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Monday, 11 August 2008

The Junk Bookstore, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

by Suzan Abrams

Pictured here is an illustration from the women's fiction my mother and her friends read in their time. The short billowy dresses they wore with matching coloured bags and earrings and the fashion magazines they snuggled up to. Looking back, the days felt transient and more ephemeral.

Such is the starry-eyed atmosphere that engulfs the Junk Bookstore, Kuala Lumpur's popular antiquarian bookshop and promotes its reputation as a thrilling, intimate haunt.

It's a captivating little place and may yet prove tighter than a mansion's alcove with its poky corners that hoard literary treasures in the vein of an ancient toyshop clutter.

After all, its matchbox size ensures a silent warning that, you may just stroll in at the risk of of a book-pile precariously perched from somwhere in the forgotten past, collapsing onto the floor in a thunderous heap.

And do be careful climbing up the staircase that you don't suffer a thump on the head from a secret sloping wall, bent on mischief.

In spite of the limited space, the shop is famous for its colourful shelves of second-hand books that drag out all the romantic flavour from the world's rich Colonial past.

Think of it as an Aladdin's cave with boxes of mixed-up oil lamps, for any literary enthusiast seeking mystery and adventure.

There are hundreds of detective novels - for instance, the startling range of a Perry Como series featuring Film Noir blondes and cigar-smoking thugs, - thrillers, limited local editions of Malaysian/Singaporean women's magazines from the Sixties, romances, comics and all kinds of other amusing paperback fare.

Sentiment is heaven so carry more tissues than usual whenever you visit this tiny haven.The Junk Bookstore,
78, Jalan Tun HS Lee,
50000 Kuala Lumpur,
Tel: 603 238 3822.


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