Breaking my blogging hiatus to stump for my actual favorite bookstore in Singapore, BooksActually!
Now BooksActually are a fabulous indie bookstore, here, almost an institution in the local lit scene now. They, however, have been hit by rent woes in the past, because you know, Singapore.
So their ambitious new goal this year is to own their own space. No more renting, no more worrying about landlords jacking up prices once the lease is up– peace of mind to focus more on the business of book-selling and book-publishing!
To this end BooksActually are running a storewide fundraising sale – 25% off everything! – until the end of April. A FEW DAYS MORE! When I visited the place on Saturday I found it positively crammed with folk– a brilliant sign.
Here are some reasons why you should support BooksActually and support their sale.
1) Because they’re a fantastic space for local lit events.
Here is a picture of my face courtesy of my friend Fikri. This was from the latest reading I did at BooksActually, as part of the 24-Hour Bookstore event on the 18th of April. Here, I am reading an excerpt from my story that’s in From The Belly Of The Cat. I also read a second story that night, from the excellent anthology of feminist writing, Body Boundaries.
Over the years I’ve attended many of such book launches are other literary events, sometimes as an author, sometimes as a reader. BooksActually is a great space for lit-minded people to meet up.
But you can also tell that this store needs more space. Anything above ten folk in the store and moving around the narrow corridors left by the TOWERING SELECTION OF BOOKS turns into this intricate, weaving dance which we are more familiar with on our morning commutes. “SORRY OUR BUTTS HAVE TO TOUCH AS I SQUEEZE BY BUT I WOULD REALLY LIKE TO GET TO THE OTHER SIDE OK THANKS”
BooksActually needs a bigger and better space so these awesome literary events can comfortably hold more people. And you can help them do so.
2) Support local lit!
BooksActually supports a great deal of Singapore writing via Math Paper Press, which consistently puts out risk-taking and thoughtful local writing.
If you want to buy stuff that has specifically has my writing in it, you can find it in these collections: Ceriph volumes 3 & 6, Fish Eats Lion, Ayam Curtain (which I also edited), and From The Belly Of The Cat.
But don’t stop there because there are a lot of excellent books you can pick up from them. I recommend all the Ceriph volumes, poetry by Tania De Rozario and Pooja Nansi, the Babette’s Feast chapbooks (they are little nuggets of delight), the Balik Kampung books.
There are also non MPP titles such as Body Boundaries (mentioned above). I once bought a Croatian edition of a collection of Alvin Pang’s poems because hrvatski man, I still understand chunks of it and it’s beautiful. They carry Epigram titles too, such as Jolene Tan’s freshly-debuted A Certain Exposure. Which I have been told is excellent– I haven’t read it because it was sold out at BooksActually! But Kenny assures me he will be bringing in more copies.
Seriously, there is a staggering amount of excellent Singapore writing available there. I’d be here all day if I tried listing them all. Go there and see for yourself. And go nuts. (p.s. they also have a webstore for international readers! 30% off all Math Paper Press books now!)
3) Support for other creatives in SG!
Hi let me introduce you to my darling succulent plants. I love them very much and I keep them on my table next to me as I work and I have personally named each one of them Lars. Shut up, Lars is a perfectly reasonable name for succulent plants. All of them.
I bought the Larses from a Green Banana pop-up store that was at BooksActually for one weekend. It’s not the first time BA as done tie-ups with other creative enterprises in Singapore. If they had more space, I’m sure they’d do more. As it is stuff is relegated to the tiny bench outdoors right now.
(I might just have wanted an excuse to post a photo of the Larses.)
4) They’re just generally awesome ok.
Because they are. I just found out this week that my AWARE membership will get me a 20% discount at the store, because they’ve got a partnership going on, and they’ve been more than supportive of local LGBT movements. It’s just a generally nice place to give your money, as far as commercial establishments go.
So get going!