A week ago, I was in Helsinki Finland to present two papers at the Sibelius Academy for the Narrative Inquiry in Music Education conference. Naturally, I can not leave the city without doing my usual book hunting adventure. We asked a few locals and they specifically recommended that we visit this place:
Location: Keskuskatu 1
This bookstore has four levels of yummylicious goodness. I was in awe of all the translated titles as you can see below:
The Kalevala is said to be one of Finland’s epic stories, based on folklore and mythology. I was angling for an illustrated version, but didn’t see any.
Goodies that caught my eye but didn’t buy
I had to stop myself from buying this one, although the temptation almost became too much for me. The book contains six stories in all. Now that I’m back here in Singapore, I regret not having splurged on this one.
Simply because Rumi is love.
I ended up not buying any books from this bookstore. I chose to buy these lovely notebooks instead. The black one is for me while the cute blue one is for my ten year old daughter. If you wish to know more about Akateeminen, though, you can check out this post by Sonja and Ivan as they did a pretty thorough write-up of the place.
Two other Bookstores in Helsinki
Both bookstores are pretty small (just one level) and most of the titles are in Finnish as well. It kind of functions like an office-type book-place where you can buy stationery and such.
Where I hit Jackpot: Kauppa Store within the Kiasma Museum
We actually just chanced upon this little nook which is housed within the Kiasma Museum. This is where I got my treasures. While the place is small, the books that they selected to put on display are pretty awesome. I bought quite a few despite myself.
My Book Buys in Helsinki
Yellow City: Illustrated Stories from Helsinki. As you can see here, it appears to be a collaboration of Finland’s finest when it comes to writing and drawing. I’m excited to read this one.
I don’t think it would be right to leave Finland without buying the definitive Moomin book. And so I chose to purchase Moomintroll and the End of the World: Tove Jansson’s first Moomin comic strip with essays on her life and work.
I fell in love with this book the minute I set my eyes upon it. Invisible Forces: A Graphic Novella by Juliacks and translations by Katri Inkeri. The illustrations within are in full color and would just keep you hyperventilating in all its graphic goodness. Not bad for 10 euros.
While this is not technically a book about Finland, I haven’t seen this book anywhere else and it is just so gorgeous! Monsters: A Bestiary of the Bizarre by Christopher Dell. It’s in hard cover, so it’s good that I packed light going to Helsinki, as my luggage was simply filled with books when I returned to Singapore.
My travel buddy’s book buys
I am fortunate that I am surrounded by enablers who are as geeky as I am. My constant travel buddy, good friend, and research collaborator, Professor Tuting Hernandez, also had a few book finds. Since I am spatially-challenged (hehehe), I am grateful that my linguist friend happens to conveniently possess a mental map in his mind, allowing us to visit several out-of-the-way bookshops.