From eye-opening memoirs to page-turning fiction, indulge in some overdue holiday reading with these 12 trending titles suggested by Tengku Zatashah Idris

From the start of Malaysia's movement conditional order in early 2020 to the end of the year , Tengku Datin Paduka Seri Zatashah Idris read a total of 64 books. A outspoken advocate for literacy in Malaysia, the charismatic Selangor princess donated a variety of non-fiction and fiction titles to the Raja Tun Uda Library Shah Alam during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in Malaysia. Tengku Zatashah also gave away over 108 books that same year. Tatler Malaysia caught up with this big-hearted bibliophile to find out her top 12 recommended books to read over the Christmas holidays. 

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1. Last Tang Standing by Lauren Ho

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Malaysian-born author Lauren Ho's debut novel Last Tang Standing follows the tale of thirty-something Andrea Tang, whose career success as a lawyer is overshadowed by the fact that she's still unmarried (much to her family's dismay). After meeting a wealthy and charming entrepreneur, Andrea must choose whether to do what's right in her family's eyes or follow the path of her heart.   

Related: Lauren Ho On Transitioning From Law To Literature

2. Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

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Mary Beth Keane's novel Ask Again,Yes is far from a mere girl-meets-boy romance. It tells the story of two neighbouring families, the Gleesons and the Stanhopes from an ordinary New York suburb who must grapple with forgiveness, compassion and love in the face of tragedy, which threatens to affect the bond formed between the Gleesons' youngest child, Kate, and the Stanhopes' only son, Peter.     

See also: 9 Books Every Ambitious Woman Should Read

3. Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

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This eye-opening account by Tara Westover describes her inspiring determination to enrol herself in college against the wishes of her strict Mormon family who, for years, kept her from going to school.   

4. Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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Set in the 1970s, Daisy Jones & The Six is the story of a rock band's rise to fame, the out-of-control exploits of the band's beautiful lead singer Daisy, and the enigmatic reasons they broke up at the height of their success.  

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5. The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran

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This gripping historical fiction set in ancient Egypt will have you rooting for the desolate, young princess Nefertari, the lone survivor of her deceased family who were branded as heretics even after Nefertari eventually wins the heart of the young crown prince—who will soon become Ramesses the Great—much to the disapproval of the entire land. 


6. An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

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Blissful young newlyweds Celestial and Roy find their lives torn apart when Roy is convicted and incarcerated for a crime he didn't commit. The story follows the dramatic turn of events that shape the lives of Roy, Celestial and their childhood friend and Roy's best man at their wedding, Andre, to whom Celestial turns for comfort.  

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7. Christmas In The Snow by Karen Swan

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With barely enough time to enjoy her snowy London Christmas, Allegra Fisher finds herself battling her charming rival Sam Kemp for a career-making deal. Dark secrets are uncovered and the unexpected soon occurs when Allegra finds herself linked to a mysterious woman found buried in a long-lost mountain hut in the Swiss Alps after 60 years. 

8. One Day In December by Josie Silver

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This bestselling novel tells the story of Laurie, a woman skeptic about love until she locks eyes with a stranger through a frosty bus window. Laurie feverishly searches for the stranger at bus stops and cafes in London, only to make his acquaintance one Christmas eve as Jack, the new boyfriend of Laurie's best friend Sarah.  

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9. The Guest List by Lucy Foley

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A group of guests gather on a remote island off the coast of Ireland for what should have been a celebrity wedding for the books, until mayhem unravels within the bridal party and someone turns up dead.    

10. Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

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Can a young woman isolated all her life and branded by the locals as 'wild' truly fit in with a town that doesn't trust her? Delia Owens' intriguing novel Where The Crawdads Sing walks us through the footsteps of outcast Kya Clark, whose untamed beauty soon catches the attention of two young men. 

11. This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

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The story of a young boy who wishes to be different and his family who struggles to keep his secret hidden. A page-turner, it's a sharp commentary on the reality of change in family life and why secrets aren't always easily kept. 

Also: 5 Books On Wine To Deepen Your Knowledge

12. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

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A riveting psychological thriller, The Silent Patient chronicles the 'perfect' lives of famous painter Alicia Berenson and her popular fashion photographer husband in their posh London home. The reverie goes awry when Alicia inexplicably decides one day to ruthlessly shoot her husband in cold blood. As the world watches her silent demise in awe, criminal psychotherapist Theo Faber is determined to get Alicia to explain the reasons for her crime. 

Book cover images courtesy of the respective publishers. 

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