A Day in the Life of Wei Ling March 18 2013

Here at Epigram Books, we’re blessed to be surrounded by what we love best: books! So what better subject to have Wei-Ling, our editorial assistant, write about? Here’s the latest A Day in the Life, with a literary twist!

As someone who works at a publishing company, I often find myself surrounded by books—whether in the office, at my work desk, or at home. I regularly max out the loan quota on my national library card (and then resort to begging my parents for their cards).

These past few months, I’ve been borrowing as many cookbooks as I can lay my hands on, in order to get some inspiration for the Plusixfive Singaporean Supper Club Cookbook that I’m editing. Currently on my desk is the Momofuku cookbook, Everyday Harumi, Tartine, Tessa Kiros’ Falling Cloudberries, and the beautiful food memoir Shiro: Wit, Wisdom and Recipes from a Sushi Pioneer. Shiro is as beautiful to hold as it is to look at, with wonderful illustrations, old photographs of Shiro’s childhood in Kyoto and of his working life in the sushi restaurants of Tokyo and later, Seattle. I also recently read Kenny Shopsin’s hilarious cookbook, Eat Me, from beginning to end, and could appreciate how well-written and entertaining it was. Kenny runs the New York City West Village institution Shopsin’s, which boasts a menu of over 600 items, each of which is offered all day, every day. In addition to describing his philosophy of cooking and food, the book is also about Kenny’s staunch belief in the importance of developing a relationship with one’s customers, leftover from his days running a small grocery store in the West Village. Closer to home, I’ve been using Cooking for the President (designed by Epigram) as a resource, sometimes even resorting to referring to the glossary of our children’s book series, Sherlock Sam, which contains helpful descriptions of various Peranakan dishes.

At Epigram Books, we’re also blessed with a huge in-house collection of books, many of which our boss, Edmund Wee, buys almost immediately upon release. During my lunch break recently, I read two beautifully illustrated children’s books: Henri’s Walk to Paris (designed and illustrated by legendary designer Saul Bass) and the delightful Waterloo & Trafalgar, by Olivier Tallec. And when I’m not reading for work, or reading my own books for pleasure, I’ve got my eye on Edmund’s copies of Verlyn Klinkenborg’s Several Short Sentences about Writing, Christopher Hitchen’s Mortality and Big Questions from Little People: and Simple Answers from Great Minds, as well as Chris Ware’s graphic-novel-in-a-box Building Stories, which is lurking somewhere in the office.

Oh, and if I’m still lacking for reading material, there’s always Epigram’s wall-to-wall shelf of design books, archived design magazines, old cookbooks (conveniently filed close to the microwave and coffee maker) and lots of books offering… dating advice? Hm… well, staff here know that’s a favourite topic of Edmund’s (just catch him at lunch time), but more about that another time!