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."


13 comments:

  1. Love this one-yes, do it-open a bookshop!!

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    1. Thanks! Would be a dream come true...

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  2. Singapore and vintage bookshops? Not a good match. They love modern stuff too much..

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    1. There are a few...I think I'm going to look for some and report back...of course, none like Hodges Figgis that goes without saying!

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  3. I love Littered with books over on Duxton Road - Books Actually in Tiong Bahru is very classy, but not as cosy. I would dearly love to hear if you know of any second hand bookstores? That's what I miss most after leaving Cork, my former adoptive home in Ireland :)

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    1. There are second hand bookstores at Far East Plaza and there is one at Holland Village but they are far from cozy. Fluorescent lights and everything.

      I think it would be fabulous if you opened a bookstore with cozy chairs, a coffee shop, live performances of music, poetry, spoken word every weekend.

      Have you all been to the library at Esplanade? Its my favorite place to just spend hours reading - there are live performances there all the time. You can borrow dvds as well as books.

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    2. Thanks for all the great suggestions and for the encouragement-more of a dream than an actual plan!

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  5. Thank you for the suggestions! Yes-I must check out the first bookshop you mentioned and I do like Books Actually. True, second hand bookstores are scarse, they have some in Far East Plaza but I highly doubt they live up to your 'Cork' standards!

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  6. just found your blog! i'm moving to singapore this january with my husband and our 11 month son. he will be doing grad school. i'm very excited to read your blog to get some info! :)

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    1. Thanks-hope you enjoy it! And congratulations on the move!

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