A list of go-to places for book lovers in Dhaka

When we think of a library, what usually comes to the mind is a cosy setting where people can relax and unwind, exploring hoards of books over a cup of tea or light snacks. Conceivably, we are probably overdoing it with the tea and snacks bit, but asking for a bit of comfort in a library should not be overtly ambitious. After all, this is the sacred place where most life-changing ideas hatch!

By Farasha Khan Sayeed and Mehrin Mubdi Chowdhury
Photographs by Kazi Mukul & Din Muhammad Shibly

Pathak Samabesh   

in Elephant road is the perfect place for a cosy date with your favourite book. With an incredible collection of both English and Bengali narratives, one could spend hours here before making the final purchase. What’s best about the place is that there’s a good amount of books even for the little ones. Despite living in the day and age of technology, Pathak Samabesh is eagerly working towards reviving the joys of reading paperbacks. With a stock full of children’s fiction, activity books, concept books, comics, picture books etc, this is definitely the place where their creativity can be nurtured. So, if you were on the look-out for that particular historical romance novel that was recommended by your best friend or that fantasy cover on paranormal activity, this place has everything you’ve been searching for.

Nilkhet Bookstore
If you are a serious reader who needs to buy a book every week, then Nilkhet is a saving grace for you. The second hand bookstore is a ‘reservoir of jewels’ for bibliophiles. On the hindsight you might have to spend a considerable amount of time trying to find the exact book you were looking for, since the place is always buzzing with people. Without a doubt, Nilkhet bookstores are a treasure trove for heavy readers as it houses a huge collection of educational textbooks. From O-level test papers to medical text books to business project proposals, whatever you have your heart set on, it’s available here! If the books you wanted are not a recent publication, this place would definitely have it. The only downside is that there is no perfect way to look for it. You’d have to search under piles of books, to ultimately get your prize.

Bookworm
You cannot belong to this city without knowing about Bookworm; it is the pit stop for all book lovers, young and old. Tucked in a corner on Old Airport Road, this quaint little bookstore has been indulging the needs of bookworms efficiently since the 90’s. Do not be fooled by its size, since it has the largest collection of all your English books in Dhaka. Bookworm also manages to get all the latest books in the blink of an eye, and if your favourite book isn’t available they will get it for you before you can say ‘literary!’ The best feature of bookworm, however, lies not in its shelves but in the warmth of the staff and owners and their genuine passion for books. They will recommend great novels to you if you describe what kind you are looking for, or engage in an enthusiastic conversation about a certain writer without pressuring you to purchase anything. Unquestionably, it is a must visit bookstore for all book lovers who live in or visit this city.

PBS
This is a gem tucked away in Shantinogor.
Besides dipping their noses in the pages of a good book, there is one other place where book lovers feel that ecstatic leap of joy similar to spotting a loved one; a place with shelves brimming with books. PBS is just one of those places where a reader can wander and get lost in its wonderful maze of books. With branches in Uttara and Dhanmondi, the PBS in Shantinogor boasts the largest reading space with neatly organised sections for English and Bengali fiction and non-fiction. However, its star attraction is its large children’s section, filled with shelves of Sisimpur, Disney and colourful educational books. The store comes with a separate children’s play zone, so bookworm parents can roam the aisles at their own leisure for hours without having to worry about their little tykes.

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