Comic Fiesta 2014 – 27th & 28th December 2014

Love comic books and graphic novels? Why not check out Comic Fiesta 2014, the biggest comic convention in Malaysia? Here are the details:

Date: 27th – 28th of December 2014
Venue: Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (Map)
Time: 10 am – 7:30 pm
Admission fee: RM20 for one day / RM40 for both days (ticket info can be obtained here)
Highlights: Special guests – Shinji Hashimoto & Wan Hazmer; Art booth; Cosplay competition; Game tournaments; Night Concert; Take the stage (refer below)

Schedule for #CF2014

For more details on this event, check out the Facebook page, Facebook event page and Twitter.

Banned Books Week: 21st – 27th September 2014

Banned Books Week is an annual celebration of the freedom to read in the United States of America. It was launched in 1982 as a result of increased number of challenged books in schools, bookstores and libraries. American Library Association (ALA) estimates that more than 11,300 books have been challenged and/or banned since 1982. The top three reasons cited for such actions are:

  1. the material is considered to be “sexually explicit”
  2. the material contains “offensive language”
  3. the materials is “unsuited to any age group”

ALA has compiled frequently challenged books according to year. Top 10 challenged books in 2013 are as follows:

No. Title Author Reasons for challenge
1 Captain Underpants (series) Dav Pilkey Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence
2 The Bluest Eye Toni Morrison Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
3 The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Sherman Alexie Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
4 Fifty Shades of Grey E.L. James Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
5 The Hunger Games Suzanne Collins Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group
6 A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl Tanya Lee Stone Drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit
7 Looking for Alaska John Green Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
8 The Perks of Being a Wallflower Stephen Chbosky drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
9 Bless Me Ultima Rudolfo Anaya Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
10 Bone (series) Jeff Smith Political viewpoint, racism, violence

Banned Books Week 2014 will be celebrated from 21st till 27th September. This year’s focus will be on graphic novels because they are frequently subjected to censorship despite their serious literary content and popularity as a genre. Find out more info at this website.

Book community from librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists to teachers and readers will celebrate the week by hosting a variety of activities. Check out ALABanned Book Week and Read Write Think to find out more about the activities.

American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) celebrates Banned Books Week with a special banner

My friends & I will have our first book club discussion on 27th of September. Our book of choice is ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, which still finds itself on the banned books list. You could read more about this ban here.

Are you going to celebrate Banned Books Week? How are you celebrating it? Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts/ideas with us in the comment box below!

Books to read on Malaysia Day

Two weeks ago, I suggested books to read on Malaysia’s Independence Day. On 16th of September, Malaysians will celebrate Malaysia Day to commemorate the establishment of Malaysia which includes Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak. Please do not confuse Merdeka (locally known) or Independence Day with Malaysia Day. If you are indeed confused, this article clearly explains the difference.

In my humble opinion, Malaysia Day signifies the present and the future of modern Malaysia because it  is a more inclusive national day. Therefore if you are looking for books to read, I’d like to suggest contemporary Malaysia books.

  • ‘Life in the Skies: Everything you want to know about flying’ by Captain Lim Khoy Hing

    Captain Lim provides insights into every aspect of air travel – informing passengers of all the hidden mysteries of airplane safety and regulations, enlightening those who wonder how someone trains and becomes an international airline pilot, and entertaining readers throughout with anecdotes, tales and jokes from his own personal experiences in the air. Complemented with more than 40 full-colour personal illustrations of the Captain, Life in the Skies will be a valuable and useful guide for air travellers and budding-pilots alike!

    Captain Lim Khoy Hing is an ex-airline pilot who is passionate about flying, having worked all his life high above the clouds since leaving college. Prior to his retirement from flag-carrier Malaysia Airlines, he was fortunate enough to fly the latest fly-by-wire planes such as the Boeing 777 and Airbus A320, A330 and A340. He has logged a total of 25,500 flying hours, or about 20 trips to the moon and back. Capt. Lim started his flying career in the Royal Malaysian Air Force, having been trained by the Royal Air Force in the United Kingdom in 1967. He served for about 12 years in the service before joining Malaysia Airlines and finished his career with the carrier AirAsia before retiring in 2011.

‘Life in the skies: Everything you want to know about flying’ by Captain Lim Khoy Hing

  • ‘Can or Not?’ by Reggie Lee

    Reggie Lee is a cartoonist whose work has been published in The Star and Sunday Star. ‘Can or Not?’ is a compilation of         cartoons about Malaysia’s quest to put an astronaut into space. This book is guaranteed to make you laugh.

