It’s stifling hot outside, the crowds seem to be everywhere, and you just can’t seem to hear your own thoughts. If you’re seeking for a slice of quiet when you’re out and about, let it be one with a good book in hand; overpriced coffee and hipster glasses optional. Here are 6 local bookstores to get your dose of literary enjoyment.
Basheer Graphic Books
A classic among the OG book nerds, Basheer Graphic Books has been around since 1985; an icon tucked into well-loved Bras Basah Complex. You’ll recognise it for its black-and-white checkered floor tiles, floor-to-ceiling stacks of books, and the steady stream of arts students. Now specialising in a wide selection of design books covering every area you can think of – including Engineering For Cats – it’s the place to be for seeking inspiration for your next project; on whatever scale or interest it may be. Not a design student? Then you’ll take delight in the fact that they still offer SingLit titles, an impressive array of magazines and zines, and even children’s books for the little ones; all available online too.
Address: Bras Basah Complex #04-19, Singapore 180231
Opening hours: 10am – 8pm (Mon to Sat), 11am – 6.30pm (Sun)
Tel: 6336 1917
Book lover or not, BooksActually is the quintessential Singapore independent bookstore, thanks to its resident cats, its obscure location in Tiong Bahru, and its in-house publishing arm Math Paper Press, which offers exposure to promising local writers. Specialising in fiction and literature, take your pick from titles old and new – be it Math Paper Press’s freshly-printed new releases, obscure out-of-print titles, or even antique editions for ardent collectors. If reading’s not enough and you want to display your nerd pride loud and proud, look for the little backroom stocked with quaint trinkets; pick up a Birds & Co hand-stitched notebook, or a cute little MeowsActually tote bag to carry your book loot in. Or, you know, shop online and get it all delivered to you.
Address: 9 Yong Siak Street, Singapore 168645
Opening hours: 10am – 6pm (Sun & Mon), 10am – 8pm (Tues to Sat)
Tel: 6222 9195
Woods In The Books
Just down the street from BooksActually, Woods In the Books nestles a whimsical escape from reality for the little ones and the young at heart. Step right through the turquoise door and enter a world of saturated colours and vivid dreamscapes. Prepare to be enchanted by the curated selection of picture books, or pick up hard-to-find reads like Mao and Me, a hard-hitting tome about political upheaval during the cultural revolution, and an illustrated interpretation of Persian classic The Conference of the Birds.
Address: 3 Yong Siak Street, Singapore 168642
Opening hours: 10am – 6pm (Sun & Mon), 10am – 7pm (Tues to Fri), 10am – 8pm (Sat)
Tel: 6222 9980
Littered With Books
When you think of a classic bookstore, Littered With Books is sure to come to mind. Housed in a conservation shophouse, it’s the rustic daydream of every bibliophile where you can soak yourself in the art of the written word, available to you in all kinds of genres. A quiet gem in the heart of the CBD, it will be your peaceful hideaway from the crowds; and if you ever find yourself holed up here while it’s raining outside, have a chat with the staff. It’s a great place to make friends, chill, and talk shop about your favourite writers.
Address: 20 Duxton Road, Singapore 089486
Opening hours: 12pm – 8pm (Mon to Thurs), 12pm – 9pm (Fri), 11am – 9pm (Sat), 11am – 8pm (Sun)
Tel: 6220 6824
If you’re a quirky catlady with a taste for literary and philosophical thought, you’ll feel right at home at this cosy nook filled with sweet little trinkets that are sure to evoke nostalgia. You won’t be able to resist the allure of the pretty book covers shelved here, nor the assortment of locally-designed knick-knacks, so let your hands and mind roam free. If you’d much rather shop from the comfort of your bed, their store is online too; though you’d want to personally say hi to their adorable feline furries, Zoo-zoo and Chestnut.
Address: Bras Brasah Complex #02-25, Singapore 180231
Opening hours: 12pm – 8pm (Mon to Sat), 1pm – 7pm (Sun)
Tel: 6333 0870
Fancy yourself a highbrow intellectual? Gohd Books is your place to be, with shelves stocked with antiquarian and rare books, leather-bound and pages well-aged. Gently page through books like Da Vinci’s Codex Madrid (a super rare book of his inventions), trace your finger along the ornate gold gilt on the spines of George Eliot’s Romola, and train your eye on rare Japanese reproduction prints. Surrounded by masterpieces probably older than your grandparents, step into this time capsule for an instant blast to the past.
Address: Burlington Square #01-37, Singapore 189659
Opening hours: 1.30pm – 7pm (Fri to Sun); Closed on Mon to Thurs
Tel: 9090 6181
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