I swung by Booktique yesterday before it closes its chapter at Citylink Mall. I joined my friend and her colleagues from Ethos to surprise Anthony in his bookshop. It was a bittersweet feeling as I looked around the cosy, welcoming space for one last time.
The walls and shelves of books were witness to my first ‘author moment’, the embarrassing magazine feature photoshoot, and the times I’d just slip inside to be embraced by the warmth and comfort of books amidst the hubbub of the city life. I’ll always be indebted to Anthony, Booktique’s bespectacled and amiable owner, for being immensely supportive of self-published authors, and especially accommodating to Cherilyn and I when we contacted him to ask if we could use his space to do a soft launch for our debut poetry project, Quiet Mornings. Working with him was a breeze and he was always ready to lend his support. It was also the place I hung out and feasted my eyes on the array of interesting titles whenever I was around the area. Buying a book and having a cuppa at Starbucks conveniently located beside it is definitely one of the things I will miss.
I was hopeful and relieved to know that this will not be the end of Booktique’s journey – Anthony will bring it back to its book fair days and continue to share his love for books. And what filled me with hope even more was his parting word:
I will always support books that speak of the wellness of the heart; books that talk about kindness, compassion, art, culture, books that feed the soul. Books that I strongly believe in.
The presence of such bookshops are a barometer of a reading culture, and I can only hope it will never cease indefinitely. Books – physical books – still contain an immeasurable value, holding an inherent, experiential feature no e-books can offer. And I believe traditionalists, firm believers and pledgers of the printed word will continue to keep the art fiercely alive. It’s not a crime to read from a device, for any form of reading is greatly encouraged, but I’d like to think that books are to kindle what stairs are to escalators – the former requires more effort, but the result is a healthier & much more fulfilling one.
Well, a chapter might have closed but here’s looking forward to new beginnings!