When chox moved south (and east) wards and would talk about all the wonderful libraries and book places in her city, I used to feel a pang of jealousy. My options in Mumbai were limited to:
Crossword at walking distance from home &
L'Amour Lending Library, likewise.
While I spent sufficient time at both places, the grass seemed greener on her side of the septic tank for sure. Occasionally, I justified or rationalised it in various ways. Oh yes, her kid is older, places in Mumbai are way too far (like going to Strand was a day's expedition, and happened twice in seven years), yada yada yada.
So now, here in Chennai I expected nothing more than the ability to go to Landmark once in a while (a bookstore I like more than Crossword, generally, maybe just 'cause of some vague memories of being completely taken aback by it when I first came to Chennai for college, all those years back, in 1991).
But guess what! Life has been more than good.
* I have been a few times to Landmark already. They have two locations (as far as I know) and I have visited (and sampled the ware, obviously) at both
* A crossword store reasonably close to my place exists. It works for situations when speed is of essence.
* A sudden stop-over at a random handicrafts exhibition revealed an upstairs Book Fair. Not the best of things, definitely cannot find things you are looking for, but what prices! I found some of the authors I like to read.
* A friend took us to Tiruvanmiyur to a slightly better Book Sale/Fair. It had a better selection of books for me, and very reasonably things for the monster. So yeah!
* The friend told us plenty more places to go to, especially for the kid. The prices are really good at these local (non-chain) book stores, and most importantly, these places are close to home.
* Found a couple of large lending libraries - some dusty, some nice. One right by ludwig's place I have my eye on.
* But best of all, absolutely best of all is a Children's Reading Room I found at work, in the Library! Imagine that! They have maybe 500 books for children. A fairly wide array, actually. This works out well because we can go there through the week when I have stuff to read (which is often these days, thankfully, that beats having meetings for sure!), and I dont have to bother to put her in the creche since she can easily spend a couple of hours reading there. (and yes, chox, next time you are here, kids will like it).