Sunday, July 3, 2011

Malaysia Grown-Up Books

I'm feeling ambitious this month and will try to read two books, one non-fiction about Borneo (East Malaysia) and one fiction set in Peninsular Malaysia.

Reflections of Eden: My Years with the Orangutans of Borneo
by Birute M.F. Galdikas

This is a memoir by the scientist who has spent more time studying orangutans than any other, living for 40 years in Borneo. It's the story of her work with the orangutans, conservation efforts, and life on the island. I've long been fascinated by orangutans and when I found out we were moving to Singapore, one of the top things on my list was to see orangutans in their natural habitat. So I'm thrilled about our upcoming trip to Borneo and interested to read Galdikas' account of her experiences there.

Evening is the Whole Day
by Preeta Samarasan
This book about an Indian-Malaysian family gets a great review from National Public Radio. From the author's website: "When the family's rubber-plantation servant girl is dismissed for unnamed crimes, it is only the latest in a series of precipitous losses that have shaken six-year-old Aasha's life. In the space of several weeks her grandmother died under mysterious circumstances and her older sister, Uma, left for Columbia University, gone forever. Circling through years of family history to arrive at the moment of Uma's departure — stranding her worshipful younger sister in a family, and a country, slowly going to pieces — Evening Is the Whole Day illuminates in heartbreaking detail one Indian immigrant family's layers of secrets and lies, while exposing the complex underbelly of Malaysia itself."

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