Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Save the bookstores :)

Muppet's books

There's a new mall in my neighborhood, I only need to cross the road to get there. Anet and I and the muppet checked it out one night and we were impressed - they got Marketplace and Food Republic and restaurants and coffee shops and we found a lovely toy store selling wooden toys. The muppet even enjoyed walking and running along the carpeted floor. But one thing the mall didn't have was a bookstore, and I think that's sad. I thought I even saw one, a small shop named "Chapter 5" (or 2?) and I thought it's a specialty bookstore but it turned out to be a hair salon :(. Anyway, stupid name.

I remember something I heard from a radio station while I was driving a few weeks ago - that pretty soon bookstores will cease to exist. And I think that the dj is right, everything is electronic these days. Borders which probably was one of the biggest bookstore chain in the world closed down last year. I used to hang out a lot in Borders Parkway Parade, I can just sit there and see if the first few pages of a book I'm eyeing to read can hold my attention and convince me to buy it. Now, the nearest bookstore from my house is Takashimaya in Orchard which is a pain to get to. And I avoid Orchard like the plague, just too many shoppers and you have to drive into these spiral car parks which make me dizzy.

And okay I admit it, I am helping to speed up the death of bookstores. Currently I'm reading 4 books (all at the same time which I think is a bad habit) and 2 of them are e-Books:

1. A brief history of the future by Stephen Clarke - this is a paperback that Simon got me for my birthday last year. He wrote the "Merde" books which I love love love but this book is kind of slow for me therefore it has become my toilet book haha

2. Hard truths to keep Singapore going by Lee Kuan Yew - I've been eyeing to get this book from Borders but they closed down so I borrowed it instead from a very nice guy (local) I work with. I think it's a very good read though I've only read 1/8th of it (maybe we should give it to every government official in the Philippines?), he is honest and tactless and passionate and you can tell how much he loves his country hence this book. But it is hard-bound and it's heavy and I don't like taking it to bed therefore it's my living room book (when Ayesha's asleep during daytime on weekends).

3. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson - this is a free eBook I got from an iPhone app. One day I went to the Singtel shop to get a replacement for my ailing iPhone (button wasn't working properly) but the queue was quite long and I forgot to bring a book so I started reading this. It's sort of a coming-of-age book narrated by a boy and it's got a pirate in hiding named Bones(cool name for a pirate!) and the promise of a treasure and it's a fun read. I was getting into the juicy bits when Bones was visited by another pirate named Black Dog(another cool name) but my number was called and Singtel told me they won't replace my phone even though it's still under warranty because they can tell that water touched the button's sensor. Bastards. I can pay up 350sgd to get a new set but I'm not willing to pay so much so Simon brought me to a small iPhone repair shop and they replaced the sensor for 80sgd.  The iPhone's been perfect since then. Anyway, this book is my queuing book.

4. A dance with dragons by George RR Martin - another eBook unfortunately. I've been waiting for years for this book to be released but when it did get released, I couldn't get it anywhere in Singapore. So Simon got this for me last Christmas and to be honest I like it that I can read it from my iPhone - I can read it in bed without turning the light on so Simon can sleep in peace. And I read it during my coffee break yesterday, and I've been sort of reading it when the red light is on on my drive to home haha. Anyway, it's the fifth book in the series and I've read the last one a few years back so I can't remember some of the characters anymore. I'll probably read the old books again :).

I hope if bookstores must die, then it will be a very very slow death. I hope it will not happen during my lifetime (haha how selfish!). Ayesha at 1 year and 2 months loves her books, every night I read to her "Are you my mother" by PD Eastman and she loves leafing through the pages and I think reading it from an iPad won't be the same (sometimes Simon will read it to her but he changes the story and adds a lot of side comments haha). Her Grandad Jack reads to her "Green Eggs and Ham" and "Peekaboo Zoo!" and "Peppa and George's Noisy Day" and a few more and she enjoys them a lot. So I'm hoping she'll grow up with real books, and that she'll still experience going to a bookstore and buy a book maybe because she fancies the cover or she loves the author or she heard that its good or she's buying it as present.

So if you don't want your favorite bookstore to close down, then don't be so lazy. Go visit it, open any book you feel like reading and get lost in the heady scent of crisp paper and ink and new adventures and whole new worlds.(This is just me psyching myself to drive down to Orchard)

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