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Emotional travel from the Stories of Small Bookstores

WriterAdministratorDate11/26/2018

- Tour of special small bookstores in autumn full of emotion -

 

 

For quite a long time, it was difficult to find bookstores in local neighborhoods, so it’s nice to see that community bookstores of diverse themes and shapes have appeared recently. Let’s meet some of the unique community bookstores and special reading spaces in Gyeonggi-do in this late autumn season.

 

 

#Special community bookstores in Gyeonggi-do

1. Bookstore Thirty in Suwon


 


Bookstore Thirty is located in one side of a quiet alley in a residential area situated well away from the main road. It’s just a plain alley and I would have passed by the place without realizing it if I hadn’t seen the small sign reading 'COFFEE BOOK'. Standing in front of the bookstore, I could see another wood standing sign about the size of a sketch book that reads ‘Bookstore Thirty’. The word “thirty” is an emotional word that may recall the various incidents we experienced around that age. Inside the store, the bookshelves installed on one side of the wall catch my eye. There are some books written by famous writers of
major publishing houses, but most of the books were published by indie publishers.
Characterized by crude designs and rough covers, books such as Understand Everything in the World as It Is, Man of the Month, and A Collection of Writings not Selected in the Annual Spring Literary Contest, etc. are gems that cannot be found easily in larger bookstores. Reading the handwritten memos of the authors put on the covers of the books, I could feel their warm-heartedness. As its name suggests, this community bookstore
café

is run by two 30-year-old men, and you can enjoy reading over a cup of coffee and a donut amid its cozy atmosphere. The bookstore also runs various programs including the Reading and Transcription Club, in which participants note phrases from poems and other writings that they want to keep in mind for a long time and the ‘My only flash fiction’, an introductory program for prospective authors, etc. After reading a book, it is possible to exchange it with another one in the 'Bookstore Relay’ corner.

Address: 79, Yeongtong-ro, 174beon-gil, Yeongtong-gu, Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do

Website: instagram.com/30books

Opening hours: 10:00~22:00

Price: Americano KRW 3,800, CA PHE SUA DA (Vietnamese condensed milk coffee) KRW 4,000, Homer Simpson Donut KRW 3,700

 

 

2. My Life Bookstore in Uijeongbu


 

 


The ‘My Life Bookstore’ is located in an apartment complex in Millak-dong, a new city in Uijeongbu. The bookstore was opened with the purpose of bringing together book lovers and helping people who have lost their way in life to find a new direction through books. The bookstore also aims to provide books sought by many members of the local community in its capacity as a community bookstore. As mothers and children usually come to the bookstore mostly in the morning, the number of fairy tale books and picture books has increased. What is particularly noticeable are the memos attached here and there on the bookshelves. Outstanding quotes from the books or brief book reviews are written on the memos in cute and sincere hagandwriting. The memos are designed to help visitors with their book choices while conveying the warm and thoughtful regard of the bookstore’s owner.

The very existence of a small community bookstore in a residential area is very meaningful at a time when bookstores are becoming increasingly rare, as it has become a gathering space naturally sharing talents and ultimately, makes local community stronger. The ‘My Life Bookstore’ also offers various special programs for the community. Mothers who belong to the Storybook Reading Club hold special lecture classes by inviting professors majoring in ancient literature, while the members of the transcription club invite writers to hold the Book Talk Shows. In addition, one member of the bookstore who is also a cook offers a one-day cooking class. The bookstore is as fragrant as the thick coffee that you can enjoy while reading the books.

Address: 85, Songhyeon-ro, 82beon-gil, Uijeongbu-si, Gyeonggi-do

Tel.: +82-31-852-0410

Website: life-book.blog.me

Opening hours: 09:30~20:00 (12:00~20:00 on weekends; Closed on the 2nd  and 4th Saturday of every month and national holidays)

Price: All beverages KRW 3,000, Monthly KRW 5,000 for Namu members

 

 

 

 

3. Tasha Bookshop in Gwacheon


Situated in Gwacheon, Tasha Bookshop mainly deals with picture books. The owner, worked as a picture book editor, named the bookstore after Tasha Tudor, an author of picture books for children living with nature, in the hope of spending whole life with books like her. As you enter the store, the sky-blue bookshelves on all the walls and the colorful props are bound to catch your eye. The appearance of reserved books placed in travel bags is also very impressive. It shows the excitement of the books before starting on their travels.

Tasha Bookshop is a complex cultural space not just a bookshop as people can read as much as they want enjoying beverages and it runs various cultural programs for the general public. In particular, lots of gatherings and workshops here are developing the local community. Interesting programs that can stimulate the curiosity of children are offered such as ‘Making picture books’ and ‘Making an alligator’ together with the writer of “Alligator Mother”. It also runs various classes for adults as well as popular humanities classes. The Korean history for the parents of elementary and middle school students, a special lecture on world history, a book talk about the psychology of picture books conducted together with the author, etc. have been performed so far this year. In November, the ‘Philosophy Class of Tasha Bookshop’ will be conducted with the theme of ‘The meeting of philosophy and picture’. The community bookstore is popular with mothers not only in Gwacheon but also in many of the neighboring cities.

