Farenheit 451 in Kuwait

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Where are the books in Kuwait?  The other day my friend showed me a second-hand bookshop/vinyl store in one of the downtown souks that I had never seen before.  The problem is that the owner said it would be closed for another two months because they are redoing the place.  However, he let us look inside.  Later that day, I noticed for the first time the Central Library that is located off of the Gulf Road.  I had never known about it before.

These discoveries elated me, and I hope there are other such gems in Kuwait, but it got me thinking about the state of Kuwait's bookstores.  Virgin was reduced in size and content (from what I am told) some time ago.  Even still, most of the merchandise in Virgin has nothing to do with books, and the Virgin workers focus harder on spraying you perfume than on selling you a book.  Perhaps the most reflective point of supply-demand in Kuwait is the fact that The Avenues has no bookstore whatsoever.  I think there is a plan in the works to create one in the next phase, but yet, so many initial stores and not one bookshop...?!

I've also seen so many school textbooks with censored pages.  Sometimes these are censored in marker, but images are often censored only in glued paper.  Isn't it the inate curiousity of a child to peel back that which is covered?  You cannot have a solid  opinion on many contemporary world topics without having learned about it in schooling.  When I was a child, my mother used to take me to the public library every week, and we would bring paper grocery bags to stack them full of reading material that I would never even get a quarter-way through.  The point is that there was an eagerness to read, to find an interesting back cover, to enjoy the process of sifting.

The book offerings in the Virgin store depress me, especially when I look at the highlighted books in the Best Seller or New Arrival stand.  They all have to do with self-help.  What happened to good fiction?  Does anyone know of some other hidden treasures in Kuwait to find good reads?  

2 Responses on "Farenheit 451 in Kuwait"

  1. Thomas says:

    I agree strongly with your sentiments. There are few places as valuable to spark an interest, even regarding the most, call them, 'trivial' of subjects, than a well stocked book-shop. One of the places I studied at, the AA School of Architecture in London's Bedfors Square, has a treasure of an Architectural Book-shop in its basement. This was my, almost daily, source of inspiration during my studies. The school's library was great, but there's something about posessing a book, allowing you to treat it as your own, the book becoming a small refelction (extension) of ones own know-how. Plus, as a quite 'messy' reader (I use dog-ears instead of book-marks, and make extensive notes in the margins) library books usually only perform as preambles for books that I eventually wish to own myself. Even today, over a decade since I graduated, I still visit this place every time I visit London. The ambiance and fragrance of the AA bookstore (which used to be called the Triange Bookstore during my time at the AA) is still addictive...
    Unfortunately I can't think of anything comparable in Kuwait...

    Mark says:

    hey where is the second hand bookshop/vinyl store located and also where is the central library??