Bookstore Nostalgia

As an avid reader, I’m always guilty of buying too many books and not finishing them in years. I think I definitely got this trait from my mom. We will browse bookstores and just get lost in between the shelves while my dad and brother sit nearby playing iPads.

In honor of rectifying my love of books, I wish to introduce some of my favorite bookstores on Earth!

1.Eslite Bookstore —– Taiwan, Hong Kong, Suzhou

Taipei Dunan Store. Photo:
This store is probably my ultimate favorite. The Eslite Bookstores feature books mainly in traditional Chinese but also some sections of English. Besides the large volumes, these stores are famous for supporting emerging brands and young innovators in Taiwan. All stores have stalls of emerging fashion designers, accessories, stationaries and sometimes gallery auctions. The bookstore also include a large array of restaurants and cafes, well designed to contemplate the modern aesthetic.

Every time my mom and I fly over to Taiwan, Eslite is always our must-go destination. We will easily spend an entire day in the store, shopping from clothes to books to music.

Eslite has also opened stores in Hong Kong and Suzhou China. I’ve been to all three locations and still prefer the ones in Taiwan since they feature more emerging designer products along with books.

2. PageOne —– Hong Kong

Harbour City HK store. Photo:
Pageone is my childhood. As a English as a second language learner, this is where it sparked my initial love for reading English! Living in Beijing during middle school (2007), there were not as many English books available in the city. Even if there were, the selection were limited and expensive. And mind that online shopping wasn’t that big of a hit yet.

So on holidays back in Hong Kong, I will always go to Pageone and shop for English books. I will roam around the Young adult section, this 3 aisles in the very back of the store, and pick up anything I find remotely interesting. I will choose at least 12 books and narrow them down to about 5 -6 since I simply don’t have the physical means to carry so many back to Beijing. All the while I tend to this extremely important book selecting ritual, my dad will be browsing hifi magazines in a nearby corner.

I remember first buying my copy of Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli at this very store. And also buying my entire set of A Series of Unfortunate Events trip by trip. Every time I will be so excited to read the next volume that I will start reading on the bus ride back to my grandmother’s house for dinner.

Those were memorable times.

Besides the Young adult novel section, I also indulged in the array of design book collections in the store. Pageone is a very strong advocate of design in every aspect and featured some original published books of their own. So it is fair to say that my love for fashion was partly instigated by fashion brand volumes and photography books I flipped through during my formative years.

Unfortunately, the particular Pageone store that served my childhood has recently closed down. But the chain is still active in Beijing and its original location in Singapore.

3. Kinokuniya —– Seattle

Since moving to college, my reading time has significantly truncated. Nevertheless, I still try to indulge in a novel every so often and always go and buy my monthly need of ViVi magazine, my ultimate favorite Japanese fashion magazine on the planet.

Kinokuniya is a Japanese chain bookstore with many locations in the US, Japan and around the world. The Seattle store features a good selection of Japanese, Chinese and English novels as well as a fascinating array of anime products and manga, a much much needed form of relaxation in college. Kinokuniya also has the best Japanese magazine selection in Seattle thus far (well, actually I have not seen any other locations), featuring Vivi, Nylon, Popteen, Seventeen among others.

This is definitely one of my favorite spot in Seattle.

4. Elliot Bay Bookstore —– Seattle

Photo: Joe Mabel, Wikipedia
Located in Capitol Hill, Elliot Bay Bookstore is filled with the most relaxed and friendliest atmosphere. Usually roaming with sunlight due to the window panes, the wood-decor store is a to-go place for many college students, art enthusiasts and tinder dates.

I always love to wonder around the fashion and photography sections and pick a seat at the nearby wooden tables. After some browsing, I might order a refillable lemonade at the Oddfellows Cafe + Bar and work on creative research.

So tell me, where are your favorite bookstores?


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