Photos by Kevin Tosh.
Did you hear the one about the girl who asked to take pictures in a bookstore for her blog? The bookstore’s owner’s face turned pale in shock, then red in anger. He dragged her by the sleeve of her jacket, shouting: “This is a bookstore! How dare you?” And from that day onward, whenever The Girl tried to enter a bookstore it suddenly would be no longer open for business. Because don’t you know? Bookstore owners share information amongst themselves along the bookstore grapevine. And The Girl forever regretted her actions and spent the rest of her life wandering sadly in the streets of the city and peering wistfully through windows at volumes and volumes that she could only desire from the outside looking in. The End.
Luckily, my story has a happier ending.
Bookstop, on the 3rd floor of Yaya Center, is open weekdays and Saturday from 9.30am- 7pm, and on Sundays from 10 am- 6pm. This particular Sunday however, they were closing early, which meant that by the time Tosh and I were arriving we had only a few minutes to wander about these shelves, which was quite the pity. Still, it was lovely that Chan– the owner of the shop– was so willing to let us roam around with a camera. Chan is absolutely lovely and willing to help, and you can reach him/ the store on 0722 520 160 if ever you want to find out whether they have a certain book in stock. Alternatively, you could ask on their Facebook Wall — it might look really quiet at first glance but they’re actually responsive to questions.
I’ve previously blogged about my love for books and bookstores and how these spaces have always given me the hibbie jibbies. You know the stereotype of an old spinster with many cats? I would gladly be that, with books instead of cats. Not to be morbid, but sometimes I think that when I die I would like to have my body cremated and my ashes placed among books. Ok, so I realize that starting a morbid sentence with “not to be morbid” is a bit pointless but I’m not going to let that stay.
Also, invest in the arts, people! Something that keeps coming up when I talk with people in various creative industries is our culture of undervaluing the arts. A part of it, I think, comes from this feeling that we are raised with, that enjoying art for arts sake is not “essential”. I remember always getting flack for reading novels when I was in primary school and secondary school, because there was this idea that that time should go towards studying for exams. But I also don’t think I would have done as well in my exams were it not for the curiosity that always drew me to the fiction section of our school library. And I think that how this sentiment of “non-essentiality” manifests as we grow older is that we might willingly spend money on the rave or on holidays (which is great)– but are a little hesitant when it comes to spending that money on buying a painting or a book or a film or a music album. But these things are important, and I do feel that there’s a growing awareness that if we don’t actively invest in the arts, then we create a culture that suffocates the artists and the businessmen who are building structures for the arts to thrive. I didn’t mean to go off on a tangent and rant but yeah, it’s kept coming up lately.
The light in the store was a little bit tricky, so Tosh put together these photos that feel a little like polaroid shots to get around that. I actually love that, because it seems so apt for a space that’s so full of nostalgia for me. Thank you for reading, and I hope that your December is looking good so far.