Whether you’re lounging in a private cabana or soaking up the sun alongside one of Singapore’s most stunning rooftop hotel pools, we’ve got a perfect page-turner for you. From an Indonesian career girl’s determined online hunt for the perfect man to an Englishman’s precarious quest for a new life in India, these are the best books that pair perfectly with a frozen cocktail and are filled with superb prose guaranteed to draw you in.
Comrade Aeon’s Field Guide to Bangkok by Emma Larkin
Larkin’s debut novel plunges into the complex enigma that is contemporary Bangkok. To three local residents, a plot of land behind a city slum represents a sanctuary, a welcome distraction, and the business deal of a lifetime – but only the slum-dwelling spirits know its darkest secrets.
Fresh Water for Flowers by Valérie Perrin
Violette Toussaint, the caretaker of a cemetery in Bourgogne, is determined to discover who was responsible for the tragic loss of her daughter. A runaway bestseller in Italy and France (it was dubbed Italy’s favourite lockdown novel of 2020), this is a story of love and loss, the poetic in the ordinary, and the value of kindness.
Grown Ups by Marie Aubert
Written by one of Norway’s rising stars and critical sensations, Grown Ups explores sibling rivalry, modern motherhood, and the increasingly debated choice to be child-free. Laced with cringe-worthy comedic moments and biting insight, Aubert’s depiction of the simmering tensions between 40-year-old architect Ida’s dysfunctional family is quintessential contemporary Scandinavian fiction at its sharpest.
Paul by Daisy Lafarge
Winner of a Betty Trask Award (which recognises writers under the age of 35 for their first novel), Lafarge’s novel follows graduate student Frances, who evades her scandal-stricken past in Paris and volunteers in rural France only to become entangled with Paul, the charismatic and manipulative owner of an eco-farm.
Love, Lies and Indomee by Nuril Basri
At the end of her tether with her mother’s nagging and the unwelcome prospect of an arranged marriage, independent career woman Ratu turns to Jakarta’s online dating scene and embarks on a tricky mission to find her tall, slim, and handsome dreamboat.
Song of the Nile by Hannah Fielding
Set on avenging her father’s death, Aida El Masri returns from war-torn London to her family’s estate in Egypt. What Aida does not expect is to fall for the son of the man who she believes betrayed her father – and in the process, rediscovering the homeland she loves.
Pretty as a Picture by Elizabeth Little
Against the chaotic backdrop of a movie set festering with accidents, scandals, and perilous schemes, film editor-turned-sleuth Melissa finds herself investigating the real-life murder at the centre of the project. A sprightly, defiantly feminist whodunnit that examines our cultural addiction to true crime stories.
The Mission House by Carys Davies
Selected as last year’s Novel of the Year by The Sunday Times, The Mission House traces the path of Englishman Hilary Byrd as he leaves his demons behind in Britain, fleeing to a mission house located in the former British hill station of Ooty in South India. Brewing religious tensions, however, threaten to disrupt the safety of his newfound haven.
Chronicles of a Circuit Breaker by Joseph Chiang
For those who prefer an alternative to a conventional novel, this collection of comic strips by visual artist and cartoonist Chiang revisits the strange and surreal times of Singapore’s Circuit Breaker days from April to June 2020, putting a quirky spin on unexpected lockdown-related issues such as forced family time and toilet paper shortages.
And a bonus book for restless little ones…
Bath Time: Turtle: Colour-Changing Bath Book by Pat-a-Cake
Consider this the key to getting some uninterrupted poolside time if you’re bringing a little one with you. This splash-proof, squishy book changes colour when it comes into contact with water, revealing friendly sea creatures who’ll keep babies and young ones entertained while you sunbathe.
3 Top Poolside Reading Spots
Private Cabana at Fairmont Singapore
Lounging in the shade of one of Fairmont Singapore’s private cabanas, you’ll find yourself in one of the sweetest spots from which to explore the hotel’s two freeform outdoor pools.
Sunbed at The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore
In between dipping into the elegant saltwater relaxation pool, stretch out on a sunbed and gaze up at the hotel’s glass canopy and the lush wall of greenery below it.
Jacuzzi at The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore
Lounge in one of two jacuzzis, dive into the glittering 25-metre rooftop swimming pool and in between pages, take in some seriously panoramic views of Singapore’s skyline.
Whether your favourite poolside accessory is a book or an Aperol Spritz (or both), find your next sunny waterside getaway here.