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Mags & Books

When the Sheikh Met the King

When the Sheikh Met the King” is a new investigative ebook by Kuwaiti Award-winning journalist Motez Bishara. Not sure if some of you remember but at one point Michael Jackson moved to Bahrain and lived there for some time. It was all really bizarre and I mostly remember photos of Michael Jackson going around Bahrain dressed in an abaya.

The ebook which comes out today digs into:

  • The fate of the Jackson / Sheikh Abdulla co-written song “I Have This Dream,” recorded at London’s Metropolis Studios for $2.2 million

  • Jackson’s battle with depression, brought on by his unpayable $270 million personal loan and custody battle with ex-wife Debbie Rowe

  • A drug-induced near-suicidal incident on a hotel room balcony in Oman

  • Details of Jackson’s $7 million expenses; the Sheikh provided everything from a flashy recording studio to a Ferrari

  • Jackson’s contractual break from the sheikh that led to his demise; AEG Live’s buyout resulted in the fatal O2 concert dates

If you want to get the eBook, it’s available for 3 KD on Amazon. Link

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Mags & Books

Q8 Books is now Bliss and Paper

The popular used bookshop Q8 Books which at one point was located at Bayt Lothan has now rebranded and opened in a new location. The bookshop is now called Bliss and Paper and last week they opened their new location in the city.

The new location looks great and is divided into a few sections. There is a room for children and full of kids books, another room which has a locked cabinet full of old important books on Kuwait but can also be used as a meeting room. Finally, the new location has a cafe with healthy sandwiches and vegan desserts.

The new location is open daily from 10AM to 9PM and if you want to pass by and check it out they’re located in the basement level of Dasman Complex (Google Maps). Also check them out on Instagram @blissandpaper

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Mags & Books

Books for Cancer

Books for Cancer is an online-based used bookshop run by girls where all the proceeds go to Al-Sidra foundation to help support cancer patients psychologically and financially. They carry mostly English books but also some Arabic ones and they sell both children’s books and adult books.

For more info check out their instagram account @booksforcancerkw or check out all the books on their website booksforcancerkw.com

Thanks Fahed

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Mags & Books

Aafaq Bookstore – Avenues

The Aafaq bookstore opened up in Avenues around 2 years ago but I never really passed by it because I never came across it. This weekend though I took a wrong turn while looking for another store and ended up right outside Aafaq.

It’s a fairly large store, probably their biggest one taking up two floors. They had English and Arabic books as well as a large selection of children’s books and games.

Finding the store isn’t easy and if you aren’t looking for it I doubt you’ll ever come across it. The easiest way to find Aafaq is heading to the H&M store in Grand Avenues. Go inside H&M and then head upstairs to the mens section and walk out the back of the store. You’ll find Aafaq in that courtyard in the back.

Categories
Mags & Books

The National Library is Now Open Again

Back when I visited the National Library in October you couldn’t access any of the books yourself due to COVID safety precautions, you needed to have someone fetch the books for you. But, things are back to normal now. Yesterday morning I passed by the National Library and I was allowed access to all the books and archives. I still had to book an appointment via the meta.e.gov.kw website and you also need to be vaccinated to be allowed in, but other than that things are back to normal.

The library is next to my office which means I can go back to randomly passing by in the mornings on the way to work. I usually love going through old newspapers to find gems similar to the Hardees ad above from 1988 featuring the Thunder Cats. If you want the full resolution version click here.

The library is open Sunday to Thurday from 9AM to 1PM and for more info on what’s inside, check out my old post here.

Categories
Mags & Books Sneak Peek

Q8Books Moving to a New Location

Q8 Books, the popular used books store has a long history of moving. The original store was located in Kuwait City (pictured below) before later moving to Bayt Lothan. When Bayt Lothan got shut down they moved the bookstore to Dar Al Athar. Then last year during the pandemic the bookstore moved temporarily to another location in a tower overlooking Souq Sharq. Now for the fifth time, the store is moving again and it’s heading back to the city. The new location will be in Dasman Complex and I got a sneak peek last week and I think this might be the best version of Q8 Books yet, or maybe second best since the Bayt Lothan store was pretty epic.

I can’t share much more about the new location or plans yet but they’re opening up really soon and once they do I’ll share more info. For now, you can stay up to date by following them on Instagram @q8bookstore


The original Q8 Books location in Kuwait City.

