January 24: Thank you, Kinokuniya

One of the great things about Singapore is its vast bookstore, Kinokuniya. The main branch, located in Takashimaya Shopping Center on Orchard Road, is a goldmine of books. It’s so big that looking for a specific book could take hours, if not for the very convenient search stations located in the different corners of the store. There, you can type up a title or an author name and you will be promptly told if the book is in stock or not. If you’re in luck, the search station will point you to the right direction by showing you a map of the book’s location–one that you can print, in fact:

I cannot emphasize enough how much SELF-RESTRAINT it took not to buy all the books I wanted. There were four classifications of books that were calling out to me:

- Books that I’ve been looking for but have been unavailable in Manila (Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell)

- Books that I have but are in poor condition with no replacement available in Manila (Dune by Frank Herbert)

- Books that I have read before but have no copy of (The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin)

- Books that I’ve only seen now and look very interesting (The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson, Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch by Sally Bedell Smith)

There were a lot more that I wanted, but the ones in parentheses were the ones that I ended up having to choose from. I didn’t want to spend too much, plus I had luggage space to consider. Neri told me that Powerbooks has new stock of Cloud Atlas, so that was easy enough to let go of. In the end, I had to settle for these:

Really, I only wanted Ender’s Game but somehow there was the entire series, waiting for me. I got intrigued by these books because my friend Nicolo explained the basic plot to me a few months ago. Since then, I’ve been looking for the first book unsuccessfully in bookstores back home. I was disappointed initially because the Kinokinuya database kept saying it didn’t have Ender’s Game, but good thing Pat explored the sci-fi section and found this complete set.

A movie adaptation of the first book is said to be coming out soon, starring Harrison Ford and a bunch of kid actors, so I suppose it’s only a matter of time before copies of this book find their way back to Manila. Until then, I’m relieved to finally have my own.

I was looking for another young adult book when I found The Westing Game, but once I did, I was sure I had to buy it. Honestly, I can’t remember the plot of the story at all, but I read this when I was maybe eleven or twelve and I recall having been completely blown away by it. (It just occurred to me at this very moment that there was another novel by Ellen Raskin, Clockwork, that I’ve also been looking for since forever but I completely forgot to look it up earlier! Oh well.) The first and last copy of The Westing Game that I read was borrowed from my grade school library, so I just couldn’t resist getting one for myself.

It was definitely painful to leave Kinokuniya without all the books I wanted. Still, so thankful with these finds! Hope I’m able to read them soon, especially considering that I have so many unread books at home. We’ll see!