November is gearing up to pack a punch of exciting literature-based events! From the Georgetown Literary Festival (GTLF), to the globally-loved National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), turning to the arts for a feel-good time or just to re-centre ourselves is due a refreshing.
Not only will we be supporting local bookstores in staying alive through this uncertain period, taking the time to reconnect with our imagination can do wonders in keeping us sane throughout this uncertain era.
Here are some local bookstores that deserve all the love!
As Kuala Lumpur’s largest second-hand bookstore (over a whopping 3 million books under one roof!), its surprising to realise how underrated this hidden gem is.
A walk through this three-story shop will uncover many out-of-prints, Malayan history, and if you really hunt for it, first-editions!
Unfortunately this bookstore is very independently run, thus not possessing resources to shift online. Buying books here is a physical affair, so be mindful of SOPs when you visit!
Address: 78, Jalan Tun H S Lee, City Centre, 50050 Kuala Lumpur
Operating hours: 8.30am – 3.00pm (Monday – Friday), 8.30am – 2.00pm (Saturday), Closed on Sundays and public holidays
Tel: 03-2078 3822
Run by a couple with strong journalistic and bibliophile backgrounds, Lit Books offer collections of critically acclaimed pieces across the English Asian and Western literature scene.
Handpicked from both classic and modern titles of both fiction and non-fiction, over 1,700 titles are available for all your reading needs. No doubt local award-winning novels such as The Weight of Our Sky by Hannah Alkaf and How the Man in Green Saved Pahang by Joshua Kam, two notable authors of GTLF-featured are available!
Address: P-1-11 Tropicana Avenue, Casa Tropicana, 12, Persiaran Tropicana, Tropicana, 47410 Petaling Jaya
Opening hours: Differ due to CMCO
Tel: 03-7886 6988
Located in the beating heart of the Malaysian literature scene, Areca Books has been a strong Penang-based supporter of the indie publishing scene. Countering the watered-down, general omittance of Malaysia’s official textbooks, local authors, historians, and culture is the main focus here.
Academic researchers will find this bookstore a familiar comfort, as social memory from the bygone times of Old Malaya still survive through Areca’s collection. Those looking for carefully put-together accounts of snuffed events such as the 13th May incident, the flooding of Merdeka square, the history of Borneo, and more will find this bookstore a haven.
Address: 72, Lebuh Acheh, 10200 Penang
Opening hours: 10am – 6pm (Wednesday – Sunday), closed on Monday and Tuesday
Grown from a tiny corner lot in Summit USJ mall to one of Malaysia’s favourite go-to outlets for the latest and greatest in the literature scene, Bookalicious has helped many get in touch with their reading habits at all ages and walks of life.
Specialising in bundles and YA, hype is what this bookstore understands! Ask nicely, and some limited-edition releases will also be up for grabs. Update your coffee book game, or get into the best-sellers and show off on your social media!
Address: Lot G22 Ground Floor, The Summit USJ Mall, 47600 Subang Jaya
Opening hours: Temporarily closed since MCO and CMCO announcements
Tel: 012-295 2290
The brains behind Southeast Asia’s biggest book sale event, the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale (which is going online this year!), the title of Malaysia’s Best Bookstore is well earned. Offering titles at 95% discounts, BookXcess has made literacy affordable to every income level in Malaysia.
With an extensive collection ranging from children’s learning to classics for young adults, and fiction for adults, no one is left behind in reading, learning, and imagining.
A highly-involved presence at this year’s George Town Literary Festival, Tintabudi was founded by one who truly understands and makes an effort to keep the local creative scene alive.
Nurturing the preservation and evolution of Malay literature, and now the rest of the world, Tintabudi specialises in humanities, philosophy, history, and arts, something of great value and aid to NaNoWriMo writers! Adding to this great collective is an initiative of online book discussions on their social media pages.
Address: Currently closed due to CMCO
Opening hours: 11am – 7pm
Tel: 012-231 1472
Literally translating to ‘move culture’, Gerakbudaya is a notable independent bookstore featuring critical perspectives and buried history of Malaysia, Southeast Asia, and the world as we know it.
From Malayan history, Bersih rallies, religious discourse, and other essentials one must be informed on, Gerakbudaya is the place for more than just conversational pieces important to the country’s fabric of history and culture.
Address: 2, Jalan Bukit 11/2, Seksyen 11, 46200 Petaling Jaya
Opening hours: 10am – 6pm (Monday and Tuesday), 10am – 7pm (Wednesday – Sunday)
Tel: 03-7957 8342
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