Categories
Mags & Books

The New Larger CAP Bookshop

The CAP Bookshop which carries amazing publishers like Assouline, Phaidon, Taschen and Thames & Hudson has moved into a much larger space next to their old location. The new location is at least 5 to 6 times larger than their previous space and they now have a lot more books on display.

This easily was one of my favorite bookshops in Kuwait and it’s gotten even better now. If you want to pass by and check it out it’s located on the top floor of Life Center in Shuwaikh, right next to Contemporary Art Platform. Google Maps

Categories
50s to 90s Mags & Books

The Family Bookshop Story

Yesterday I uploaded some old photos of Family Bookshop to Flickr which I had taken back in 2011 before they closed down. I had always assumed that the Salmiya location of Family Bookshop was the first and only branch but turns out that wasn’t the case,

The Family Bookshop started off as bible shops around the region by the Danish Missionary Society with the one in Kuwait opening up in 1910. But in the 60s, as part of their literature mission they decided to build a new concept called the Family Bookshop Group (FBG) with the following objectives:

  • To print the Gospel
  • Encourage dialogue between Muslims and Christians
  • Provide all Christian churches in the region with literature and auxiliary materials, provide society with quality literature and other books primarily in Arabic and English
  • Seek the best possible cooperation with various Christian churches
  • Develop a self-supporting organization by efficient leadership
  • Offer education and encourage Arab Christians to become booksellers
  • Develop cooperation between the bookshops and coordinate a future development

From what I could gather there were two Family Bookshops in Kuwait. One at the American Mission Hospital (now the Amricani Culture Center) which opened in 1969 and pictured at the very top of this post. Then there was a second branch located in Salmiya which also opened up in 1969 (pictured above).

I think it was Salmiya because in the photo above taken outside their 1969 location, the building in the background on the far right of the photo looks like the building in Salmiya which the Family Bookshop we know was located in. I believe the building they were in got demolished so they moved to the location across the street in 1971 (pictured below).

The Salmiya Family Bookshop which most of us know eventually closed down in February 2013 when they were evicted from their premises and the building demolished.

The store manager at that time who you might recognize if you were a regular was Jaswinder Singh. He joined Family Bookshop in 1979 as a part time accountant before eventually become the manager. He’s now retired and back in India, but his daughter runs the bookstore @little_bees_books

I managed to find a bunch of incredible photos of the Family Bookshop in Kuwait in the 60s on the University of Southern California library website. I’ve uploaded them all to Flickr and you can view them here.

Also if you want to check out photos of Family Bookshop Salmiya before they closed down, click here.

Update: This post was updated with more information and the closing down date was adjusted from 2012 to 2013.

Categories
Mags & Books

All the English Bookshops

I remember a time when people were complaining about the lack of bookshops in Kuwait, well things have changed drastically. Below is a list of all the English bookshops I’m aware of in Kuwait. If I missed any let me know in the comments.

Aafaq Bookstore
Al-Asriya bookshop
Better Books
Book Seller
Book Stop
Bookish
Books and More
Books in Kuwait
Brilliant Company
CAP Bookshop
Center for Research and Studies on Kuwait
Claudia Al Rashoud
Jarir
Kuwait Heritage Library
Little Bee’s Books
Page Turner
Q8 Bookstore
Qasr Al-Thaqafa
Red Balloon Books
Saint Books
Spectrawide Bookstore
That Al Salasil
The English Bookshop

Categories
50s to 90s Mags & Books

Lost in Kuwait – A Traveller’s Guide to Good Eats & Cheap Thrills

A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine sent me a link to a book on eBay saying “This is something you might want. American expat cartoonist who drew some funny sketches of life in Kuwait. Also a shawarma guide for the ‘90s.” Literally, 2 minutes later I sent him a screenshot of my order. It was selling for 9KD and it came out while I was at university in Lebanon so I was curious to know what was “in” while I wasn’t here. The book ended up being delivered yesterday and it turned out to be way more interesting than I expected it to be.

It’s 132 pages filled with illustrations, maps, reviews and recommendations of where to go and what to do in Kuwait all written in a humorous tone. It reminded me a bit of the Wizr series but with a lot more illustrations and content. I posted some pages up on my Instagram and pretty much I right away started getting bombarded by people asking where they can get a copy and I honestly have no idea.

