Yesterday, Janet and I were both tremendously productive, depositing checks that needed depositing, applying for a post office box1
(and getting one on the spot), dropping some things off at SHC
HQ, eating lunch at a Tibetan vegetarian restaurant in Chinatown, wandering around and eventually finding BooksActually2
, and then checking out the incredibly detailed models of Singapore at the URA Building
. A lot of walking, and incredibly exhausting, but I did sleep well last night.
1. If for whatever reason you would like to send something my way -- a stack of Euros, a complete set of Edward Whittemore's novels, a decorative ham -- it can now be mailed to this address:
Singapore Post Centre, PO Box 034
2. BooksActually [ Website
] is probably the closest thing I'm going to come to Quail Ridge Books
in Singapore. A quirky independent bookshop with lots of great literary titles; I had to stop myself from picking up books by Bolaño and Rushdie and Murakami. (I did, however, snag a Hesperus Press [ WordPress
] edition of Bulgakov's A Dog's Heart
in paperback (with French flaps) for the equivalent of the book's list price; quite a beautiful little book, and an unexpected find.) The top shelves were lined with rows of old Penguin paperbacks wrapped in mylar, or else old film cameras, or else old typewriters. There was a bookstore kitty, but it was out in a small courtyard instead of roaming the shop; at least the doors were glass, so we could watch it playing or chewing on things or just generally being cute. There was some ambient melodic music on the speakers, and a small TV in the corner was playing a black-and-white French film with the sound off.
It had a lot of atmosphere, but it was kind of difficult to find if you didn't already know the area; the location was also among an area of fairly posh restaurants and shops, and it didn't seem as if they were really aiming to fit in with that. I liked the selection of fiction, but there wasn't much to differentiate it from Borders or Kinokuniya other than the price. I did really dig the book island that caught my eye right as I walked in the door, which displayed some more unusual titles, and also some local publications. However, the space was fairly small (if you look at the photos on the store's Facebook group, you can see how big their previous space was; they just moved house in April), which meant that they couldn't hold any author events or signings there.
So, some things I liked, some things I would have done differently, but I'll most likely stop in again. If, that is, I can find it once more.