Kuwait’s 41st International Book Fair

Post by Mark

bookfair

I found out about the Kuwait International Book Fair earlier today so I decided to pass by and check it out to see if there were any English books available. The book fair is taking place in halls 5, 6 and 7 of the international fairground and so its pretty huge. 95% of the books are in Arabic which makes it sound like there aren’t many English books but due to the size of the fair, 5% is still a lot. In hall 6 there were two large aisles stretching from one side of the hall all to the way to the other end full of English books ranging from educational and kids books, to novels and more. The amount of people at the fair tonight was insane and parking was crazy so I’d recommend parking far like at hall 8 and then walking over to the book fair. The fair is going to be there until the 26th of this month.


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The New Q8Books Store

Post by Mark

q8books

Last year Q8Books moved from their Bayt Lothan location in Salmiya to DAI (Dar Al Athar Alislamiyah) since Bayt Lothan closed down. This weekend I finally got to pass by and check out their new space and there were some good stuff and bad stuff.

First the good stuff. Visually I like the new space, it looks better, its spaced out nicer and it feels larger. They have over 15,000 books spread out across three different rooms and they even have a kids room and a reading room. It feels like a cozy high school library.

But there were a few things I didn’t like. The location, Yarmouk where DAI is located is just not as accessible as Salmiya is. It’s not near anything and it’s out of everyones way. DAI is also not a very inviting space, it doesn’t feel or look as casual as Bayt Lothan and you won’t find teens hanging around playing music, skateboarding or anything of the sort at DAI. There were also no Q8Books signs, not outside and not inside. I had to call Fajer who owns the place to ask her where the bookshop was since there was nobody at DAI to ask and no signs pointing towards the shop. Turns out I had to walk to the back of the building and then take the stairs one floor up.

If you’re looking to buy, donate or read books then you should pass by and check the place out. They’re open daily from 5PM to 9PM except on Saturdays when they open from 11AM to 9PM. Once you walk into DAI, walk to the back where there is a seating area and then take the stairs up and you’ll find Q8Books there at the end of the corridor on your left. Here is their location on [Google Maps] and they’re on instagram @q8bookstore


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Adult Coloring Books

Post by Mark

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Adult coloring books have been rising in popularity recently and now you can find some of the Amazon best sellers in Kuwait. The stationary and office equipment store Mogahwi now carries a whole selection of coloring books including the #1 seller on Amazon, “Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book“.

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Disappointingly the prices were more than double that of Amazon ranging from KD5 to KD8.5 (Secret Garden is KD8.5). So basically it’s actually a bit cheaper if you order it yourself and ship it to Kuwait. If you’re interested in picking up some coloring books and colors, here is the location Mogahwi on [Google Maps]


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Q8Books is Coming Back

Post by Fajer Ahmed

newbooks

A lot of people think that bookstores won’t survive, I beg to differ! Yes a lot of bookstores are losing money but I think bookstores can be a beautiful thing if they are part of the community, and Q8books was. We had book clubs, writing clubs, writing workshops, kids reading, writing competitions and more practically on a daily basis. So we are all very sad that Bayt Lothan, the generous place that provided us and other young creatives a home closed down last month.

Luckily though, DAI (Dar Al Athar Alislamiyah) is becoming the new trendy place for creatives to go to and they have been generous enough to provide us and our community with a space.

Their Yarmouk cultural center is super cool with plenty of state of the art facilities, a museum gift shop (with lovely books and gorgeous accessories), a beautiful theater, a library, an exhibition hall and so on.

Q8books will be opening at 6pm on April the 23rd (World Book Day) and we would love to see you there. Please come and show your support. Just say hi to our hard working team that wants to make a difference in Kuwait.

Posted by Fajer


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Modern Architecture Kuwait 1949-1989

Post by Mark

modernarch1

Yesterday evening I was invited to the launch of the book “Modern Architecture Kuwait 1949-1989” that was held at Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah in Yarmouk. I really didn’t ask any questions about the event before I went since I’ve been wanting to get my hands on the book ever since I found out about it last year. So when one of the book authors invited me to the launch, I just went no questions asked. What I didn’t know was that there was going to be a presentation by Mr. Khalid al-Essa, the former Minister of Public Works and Dr. Ibrahim al-Shaheen, the former General Director of Public Authority of Housing and former Minister of Municipal Affairs. Both those presenters were around and involved during Kuwait’s architectural rise and once their presentation was over they took part in a panel discussion.

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For those of you that have following the blog for awhile now you already know my obsession with Kuwait’s past and so I felt extremely lucky to be in attendance last night listening to the stories of how Kuwait went from mud buildings to having world renowned architects like Kenzo Tange, Jørn Utzon and I. M. Pei involved in local projects. Listening to the two of them talk last night reminded me again how truly young Kuwait is.