 

Address: 3F, Silla Shopping Center, 37, Byeoryangsangga 1-ro, Gwacheon-si, Gyeonggi-do

Tel.: +82-2-502-5343

Website: blog.naver.com/lacon71

Opening hours: 09:00~21:00 (11:00~18:00 on weekends and holiday)

Price: Americano KRW 3,900, Café Latte KRW 5,000, Philosophy Class KRW 50,000 (including 5 lectures and beverages)


#A Special Reading Space in Gyeonggi-do

 

1. Forest of Wisdom in Paju



 

 

Paju Book City is the mecca of books and publishing in Korea. Here, the ‘Forest of Wisdom’, an open library, is a very special space. You will feel as if you were thrown into a vast forest of books amid magnificent bookshelves that reach up to the high ceiling and all kind of books. The Forest of Wisdom is largely divided into three sections: Forest of Wisdom 1 contains books donated by scholars, intellectuals and experts. As the bookshelves are organized by donor, not by ordinary categories, it shows all the books read and written by the donors at a glance, thus enabling visitors to commune with the life of each donor through books. Forest of Wisdom 2 is composed of books donated by publishing houses. Here you can see the flow and history of publication in Korea based on classification by each publisher. Finally, Forest of Wisdom 3,' which is also the lobby of the Jijihyang guest house, is decorated with books donated by publishing houses, art galleries and museums. Notably, bookworms can enjoy a leisurely time with books even into the early hours of the morning in the special reading space at Wisdom of Forest 3, which is open 24/7. The Forest of Wisdom is also equipped with various convenience facilities including a Booksori bookstore, Bomulseom used bookstore, a used bookstore, a café, a restaurant, etc.

 

Address: Asia Publication Culture & Information Center, 145, Hoedong-gil, Paju-si, Gyeonggi-do

Tel.: +82-31-955-0082

Website: forestofwisdom.or.kr

Opening hours: 10:00~17:00 / Forest of Wisdom 3 is open 24/7

 

 

Admission: Free


2. Walking Whale in Yangpyeong



‘Walking Whale’ is a cute and pretty community bookstore and is located in a quiet country house complex on the road to Yongmunsan Mountain, which is especially beautiful in autumn. If you enter the store via the small gate, you will find a world filled with books. You can select a book after looking around the bookshelves as if playing a treasure-hunt game in a fairy tale and take a seat beside the window to enjoy the autumnal landscape. The fragrant coffee comes free of charge if you buy a book. The place has emotional feel to create the ideal background for a selfie for your SNS. You will be amazed by how the owner has used the narrow space so effectively. ‘Walking Whale’ is run as a community bookstore until 6 p.m. After 6:00p.m, it is transformed into a ‘book stay’ space for one group. The book stay room located on the innermost side of the bookstore is equipped with a double bed, a wooden sofa, a small desk and a toilet. The picture book room is next to the book stay room. The duplex-type book stay room will make you feel as if you are reading books in a secret attic.
It will be a special day for children if they stay in the small pretty bookstore. Free breakfast is offered on the next morning at the table of the bookstore including bread, salad and coffee.

 

Address: 340-20, Yongmunsan-ro, Yongmun-myeon, Yangpyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do

Tel.: +82-31-771-7863

Website: blog.naver.com/whalestory3

Opening hours: 12:00~18:00

Price: Book Stay KRW 90,000 per person, KRW 110,000 for 2 persons, and KRW 150,000 for 4 or more persons (per room per night)
 


3. Paju Book Camp



‘Paju Book Camp’ is a place where visitors can heal themselves by reading in a clean natural environment. In fact, the campsite was created by remodeling an elementary school which had been closed and abandoned due to a fall in the number of students. Having been opened very recently, the campsite is clean and neat, and is equipped with plenty of convenient facilities. But there is another reason for its popularity: Books! A small library was set up in the building of the old school with more than 5,400 books for the children who visit the campsite to help them get more familiar with books. In addition, the place has received a favorable response by operating a variety of programs such as a family camping program, an experience program for children and adolescents, after-school activities, and a small library. The representative program is the ‘Three books a day’. Participants can enjoy various experiences and walking, as well as meetings with authors and a book talk show in the evening, after which they can participate in various events designed to encourage reading freely. All the programs are open to visitors, so they can choose any programs they want. The small library also runs a study program for elementary and middle school students and regular programs for local residents, such as ukulele classes and Hanji (Korean traditional paper) experience. This formerly quiet village has been reanimated by Paju Book Camp.

 

Address: 1315, Surihol-ro, Beobwon-eup, Paju-si, Gyeonggi-do

Tel.: +82-31-959-9506, 5050

Website: pajubookcamp.com