‘Can or Not?’ by Reggie Lee

  • ‘Iban Dream’ by Golda Mowe

    Orphaned as a young boy in the rainforests of Borneo, Bujang is brought up by a family of orangutans, but his adult future has already been decided for him by Sengalang Burong, the Iban warpath god. On reaching adulthood, Bujang must leave his ape family and serve the warpath god as a warrior and a headhunter. Having survived his first assignment — to kill an ill-tempered demon in the form of a ferocious wild boar — subsequent adventures see Bujang converse with gods, shamans, animal spirits and with the nomadic people of Borneo as he battles evil spirits and demons to preserve the safety of those he holds dear to him. But Bujang’s greatest test is still to come and he must rally a large headhunting expedition to free his captured wife and those of his fellow villagers. In this unique work of fantasy fiction, author Golda Mowe — herself an Iban from Borneo — uses real beliefs, taboos and terminology of the Iban (a longhouse-dwelling indigenous group of people from Borneo who, until very recently, were renowned for practising headhunting) to weave an epic tale of good versus evil.

‘Iban Dream’ by Golda Mowe

  • ‘Karpal Singh: Tiger of Jelutong’ by Tim Donoghue

    Karpal Singh is widely regarded as the best criminal and constitutional lawyer practising in Malaysia today. Since graduating from the University of Singapore in 1969 he has been a fearless, intelligent advocate for justice and a defender of human rights in South East Asia, and has appeared in the Privy Council in London on a number of occasions before such appeals were abandoned by Malaysia.In his long and illustrious career, Karpal Singh has defended more people headed for death row in Malaysian jails than he cares to remember. More importantly he has developed an international reputation for his defence of many people from many nations who have faced the death penalty under Malaysia’s Dangerous Drugs Act. One of his biggest achievements in recent years has been his successful defence of former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim on two charges of sodomy. Indeed, without his steely involvement at the head of Anwar’s defence it is difficult to imagine the opposition coalition being in the position it is today of being able to realistically challenge the ruling United Malay National Organisation for power at the May 5, 2013 election.

    In this book, veteran journalist Tim Donoghue, who first met Karpal Singh in 1986 while based in Hong Kong, tells the remarkable story of a tenacious and principled lawyer and politician who has emerged as the kingmaker among the various Malaysian opposition political parties.

    Note: This biography won the non-fiction category of the Readers Choice Awards held by Bookfest@Malaysia 2014.

‘Karpal Singh: Tiger of Jelutong’ by Tim Donoghue

Do you know any other book that matches our ‘Malaysia Day’ theme? Share your suggestions with us in the comment box below.

Books to read on Malaysia’s Independence Day

On Sunday 31st of August 2014, Malaysia celebrates 57 years of independence from British colonial rule. To celebrate this special day, why not read a book on historical Malaysia? Here are our top 5 picks:

  • ‘The Garden of Evening Mists’ by Tan Twan Eng

    The critically-acclaimed novel was awarded the 2012 winner of the  Man Asian Literary Prize and the 2013 winner of Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction. Here is a synopsis of the novel:

    It’s Malaya, 1949. After studying law at Cambridge and time spent helping to prosecute Japanese war criminals, Yun Ling Teoh, herself the scarred lone survivor of a brutal Japanese wartime camp, seeks solace among the jungle-fringed plantations of Northern Malaya where she grew up as a child. There she discovers Yugiri, the only Japanese garden in Malaya, and its owner and creator, the enigmatic Aritomo, exiled former gardener of the Emperor of Japan.Despite her hatred of the Japanese, Yun Ling seeks to engage Aritomo to create a garden in Kuala Lumpur, in memory of her sister who died in the camp. Aritomo refuses, but agrees to accept Yun Ling as his apprentice ‘until the monsoon comes’. Then she can design a garden for herself.As the months pass, Yun Ling finds herself intimately drawn to her sensei and his art while, outside the garden, the threat of murder and kidnapping from the guerrillas of the jungle hinterland increases with each passing day. But the Garden of Evening Mists is also a place of mystery. Who is Aritomo and how did he come to leave Japan? Why is it that Yun Ling’s friend and host, Magnus Praetorius, seems almost immune from the depredations of the Communists? What is the legend of ‘Yamashita’s Gold’ and does it have any basis in fact? And is the real story of how Yun Ling managed to survive the war perhaps the darkest secret of all?

‘The Garden of Evening Mists’ by Tan Twan Eng

  • ‘The Rice Mother’ by Rani Manicka (available for rent)

    Rani Manicka’s debut novel won the Commonwealth Writers Prize in 2003. Here is a synopsis of the novel:

    Nothing in Lakshmi’s childhood, running carefree and barefoot on the sun-baked earth amid the coconut and mango trees of Ceylon, could have prepared her for what life was to bring her. At fourteen, she finds herself traded in marriage to a stranger across the ocean in the fascinating land of Malaysia. Duped into thinking her new husband is wealthy, she instead finds herself struggling to raise a family with a man too impractical to face reality and a world that is, by turns, unyielding and amazing, brutal and beautiful. Giving birth to a child every year until she is nineteen, Lakshmi becomes a formidable matriarch, determined to wrest from the world a better life for her daughters and sons and to face every new challenge with almost mythic strength. By sheer willpower Lakshmi survives the nightmare of World War II and the Japanese occupation – but not unscathed. The family bears deep scars on its back and in turn inflicts those wounds on the next generation. But it is not until Lakshmi’s great-granddaughter, Nisha, pieces together the mosaic of her family history that the legacy of the Rice Mother bears fruit.

