Perfect for when some peace and quiet is on the agenda

It’s stifling hot outside, the crowds seem to be everywhere, and you just can’t seem to hear your own thoughts. If you feel like you’ve got a pocket of free time while out and about, and am seeking for a slice of quiet, let it be one with a good book in hand; overpriced coffee and hipster glasses optional. Here’re 11 local bookstores to get your dose of literary enjoyment.
 

AllScript Magazines
 


AllScript Magazines

Reading is for everybody, and that’s the message AllScript Magazines has for its customers—its catalogue spanning over 3,000 titles, you’ll be sure to find something you can enjoy, and for all purposes; for the coffee table sesh, bedtime flip-throughs, or if you’re just feeling fancy. If you’re peckish for a new read and don’t know where to start, Allscript offers a subscription package; pick from seven categories of reads, and let Allscript pick out a different magazine for you every month—$40/$50 for four issues, $80/$90 for eight. If you’re a true recluse and you’d rather be home curled up with your cat (necessary), there’s even free shipping. If you’re up for a real nerdy expedition, however, visit their physical stores where their shelves are stuffed full of colourful titles. Two outlets, 301 Upper Thomson Rd. or 112 East Coast Rd.
 

Basheer Graphic Books
 


Basheer Graphic Books

A classic among the OG book nerds, Basheer Graphic Books has been around since 1985; an icon tucked into well-loved Bras Basah Complex. You’ll recognise it for its black-and-white checkered floor tiles, its floor-to-ceiling stacks of books, and the steady stream of arts students. Now specialising in a wide selection of design books covering every area you can think of—including Engineering For Cats—it’s the place to be for seeking inspiration for your next project; on whatever scale or interest it may be. Not a design student? Then you’ll take delight in the fact that they still offer SingLit titles, an impressive array of magazines and zines, and even children’s books for the little ones; all available online too. Step into this retro book heaven, and bring the sturdiest bookbag you have lying around. #04-19, Bras Basah Complex, 231 Bain St. 
 

BooksActually
 


BooksActually 

Book lover or not, BooksActually is the quintessential Singapore independent bookstore, thanks to its resident cats (Pico, Lemon and Cake), its obscure location in Tiong Bahru, and its in-house publishing arm Math Paper Press, which offers exposure to promising local writers. Specialising in fiction and literature, take your pick from titles old and new—be it Math Paper Press’s freshly-printed new releases, obscure out-of-print titles, or even antique editions for ardent collectors. If you’re not a big on fiction and are still enticed by its cosy storefront and wooden shelves wall-to-wall, you can still peruse the curated titles in categories from human sciences to food narrative. If reading’s not enough and you want to display your nerd pride loud and proud, look for the little backroom stocked with quaint trinkets; pick up a Birds & Co handstitched notebook, or a cute little MeowsActually tote bag to carry your book loot in. Or, you know, shop online and get it all delivered to you.
Who said reading had to be an activity for the lonesome? This cosy little nook for an afternoon of reading gathers other book-lovers alike, regularly hosting book launches and readings from writers local and abroad, that Kenny, the owner, plugs constantly on Facebook. Go grab your hipster reading glasses, and read to teleport to Yong Siak Road and beyond. 9 Yong Siak St.
 

Books Ahoy!
 


Books Ahoy!

Reading is a habit inculcated from young, and if you’re looking to instill in your young ones the same appetite for text, the brainchild of Woods In The Books is a paradise for the young imagination. Look for the vibrant illustrations in their Forum The Shopping Mall storefront, almost as if charming drawings come to life, and dive right into their colourful world of illustrated picture and chapter books for early and independent readers. Pick from a well-rounded curated selection, but expect more than just your ordinary titles— bestsellers like Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is sure to make the perfect bedtime read for your future revolutionary. Satiate your little one’s hunger for literature further by attending the readings and book launches here or over at the whimsical Woods In The Books (see below). #02-03, Forum The Shopping Mall, 583 Orchard Rd.
 

