EVERY avid reader knows the bliss of curling up in a cozy corner of their favorite bookshop to tackle into their latest literary conquest. Shanghai happens to have a plethora of fantastic book stores to choose from. Shanghai Daily has scoured the city for literary haunts and bookworm havens, and we’ve compiled our favorites into a nice, neat list for your perusal. Happy reading!
1984 Book Store
If you didn’t know it was there, it would be easy to pass right by this hidden gem. From the outside, it’s merely a black door and awning with “1984” printed unobtrusively on the right corner. Upon entering, however, one will discover a real diamond in the rough. The interior space is comprised of two rooms: the first features a fairly traditional cafe, while the second is an eclectic riot of color, with purple-padded straight-backed chairs, green arm chairs, blue windows and a long, wooden table surrounded by shelves of books.
In warmer months, 1984 opens their outdoor seating area — a literary garden, where guests can enjoy their cappuccinos and new literary selections amidst trees and flowers. This outdoor space has an added bonus for feline-loving bookworms; there are several playful cats that roam around and practically beg guests to pet them.
Address: 11 Hunan Rd
Located in the Reél Mall, it is perfect for the more artistically inclined bibliophile. The open-concept, L-shaped space is full of books about interior decorating, fashion and other design-related disciplines. The store itself is a reflection of its emphasis on design — everything from the light fixtures to the gleaming support pillars is done in clean lines and cohesive colors that, combined with the natural light coming in from huge windows, gives the space a bright, airy feel. It also has a gallery area and cafe toward the back, where guests can choose from a wide selection of cakes — all made in-house — and browse through a vast array of hand-made items that range from leather accessories to snow globes.
Address: 3/F, the Reél Mall, 1601 Nanjing Rd W.
Yan Ji You: Today’s Reading
It is situated on the B1 level of the Hubindao Shopping Center. The store is literally covered in books from floor to ceiling — where the standing shelves stop, shelving units built into the ceiling begin, and they’re all brimming with books just begging to be read. Yan Ji You also has a gallery space in the front of the store that boasts earthenware hour glasses, ceramic monkeys and much more.
When one ventures into the back, there is a children’s section to the left with a staircase to the attic storage room that is covered with toys and books. To the right is a cafe space with leather couches as well as traditional cushioned chairs and tables. This area is lit with hanging bulbs in addition to light streaming down from the ceiling which, accompanied by the desk-like tables in one corner of the room, create a cafe space that is pleasantly reminiscent of a library.
Address: B1/F, 150 Hubin Rd
Located on the third floor of the supersize Muji on Huaihai Road, it packs a literary wallop, despite its small size. The selection ranges from cook books to fashion guides, all arranged neatly on tall, wooden bookcases. Among the shelves are cushioned benches where customers can comfortably leaf through their selections. In true Muji style, everything is warmly illuminated for a comfortable reading experience.
As an added touch of artistic flare, the whole area is decorated with hanging crockery and hermetic jars filled with pasta and spices.
Address: 755 Huaihai Rd M.
L’s Book Cafe & Wine
In contrast with 1984, it is hard to miss thanks to its decorative bronzed sign. Don’t let the red awning out front fool you, though — you should enter through the outdoor, wicker-furnished cafe area on the left side. Once inside, readers and eaters alike are greeted by an inviting cafe furnished with framed paintings, leather button armchairs and Edwardian-print purple couches.
The books are arrayed on in-set shelves, with tiny display lights shining down to illuminate the multicolored covers and dust jackets. This space has many quaint corners where readers can ensconce themselves, be it with a friend, a sweet treat from the cafe, or a companion of the paper variety.
Address: 195 Changde Rd
If those mentioned above don’t quench your thirst for poetry and prose, here are some additional literary oases: