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Books about Malaysia and Pangkor

In this section we have collected a good selection of books about Malaysia and books about more general topics. We thought it might be helpful for you to have an overview of what we offer here.

Useful travel information you will find in the section on Malaysia and its islands.

Malaysian literatureThe rice mother

Malaysian authors may not be well known to most people in the west. However there is some excellent writers who do give a good view on modern Malaysia and the Malaysian cultural mix.

The rice mother by Rani Manicka

A multi generational narrative that spans the nightmare of World War II and the Japanese occupation, The Rice Mother gorgeously evokes a world of exotic beauty and vivid characters, where small pleasures offset unimaginable horrors. It is a powerful story of laughter and loss, love and betrayal, in a world where ghosts and gods walk hand-in-hand.

Perfect for readers of Amy Tan, Isabel Allende, and Arundhati Roy, The Rice Mother marks the luminous debut of a writer whose universal themes will touch readers, especially women, the world over.

The Return by K.S. ManiamThe Return

In this incisive and poetic novel K. S. Maniam tells of a boy named Ravi whose life is caught up in the social transformations that occurred at the time of Malaysian independence in 1957. Maniam weaves Ravi's experiences into the story of a culture an era and most of all a human being caught in a time of rapid transition.

Joss and Gold by Shirley LimJoss and Gold

The mark of an anthropologist, "a character in Lim's richly detailed first novel observes, is that she "seldom misses an observation that counts." Neither does Lim, as she takes the reader from Kuala Lumpur in 1968 to Westchester County in 1980 and Singapore in 1981. When the novel opens, Malaysia only 11 years independent comprises an uneasy mix of Malays, Chinese and Indians and is struggling to find its identity not unlike the protagonist, Li An, a Malaysian-born Chinese enamored of British poets and beginning her first job, as an English tutor.

Though Li An marries Henry, a graduate student from a wealthy Chinese family, she befriends and then falls for Chester Brookfield, an American Peace Corps volunteer. When a separatist riot results in a curfew, Li An spends the night with Chester, and though he quickly forgets it and returns to the United States, it changes Li An, leading her to begin a new career and to move to Singapore, settling down with her ex-husband's stepmother and forming a small family of unrelated women.

Lim narrates this story in acute, realistic detail, careful to give even minor characters detailed histories. Lim is not, however, a great stylist, and this detail is sometimes burdensome. Yet Lim's insights are piercing. She has a keen eye for the effects of American imperialism, and she can write bitterly funny scenes, as she does when Chester has a vasectomy. Better yet, she keeps a grip on the strands of her complex story and brings them together in a resolution that is as moving as it is satisfying.

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Malaysian food

Malaysia has quite something to offer for those who love great tasting food. It was for that reason (and for some more too) that we decided to live in Malaysia. We found some excellent cook books.

For more details on the food in Malaysia, you can also check our Malaysian food page.

Singaporean, Malaysian & 
	    Indonesian CuisineSingaporean, Malaysian & Indonesian Cuisine by Christina Sjahir Hwang

This book provides 68 authentic and delicious recipes from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. All the procedures and steps for cooking are presented in a clear and concise manner. The bilingual translation provides for a broad community of interest.

The dishes of SINGAPORE combine spices and cuisine from all over Asia. Hainan Chicken and Rice ( Nasi Ayam), Noodles in Spicy Coconut Milk Soup (Laksa Lemak), and Spiced Sparerib Soup (Bah Kut Teh) are Singapore's most popular dishes.

MALAYSIAN cuisine combines the delicacy of Chinese food with Indian spices and regional herbs; famous dishes include Penang Noodle Soup (Penang Laksa), Lacy Pancakes (Roti Jala) and Beef Sate (Sate Daging).

INDONESIAN food is known for its unique and exceptional spicy aromas and flavored dishes such as Sticky Yellow Rice (Nasi Kunjit) with Spicy Chicken Braised in Coconut Milk (Rendang Ayam), Batavia Beef Soup with Glass Noodles (Soto Betawi) and Balinese Fried Fish (Ikan Bumbu Bali).

Rarely indeed, has a cookbook come along that combines within one cookbook cover, the tantalizing cuisine from these three cultures so well. And remember, many of the here described dishes you will find in the foodstalls at Pulau Pangkor.


Penang Passion Penang Passion

There are few places in the world where people are so crazy about food as in Penang. Penangians are food crazy which results in an excellent cuisine unimaginable for those who have never been in Penang.

Koh Tze Yin wrote a book full of anecdotes, stories and ... recipes about the Penang cuisine. Here are more details

Malaysia and Singapore, Word Food Lonely Planet World Food Malaysia and Singapore (Lonely Planet World

Food Guides) by Tan Su-Lyn

Many people have at least heard of Lonely Planet. Not many people know the Lonely Planet books on food. Malaysians and Singaporeans are food obsessed: broach the subject of food with locals and it may appear that eating takes priority over everything else in life.

The multicultural traditions of the region offer the food lover a gastronomic experience like no other – a fusion of herbs, spices, sauces and ingredients from a host of cuisines, each continually borrowing from the other.

To eat or drink in Malaysia and Singapore is far more than an act of sustenance, it is a social experience. The book includes:

  • What to eat and how to order
  • Where to eat: coffee shops, hawker centers and fine dining establishments
  • Markets: local produce, culinary fusion and multiculturalism
  • The definitive culinary dictionary, quick reference glossary and useful phrases for every food and drink occasion
  • Tantalizing photography and recipes

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Malaysia's history

There are many books available on Malaysia turbulent history. We choose this one since it is good and easy reading.