Booktique


Bookfair goers and aspiring writers alike would recognise this name, as Anthony Koh Waugh’s independent bookshop and book fair concept. With a well-rounded selection of local and international offerings, from literary luminaries like Leo Tolstoy and Margaret Atwood, to local legends like Haresh Sharma, you’ll be picking up the finest reads as rotationally hand-picked by the owner. What you’ll find different about Booktique, however, is its dedication to the craft of writing—as inspired by Anthony’s own career experience as a freelance writer, Booktique carries titles specifically for struggling writers, actively propping up more than 30 self-published authors today. If you’re a struggling creative yourself, expect to feel very welcome here; and who knows, you may just pick up a title that will finally break through that writers’ block. Though the bookstore no longer operates any physical stores, be sure to watch out for its pop-ups—and catch them before it’s too late!
 

Cat Socrates
 


Cat Socrates

It’s in the name itself; if you’re a quirky catlady (we all are at heart) with a taste for literary and philosophical thought, you’ll feel right at home here. We mean that literally, once you step into its cosy interiors and enter into a world filled with sweet little trinkets sure to evoke nostalgia and memories from times long gone. Slip your pens into these Wheniwasfour Multi-Purpose Pouches and pledge your love to chilli crab, set your necessary mug of hot tea down on a beautiful Tile Coaster, and pick up the Fashionary Fashionpedia for a classy coffee-table centerpiece. You won’t be able to resist the allure of the pretty book covers shelved here, nor the assortment of locally-designed knick-knacks, so let your hands and mind roam free. If you’d much rather shop from the comfort of your bed, their store is online too; though you’d want to personally say hi to their adorable feline furries, Zoo-zoo and Chestnut. Two outlets, #02-25 Bras Basah Complex, 231 Bain St. or 448 Joo Chiat Rd.
 

City Book Room



City Book Room 
 
Tucked away on the third floor of the unassuming North Bridge Centre across the National Library Building, you’ll find this charming, wood-furnished bookstore with its warm lights emanating a soft glow. Here’s where you can burrow down peacefully with a good book without the obnoxious crowds; pick from titles of fiction, poetry, history and social critique. Dedicated to sustaining and further preserving the Chinese culture, their wooden shelves are mostly stocked with Chinese titles, including translated versions of Math Paper Press favourites. You’ll also find familiar local showings like Haresh Sharma’s plays and Teo You Yenn’s famed This Is What Inequality Looks Like, alongside works from Nobel-Prize-winning Kazuo Ishiguro and LGBTQ-inclusive children’s book Love Makes a Family. In any case, pick a book (or five) and settle down on a wicker bench; as you wait for an author’s reading or a book talk. #03-10 North Bridge Centre, 420 North Bridge Rd,
 

Comics World
 


Comics World

Deep within the gritty bowels of Parklane Shopping Mall lies Comics World, a frills-free popular haunt for superhero comic geeks young and old. With posters plastered to the glass windows, be transported right into, as the name suggests, the world of rich graphics and action, and get ready to geek out with other fellow fanatics. If you’re not planning on sticking around for too long though, it's best to know what you want, grab them and go. Bring cash. #B1-22 Parklane Shopping Mall, 35 Selegie Rd.
 

Gohd Books
 


Gohd Books

Fancy yourself a highbrow intellectual? Gohd Books is your place to be, its shelves stocked with antiquarian and rare books, leather-bound and pages well-aged. Gently page through books like Da Vinci's Codex Madrid (a super rare book of his inventions), trace your finger along the ornate gold gilt on the spines of George Eliot’s Romola, and train your eye on rare Japanese reproduction prints. Surrounded by masterpieces probably older than your grandparents. Step into this time capsule for an instant blast to the past. #01-37 Burlington Square, 175 Bencoolen St.
 