‘The Rice Mother’ by Rani Manicka

  •  ‘The Harmony Silk Factory’ by Tash Aw (available for rent)

    This debut novel by Tash Aw won the Commonwealth Writers Prize (South East Asia and South Pacific Region, Best First Book) and Whitebread First Novel Award (both in 2005). Here is a synopsis of the novel:

    ‘The Harmony Silk Factory’ is the textiles store run by Johnny Lim, a Chinese peasant living in rural Malay in the first half of the twentieth century. It is the most impressive and truly amazing structure in the region, and to the inhabitants of the Kinta Valley Johnny Lim is a hero – a Communist who fought the Japanese when they invaded, ready to sacrifice his life for the welfare of his people. But to his son, Jasper, Johnny is a crook and a collaborator who betrayed the very people he pretended to serve, and the Harmony Silk Factory is merely a front for his father’s illegal businesses. Centering on Johnny from three perspectives-those of his grown son; his wife, Snow, the most beautiful woman in the Kinta Valley (through her diary entries); and his best and only friend, an Englishman adrift named Peter Wormwood-the novel reveals the difficulty of knowing another human being, and how our assumptions about others also determine who we are.

‘The Harmony Silk Factory’ by Tash Aw

  • ‘Kampung Boy’ by Lat

    ‘Kampung Boy’ is one of the many graphic novels by highly regarded Malaysian cartoonist, Lat. Here is a synopsis of the graphic novel:

    ‘Kampung Boy’ is a favourite of millions of readers in Southeast Asia. With masterful economy worthy of Charles Schultz, Lat recounts the life of Mat, a Muslim boy growing up in rural Malaysia in the 1950s: his adventures and mischief-making, fishing trips, religious study, and work on his family’s rubber plantation. Meanwhile, the traditional way of life in his village (or kampung) is steadily disappearing, with tin mines and factory jobs gradually replacing family farms and rubber small-holders. When Mat himself leaves for boarding school, he can only hope that his familiar kampung will still be there when he returns. ‘Kampung Boy’ is hilarious and affectionate, with brilliant, super-expressive artwork that opens a window into a world that has now nearly vanished.

‘Kampung Boy’ by Lat

  • ‘When I Was a Kid’ by Boey

    ‘When I Was a Kid’ is an autobiographical graphic novel that went straight to non-fiction bestseller list when it was released in Malaysia 2 years ago. Here is a synopsis of the graphic novel:

    The stories in the book are a reflection of cartoonist Boey’s childhood spent growing up in Johor Bahru and crossing the causeway to attend school in Singapore in the 1980s. At 17, he packed his bags and headed to San Francisco to study and has gone on to establish his career there. The stories first appeared on his blog and the number of followers increased over the years encouraging Boey to compile some of the stories into his first book.Funny, poignant, honest, When I was a Kid is illustrated in simple stick figures accompanied by short descriptions. Each story is self contained and can be read in any order.

‘When I Was a Kid’ by Boey

Do you know any other book that matches our selection for ‘Merdeka’/Malaysia’s Independence Day read? Share your suggestions with us in the comment box below.

Archie Andrews dies after 73 years in the comics

Archie Andrews, the cool redhead with freckles is among the most recognised comic book characters in the world. It seems, however, that popularity doesn’t equal to immortality even in fiction. Last month, Archie comics killed off the legendary character in ‘Life with Archie’ series. Archie made his last appearance in issue #36: he literally took a bullet for his friend Kevin Keller and died heroically.

‘Life with Archie’ issue #36 – the death of Archie Andrews

The death of Archie Andrews has provoked many discussions amongst comic fans. Associated One fan viewed that “this demise is a fitting and tonally perfect tribute to a character who has always put his friends first”. Some analysed the significance of the storyline while others thought the death element was a gimmick to boost sales.

Archie fans, don’t be too upset. Archie’s series do not stop due to his death. ‘Life With Archie’ is just one of 16 publications about Archie and the fictional town of Riverdale.

SS Readers Corner has several Archie publications that feature Archie, Jughead, Betty and Veronica. Make your way to our store to get your fix of Archie’s adventures.

Our collection of Archie, Jughead, Betty and Veronica comics

Our collection of Archie, Jughead, Betty and Veronica comics