A Short History of Malaysia: Linking East and West (A Short History of Asia series) by Virginia Matheson Hooker A short history of Malaysia

The origins of Malaysia's aboriginal peoples, the years of Western domination in the country, and the forceful political stance of its current leader are all outlined in this lively and informative account of Malaysia's history and politics.

A concise and accessible look at this constantly changing country, this book is perfect for travelers, students, teachers, and businesspeople.

Discussed are the major trends in its contemporary political life and the challenges the country faces in the 21st century as Malaysia serves as a model for rapid modernization. The lives of individuals from various time periods are examined to create a complete picture of Malaysia. Also included are maps and illustrations.

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Malaysia and its islands

Pulau Pangkor is only one of the many Malaysian islands. Lonely Planet, The Rough Guide and Insight Guide have good books on Malaysia as a travel destination.
Lonely Planet Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei (Lonely Planet Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei) by Simon Richmond Lonely Planet Malaysia, Sinagpore and Brunei

Love or hate the Lonely Planet. This guide book is an good overall travel book with all the bits and pieces you need to know before coming and while you are here.

The book includes some general history, excellent maps, transport- food and other useful travel information. It is still a highly popular travel book, and it is highly recommended.

Insight Guide Malaysia by Francis Dorai Insight Guide Malaysia

The Insight Guide is not really a travel book. It is a book with excellent background information on Malaysia. The book offers an excellent overview of Malaysia printed on high quality paper with photography from professional photographers.

The Insight Guide Malaysia is written in easy to read style. I do not think it is usable as a travel book "on the road", but for background information it serves more then excellent. You will enjoy this books the best on a dark winter night in your favorite chair.


The Rough Guide to Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei (Rough Guide. Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei)The Rough Guide Malaysia, Singapore and Bruni

When you mention the Lonely Planet, you have to mention The Rough Guide too. Depending who you are and where you come from, you love or hate The Rough Guide's approach. It takes a bit of time to get used to their structure but The Rough Guide is an excellent travel guide book.

It offers all you need to know before you come and whatever is necessary when you are here. The Rough Guide Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei is highly recommended.

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Language books

Learn the languages spoken in Malaysia and South East Asia. We have collected a few good books.

Lonely Planets Malay 
          	Phrase bookLonely Planet Malay Phrasebook (Malay Phrasebook, 2nd Ed)by Susan Keeney

Although many Malaysian people speak English, it is always interesting to learn some of the language. Lonely Planet has a useful and well known phrasebook.


South East Asian Phrasebook (Lonely Planet Language Survival Kit) David Bradley, Lou Callan (editors)Lonely Planets' phrase book for South East Asia

Essential words and phrases in Burmese, Khmer, Lao, Malay & Indonesian, Pilipino, Thai and Vietnamese. It is a very useful phrase book if you decide to travel a bit more then just Malaysia.

Spoken Malay for everyoneMalay for Everyone: Mastering Malay Through English (Pelanduk Pocket) by Othman Sulaiman

This book is one of the best available in a concise format for English speakers to learn Malay, the language spoken in Malaysia and Indonesia (with some minor variation).

The organization is very clear and logical, explanations are sharp and crisp, vocabulary covered is excellent for everyday life.


Traveling with children

Travel Wise with Children : 101 Educational Travel Tips for Families by Mary Rodgers Bundren Travel Wise with Children

Travel Wise with Children challenges families to take their travel experience one step farther by offering 101 Educational Travel Tips (while perhaps sparking a few ideas of their own) to enhance both the vacation fun and their children's learning experience.

Lonely Planet Travel With Children Lonely Planet Travel With Children (Lonely Planet Travel With Children) by Cathy Lanigan

This is a very practical book as all the Lonely Planet titles are. The books' 280 pages contains information on:

  • advice on breastfeeding, pregnant travel and on-the-road health
  • useful information on packing, planning and preparing for your trip
  • detailed country profiles with the best in kid-friendly sights
  • travel games to amuse for hours.

Exotic Travel Destinations for Families by Jennifer M. Nichols, Bill Nichols Exotic Travel Destinations

The authors have traveled with their young children to Bangkok, Ecuador, Italy, Morocco and other far-flung locales. They are excited on the benefits of foreign travel on children.

Each destination description covers the basics, such as when to go, what to bring, how to get there, and how to get around. Additionally, medical and safety concerns and planning are thoroughly addressed for each destination.

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Staying healthy in the tropics

Staying healthy in Asia, Africa and Latin AmericaStaying Healthy in Asia, Africa and Latin America by Dirk Schroeder

This slim volume outlines common health problems encountered by travelers -- and how to avoid them. It includes sound advice by a public health specialist on topics such as high altitude travel, coping with sanitation in developing countries, inoculations and first aid.

Staying Healthy in Asia, Africa, and Latin America is packed with important information basic enough for the short-term traveler, yet complete enough for someone living or traveling off the beaten path. Besides providing a complete overview of the health problems that exist in these areas, the book emphasizes that the main factors that determine your health --proper immunization, nutrition, personal cleanliness, and mental attitude-- are things over which you have a great deal of control.


Where women have no doctor Where Women Have No Doctor: A Health Guide for Women by A. August Burns, Ronnie Lovich, Jane Maxwell, Katharine Shapiro, Sandy Nieman, Elena Metcalf

From the back cover
Where Women Have No Doctor combines self-help medical information with an understanding of the ways poverty, discrimination and cultural beliefs limit women's health and access to care. Developed with community-based groups and medical experts from more than 30 countries, this book can help anyone understand, treat and prevent many of the health problems that affect women.

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Penang Passion

There are few places in the world where people are so crazy about food as in Penang. Penangians are food crazy which results in an excellent cuisine unimaginable for those who have never been in Penang.

Koh Tze Yin wrote a book full of anecdotes, stories and ... recipes about the Penang cuisine. Here are more details

Penang Passion