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Tuesday 29 August 2023

New Arrivals at The Penang Bookshelf in August 2023 (Last Updated 14-08-2023)


New Arrivals at The Penang Bookshelf


August 2023

(Last Updated 29-08-2023)
  • Each book advertised below includes a brief description of its contents and condition as well as the price in Malaysian Ringgit. If you want a fuller description of a used book's condition, to look at the scanned contents page, if any, and/or to find out the price in USD, please click on the link in blue for the relevant book. 
  • If you click on a link after the current month and find nothing, the book's been sold.  
  • Of course, if you want to buy anything you see here, you can either do so from the site or contact me at 
  • This page will be updated constantly until the end of the month.
  • The prices shown here hold good for at least this month, but for out of print books, the prices may change in subsequent months.
  • All prices include free postage to anywhere in Malaysia.

Malaysia & Singapore - Architecture

A collection of watercolours illustrating the variety of architecture, both old and new, in Kuala Lumpur with an architectural commentary. Very Good Hardback in a Very Good Dust Jacket. 96 pages.

Malaysia & Singapore - Arts & Crafts

This book was published to accompany an exhibPenang State Museum and Art Galleryition held in Penang of this local artist's work. He is a self-taught artist who works with air brush and acrylic. The exhibition covered 70 years of his work from the late 1950s. The book begins with several essays on his work in Bahasa Malaysia and English and concludes with 280 pages of colour illustrations of the works exhibited. New Hardback in a New Dust Jacket. First Edition. 355 pages with an interview with the artist, a list and an index of paintings.

Malaysia & Singapore - Biography & Memoirs

The wife of the second Rajah of Sarawak gives her version of what it was like to be plucked from English society at the age of nineteen and deposited in one of the more strange outposts of British colonial endeavour. While she admires his work and policies, she found it difficult to bear his complete absence of a sense of humour. 308 pages with an index.Very Good Paperback. Reprint. Originally published in 1934 

A collection of writings of a veteran Malaysian journalist who rose to be the Group Chief Editor of the Star Media Group. The book is divided into sections on politics, national unity, corruption, education, the media and other miscellaneous pieces. Good Paperback. First Edition. 350 pages.

Boat, Fishing & The Sea

Cantor, of the Bengal Medical Medical Service, compiled this book during a three and a half year posting to Penang. He based it on his own observations and on information gleaned from the fishing community of Penang, Langkawi, Melaka and Singapore as well as consulting previously published scientific works. Very Good Hardback. Facsimile Reprint. Originally published in 1849. 459 pages with a list of references, several line drawings and an index. 


Winzeler, one of the leading anthropologists to have devoted considerable study to the life of the indigenous people of Borneo, devotes this study to their buildings, both past and present. In the first section of the book he explains the traditional buildings, tools used and the social context in which they were set. In the second section he looks at what is left today either in its original or transformed state.  Please see scanned photos for a list of the chapters. 208 pages with a good selection of black and white photos. New Hardback in a New Dust Jacket

The author, whose writings on Iban culture have been published widely, here turns to the community's traditional practices from cradle to grave. The book does not touch on  regular activities like fishing or weaving, but rather on activities that mark life and seasonal events. Very Good Paperback. First Edition. 64 pages with some black and white plates. 

Although it is known that James Brooke, the first Rajah of Sarawak, was a prolific letter writer, nothing was known about his correspondence with Angela Georgina Burdett Coutts, probably the wealthiest woman in England at the time, until the publication of this collection of letters between them both. She became such a close friend and supporter in the last decade of his life, that Brooke had nominated her his successor before deciding on his nephew As the editor, a former North Borneo civil servant, writes in his introduction, "without her help (both financial and otherwise) the territory could not have remained under (Brooke's) rule..." There is a Foreword by Margaret, Rani of Sarawak. 317 pages with an index and 16 black and white plates. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Environment, Nature & Wildlife

This is a follow up volume to Briggs' book on the mountains of Malaysia. Here he shares his experience of fifteen years of travelling through and staying in the country's 32 natural parks as a wildlife journalist and photographer. In chapters devoted to each park, there is advice on what to do, what to wear and each park's outstanding features. 134 pages with over thirty maps and a further thirty colour plates Very Good Paperback. Revised Edition

A collection of contributions on the geology, rivers and streams, flora and other plants, birds, mammals, including endangered species, and insects in a reserve in Sabah, Borneo, created principally to preserve its diverse wild life. Near Fine Paperback. First Edition. 122 pages with a few colour photographs and tables.

