So Borders closed its doors unwillingly and much to everyone’s dismay in August last year. The hole left in Wheelock Place (and our hearts) can still be felt by many.
Borders & its books, have accompanied me through many sad moons, countless ‘me’ times and many happy ‘oh-I-can’t-believe-they-have-this-title-here-this-is-awesome!’ moments.
It was (and I use this word with a heavy heart, still) one of the places that you can go to to get just a breather or a moment to yourself or a semi-geek moment with your date or just some reading time with your friends or just to get inspired by the ambience and the cool stuffs they carry.
I used to imagine myself still going there when I have kids to let them experience the joys of being & reading in a big relaxing bookstore.
The next best alternative (to me at least) is PageOne (because have you seen their other non-books stuffs? It’s pretty awesome). Their book collection is also pretty browse-long worthy.
So imagine my shock when I found out PageOne is closing due to (guess what) high rental costs.
And if that’s not a shocker, this will be – Harris Bookstores, another very laid back bookstore with quirky stuffs will also be shutting their doors & throwing away the keys (or in this instant, pass it over to the rich landlord).
Harris Bookstores also cite high rental costs (big surprise).
Sigh I may sound angry but I’m really just sad that the number of bookstores we get to experience is pretty limited. You don’t just to go bookstores for the books the carry or the stuffs they sell, you also go there for the experience and relaxing atmosphere they have.
The only thing we can do now is to support them in their last few awakening days (read: sales!).
And whilst I’m happy that there’s still a chance for me to go visit them & get some good bargains (both of them will close on 19 February 2012), I am less thrilled at the fact that the space will just be another memory of moments.
(again) Oh Well.
And of course, thank God we have these other awesome offbeat booksy places that have their own special & quirky touch to help us forget the lack of bookstores & help us remember the joy of books, literature & other book-related stuffs!
They have a certain magical homey quality that you cannot find in normal bookstores. Here’s 6 bookstores you should know (& will love)!
They’ve been around since 2005 and (I believe it to be) the Godfather of quirky shops. Go inside this charming bookstore and you’ll find lots of literature (including obscure works) and literary stuffs in stationery form. They’ve also branched out to publishing & distributing (Math Paper Press) & make beautiful hand-stitch notebooks and produce cool stationery stuffs (Birds & Co.). You’ll leave the shop feeling inspired!
This shop is littered with carefully selected books ranging from crime to travel narratives to children books. An independent bookseller, they have plenty of reading spaces and exudes a really welcoming and cosy feeling – like you’re stepping into a friend’s huge library!
It’s a bookstore cafe by day & a bar/bistro by night! It also looks totally comfortable, like you can just immerse yourself in the smell of sandwiches and books. Just looking at the picture is inviting enough!
Where: 19 Bukit Pasoh Road
Find out more: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Books-Cellar-Bookstore-Cafe-Bistro
4. Cat Socrates
From books to music cds to a quaint cafe – Cat Socrates has it. Its tucked away neatly in Bras Basah and its collection of stuffs is pretty eclectic and quirky (and colourful!). You can also shop online if in case you’re too busy to go down to the shop. Here’s a preview!
Where: #03-39B Bras Basah Complex, 231 Bain Street
Find out more: http://home.catsocrates.com.sg & http://catsocrates.blogspot.com/
This is pretty interesting – woods in the books is an independent picture bookstore with toys and drawings created by the owner. What’s great is that the combination of classic and new awesome books are hand-picked and caters to all ages.
Where: 58 Club Street / 9,Raffles Boulevard, Millenia Walk, #02-32 (opposite Parco)
Find out more: http://www.woodsinthebooks.sg & https://www.facebook.com/WoodsintheBooks
They curate second-hand and rare books from all over the region, make awesome coffee, accompanying desserts and a really great arts programmes that showcases films, music, readings and more. Perfect place to chill out with a good book.
After looking through the whole listing & choices of book-sy places we have in Singapore, I think I finally can let Borders (& the other bookstores that left us) go. (Yes I am sentimental like that).
So it’s another month of last-minute salvaging of good stuffs & bookstore mourning but this whole searching for book places to chill out at is a reminder that Singapore has many other alternative places (6 at that + more that I might have missed out) that we can always look forward to to brighten up our days, literarily!