1 Start at Wardah Books (58 Bussorah Street) in Kampong Glam, an area that was once the heart of the Malay printing and publishing scene. Nineteen-year-old Wardah specialises in books on Muslim issues, from theological texts to works about the Rohingya crisis.
2 Pop into Books Kinokuniya Bugis Junction (03-09 Bugis Junction, 200 Victoria Street), a more compact version of the main Ngee Ann City outlet, with a ceiling based on the map of the surrounding area.
3 Wend your way down North Bridge Road towards City Book Room (03-10 North Bridge Centre, 420 North Bridge Road), a cosy nook of Chinese literature that publishes the likes of Cultural Medallion recipient Yeng Pway Ngon. It also has a wide selection of books by migrant worker writers.
4 Set aside plenty of time for Bras Basah Complex (231 Bain Street), the fabled City of Books that you could spend a whole afternoon getting lost in, from the Popular Pop@Central flagship (04-23/33) to the secondhand troves of Evernew Book Store (01-07) and Book Point (02-69).
The complex is home to venerable Chinese-language bookstores such as Union Book Co (03-01), Maha Yu Yi (03-07/11) – which has both an adult section and a cheery children’s shop – and Xinhua Cultural Enterprises (02-101), tucked away at the edge of the building. If you are lucky, you may get to chat with Xinhua founder Yeo Oi Sang, 81, a veteran of the Chinese book industry.
At the top of the building is Basheer Graphic Books (04-19), a warren of delights for the keen-eyed design or architecture enthusiast. Born out of the suitcases that its founder Basheer Ahamed carried door-to-door in the 1980s, today it stocks elegant art books from publishers like Phaidon and Taschen.
5 To continue the trail to Chinatown, take bus services 51, 61, 63, 80, 145, 197 or 851 from opposite the National Library to opposite Hong Lim Complex. This should take 10 minutes. You can also walk down North Bridge and South Bridge roads for 25 minutes.
Grab a coffee or a humorously named drink (Grape Expectations, anyone?) at The Moon (37 Mosque Street), where books by women and authors of colour are the star draw. Pick up a tarot deck or sign up for a guided meditation workshop while you are there.
6 If you are feeling peckish, head over to Huggs-Epigram Coffee Bookshop (01-01 The URA Centre, 45 Maxwell Road for its new set meal inspired by Epigram’s cookbook Wet Market To Table by Pamelia Chia, which includes fish with borlotti beans and snake gourd lemon cake. Huggs-Epigram is the only bookstore to entirely sell books by Singaporeans, published in Singapore or about Singapore.
7 In a quiet corner of Duxton Hill is Littered With Books (20 Duxton Road), where you can find Post-its on the shelves with recommendations from the staff and a crime section upstairs complete with a body outline on the floor. 8 Wind down at Grassroots Book Room (25 Bukit Pasoh Road), a Chinese-language bookshop founded in 1975 and reopened in 1995 by Yeng Pway Ngon and revived in 2014 by three of his fans. At in-house cafe Katasumi Koohii, you can tuck into coffee and cake with a book in hand – though do buy the book first.
8 Wind down at Grassroots Book Room (25 Bukit Pasoh Road), a Chinese-language bookshop founded in 1975 and reopened in 1995 by Yeng Pway Ngon and revived in 2014 by three of his fans. At in-house cafe Katasumi Koohii, you can tuck into coffee and cake with a book in hand – though do buy the book first.
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