Grassroots Book Room
 


Grassroots Book Room

Open since 1995, the Grassroots Book Room has provided cosy respite for local book nerds for close to 25 years now. The previous occupants of the site at North Bridge Center have since shifted to the first floor of a shophouse, furnished with old-timey leather chairs and eclectic knick knacks to further amp up the nostalgia factor. OG fans of the bookstore would be pleased to know it still religiously stocks books on Chinese and foreign history, Chinese modern literature and Chinese philosophy, but they’ve also added picture books and food-writing books into their rotation. They’ve even got Western and Japanese translation literature, and unapologetically local titles if you’re ready for some genuine cross-cultural immersion. Though its tall book shelves and quaint interiors are conducive for nerding alone, watch out for their themed exhibitions every one to two months, that will pique your intellectual curiosity and makes for a lovely afternoon activity. 25 Bukit Pasoh Rd.
 

Littered with Books
 


Littered With Books

When you think of a classic bookstore, Littered With Books is sure to come to mind; wood-panelled floors, comfy red chairs for reading, and natural light filtering in from the two arched windows on the second floor. Housed in a conservation shophouse, it’s the rustic daydream of every bibliophile, where you can soak yourself in the art of the written word, available to you in all kinds of genres ranging from thrillers to children’s books. A quiet gem in the heart of the CBD, it’ll be your peaceful hideaway from the crowds; and if you ever find yourself holed up here while it’s raining outside, have a chat with the staff. It's a great place to make friends, chill, and talk shop about your favorite writers. 20 Duxton Rd.
 

Looksee Looksee
 


Looksee Looksee

Along the stretch of whimsical-looking shophouses on Beach Road sits this pretty hideout, whose pastel interiors and curved alcoves would make any aesthetic-loving hipster swoon. Beyond the rustic-looking stone arches lies a 25-seater reading room, vibrant book covers adorning the walls and cosy reading spaces aplenty. A bright and airy space, complete with potted plants and cacti, it’s the best place to go for some creative inspiration as you browse through a curated selection of lifestyle picks by experts in the industry. For a dose of extra warmth, grab a cup of tea from the adjoining tea room by A.Muse Projects, and let your imagination steep as your tea leaves do. 267 Beach Rd.
 

Select Books


Direct your "intellectual" friend who uses words like postmodern in everyday conversation to this e-bookstore. While Select Books is known to be more of a publisher and distributor, you can get lots of nerdy, weighty books about Southeast Asian history and culture here. For those among us who possess the dexterity to delve into higher academic rigour, take your pick from a vast array of Asian titles, local and regional.
 

The Moon
 


The Moon

The rich historical background of Chinatown lends extra character to this truly quirky bookstore-cafe space along Mosque Street, one where the smell of coffee and the hanging potted plants bring immediate relief to a cluttered mind. Here, you can discover obscure titles flying below the mainstream radar, featured books that spotlight artists and writers of colour, and strong female narratives and voices. If their colourful artistic covers are not a strong enough indication, the folks at The Moon embrace the value of diversity and multiculturalism. You’ll really feel like you’re suspended in another world once you pad upstairs, where you can get comfortable in a sun-lit corner near the arched windows; get lost in the literary universe. Who knows, if you keep an open mind and heart, you just might make a friend or two while lounging on the cushions, and continue the illuminating conversation downstairs over cups of coffee. 37 Mosque St.
 

Woods In The Books
 


Woods In The Books 

Just down the street from BooksActually, Woods In the Books nestles a whimsical escape from reality for both kids and the young at heart. Step right through the turquoise door, and enter on into a world of saturated colours and vivid dreamscapes, sure to pique your little one’s imagination. Prepare to be enchanted by the curated selection of picture books, or pick up hard-to-find reads like Mao and Me, a hard-hitting tome about political upheaval during the cultural revolution, and an illustrated interpretation of Persian classic The Conference of the Birds. An afternoon here is a visual treat for all, but adventures are for those who let their imagination run wild in the literary wilderness. 3 Yong Siak St.