Thursday, September 14, 2006

My Shop around the Corner

When I was studying for my Masters in Pennsylvania, there was a cozy little bookstore near campus where I found pleasure browsing through its row upon row of books scattered in a seemingly random fashion. The intimacy of this small, non-chain-style bookshop made it a frequent hub for a few students, like myself, who, though awed by places like Barnes and Noble and Walden books, nevertheless found this friendly place more appealing to the mind/eye.

A few years later Meg Ryan reminded me of that place in her own Shop around the Corner. I was again lured by the idea of a small, snug, selective bookshop that serves its customers both books and expertise on these books. A cup of tea of coffee accompanying that expertise would make it more inviting for customers too, allowing them to ‘hang out’ while looking for books.

And then Shurouq introduced me to Qurtas. Being mainly a reader of English literature, I was not previously familiar with the place. And though I went there only once or twice, I find that this store does seem to offer a more or less similar version (if in Arabic) of what I want in a bookshop as it provides a few seating arrangements for its customers. The difference is in the atmosphere that Arabic books provide, different from that of English prints.

I want my own little shop around the corner, more intimate than Virgin and Jareer, more international than Qurtas, and feeding both brains and taste buds.

This post is dedicated to Shopa who reminded me that it's time for a new post. And what better than a post about a shop for our very own Shopaholic?


Shopaholic Q8eya said...

;* You know I am a "Bookaholic" as well.

I love those cozy little bookstore, they always have this nice feeling to it. I am still looking for my shop around the corner where I am now.

I love Qurtas, when I first went there I was like how come I never heared of the place.

I don't like Virgin, and Jarir is good for buying books not actually spending time. I think we should demand the opening of more bookstore in Kuwait.

Jacqui said...

Did you ever pass by Q8Books? It's a nice bookstore, I liked how its in a corner itself and stuff like that ;P

Need the address just ask and I'll point u to where it is, if not then check out their online website which tells you what books they've got well some of them

Jandeef said...

Did you know you can hang out at Qurtas and order Chay 7aleeeb from the neighboring Gahwat Bu Nashi by phone and they deliver it?!

That's the oldest Kuwaiti "coffee shop", so it adds to the experience.

Shopaholic Q8eya said...

Jandeef I did that LOL, the first time I went they ordered us tea with milk along some traditional kuwaiti sweets. We were lectured on old Kuwait and then read some books. It was great!

Hanan, did I mention that I also love that movie? and I love Meg Ryan!

3asal said...

Hanoona, excuse my ignorance, but I’m so naive when it comes to Arabic books, but lately I’ve developed a passion to Arabic literature, thanks to blogworld. Where is Qurtas located?

Hanan said...

shopa. Let's make that our new rally. What color should we use this time? purple?

jacqui. Thanks for the info. I don't know the place but the website looks promising. I'll check it out soon.

jandeef. shawagti for a visit there again. It think I'll make some time to check that chai-7aleeb next week.

3asal. it's at mubarakia, the old souk place. check it out. I'm a late Arabic book reader myself. I think Amin Maalouf was my initial entrance into that.

White Wings said...

this has been my long-lost project ever since I came back to Kuwait, and hubby makes fun of it. He asks who would buy a book from you if they can read it while sipping tea at your store?
yout think he's right?
I also am still thinking about the tea store, remember that one? :)

antihero said...

Right across Qurtas... Dar Dawood. Antique books.. English, Arabic, French, Turkish, German.. antique posters, antique buttons! And antique magazines and newspapers.

Alia said...

I'm ashamed .. I like arabic books but never been to Qurtas ... take me with u ... will u?

as for the Meg Ryan's bookshop .. I loved it ...

عندي خوش فكرة... نطلع شروق من دارها ونحول دارها لمكتبة صغيرونة
& ta da .. the perfect cozy bookshop around the corner

kila ma6goog said...

شخصيا لا زلت افضل امازون

امس طالب 11 كتاب منهم, فعلا مخترع هالسايت انقذ حياتي

مشكلة جرير و فيرجن ان التشكيلة قليلة جدا و قديمة نوعا ما , و أخيرا معظم الكتب الممتازة ممنوعة بالكويت

أذكر قبل كم سنة صارت ضجة على الكتب الممنوعة و تسربت لستة الكتب الممنوعة

معظمها يدور في فلك اللاهوت و فلسفة الأديان و هالسوالف

من بين مئة كتاب , لقيت بس واحد فعلا يستحق المنع و هو الكموسوترا


يستاهل المنع لأني ألريدي شاريه من لندن

أمازون و نيل و فرات أفضل الموجود حاليا

phoenix said...

If you find a "shop around the corner" here in kuwait, would you let me know?

Sedna said...

Waiting for that bookstore to open ;)

ScarlO said...

me too! me too!
(ahem, seconding sedna)

let them eat cake! said...

its hard to have that cozy shop, how can one create such an atmosphere in our gigantic ugly mall culture. I wish kuwait had a little bit of bahrain in it, the way they have cute areas of cafes and shops in old houses, the behbehani houses in sharg are the closest thing to that.. it would be great if we would stop tearing down our history to build huge high rise buildings.. wishing you the best.. start that book shop.. we are in need!

Shopaholic Q8eya said...

Purple? Oh GOD NO! I look bad in purple. Hmm Blue we already did, orange we alreday did, yellow we used for POWs, hmm how about RED? Bright Red? I always look great in red and usualy other ppl look bad. This way I make sure I always look better ;P

Anonymous said...

shall i tell u something? ur blog is so beautiful. my fav. though, something here is bothering me, u know the post titled CHinese Film week? there is a nasty comment by an it, called alzamamer. it doesn't deserve to be on ur blog. would u please delete it? ur blog is too dear to let dust accumulate in its corners. sorry if i sounded bossy :/

ولاّدة said...

أمنية حياتي
أن تنشر لي دار قرطاس رواية

ما له علاقة بموضوعك بس دامنا نتكلم عن الأحلام فهذا حلمي

Shopaholic Q8eya said...

W., if its your dream then you should contact the owner! Need contact info?

The Simper said...

a friend of mine with his partners are trying to have this little cozy corner bookstore .. they almost done everything.. except the governmental routine!

check this site..

and they got the idea after the movie "uv got mail"

i still keep wishing them the best of luck with the licensing procedures thingy in our advanced governemt that pushes our people for those lovely projects!!