Hunting Books in Bali Part I

In Indonesia, book is a luxury. For the price of one new paper-back (either in English or Indonesian) you can feed the whole family of eight with each person getting a portion of nasi goreng and ice tea. Beggars can’t be choosers, and so this sapimalas who consider books as a neccesity (apart from air, coffee and 8 hours sleep) always try to find a way to get her hand on books. The cheaper, the better (call me cheap shit and I couldn’t care less).

In a lot of cases, my book libido don’t get along with my situation. There are always bills to pay and more important needs to be fullfilled (“Eat that books if you are hungry then!” -direct quotation from my mother). I have the buying ability but comes from a family with zero desire to read, my book lust is more or less, uncorroborated.

Local bookseller like Gramedia or Periplus are selling good books but the titles they are selling are hardly intriguing as well as dictated by Oprah or The New York Times Bestseller List. Back in my Jakarta Period, you can always found me wide eyed and drooling all over Aksara or QB Bookstore (which has many interesting titles, unwrapped by plastics and comfy armchairs). I would swipe my card and sacrificed my lunches or Caramel Frappucino Affoggato Style weekly dosage in a heartbeat, with an exchange for a Marquez.

Nevertheless, living in Bali giving me quite an advantage. The next time you are here and visiting beaches around Bali, please pay attention to the tanning tourists (no, not to the chest area) and most likely you’d find them doing one thing: reading. Before they left Bali with most likely over-weight luggage, they’d left their books lying in the room or pool. That is where the exchange bookshop business flourished in Bali.

Meet my favorite bookshop in Kuta: Kerta Bookshop. This small establishment, sandwiched between 24-hours convenient store, ethnic percussion shop and gift shop, has been there since 1975. If you may take a peek to the 50% off section, you’d find history between pages of crumpled old bookswhich perhaps was brought by a hippie back in Flower Power 70's. The books are as varied as the tourists who come to visit Bali. There are summer read (chick-lits and Dan Brown-ish books) but there are also, surprisingly, Cervantes or Tolstoy.

I’ve been a devoted customer for over five years but everytime I come to the bookshop, I was always pleasantly surprised by the treasures I found. Like today, for instance, my recent treasure acquisition:

I don’t think I can find Isabel Allende’s memoir, Ann-Marie MacDonald’s and Sophie Dahl’s new book in the local big bookstore. The prices are sensible, between 45,000 to 150,000 IDR. Bring your already read books and exchange them for a new one. Kerta Bookshop also has a lot of interesting titles in Japanese, Dutch, German, Swedish, Russian, French and travel guide books (left, perhaps by a desperate backpacker). The funny thing is: the books availability depends on tourist season. Just when I came this afternoon, there were many new titles in Russian. Obviously from the “Russian Tourist Boom” in Bali.

I’ve always been fond of supporting local business and this bookshop is really a piece of history. So, stop by and patiently browse the collection. You’d be surprised.



Kerta Bookshop
Jalan Pantai Kuta - Bali
Phone (0361) 758047

8 komentar:

Anonymous said...

Bravo... itu buku tebal2 dan banyak amat!! Dalem lagi kalau lihat judulnya, beda ma saya yang kebanyakan teknis. Ngaku kalah nih dalam urusan membaca. Btw kamu koq tambah tua ya? Sekarang jadi mirip cowok, Evelyn kah itu? hehehe just kidding. Foto Papi ya?

SapiMalas said...

Nara...thanks for the comment. Tukeran link yuk? Suka deh baca blog kamu. I'll put your link in mine.

Btw, jadi ingin baca buku yang ini mengingatkan aku sama "Totto-chan". Pernah baca? Intinya bagaimana pendidikan awal yang baik dapat mempengaruhi seseorang hingga dewasa dan bukan bagaimana kalau anak umur 5 tahun sudah dicekokin sama les bahasa inggris + kumon + komputer (seperti yang lazim dilakukan ibu-ibu zaman sekarang). Afterall, rangking bukan segalanya juga gitu.

