. reading session @ booksactually .


Open A Book
by Jane Baskwill

Open a book
And you will find
People and places of every kind
Open a book
And you can be
Anything that you want to be:
Open a book
And you can share
Wondrous worlds you find in there
Open a book
And I will too
You read to me
And I’ll read to you.


Friday the 13th. BooksActually presenting a reading session on Bubble G.U.M, a new novel written by a local group called theΒ Happy Smiley Writers Group.

Nestled in the charming and enchanting street of Tiong Bahru (more specifically, Yong Siak Street), BooksActually is a name that is almost synonymous with local literature in Singapore. Book lovers will find it difficult not to fall instantly in love with this beautiful and quaint bookstore that has a vast collection of novels and literature journals under one roof. For non-book lovers, you will find yourself in a treasure trove of vintage trinkets (vintage film cameras!) and handmade stationery (produced under Birds & Co. – A stationery arm of BooksActually). In a society where most of us are obsessed with climbing the corporate ladder and making more money, it is inspiring to see young and daring entrepreneurs like Karen and Kenny who have taken a leap of faith to pursue a path that fuels their passion. In their case, the passion to share their love for books with fellow book lovers.

My good friend, Sara, is currently back in Singapore for a short vacation before she embarks on a new exciting chapter in her life. It has always been a dream of hers to pursue a Masters in Publishing and I couldn’t be happier for her that she has been accepted into the prestigious Masters program in Vancouver. Congrats my dear! πŸ™‚Β  To quote Brad from ladyironchef, “The different path is often lonely and difficult. Hang in there and do not give up.” It has been a challenging and trying journey for Sara for the past couple of years … Trying to strike a balance between managing an online magazine (Esque 21), working as an English tutor and taking up a stint as an editor for a friend’s children illustration book. Phew! I have always wonder how she gets the time and energy to do everything!

Anyway, I thought that it might be a wonderful idea to introduce Sara to BooksActually – A place of inspiration. This independent bookstore has certainly come a long way since its humble beginning in 2005. We were very lucky to spend some time chatting with both Karen and Kenny (the friendly owners – Thank you for taking the time to speak to us! ) about their journey in setting up BooksActually, the challenges that they face and the dreams that they have to bring it to greater heights! It was very obvious, through the short but insightful conversation, that the pair had to make a lot of sacrifices in order to turn their dreams into reality and a roaring success that it is today. To Kenny and Karen, it is never about sticking to the safe, practical and well-trodden path. Instead, it is about the creation of a life where work is something that they truly enjoy doing every single day.Β  Their commendable dedication to the local literary and arts community is certainly deserving of a standing ovation!



First Time: Attending a book reading and listening to snippets of the story narrated by 5 of the writers from the Happy Smiley Writers. Am certainly looking forward to more sharing sessions in the future.


Owners Karen & Kenny with their pet cat
BooksActually, a perfect example of the result of passion, perseverance and hard work.


*All pics except for the one at the reading credit to Rediscover Singapore. Thanks Lizzy for allowing me to use the pics πŸ™‚

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2 responses to “. reading session @ booksactually .

  1. Thanks for this post—books are my number one addiction! I have yet to check out the new BooksActually store in Tiong Bahru… I understand that they relocated from Club Street? Must go and have a look soon! Yay for the rise of independent book stores πŸ˜€

    • Hi πŸ™‚

      Thanks for your comment! Yes, BooksActually is currently located at Tiong Bahru (opposite 40hands!) while Birds and Co. (sells a wide range of handmade crafts and stationery) is located within Cineleisure! I’ve a strong feeling that you will fall instantly in love with the place too πŸ™‚

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