I fell in love. With the bookstore, with the books, with the atmosphere, with the staff, everything.
Tucked away in a nondescript little corner in Tiong Bahru, as desolate as it is, the irony is that it really makes for a quaint and cosy atmosphere.
At first, I was taken slightly aback, all the books in the shop were relatively .. obscure titles. The popular titles were few. Only later did I understand their rationale for doing this.
In such a small, confined yet cosy environment, I suppose it’s inevitable but still nice to see everyone smiling to each other. Even though we’re all strangers.
Spent an hour or so in there, not exactly sure what I was doing, just walking around looking at the books. I bought something. But on hindsight, I only bought it because somehow, in that place and with the friendly atmosphere, I felt as if I had to buy something to repay their …(somewhat) kindness.
I was served by Renee (yup that is her name) but hey everyone was bloody nice.
For some vague reason and correlation, buying their “writer’s pack” — just a pencil, postcard and marginalia cahier, and just observing the way they go about their business (literally), it’s just somehow inspiring and now I am trying to organise my life and actually doing something meaningful. Depending on what meaningful means.
Well that was of course after my first hand experience from my first (of several) visits to BooksActually.
Only afterwards that I realise I missed out an entire section of the shop. Oh well, next time.
And afterwards afterwards, only after watching the documentary then did I truly understand their purpose and true ideals. I always thought this was a thriving business, doing well with sufficient money. But after finding out about their toils and current toils getting to and maintaining where they are. And it’s really great they’re working their asses off to not only try to host a local artistry scene and also do what they do — be different from the rest.
Hell, they really have done a lot for the local community. I’ve only begun to know them recently but already am feeling the pain if they fail to survive. It’d be a huge damned pity.
And just by the experience, I think they’ve made me want to support local literature as well. And relatively unknown works — not just the hitmakers.
So, as said, “keep fucking going.”
I love this place already. Everything, everything about it. Already, I can’t wait to visit again. I love it.
“BooksActually loves you.”