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The book “Modern Architecture Kuwait 1949-1989” is a combined effort by Roberto Fabbri, Sara Saragoça Soares and Ricardo Camacho. It involves over two years of investigative research as well as gorgeous photography taken by the gifted architectural photographer Nelson Garrido who travelled across Kuwait to document over 150 buildings that are featured in the book. The buildings are divided into four categories:

Specimens I – building as infrastructure: 1949-1960
Specimens II – building as national identity: 1961-1979
Specimens III – building as cityscape: 1971-1979
Specimens IV – building as programme: 1980-1989

As you can imagine, the book if fairly thick but with the amount of constant demolishing of old buildings taking place in Kuwait, its important to document as many buildings as possible before it’s too late.

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The book costs KD22 and is available on Amazon [Link] and also at the Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah bookshop in Yarmouk [Map]. If you have the slightest interest in architecture, design or Kuwait’s past then you should definitely get one.

This morning the architectural and design magazine Dezeen ran a piece on the book along with around 20 photos. Check it out, their article has a lot more details and the photos will give you a general idea of what to expect inside the book. Here is the [Link]


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1,001 Old Ads

Post by Mark

ads

Last month an ebook containing 1,001 vintage ads from old Kuwaiti newspapers was released by the Dawood Treasury. The ads are grouped into categories to make it easier to navigate but sadly the whole ebook is only available as an Adobe Flash based flip book. It’s difficult to navigate, it’s slow, it spends forever loading and there is no way you could download it to view it later on your iPad or laptop. It sucks that they went through all that effort to create this ebook but then to make it so inaccessible. In any case check it out [Here]

Thanks Adnan


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I finally got it, The Kuwait Urbanization

Post by Mark

kuwaiturbanization1

I’ve had my eye on this rare and hard to find book ever since I found out about it a few years ago. It’s by the architect and planner Saba Shiber who joined the Kuwait Ministry of Public Works in 1960. The book dates back to 1964 and lays out the plan by Saba for Kuwait’s urbanization. The book features his research, sketches, plans, photos and visions he had for Kuwait.

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A couple of weeks ago I miraculously managed to get my hands on a copy of the book for a ridiculously good deal. I had a saved search on eBay in case the book ever popped up and it did once or twice but the asking prices were ridiculous like KD300 or so. Not that it wasn’t a fair value but it was a lot more than what I wanted to pay. Then a few days before the new year a seller in France put up a hard cover version of the book for sale and the starting bid was just KD50! So I waited and waited and nobody was bidding on it so I finally came in last minute and picked it up myself for KD50. I couldn’t believe I scored such a great deal on the book. Shipping cost me KD14.5 with Aramex so overall I really feel like I got a steal. Best Christmas gift ever thats for sure.

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If you’re interested in the book I’ve previously typed out the preface written by Saba and published it [Here]. I also have a PDF version of the book (166MB) uploaded to my server and you can download that from [Here]


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Raqsh – Donate Books to Educate

Post by Mark

raqsh

The other day while at KIPCO tower I spotted a books donation box by an organization called Raqsh. Turns out they collect unwanted books and then send them to small scale societies such as refugee camps. Right now they only have this one donation box located at KIPCO but they’re looking to set up more of them around Kuwait. For more information on the organization, here is a link to their [Website]


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Stories by Zain

Post by Mark

zainstories

Zain have just started an interesting project, they’ve found a creative way of using instagram to tell children stories. Their first story is called Zain and the Stars and you can read it by going to the instagram account @zain_andthestars on you phone. Once you open the account you start reading the story by scrolling down. They’ll be uploading a new story every month under a different account with the hope of having a large library of good Arabic books by the end of the project. Whenever there is a new story they’ll be announcing it on their @zainkuwait account but for now, check out their first one by visiting @zain_andthestars from your phone.

Note: The stories are in Arabic


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List of Banned Books and Audiovisuals in Kuwait

Post by Mark

Late last month I posted about how some schools are banning the book Harry Potter. Well I now have the full list of books banned which I’ve shared below. This list was created by the Ministry and the Foreign Schools Committee. The list below is for 2014-2015, if there are any spelling mistakes I’m sorry but I had to type the list below manually since I only received a print version not a digital one. In brackets I’ve also mentioned who was behind the ban and you’ll notice the schools have banned more books than the Ministry but that could be because they’re following the Ministry’s guidelines. One thing to note is that schools are recommended to follow this list and not obliged to follow it except for the books banned by the Ministry. Check out the full list below:

Read the rest of this entry »


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