Reading Lights: Bandung Bookstore You’re Looking For

When a person gets a million dollar in his pocket, he’d probably save up 50% and spend the other half to buy top-notch cars or a la mode gadgets. I don’t know, maybe even something more luxurious than those. But me? I’d buy books!

One dream out of hundreds that I have listed this year has truly come true! Finally. Velda and I recently visited a book store right on Siliwangi Street, near Taman Cikapundung. It is called itself Reading Lights. This was an unplanned agenda, because we were actually planning for a seminar at Unpad Dipati Ukur, only we were early a week before, so.

Anyway, from Dipati Ukur, you may just take a one-way angkot with the direction of Cicaheum-Ciroyom. I am not very sure about that one, but basically the car is green-colored with sunset-kind-of-orange long stripes on its body. You’ll spend 10 minutes to get to the place, and if you really are a lover of books, you won’t regret a single second of sudden traffic, a singular appearance of Silver Men, or the off-tune songs from the child crooner from the streets.

I’m not a type of person who judges a book from its cover, but when we first arrived, well, I was not very impressed by the facade. It looked like an ordinary coffee shop or an indifferent hang-out place in the suburbans of Dago or Braga. But I had high expectation already since Velda told me before that not only could I read, sit, and eat there, but also not to, ehm, buy the books (no matter how many pages we’ve torn apart). Weehee!

At 10 o’clock, we shoved the main entrance as the serviceman was sweeping the lobby floor, and just right then we knew that we were the first visitors that day. First-timer, first-comer, babe! The teteh-teteh behind the counter, occupied fiddling on her tab (I assume she was finishing her umpteenth-level of Candy Crush) and munching her chocolate pie for brunch, seemed surprised as we sidled in and beckoned at us: “Welcome, byootches!” I was totally kidding. She was so kind and had nice eyes, though.

I placed my backpack on the one-and-only chaise longue, which resembled more like my bed at my kos-kosan (now we know how economical you are, Wan!). It was so fluffy I could’ve fallen asleep there. I suddenly became Agnes in Despicable Me as she saw a pasty unicorn doll in a Dufan-like park: “It was so fluffy I’m gonna die!”

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The best thing about this sofa is that it is located directly beside the main windows, so I can either get sufficient light as I read, or, the best case, imagine that I would get a perfect-angled shot if a stranger outside saw me reading and in case wanted take a photograph of me, which was highly unlikely and highly stupidly confident of me to think over.

I was exulted I walked the room ear-to-ear only to take pictures as many as possible.

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The setting of the room is designed drawing-room like. If you have probably just read Jane Austen’s or Charlotte Bronte’s novel, the room where the characters dine or have a “familial” conversation will be, more or less, look like that! In the size of room like this, the number of chairs and tables are enough for, like, what, 20 people? But thank God there weren’t so many people there.

In every corner of the room, glued tightly to the walls, were a pile of bookshelves with a varying stories consisting of magazines (the lowest) and thick fiction books (the highest). In every shelfstory, there is a label with a name of genres of fiction: romance, comedy, thriller/mystery, and science fiction. They also have National Geographics, and, believe it or not, its monthly package, compiled carefully on their own categories: animals, space life, biodiversity, travelling, forestry, etc. All of them are in English. So, your reading interests are, all in all, set up in a single closeted cupboard; you’ll just have to open it.

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On the other side of the wall, a mountain of magazines of fashion, food, movies, culture, religion, and music will imprison your eyes right when you step in! They’re all still covered in plastics and labelled, mostly, “Rp 20.000” on the back cover. They’re for sale of course. It’s a book store, cheapo!

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Clearly, you can’t just do something without something for your teeth to work out, right? Here it comes: snack timeeee! Even if you’re a last-year student of literature, when you have to delve into and wander around the complicated mind-boggling thoughts of Roland Barthes, Northrop Frye, or Immanuel Kant for your skripsi, you’ll just have to eat along to wash your throat afresh. To me, reading books is parallel to watching movies. Without popcorn, you’ll just lose the essence of watching in cinema. No snack, no work. Ha!

What makes Reading Sights even more fascinating is that we can order food! Well, mostly drinks and beverages, though. (They only put food as “additional choice” on the menu. Maybe it’s to lessen the servicewoman’s burdens). None the less, a plethora of drinks, complete with their seasonings and ingredients, like chocolate lava, banana-iced chocolate, cream-vanilla latte, and so on, are available to replenish your brain cells while processing words.

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I picked up three nonfiction books, which eventually, after a long-period of mind-struggling inside of me not to buy it (because I have to read MORE for my skripsi!), I did buy, one of which is on the last picture. The book was worth Rp 45.000, but the quality is stalwart: the words are solid-looking and, what’s cooler, it uses hard cover and plastic-blanketed!

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Velda charging her gadget

Lastly, they also have a private musholla and large toilet (so you can do, ehm, you know). No! I was talking about pooping or taking ablution…after doing something else. Ha ha. Some times, when I read, I forget the time. I might even forget that I wear my watch! But there is a mosque pretty far from the place, and the azaan might still be clearly heard. If you’re so absorped by the books (or maybe the sofa) so  long that you’re too lazy to wake up and walk a long way, you just have to go upstairs and find what you look for.

All in all, Reading Lights is the best place for you, geeks, to explore your learning environment, so you don’t have to isolate yourself from the orbiting distractions in your kos-kosan. Worry not! They will play you some good music in the background, like, you-guessed-it, Counting Crows or, for you ambient-musicholic, Yiruma.

See you around, geekos!

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