The casual visitor to the built up areas of George Town may be surprised that Penang island merits a book on herpetofauna, i.e. amphibians and reptiles. In fact the capital city is unrepresentative of most of the island, which is given over to farm land and forests where most of the 26 species of amphibians and 70 species of reptiles, included in this book,  live. Each species is described by the date when it was first recorded by scientists, its scientific, English and Malay names, a colour photograph, a text description, notes on ecology and distribution both on the island and elsewhere in the region. New Paperback. First Edition. 116 pages with a bibliography and an index of species.

The diversity of freshwater crabs and their complex systematics have often given rise to confusion about their identification. This book seeks to properly identify 46 species and subspecies representing three super families with information on their names, diagnosis, taxonomic remarks and variation, colour, ecology and habits as well as distribution. The descriptions are accompanied by black and white photographs and line drawings. Very Good Paperback. First Edition. 156 pages with a bibliography and an index.

Malaysia & Singapore - Fiction

This 256 page book is the last one of Agatha Christie's thrillers. The novel opens with a bored diplomat's return from Malaya and takes an unexpected turn almost as soon as he steps of the plane.  Good Hardback in a Good Dust Jacket. Reprint.                                                                                             

An 'eco thriller' set in Sarawak with the devastation of forests by logging and fire as its central theme. Good Hardback in a Good Dust Jacket. 294 pages.

Malaysia & Singapore - History (20th Century)

The authors, with twenty years research experience in Malaysia, give a review of the country thirty years after independence. After a short historical introduction they assess the ethnic, class and cultural make up of the county, its political institutions and processes, economy and foreign policy. 201 pages with a bibliography and index. Good Hardback

Malaysia & Singapore - Language & Linguistics

A collection of essays on the Malay language. Good Hardback. Second Edition. 117 pages.


A jokey introduction to the main Chinese dialect spoken in Penang in a somewhat mangled form. It's a phrase book with a guide to pronunciation and a few hints at grammar, but without a vocabulary. Very Good Paperback. Reprint. Originally published in 2001 136 pages. For further details, please see the scanned contents page. 

Yes, another picture book about Penang, but, fortunately, this one is different. While it includes the usual batch of attractive pictures that one would expect from such a book, it also includes many other places that you're likely to have been to or would visit on a trip to Penang, but are missing from similar books. For example Penang's famous Ghee Hiang biscuit shop and the Penang Toy Museum are included. It has another feature too that you won't find in similar books - four postcards built into the covers that won't fall out but won't damage the book either when they're detached for use. It's sturdy and small enough to fit in a handbag for use around the town. New Paperback. First edition 160 pages.

Malaysia & Singapore - Poetry

Penang's human rights lawyer and poet presents another selection of his poetry dedicated to what he terms 'true aristocrats' i.e. 'ordinary human beings.'  95 pages.Very Good Hardback Signed by the author. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Religion

An examination of cultural and identity conflicts experienced by Chinese Muslims in Malaysia. 90 pages including index. New Paperback. First Edition


The Gurkhas are probably the best known mercenary force in the world. They were originally recruited by the British East India Company and now are part of the security forces of Brunei, India, Singapore and the United Kingdom as well as in their native Nepal. This book is a unique collection of accounts of the experiences of these men fighting wars for others many miles from home. Very Good Paperback. 320 pages with an index, maps and about 30 black and white plates

A collection of 15 striking lithographs of ordinary people from China, India, Japan, Java, Malaya, Sri Lanka and Thailand based on original pencil drawings of the artist. Good Paperback. First Edition 


An assessment of the state of Chinese society in the years leading up to World War II. Lin, a prolific Chinese writer in English of the time, explains how the country and people were trying to adjust to the sudden impact of outside influences after years of isolation. 419 pages including appendix and index. Good Hradback in a Good Dust Jacket

Sri Lanka

This work was the tropical gardener's 'bible' for the first part of the twentieth century. Originally published in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in 1910, the book's authority was bolstered by the author's thirty year experience running the country's main botanical gardens. This edition, updated in 1935 with considerable revisions  Good Paperback. 4th Edition. 560 pages including reproductions of the original black and white plates, a bibliography and an index .