KATHMANDU, April 16: In a building that once housed whisperings of pro-democracy and anti-Rana sentiments is now echoed by literary giants like Rushdie, Chomsky, and Solzhenitsyn sitting solemnly on the pristine wooden shelves of Quixote’s Cove – a bookstore and library for bibliophiles.
Perched by the side of the New Orleans Café (on the way to St. Mary’s from Pulchowk) along Jawalakhel, the rich history of the building is something owner and freelance writer Pranab Man Singh wanted to preserve and its essence retained in this newly built mecca of minds.
On its website, it declares how the bookstore shall “become the convening ground for today’s thinkers and doers,” as it had done before for poets like Leknath Paudel.
“This bookstore aims to promote reading and writing in the community – a cultural hub for literature and arts,” the 27-year-old Singh said.
This newly built cove, named after Miguel de Cervantes’ classic anti-Romanticism novel, Don Quixote, is a haven for booklovers looking for a quaint, albeit small, and serene spot for perusing through books for hours.
Walking along the bustle of Jawalakhel, it would have remained hidden if not for the antique signpost overlooking the street. As one peers inside, one would find a spiral staircase that leads to the dizzying heights of knowledge waiting to be devoured, accompanied with the building’s musty scent.
Inside, the old architecture remains, and attention to details – from classic metal window locks to oversized light switches – is observed in preserving the character of the building.
Spaces, shelves and books are aligned in such a soothing rhythm that leave books too irresistible not to be picked up and read.
The second floor of the building serves as a bookstore while the third floor will be converted into a library soon for the public with Wifi service.
“The place is nice with a cool selection of books,” the early childhood teacher Shayleen Burgoyne said, picking up Gabriel García Márquez’s Strange Pilgrims before leaving the store.
Books at Quixote’s Cove are categorized to mainly four genres – fiction, children’s books, and non-fiction in philosophy, and business. Interestingly, these books are also catalogued on the shop’s website so customers can simply search for books online without leaving home or office.
“We plan to create an online membership where members can log on to their online page to review books, track books bought, and make new purchases,” Singh said. “The use of the Internet will help create a “paperless billing system,” he also added.
Besides this, the Cove also plans to have book readings and poetry recitals for the public to attend. Kick-starting this initiative will be Sushma Joshi’s weeklong reading starting on April 23 to support Nepali artists, and also promote the habit of reading.
Even peripatetic Don Quixote, though an obsessive reader of books as well, would have been proud.