In My Hands Today…

Hard at Work: Life in Singapore – Gerard Sasges and Ng Wen Shi

For most of us, work is a basic daily fact of life. But that simple fact encompasses an incredibly wide range of experiences.

Hard at Work takes readers into the day-to-day work experiences of more than fifty working people in Singapore who hold jobs that run from the ordinary to the unusual: from ice cream vendors, baristas, police officers and funeral directors to academic ghostwriters, temple flower sellers, and Thai disco girl agents.

Through first-person narratives based on detailed interviews, vividly augmented with colour photographs, Hard at Work reminds us of the everyday labour that continually goes on around us, and that every job can reveal something interesting if we just look closely enough. It shows us too the ways inequalities of status and income are felt and internalized in this highly globalized society.

In My Hands Today…

Pole to Pole – Michael Palin

Having circumnavigated the globe from west to east in Around the World in 80 Days, Michael Palin proceeded to stretch even his endurance with his next journey, travelling due south from the North Pole, arriving five months later at the southernmost point of the globe, the South Pole.

The result is Pole to Pole, Palin’s account of his extraordinary journey between July and December 1991, passing through 17 countries from Greenland and the former Soviet Union in the north to Kenya, South Africa and Chile in the south.

From the frozen wastes of both poles, to the scorching heat of Africa, Pole to Pole is a travelogue of bizarre extremes. Palin revels in the surrealism of it all as he travels through a range of vastly different European and African communities undergoing massive social and political upheavals in the aftermath of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Palin’s shrewd observations are as ever interspersed with his eye for the weird and the comical, as he meets Santa Claus and Lenin, goes shopping for camels in Omdurman, and makes a final hectic dash to the South Pole via Chile. It’s all quite exhausting!

In My Hands Today…

Travels with Charley: In Search of America – John Steinbeck

A quest across America, from the northernmost tip of Maine to California’s Monterey Peninsula

To hear the speech of the real America, to smell the grass and the trees, to see the colors and the light—these were John Steinbeck’s goals as he set out, at the age of fifty-eight, to rediscover the country he had been writing about for so many years.

With Charley, his French poodle, Steinbeck drives the interstates and the country roads, dines with truckers, encounters bears at Yellowstone and old friends in San Francisco. Along the way he reflects on the American character, racial hostility, the particular form of American loneliness he finds almost everywhere, and the unexpected kindness of strangers.

In My Hands Today…

My Homage to All – Kanan Devi, translated by Indranee Ghosh

One of the most powerful women in the movies was thousands of miles from Hollywood.

Kanan Devi, one of the early singing stars, came into the film world in the silent era and, unlike many others, survived the transition to talkies. The product of a troubled childhood, her life took a dramatic turn when she was offered a film role and, encouraged by her uncle, took it.

In this lively and candid account of her experiences, originally published in 1973, Kanan Devi recalls the early days of cinema in Bengal, comparing conditions of film acting in the early 1930s with what she experienced two or three decades later when she herself was a producer and director, with her own film company, Shrimati Pictures.

Her fascinating and unusual story offers not only a different perspective on the growth of the film industry in Bengal but also a first-hand account of the position of women in the early decades of the last century.

In My Hands Today…

Cheaper by the Dozen – Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey

Adapted into two classic motion pictures, this bestselling memoir is the unforgettable story of two parents, twelve kids, and a world of laughter and love.

Cheaper by the Dozen is the unforgettable story of the Gilbreth clan as told by two of its members. In this endearing, amusing memoir, siblings Frank Jr. and Ernestine capture the hilarity and heart of growing up in an oversized family.

Mother and Dad are world-renowned efficiency experts, helping factories fine-tune their assembly lines for maximum output at minimum cost. At home, the Gilbreths themselves have cranked out twelve kids, and Dad is out to prove that efficiency principles can apply to family as well as the workplace.

The heartwarming and comic stories of the jumbo-size Gilbreth clan have delighted generations of readers, and will keep you and yours laughing for years.