Jun 09 2011
The Bookworm is the self-proclaimed “best little book cafe in Southeast Asia” and while some may argue, I see no reason to dispute the fact. The cool, tidy interior — though not spacious — is a pleasant spot for browsing and the choice of more than 10,000 new and used English-language books and friendly staff ensure you won’t go away empty handed.
The Bookworm has been operating since 2001 but was bought by Truong in 2006 and last year re-located to 44 Chau Long, behind Hanoi Cooking Centre. Hence the ‘book cafe': refreshments are available in the pretty garden which separates the book shop from the cooking centre.
Downstairs houses the fiction selection, while non-fiction and Vietnamese literature and culture are upstairs. A selection of children’s books, which are otherwise quite hard to come by, are also on offer. Prices aren’t cheap, but they’re fair for the quality and the range can’t be beaten: call ahead to check availability if you like, management speaks English.
And if you still don’t have enough reasons to visit, try this: Bookworm actively supports local charities and is a conscientious employer, paying its staff above average wages.
I’ve been aware of The Bookworm since I arrived in Hanoi – it’s regularly praised on The New Hanoian – but was prompted to write about it now because of a series of events they have running at the moment. Festival of Words is a joint event with Hanoi Cooking Centre and Hanoi Grapevine, comprising a number of talks by local and international authors, with profits going to different charities in Vietnam.
The talks cost 50,000 VND per person and are held upstairs at the Cooking Centre, starting at 19:30. Last week I went to one by the author of the newly launched 101 Reasons to Love Living in Hanoi (more of that in a later blog) and coming up on June 15, is “COOKS, BOOKS and BLOGS: Adventures on the Vietnamese Food Trail”. Book in advance — the place was heaving last week.
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