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There's nothing like a good book

IN this age of explosive information and the Internet, when you can browse a borderless world with a hand-held device while you're on the go, and you can find the most obscure facts on your touch-screen, there's still nothing like a good book.

And there's nothing like a calm and cozy place to read it, maybe sipping coffee, looking at art and appreciating relics of old Shanghai.

Books remain an important medium for transmitting cultural legacy and though Shanghai is very much on-the-go, there are still oases of reading.

They say that to know a city, one has to visit its local bookstores. You can't afford to miss out on Shanghai's bookstores if you want to know what makes this city something special.

They may not be comprehensive, but they are definitely worth visiting. If you are into contemporary literature, lots of trendy bookstores offer the "it" book of the moment.

More often than not, designer art crafts are presented along with the books, and these items are popular among young people. In fact, some bookstores are so hot that anyone would want to be a bookworm in them.

For the incorrigible nostalgic, Shanghai has a lot to offer. Old-fashioned bookstores are mostly decorated in old Shanghai style. An antique piano or a music box evokes the distinctive culture of the city. Like the classic Chanel camellia, old bookstores never go out of fashion. They reflect the quality of Shanghai.

Don't worry about the language barrier. We believe you will find books to interest you in these three bookstores we have selected.

Han Yuan Bookstore Cafe

Sitting in the Han Yuan Bookstore Cafe takes you back to the good old days, the days when you could idle in the yard in the lazy days of summer, when time seemed to pass slowly and nobody was in a rush. Situated on a street known for its typical Shanghai-style residences and many publishing houses, the nostalgic-filled bookstore was opened in 1997 by well-known photographer Deke Erh. At the time he had just held a photography exhibition titled "Deke Erh's Shanghai - A Bird's Eye View." The interior decoration mingles Ease-West styles. You can feel the essence of Shanghai style at your fingertips. All the books are specially selected, mostly rare art and literature books, reflecting the owner's artistic tastes. The specialty bookstore has a large selection of books on Shanghai's rich culture and interesting customs. In addition, you come across furnishings and ornaments from Erh's collection, including an antique tea set, cameras and a Bible. It's a great place to chill, chat or have an indulgent "me time."

Opening hours: 10am-12pm

Address: 27 Shaoxing Rd

Te: 6473-2526

Garden Books - arts to gelato

This book cafe in an elegant downtown neighborhood was once a villa with a beautiful garden. Garden Books provides an extensive selection of English-language books and literature, including mysteries, non-fiction titles, Chinese-themed cultural novels, American magazines, tour guides, language aids, and a considerable collection of cookbooks, art and interior design books. The selection is constantly updated to meet the demand of foreign community residents. Publications in German, French and Spanish are also available. There's a nice cafe on site serving gelato, coffee and other snacks. In addition, Garden Books provides postcard mailing services to customers, the fee ranging from 1 yuan (15 US cents) to 4 yuan, according to destination.

Opening hours: 10am-10pm

Address: 325 Changle Rd

Tel: 5404-8729

Point To Life - it's like a gallery

You will definitely feel as though you are in an art gallery when you step into Point To Life. The artistic vibe is intoxicating. The main interior color is green, giving it a fresh chic look. Its book shelves are always filled with the trendiest imported books, mainly focusing on art, architecture and design. Popular customer choices include magazines like Wallpaper, Monocle, Mogu and ppaper. Aside from the books, visitors may be inspired by the exquisitely stylish daily necessities in the store such as bags, coffee sets, small and long-stemmed glasses. These art crafts are by some of the most creative designers from around the world. One of them is famous Japanese designer Shinzi Katoh whose products are aimed at generating happy thoughts; they strike the perfect balance between trend and practicality. Many people come here for the well-known Moleskine "legendary notebook," one that has contained the inspirations and jottings luminaries such as Van Gogh, Picasso, Hemingway and famed travel author Bruce Chatwin.

Opening hours: 10am-9:30pm

Address: Unit 9101, Bldg 9, Bridge 8, 25 Jianguo Rd M.

Tel: 6137-9388


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