RIFFRAFF: Providence Bookstore, Coffeeshop, and Bar

RIFFRAFF: Providence Bookstore, Coffeeshop, and Bar

TRAVEL BY BOOKSTORE: CONVERSATIONS WITH INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORES NEAR & FAR

Riffraff is Providence, Rhode Island’s newest literary haunt, a relaxed, open space where shoppers can choose between a popular cookbook and the newest Indonesian novel translated into English, then settle down with a themed drink to dive into its pages. The establishment is owned by translator Emma Ramadan and former editor, publicist, and publisher Tom Roberge, and the duo’s literary backgrounds permeate Riffraff’s stock to create a heartfelt, unique selection of both international and domestic literary voices that are sure to spark conversation and cultivate community—like as not, over a pint.

Aaliya's Books

Aaliya's Books

TRAVEL BY BOOKSTORE: CONVERSATIONS WITH INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORES NEAR & FAR

On any given night at Aaliya's, a Beirut-based bookstore, you might encounter Gaelic dancing, a jazz quartet, or half-priced nightcaps. For Aaliya's founders, the space is as much community gathering point as it is bookstore: a place to celebrate creatives and the work they produce. Always on offer is a seasonal lunch or a snack from the café, a wide selection of drinks at the bar, and—of course—an excellently-chosen selection of English-language new and used books.

Librairie des Colonnes

Librairie des Colonnes

TRAVEL BY BOOKSTORE: CONVERSATIONS WITH INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORES NEAR & FAR

Located in Tangier, the Librairie des Colonnes is a Moroccan literary institution that has been known to attract major writers from all over the world, including Samuel Beckett, Truman Capote, and Tennessee Williams. Today, the bookstore remains a vital part of literary life in Morocco and beyond through not only the wide variety of books it offers in numerous languages, but also through its role as a publishing house and Nejma, its affiliated literary magazine.

In this feature, we speak with bookstore director Simon-Pierre Hamelin about the store’s past and present, and the work he’s doing now to create literary and cultural links between the global centers of Arabic publishing.

Bleak House Books

Bleak House Books

TRAVEL BY BOOKSTORE: CONVERSATIONS WITH INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORES NEAR & FAR

Founded in February 2017, Bleak House Books is the brainchild of husband and wife pair Albert Wan and Jenny Smith. Located in San Po Kong, Kowloon in Hong Kong, the bookshop offers visitors a carefully curated selection of new and used English language books (as well as vintage comics and sheet music!), and acts as a refuge for local and foreign booklovers alike. Books are available for purchase on the shop’s website, which also features striking art from Bleak House Books’ talented “Artist in Residence,” Vicky Nunn.

In this feature, we talk with co-owner Albert Wan about building community, promoting local authors, and what it really means to get the “Bleak House Books Treatment.”

Books Actually

Books Actually

TRAVEL BY BOOKSTORE: CONVERSATIONS WITH INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORES NEAR & FAR

Located in Singapore’s Tiong Bahru district, BooksActually is an independent bookstore that offers a plethora of options to engage with literature and the surrounding community: from local authors to best-sellers, from poetry readings to mini exhibitions, pop-up stores to book fairs, a boutique publishing house to a book vending machine. Established by Kenny Leck and Karen Wei in 2005, BooksActually has now become a significant advocate for Singapore’s literary culture.

The Wild Detectives

The Wild Detectives

TRAVEL BY BOOKSTORE: CONVERSATIONS WITH INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORES NEAR & FAR

The Wild Detectives is a place where you can order a book, and instead of paying shipping, the owners will buy you a drink when you come to pick it up. This bookstore-bar venue first took root in conversations between two Spanish civil engineers, Javier García del Moral and Paco Vique, who wanted to create a space for bar-inspired conversations and books to collide. Since opening in 2014, they’ve been lauded by D Magazine as Best Bookstore for 3 consecutive years, were invited to give a TedTalk at University of Texas in Arlington, and launched a #LitBait campaign that went viral.

Sait Ibiši on Literature of the Balkans

Sait Ibiši on Literature of the Balkans

READ INTERNATIONAL: CURATED READING LISTS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Nestled between Europe proper and Asia Minor, the Balkan Peninsula has witnessed countless nations form and dissolve. It has served not only as a crucible of European and Asian peoples and cultures, but a crossroads where Eastern and Western civilizations came together, whether in war or in peace, to share different ideas and beliefs in the same space. This complicated coexistence, at times either harmonious or tense, has given the Balkans its unique multicultural identity, and is reflected in the modern literature of the region, which is rich in reference to these various intersecting and interlocking cultures. Here is my "Balkan literature starter pack" of five novels, each written by a personally-chosen representative of the most numerous of Balkan nations.

Special Feature: Interview with the Editors of National Translation Month

Special Feature: Interview with the Editors of National Translation Month

READ INTERNATIONAL: CURATED READING LISTS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

The main goal of National Translation Month (NTM) is to encourage readers worldwide to read, share, and discover translation throughout the month of September. Inspired by the successful celebrations of Black History Month (February) and Women’s History Month (March), we set out to bring awareness of the craft of literary translation and the work of translators and authors around the globe. To that end, NTM promotes works in translation from a variety of emerging, established, and never-before-translated into English international authors.