The long-awaited Popular Bookfest was held on the 1st to the 9th of June during the Hari Raya holidays week. Every year, Malaysian bookworms look forward to the incredible deals from Popular Bookstore and leave the building with a ton of debt.
I was able to go twice this year and which was great for feeding my addiction to add books to my TBR and never actually reading but terrible for my bank account and I think I need to get another IKEA bookshelf.
This year’s Popular Bookfest was held in Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre and the entrance fee was RM2.50 per ticket (free for those younger than 18 and older than 55).
Here’s what I bought:
1. Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
From Roxane Gay comes this collection of essays spanning politics, criticism, and feminism from one of the most-watched young cultural observers of her generation.
Bad Feminist is a sharp, funny, and spot-on look at the ways in which the culture we consume becomes who we are, and an inspiring call-to-arms of all the ways we still need to do better.
2. A Hero Born (Legends of the Condor Heroes, #1) by Jin Yong
China: 1200 A.D.
The Song Empire has been invaded by its warlike Jurchen neighbours from the north. Guo Jing, son of a murdered Song patriot, grew up with Genghis Khan’s army, is fated from birth to one day confront an opponent who is the opposite of him in every way.
Guided by his faithful shifus, The Seven Heroes of the South, Guo Jing must return to China – to the Garden of the Drunken Immortals in Jiaxing – to fulfil his destiny. But in a divided land riven by war and betrayal, his courage and his loyalties will be tested at every turn.
3. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
In the village of King’s Abbot, a widow’s sudden suicide sparks rumours that she murdered her first husband, was being blackmailed and was carrying on a secret affair with the wealthy Roger Ackroyd. The following evening, Ackroyd is murdered in his locked study–but not before receiving a letter identifying the widow’s blackmailer. King’s Abbot is crawling with suspects.
It’s now up to the famous detective Hercule Poirot, who has retired to King’s Abbot to garden, to solve the case of who killed Roger Ackroyd.
4. The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie
There’s a serial killer on the loose, bent on working his way through the alphabet. And as a macabre calling card, he leaves beside each victim’s corpse the ABC Railway Guide open at the name of the town where the murder has taken place. Having begun with Andover, Bexhill and then Churston, there seems little chance of the murderer being caught – until he makes the crucial and vain mistake of challenging Hercule Poirot to frustrate his plans.
5. Tuesday: An Ordinary Day in an Extraordinary City by Amal Nadiah Ghazali
If you think Paris is all about this fantastical image of basking in the sunshine while eating an ice cream by the Seine, or living in a fancy apartment that overlooks the whole city with a random French guy who looks like Jake Gyllenhaal, think again.
Right now I’m standing by the door of my rented studio the size of an average Malaysian kitchen, waiting for my turn to use the toilet that the whole floor has to share and when it flushes, the sound is so loud that the whole building would know you had just taken a dump.
6. If Cats Disappeared from the World by Genki Kawamura
Our narrator’s days are numbered. Estranged from his family, living alone with only his cat Cabbage for company, he was unprepared for the doctor’s diagnosis that he has only months to live. But before he can set about tackling his bucket list, the Devil appears with a special offer: in exchange for making one thing in the world disappear, he can have one extra day of life. And so begins a very bizarre week . . .
Genki Kawamura’s If Cats Disappeared from the World is a story of loss and reconciliation, of one man’s journey to discover what really matters in modern life.
7. Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie
Miss Marple’s last case, Sleeping Murder, was written over 30 years before it was published and sees Miss Marple solve her final mystery.
Soon after Gwenda moved into her new home, odd things started to happen. Despite her best efforts to modernise the house, she only succeeded in dredging up the past. Worse, she felt an irrational sense of terror every time she climbed the stairs. In fear, Gwenda turns to Miss Marple to exorcise her ghosts. Between them, can they solve a crime committed many years before?
8. The Four by Scott Galloway
Instead of buying the myths these companies broadcast, Galloway asks fundamental questions. How did the Four infiltrate our lives so completely that they’re almost impossible to avoid (or boycott)? Why does the stock market forgive them for sins that would destroy other firms? And as they race to become the world’s first trillion-dollar company, can anyone challenge them?
Whether you want to compete with them, do business with them, or simply live in the world they dominate, you need to understand the Four.
9. The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater
Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.
His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.
But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.
For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.
10. The 100 by Kass Morgan
Ever since a devastating nuclear war, humanity has lived on spaceships far above Earth’s radioactive surface. Now, one hundred juvenile delinquents — considered expendable by society — are being sent on a dangerous mission: to recolonize the planet. It could be their second chance at life…or it could be a suicide mission.
Confronted with a savage land and haunted by secrets from their pasts, the hundred must fight to survive. They were never meant to be heroes, but they may be mankind’s last hope.
Was I happy with this year’s selection of books?
Yes. Despite not being able to find the two books that I wanted, I was happy with the ones I’ve found.
Is it worth it?
The entrance fee is RM2.50 to access the English hall, Chinese hall, Electronics hall and the Stationery hall. The deals are either 20%, 20% off if you buy another book with the same sticker or the daily special deals (there’s a booklet for that).
I guess it’s alright if the book deal is very good (daily specials). It definitely isn’t the cheapest since there’s the Big Bad Wolf bookfair. However, I would recommend to check out those second-hand bookstores or shops online for better deals before heading to the checkout.
Any other tips to share?
1. Definitely bring a backpack! Surprising it felt very light when I carried the books on my back rather than on one shoulder or in a plastic bag. Absolutely recommend!
2. Give a call to your friends to check if they have the same book! You can reduce money that way and perhaps start a little book club!
That’s all from me today! If you’re ever considering to come to Malaysia, come on over during the Hari Raya period where there are tons of sales for all kinds of things. The Popular BookFest is definitely one to not be missed!