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Looking for a good book? We round up five great new books this month


Celebrating Dance in Asia and the Pacific

Series Editor: Stephanie Burridge

Routledge | about 300 pages for each

Australian-born Stephanie Burridge lectures at SMU and is a dance critic, author and editor. As she explains, the books in this series of hers discuss the meeting points and integration of dance cultures and how choreographers, performers and companies choose to imaginatively invent, fuse, select and morph these multiple influences. Importantly, each volume includes a number of essays by artists themselves.

Number 1 in the series, Beyond the Apsara, documents and celebrates the resurgence of dance in Cambodia after the fall of the Khmer Rouge. Number 4, Shaping the Landscape, explores the current dance scene in Australia. Other titles explore dance in Malaysia, Taiwan and India (routledge.com/books/series/CDAP).

These scholarly works will be of great interest to academics and students of cultural studies, fine arts, history and more; and to dancers, choreographers and dance enthusiasts.

Available at $56 each from Kinokuniya and Select Books.

Verne Maree


The Modern Thai House

Robert Powell; photography by Albert Lim KS

Tuttle | 224 pages

Subtitled “Innovative Design in Southeast Asia”, this attractive coffee-table tome is the latest from an established architect and author of 30 books on Southeast Asian architecture.

In 2010, Robert Powell assembled a list of some 40 houses – all accessible from Bangkok, Phuket or Chiang Mai – and in April 2011 set off with top photographer Albert Lim KS to visit them. Interestingly, several of the 25 that made the cut are so-called three-generation houses, designed to provide space and privacy for the extended family set-up that is so typical of this region.

Some of these drool-worthy dwellings are primary homes, others weekend or holiday homes. Floor-plans of each structure and discussions of sustainability will be of interest to architects and their potential customers – as for the rest of us, we can dream, can’t we?

Verne Maree



Dean Brettschneider

Marshall Cavendish | 224 pages

To say that the entire office was drooling over the photos in this book is putting it mildly. Maybe we’re all craving a bit of cold wintry weather and comfort food. In Pie, Kiwi Dean Brettschneider, aka the Global Baker, dishes up traditional pie recipes like Individual Beef Wellingtons, Tarte au Citron and Sausage Rolls – some with a modern twist – along with some not-so-traditional ones like Sausage, Sun-dried Tomato and Potato Tart and Raspberry Meringue Pie with Coconut Macaroon Pastry.

The book gives a short history of the origins of the pie and pie-making in 1960s New Zealand, followed by an explanation for novices about the functions of the ingredients and equipment, and some essential pastry-making techniques. There are over 80 pie recipes, plus recipes for a variety of basic pastries and some more unusual ones like Spinach Puff Pastry and Toasted Sesame Seed Pastry. I can’t wait to try some (or all) of them.

Try Dean’s pies at one of his Baker & Cook outlets at 77 Hillcrest Road or 38A Martin Road.

Harriet Empey


Getting More

Stuart Diamond

Three Rivers Press | 404 pages

The blurb on the back of this book caught my attention: “A four-year-old willingly brushes his teeth and goes to bed”. While my daughters are fairly good at the bedtime routine, I thought it would be useful to learn some negotiation techniques for other occasions when they put up a fight.

Negotiating isn’t always about one person winning and the other one losing, as Getting More points out. Thinking about “the pictures in the other person’s head” is the most important tactic in a negotiation. Communicating honestly, listening to what the other person has to say, trading things of unequal value, setting priorities, role reversal and even getting to know the other person better are others. The book isn’t just about negotiating business deals, either. There are sections about negotiating in relationships, with children, and when travelling and shopping.

It’s peppered throughout with little anecdotes that show how the author and his students have implemented the techniques and got more than they expected, even in everyday situations.

Harriet Empey


Nutrition and the Eye

Dr Jerry Tan and Dr Por Yong Ming

Jerry Tan Eye Surgery | 146 pages

You probably already knew that a deficiency in vitamin A (found especially in eggs, whole milk, cod liver oil, spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes and pumpkin) can cause blindness. But did you know that vitamin B2 (cereals, milk, eggs, nuts and vegetables) may both reduce the risk of cataract formation and slow the progression of short-sightedness? Or that a sufficient intake of omega-3 fatty acids (sardines, salmon, herring) makes one less likely to develop macular degeneration?

Starting with an A-Z of nutrients, followed by clear explanations of how our eyes work and how our diet affects them, this comprehensive little book by two of Singapore’s top eye surgeons is chockfull of useful information that anyone who cares about such things (as I do), will find interesting.

There’s also a chapter on Traditional Chinese Medicine herbs, and even advice on how to grow your own wolfberries… somehow, I think that’s where I draw the line! Nett proceeds of this book go to the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped (SAVH; www.savaorg.sg). Buy it online for $26 from www.jerrytan.com, SAVH or Pharmaplus. For more information, call Rachel at 6738 8122.

Verne Maree