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The book store is located in South Point Mall, Gurugram, India
Why are libraries considered boring? Perhaps it is where one has to maintain social conduct of the highest order. If you have read Emily Post’s e-book on etiquette, you might have noticed how much attention she gives to observing a form of social conduct for every type of occasion. I have not found a chapter on library etiquette, but I’m sure it was written. I will surely share, if I happen to find it. However, talking is a tempting option by default where large libraries stocked like an apothecary are concerned (Emily Post also defines what could be called boring in any context). Struck as too complicated, they do not seem like the kind of places a person would be at, when they are free. Unfortunately, those well-stocked book temples and havens leave a very dull impact on the passerby.
I have sat down in one of the oldest libraries for divinity and theology, considerably boring subjects, in New College at The University of Edinburgh. But the library is so mesmerizing to be at that a dull subject can also seem infinitely interesting. The library has been visited by Scottish authors who studied at The University of Edinburgh. I dare you to be bored for a second in that space. The librarian’s perspective should be noted here, who believe that very talented writers are not only mad geniuses, they are wonderfully impacted by the thriving and stimulating nature of such libraries that inspire beyond imagination. The setting plays a huge role in the quality of writing, and New College library is one of the few, great libraries where many academics might choose to write, as long as there are no seating restrictions.
Then are some libraries which are simply around for your leisure. That is not to say they are less important. Quite the contrary, in fact. Any ordinary man or woman can partake in the ritual of browsing the books that interest the mental faculties. Most often, they are known as book stores. Unlike a library which is stocked with thousands of contributions made by countless organisations and individuals, the book store reflects the tastes, personalities and character of a selected few individuals who are behind the creation of the book store. Just like we say that handwriting tells you everything about a person, book stores are also evidence of the makers’ characteristics. There is some evidence for these arguments, and so they both are popular points of discussion in the literary world. If the flourish is neat, meticulous and elegant, then the handwriting must reflect a person of the same nature. Similarly, if a book store contains the most eclectic variety of books, it must be managed by people of like characteristics. In comparison to a library, a book store is easier to navigate and by and large, it is the popular option instead of a library, where investing time can be unduly challenging in the present day due to our decreasing attention spans. I talk of my own generation, precisely. Three visits to the library in a week during university days and before you know it, the library-goer is mocked for being nerdy by friends.
However, how I have missed those library visits after college. But then today, I visited the most astounding book store in South Point mall in Gurugram. It is small and well-stocked. The book store was so beautiful that I naturally felt inclined to throw as many questions about its inception as I could gather in my head. Usually, I do not act in a totally unrestrained manner when I am in public, but when I find something off the radar, I am a bizarre mix of curious, talkative, impatient, excited and loud. It is not considered ideal but anyway. What is also not considered very suitable, according to so many people, is the presence of a book store designed traditionally in a mall. But that is the beauty of this little gem I discovered. Harboring rare books belonging to the 1900s, this book store is located next to crowd-pleasing shops and restaurants. You wouldn’t think that a book store which stocks the first edition of Don Quixote could be found inside a commercial centre. But that is the coolness of this wonderful place! What would inspire the owner to do something like this?
Travel experience, perhaps. There are many examples of this juxtaposition found in cities in Europe. Cobbled streets which are filled with pubs and restaurants are also home to some of the oldest book shops that exude a beautiful and delicate vibe.
On Nicolson Street in Edinburgh, Blackwell’s is the most brilliant example of a delightful, old book store that thrives for its eclectic and intriguing selection of books, yet it is surrounded by a large theatre in the vicinity meant for offering grand entertainment. Somehow, Chapter 101 took me back to this street in Edinburgh – a city that is dear to my heart because it is where I learned so much about the brilliant art of writing at The University of Edinburgh. It is also the city where J.K Rowling was struck by the idea of writing the Harry Potter series. The arrival of 101 Chapter in Gurugram announces to all of those who have done their fair bit of traveling around Europe that here is a piece of style, culture and old-world charm in India. I am so sure that nothing like this exists in India yet. So intricately designed and so amazing.
There is a need for bringing the reading culture to India, and it should be perceived with a new mindset. Investing time in building such kind of beautiful spaces (not necessarily designed in European style only) make it possible for non-readers to take joy in the task of establishing reading as a dignified hobby. In an age of swipe, reading is occasionally overlooked or misinterpreted as a hobby of least importance. Let’s change that by bringing such cool book stores to the city.
Here are some amazing things to know about Chapter 101 officially published on their website: https://www.chapter101.in/pages/about