McDonald’s; and a hopeful employee tries to win over his tumour-stricken boss with traditional Chinese medicine. Set against the backdrop of Singapore’s rapid development from the 1980s to the early 2000s, the poignant and witty stories in The Earnest Mask peel back the veneer of official history, revealing flashes of the personal stories buried beneath.


(NOW AVAILABLE ON OUR WEBSTORE !)

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