• Judy Tay

9 Paperbacks That Went Viral Back In The Days & Where To Find Them


Credit: @mainelyreading, Shaunak Bose


Ah, the 90s – a time where our biggest worry was someone calling our house phone when we were in the midst of using the dial-up. Apart from the occasional mIRC (for the lucky ones) and Liang Si Mei on television, one of the greatest joys is heading to the library. Remember when we could check out 8 books all at once?

Books then were like the blogs and Mothership.sg of yester-years; we could uncover troves of thrilling fiction and learn things about the world and beyond. For those of you younger ‘uns, books went viral too. So let’s take a trip down memory lane to reminisce some of these then-trending paperbacks!


Goosebumps by R.L. Stine

Who doesn’t know this famous horror series? Children of today will probably not experience the thrill of finally getting a turn at the coolest frightening genre in town (because we share books around last time), and also because *bad parenting*. The Goosebumps series became so popular that movies and film adaptations were made out of it. Did you also know that it has its own video game?

Buy them here


The Baby-Sitters Club by Ann M. Martin

We carried these books with us to the toilet, to the dining table and secretly reading them under the table in school. Spanning 213 novels, The Baby-Sitters Club series was probably one of the most-read books among girls (and boys, no judging!) at that time. There was always someone to look up to in these books and for me, I simply love Claudia Kishi for her bad-ass spunk and love for the arts.

If your heart is tugging at you to revisit the series, here’s a piece of good news – Netflix is streaming a new TV series remake of TBSC. Don’t say we bojio!

Buy them here


Mr. Midnight by James Lee

Credit: letakjer_preloved


What’s with the Lees and terrifying little children in Singapore? Actually, the name ‘James Lee’ is only a pseudo the Mr. Midnight’s writer, Jim Aitchison, goes by. Like the Goosebumps series, the Mr. Midnight was extremely popular with us back in the 90s, with the content tweaked for the Singaporean and Asian readers. Those were the days!

Buy them here


The Teenage Textbook

Be still, my heart. For us 80s and 90s kids who read both The Teenage Textbook and The Teenage Workbook, we probably experienced true love from the book. Like a kid sneaking a lollipop, we hid these books from our parents as we snuck around to submerge ourselves in the lives of Lee Mui Ee and Tom D’Cruz (WTF). And it’s probably also through this series that unhealthy expectations of our future spouses were born. Sorry guys.

Buy them here


Roald Dahl Books

Credit: Tumgir


There’s no doubt in my heart that Roald Dahl is one of the best children and youth authors in the world, sucking his readers into a fascinating world of fiction. A stroke of magic, as sharp as a tack and good head on his shoulders – these are all things I love about Roald Dahl and his books. One of the bestsellers of that time was probably Matilda, a book which many of us millennials now hold dear for its heartwarming storyline. Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory is also a life-changer; I’ll never look at Cadbury chocolates the same ever again.

Buy them here


True Singapore Ghost Stories by Russell Lee

I sometimes wish I did not stumble upon the range of True Singapore Ghost Stories because I suspect this is why I’m now a scaredy-cat for the rest of my life. Like contraband items, these books have probably made way across classrooms and lockers of every 80s and 90s kids. From pontianaks to… I don’t know, the Devil itself, the TTSGS series is definitely not for the faint of heart. I’m not sure why Mr. Russell Lee chose children as his target audience, or why he likes to dress up as your biggest nightmare during school visits, but I strongly believe his books should be rated R85 instead.

Buy them here


I still love you, Russell Lee and a team of ghost writers, for you made my childhood more interesting.


#centralsingapore #northernsingapore #southernsingapore #easternsingapore #westernsingapore #entertainment #lifestyle

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