There is one for sale on Amazon right now but the guy is asking for like $700 which is obviously ridiculous. At one point it looked like there was a copy available online but that was back in 2006 and the page no longer works. It’s 132 pages so I can’t sit down and scan the book one page at a time.

Until I figure out the best way to share the whole book online you can for now at least check out the few pages I’ve uploaded here.

Thanks Shaheen!!!

Categories
50s to 90s Kuwait Mags & Books

Kuwait Tourist Guide – 1964

I picked up this book online not knowing what it was or the year it was published, but it was selling for around 500fils so figured it was worth checking out. Turns out the book was published in 1964 by the Ministry of Guidance & Information, Department of Culture & Publicity, Division of Tourism. If that wasn’t cool enough it also came with three fold-out maps. I shared some pages yesterday on my Instagram but I also uploaded the photos online in case anyone else is interested in seeing what a 1964 tourist guide of Kuwait contained. These aren’t all the pages, just the ones I thought were interesting. Check it out here.

Categories
Mags & Books Shopping

Book Box Subscription for Kids

Brilliant Company is a local online children’s bookstore with a subscription service that delivers hand-selected, quality books that match the age, gender, and interests of your kid. They deliver 3 books gift wrapped every month and have 4 plans that are priced reasonably:

1 Box (11KD)
3 Months (30KD)
6 Months (57KD)
12 Months (108KD)

In addition to the subscription service, they also sell books individually and quality toys focusing on children’s sensory-motor skills and cognitive development. If you want to check them out they’re on Instagram @brilliantcokw and their website is brilliantcokw.com

Categories
Mags & Books Shopping

The English Bookshop

The English Bookshop is a new website by Aafaq Bookstore and is for all their English titles. They just launched so the website right now mostly contains children’s books but they’re adding around 60-80 new titles every day. The website looks nice, is easy to navigate, and also search for titles. Customers who place an order before 11AM get the books the same day while orders that come in after 11AM get delivered the next day. So if you want to browse or buy English books check out theenglishbookshop.com.kw

Categories
Mags & Books Shopping

Kuwait Books by Claudia Al Rashoud

Claudia Al Rashoud has been a photojournalist in Kuwait since 1979. She was the first professional female photojournalist at the Arab Times newspaper and has written a number of books on Kuwait’s history and heritage with beautiful pictures. She recently launched an Instagram account @claudia_alrashoud where she has been sharing stories from her long journalistic career and also launched a small website where people can purchase her books on Kuwait.

All sales from the website will pay for veterinary care for stray, abandoned, and abused animals from Touch of Hope Kuwait, so not only will you be getting some great books on Kuwait, but you’ll also be helping animals. So checkout her website.

Categories
Mags & Books Personal

Visiting the National Library During the Pandemic

When I posted about the National Library last year, most of the comments were regarding their operating hours which is 9AM to 1PM because it was as if they didn’t want anyone to visit the library. Well now with the pandemic, things just got a bit more complicated.

Last week I dropped by the National Library because I needed to flip through their newspaper archive. Usually you just give the security guard at the entrance your civil ID and then go in. But, because of the pandemic, they now have an appointment system like all other government offices. So while at the security desk I created an account at meta.e.gov.kw and booked an appointment before being let in. Once inside I had to have my photo taken at another security desk for some reason, that wasn’t there last year and they took my photo with my mask on so not sure what the purpose is.

I was told that nobody was allowed to go upstairs where all the books were. Instead, I needed to wait in a small room for someone to come to me so I could tell them what I wanted so they would go get it for me. This works if you know what you want exactly, but part of the experience of going to the library is finding books on a subject that you also didn’t know about.

I must have been the first person to ask to check their newspaper archive because they didn’t know how to go about it with the new rules. I spoke to two girls first who then had to call their boss who then told them to go get another guy, who then came and left again to go get someone else who finally could help. But he needed to know exactly what year and month of the archive to get (they’re large books archived by year and month). Luckily I knew which month and year so he was able to go fetch it for me but if I didn’t, not sure what the process would have been like.

So if you were planning to visit the library during the ongoing pandemic it’s no longer a good experience. I used to love dropping in randomly every now and then to go through their books and newspapers so it sucks that I can’t do that anymore. If you want to check out my previous post on the library, click here.