It's been a hectic 12 days in Singapore but I'm back in Europe once again. Sometimes, after a trip like this, I feel lost, like I've just been to Singapore for the very first time because so much change takes place in between my visits. This time, I feel like I've rediscovered it a little. I felt this most during my visit to one of the island's independent bookstores.
I write a lot about change –overwhelming, shattering change– that takes place constantly in Singapore, the kind that shoves people into line instead of letting them walk on their own (or skip, or run). At BooksActually, I felt a great measure of hope. There was a propitious air in that little space, I thought (and that's not just because they stock my novel). The store was filled with people squashing past each other in the aisles, peering at book spines and eclectic bits and bobs.
The store's range focuses mainly on literary work; their own imprint –Math Paper Press– puts the spotlight on local literature as well. You push past the doors and you know, you just know that the people in it (behind the counters as well as in front of it) love books, love reading. I decided quickly that BooksActually might be one of my favourite things about Singapore. It also doesn't hurt that the street it's on is lined with gorgeous cafes and restaurants. If you're ever in Singapore, do pop in and have a look around.
No. 9 Yong Siak Street
(You can also find their online store here.)