And yes, I read a lot of fictions :-P Suatu cara yang indah untuk melarikan diri sejenak dari kehidupan yang kadang-kadang begitu biasa. Itu foto aku versi 60 tahun dan berjenis kelamin lelaki. Kehilangan memang berat tapi senang sekali bisa menemukan quote Proust itu, saking senangnya aku jadi membuat pojok homage untuk si Papi :-)

Jadi panjang banget ya comment ini hahaha

Anonymous said...

Yuk, apa maksudnya tukeran link? klo link ke sini udah dipajang di blog saya.

Totto-chan siapa ya? Karena tentang pendidikan jadi pengen baca, buku apa sih?

Ya, sering saya nanya kenapa hidup ini begitu bosan sehingga butuh tempat pelarian. Saya juga suka baca fiksi karena karakternya unik2 tapi ga sebanyak kamu kyknya,hehehe. Soalnya fisika juga bisa jadi tempat pelarian yang baik, Einstein juga bilang gitu.

Kehilangan siapa? Papi kamu? Eh, maaf klo benar gitu, tabah ya (sorri, can't find appropriate words in this situation)

SapiMalas said...

Biasanya gengsi cowok itu setinggi langit...nah yang ini ckckck ...Bukan lucu tapi amusing. Apakah karena itu si gf menjadi berstatus ex-gf sekarang? *ouch* hehehehe.

Iya, I lost my dad this year. A hard year but I'm recovering. Memang susah menyatakan rasa duka, tidak pernah ada kata yang pantas. Thanks for trying anyway :-)

Totto-chan itu adalah memoir seorang public figure di Jepang, tentang masa kecilnya di sebuah TK. Dia punya seorang guru yang sangat inspiratif dalam mengajar dan masa kecil itu sangat penting dalam menentukan hidup seseorang dalam tahun2 mendatang. Bagus banget. Aku udah baca beberapa tahun yang lalu jadi agak lupa detailnya. Udah ada di Gramed kok yang bahasa indo-nya.

Lagi baca buku apa sekarang? Btw, pernah denger "goodreads"? Bagus lo untuk keep track buku2 yang kita baca. Ada profil-ku juga disana (www.goodreads.com)

Anonymous said...

Lebih gengsi dibilang gengsian, wuehehehe. Ga, koq lain alasan.

Kayaknya bagus, nanti coba cari deh

Ada beberapa: 8th habit, breaking free, gamers juga bisa sukses, ama buku kuliah.

Biasa baca lompat2. Habis satu bab direnungin dulu sambil baca buku yang lain. Kec. baca buku cerita.

Baru sign up. Nama profile kamu apa? Evelyn nya banyak amat.

SapiMalas said...

Sudah berubah nama dikit nih sekarang...jadi cari Eve Tedja ya

nenoneno said...

wa Eve.. a very interesting place. we should go there together sometimes.. :)

Ronny said...

hoho kalo ke Bali pasti kucari tuh toko
btw, tadi mampir ke sini krn postingan di GRI

 

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Hello! I’m Eve Tedja

I have been a professional writer for four years.


During that time, I have worked as a permanent contributor for Let’s eat! Magazine, Hello Bali, epicure, and published my articles in several other magazines like Venture, Panorama, Bravacasa, and Bali & Beyond.


Words, sentences, stories... these are my passion. I love to take new challenges in writing for various format and media. I create contents for websites, blogs, and communication materials. I’ve also worked as a copywriter, translator, coffee book editor, social media coordinator, media consultant, and even writing for a specialty coffee packaging.


Interior design, travel, environment, culinary, culture, history, and social issues are some of the themes that I have worked with in the past. I love getting involves with individuals, companies, organizations, and communities with stories to tell.


I am available for assignment worldwide. Reach me at eve(dot)tedja(at)gmail(dot)com.

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