Librarie Advant-Garde has been listed as a top 10 most beautiful bookstore in the world by media like the BBC and CNN in the last several years, along with others like the famous Shakespeare & Company in Paris.
The bookstore, founded 20 years ago, now sits in an underground garage in Nanjing, Jiangsu province. The 4,000-quare-meter space houses more than 300,000 copies of books, mainly philosophy, literature, history and art.
The setting of Ernest Hemingway's short story, "A Clean Well-Lighted Place", can well describe the general atmosphere at Librarie Advant-Garde. But what is more, there are two black crosses hanging on the walls of the two entrances, creating pious solemnity—reading is a religion.
Taking a stroll around the whole space and picking up one or two your beloved books on a chilly, rainy day is one of the best activities for book lovers.
Eslite in Suzhou-苏州诚品书店
Eslite in Taiwan is a paradise for many book lovers. My friends who've been there said that it's the kind of place that once you enter, you can never easily leave.
As the brand's first bookstore in the mainland, Eslite in Suzhou is not simply a bookstore, although it houses about 500,000 copies of 150,000 book titles, of which one-third are from Taiwan. They have a special philosophy and organize books and the same-themed cultural creative products. Readers usually bump into surprises when they are searching for their books.
When you are tired, you can go to the café and order a pot of "On the Road", "Tender is the Night" or "Bonjour Tristesse".
Soon this year, maybe in summer, people in Shanghai will have their own Eslite. Are you ready?
Walking into the bookstore is like entering a sea of books, above the ceiling overhead, beneath the floor under your feet, in shelves on the walls, and under the steps of the staircases. All Zhongshuge bookstores are designed by the same architect, and the goal, first of all, is to build bookstores appealing to the eye. Looks matter.
It's a little bit noisy with so many tourists coming and taking pictures.
The Bookworm in Beijing-北京老书虫
It's a cozy place, several-minutes' walk from Sanlitun Village. Some people compare it to Shakespeare & Company in Paris because of the general antique style. The books are organized according to authors' names in ABC order. The Bookworm sells mostly English language books so the major customers here are foreigners.
You can buy new books, or borrow books from the store's library. Periodically, The Bookworm will host a series of book-related activities like its annual International Book Festival.
One Way Street Library-北京单向街
Many people might be familiar with the calendar by One Way Street, each black-and-white page having a quote from an author to represent a mood for the day. Many youths who love literature and art love the calendar.
When you go the bookstore, you will first see a whole wall of creepers and several street cats idling around. On the first floor are books and a café. The second floor is used to host activities. When you take enough spiritual food, you can feed the cats some food too.
Fang Suo Commune-广州方所书店
The entrance of Fang Suo is not big, but when you get in, you will find a very big but private space.
The space is carefully designed. In the center is the café, and outside of it is space for exhibition and plants. The outmost area is for books and fashion.
Poplar Kid's Republic-蒲蒲兰绘本馆
This fairyland of picture books sits in Beijing's CBD among the jungle of concrete office buildings. Kids are the major readers, so the design tries to inspire kids' curiosity to explore books.
Pushing the glass doors open, you will see drawings and craftworks by children hanging on the pink walls, which immediately leads you into a colorful world.
The floors are covered with carpets in seven colors. Children can crawl into cubbyholes in the shelves to read. Isn't there no better world for them than that which lets them hide from reality and explore a magical world in which they can be whoever they want?