Thursday, October 4, 2012

Dreaming of An Irish Bookshop

My Happy Place: Hodges Figgis in Dublin

I was walking down Bukit Timah this morning in a dismal downpour when it hit me. Not that I was going to get wet...well maybe that too. I had an umbrella but in Singapore that's irrelevant. If it rains, umbrella or no umbrella, you're going to get wet. My aha moment was simply this: there are no bookshops here like the one pictured above. When I lived in Dublin, Hodges Figgis on Dawson Street was hands down my favorite haunt. My Irish expat friends here think I'm joking when I tell them I'm half-Irish. But my affinity with the poetry, literature, sense of humor, can't be a fluke. I was just born in Italy but really I'm Irish. I can vividly recall the creamy top of a guinness with soup and soda bread in a pub on a rainy day after classes...but I digress.
I sometimes worry that there just aren't enough bookshops in Singapore. That's what's missing. Or better, there are bookstores but not bookshops and there is a difference. Maybe I should just open one. My imaginary bookshop would be awesome. As cozy and inviting as Hodges Figgis. Poetry readings, free coffee, comfortable armchairs. Maybe even fresh muffins. Helpful assistants with an Irish accent-too much? Would I make a lot of money? Probably not. But I knew that from the get-go. Majoring in philosophy at Vassar was kind of a clue. On the first day of class, our professor told us: "I guess you already know there's no money in Philosophy. If you were interested in that you'd be down the hall studying Economics."

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Read Any Good Books, Lately?

As an avid reader, the question I love to answer most is: "Do you have any good books to recommend?" The question I love least being: "Is your hair naturally curly?" But that's another blog. Why yes, of course. I love recommending, discussing, and lending books (one of the main reasons I don't love my kindle). I can seriously do this for a long time. An almost pathologically long time.  Here in Singapore, one of my biggest joys is when an Amazon package arrives. Fingers crossed that it's when my minimalist husband is on a business trip so he doesn't see all the books I've ordered.
I love reading bedtime stories to the kids and need to read at least an hour before falling asleep. I grew up in a house full of books so spent most of my time after school reading. In college, I tried reading one hundred pages per night and got through my entire philosophy reading list that way in about two weeks! Some people might say you should read slowly so you can enjoy it, but I feel the opposite. If the book is good it's going to be done in three days tops. If it's very good, it could be one day. Anyway, have a look at my new feature: booklover's corner (it's over there on the right). It should have something for everyone: including favorite bedtime stories, Alexander's library (my 11 yr old), Eliot's library (my 6 yr old), books currently on my night table, and recently read and loved books. Hope you enjoy it-happy reading!
And, fellow bookworms, please let me know what your favorites are! I would love to add them to my list.