Best Little Bookstore in Trinidad

Whenever I land in a new country, one of the first places I go is the bookstore. These often turn out to be little more than glorified stationary shops, but it’s still always interesting to see what kinds of printed matter the local market can bear.  Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you can find obscure titles and maps and bits of research that aren’t available anywhere else.

So not long ago, when I was in Trinidad doing some research, I headed up the Western Main Road in St. James, then turned toward the Long Circular Mall, near which I stumbled into The Reader’s Bookshop. The interior was warm and the selection of books showed they were chosen by someone who truly knew what they were doing:  A fine section of Caribbean authors, as well as lots of international titles you might not expect to find in Trinidad, or many places for that matter, like The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman,  The Accordionist’s Son by Bernardo Atxaga,  and Kockroach by Tyler Knox.

I meant to stop in, then move on. But the owner was a young guy named Chris Mendes, and we started talking about books by Joshua Ferris and Zadie Smith, and I stood around paging through Jaron Lanier’s You Are Not a Gadget and a Best American Magazine Writing Anthology and other books while he waited on customers. I ended up staying for hours. A few days later I came back and spent the better part of the day talking books, drinking beer and hanging out.

Leaving Trinidad, I realized that this colored my whole impression of the country, not just because of the map Chris gave me, and all the help with my research. But because as long as The Reader’s Bookshop is there, I know there will be a kind of haven, an island within and island, and a place where that will always feel a little like a home far away from home.

[Footnote:  Sadly, of 2013 the Reader’s Bookshop is closed.  Chris Mendes, meanwhile, is currently working on his first book.]

6 Responses to “Best Little Bookstore in Trinidad”

  1. Pamela Francis Says:

    A most delightful and deserving commentary. a dream come through for owner and “serious readers” alike.

  2. Anna-Lisa LaChapelle Says:

    Even before you pick up a book in The Reader’s Bookshop it invites you to just leave the world behind. Christopher really knows his stuff and he allows you to roam the shop at your leisure….but should you require his assistance or just an opinion..he does not dissapoint.

  3. Glad someone else appreciates him as much as we do…

  4. Indeed Mr Bures, your intuition led you to THE best bookstore in Trinidad.

    Christopher, the handsome bachelor, who owns the store, is a
    treasure trove of information pertaining to all the books.

    A wonderful place for avid readers to peruse the huge assortment
    of books for all ages, and also sit and sip coffee or tea with Chris.

    We all look forward to your return to Trinidad !

    Happy writing !

    betti

  5. Anthony Gafoor Says:

    Well done Christopher. Thank you for providing us with an oasis of literary delight amidst a drought of stimulating reading and for persisting in bringing good reading material to all of us. I remain one of your biggest supporters and of independent bookstores in general. Best wishes always.

    Anthony DJ Gafoor

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