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Confession of a Bookstore Junkie June 6, 2007

Posted by typhoonprabda in Uncategorized.

I am a bookstore junkie. I go to bookstores almost daily. I don’t have to go. I’ve got enough books at home to keep me busy for a long, long time. But I go. And I go like a mad man who’s afraid that maybe gigantic meteorites will drop by tomorrow and there won’t be any chance to visit bookstores or buy books ever again. So I go and I love to spend at least one hour at each store, even if it’s a place where I know exactly what books are there and where every one of them is. I pretend not to know. People work on most days and when they get a holiday they like to go to a different place to relax or to have fun. I go to bookstores on work days and weekends, and when I get a holiday I also go to bookstores. No question about it: junkie.

One time, when I arrived in Tokyo too early in the morning to check in at a hotel, I went straight from Narita to a bookstore in Shibuya. I stayed there until check-in time. I go to bookstores when I am in a good mood. I go when I am in a bad mood. I go.

My apartment looks like a small bookstore. (Indeed, I think I have more books than some small bookstores!) Still I am not content. I have to go to actual bookstores. I have to “keep it real.”

In big cities with lots of good bookstores it’s more difficult to manage. Too many bookstores, too little time. In Bangkok it’s relatively easy. And I think it’s healthier, for a junkie like me at least, to be in a place like Bangkok, where there are so few options that even I sometimes get sick of going to the same places too often. I would ask myself philosophically, “why am I here?” Why am I in this bookstore again? I was just here yesterday. Or, I was just here this morning! What is wrong with you (me)? Why don’t you (I) go home? You (I) already have this book. You (I) have looked at this one many, many times. Go home!

Now I am in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Shit! It’s a small town, yes, but in terms of the “stuff” it’s a small gold mine. Sadly, Wordsworth, once one of the greatest small bookstores on my list, went out of business a while back. That was my usual hang-out joint when I lived here more than fifteen years ago. It was at that bookstote that I discovered Kafka and Don DeLillo and e. e. cummings.

But Cambridge, especially around Harvard Square, is still a wonderful place for junkies. There is the Coop bookstore. It looks and feels like a Barnes & Noble (it even has a Starbucks-style cafe on the second floor), so it’s not exactly a cute, family-run kind of establishment, but for quantity it’s the best. There is the historic and tasteful Harvard Book Store. This is my kind of joint. The selections are just right, just enough. The atmosphere is classic yet comfortable. For good quality used books, there is the charming Raven Used Books. In one visit I found all the hard-to-find books I ever wanted. For travelers, or traveler wannabes, the Globe Corner Bookstore has it all, with maps!

I tell myself that some day I’ll kick the habit for good. I don’t need to go that often. I could go only once a month, or less.

I check the headlines everyday. Maybe there’ll be something about meteorites. I hope. So I can go, guilt-free.


Coop Bookstore and Cafe


Harvard Book Store



Raven Used Books


The Globe Corner Bookstore



1. foneko - June 6, 2007

行きたいですよ! でも、日本ではいい本屋さんがたくさんあるでしょう!
また一緒に行こうか。 555 🙂

2. felice farfalla - June 7, 2007

Dear Mr.Bookstore Junky 🙂
Please keep going to bookstores for someone like you makes so many of them still alive ;D
Doesn’t that rainy atmosphere make you even happier?

3. chomphuu - June 9, 2007

Me, too! Just the same!
I like Chula Univ. Bookstore, too.
I can find Thai picture books there more than any other bookshop in Bangkok.

4. Anonymous - June 16, 2007

I like to read your words in English not Thai.

5. CR - June 16, 2007

I like to read your words in English.

6. Noah - June 19, 2007

P. Prabda, hope to see more writing here in the future, your work is incredible and almost overtly cinematic. My favorite characters: the 16mm projector in “Probabilities”, the young girl interviewed in “Khwaam Sa-at khong Phu Tai”, the jaded group that eats extremely hot peppers to cry (like jogging to evade tears).

7. typhoonprabda - June 20, 2007

Thanks, Noah.

8. Juria - June 21, 2007

Hello Prabda, yesterday you have been recommended to me by someone and I find your entries exhilarating. I intend to regularly lurk in both of your blogs. Is it possible to order your books and ship it to Malaysia? 🙂

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