Sunday, July 27, 2014

China has "cool" bookstores

China is a nation of readers. It's not unusual to see people reading a book on the subway or on a park bench.

There's lots of bookstores, crammed with books, magazines and other reading materials. Still, it was a surprise to find a couple of bookstores in China had made a CNN list of the world's coolest bookstores.

The Librairie Avant-Garde was named China's most beautiful bookstore. It is located in a former bomb shelter in an underground parking garage in Nanjing. The well-lit store features a counter built out of old books while tables are stacked high with new books.

The 1200 Bookstore in Guangzhou also made the list. It is open 24 hours, but earned its coolest selection because it also offers backpackers a free place to stay at night. The store does ask the overnight guests to participate in seminars at midnight.

When I lived in Beijing, I shopped for books mostly at the Foreign Languages Bookstore on Wangfujing. Books were cheap, and I bought so many on Chinese history and cooking I filled three boxes when it came time to ship them home.

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