The diverse selection of books is just one way they promote inclusion
There’s a new indie bookstore in town, one so charming and whimsical you’d think it really came from the moon.
A bookstore and café in one space, The Moon has been attracting curious visitors even before its official launch on 21 September. It’s located just a 5 minutes’ walk away from the Chinatown MRT station, offering an artsy respite from the similar rows of Sichuan and Korean eateries on Mosque Street.
You can’t miss the red-painted pillar and its vinyl moon decal (even this passer-by had to stop and snap a photo), telling you that you have landed at The Moon. Step inside, however, and you’d be struck by the warm earthy aesthetic from the potted plants and deep-brown oak furniture.
Book lovers would have a field day discovering new and varied reads at The Moon. Browse through the range of contemporary fiction, classics, art and design books, and children’s picture books; you’ll notice there’s a rather tight curation going on – at least half of the books feature women writers and writers of colour. Malala Yousafzai’s gorgeous picture book stands out at the top of the shelf, not far from Zadie Smith’s latest essay collection, and Singaporean author Sharlene Teo’s Ponti.
This diversity criteria is key to Sarah Naeem’s decision to start an indie bookstore.
Over the whooshing of the coffee machine and the café chatter, Sarah shared with us what ultimately inspired The Moon – her trip back home to Pakistan two years ago. Her visit to a favourite bookstore, which offers little representation for female authors, made her start thinking more profoundly about her own reading choices.
Sarah Naeem, founder of The Moon
You don’t have to worry about limited choices at The Moon. Kinokuniya and online stores like Book Depository are there if you’re looking for a particular book, but at The Moon, you can discover amazing reads you never knew existed.
“This space exists for you to come and broaden your horizons,” Sarah said, “to come in and find something unexpected, whether that’s a conversation, something to eat, or a book at the end of the day. It’s meant to be an experience that pushes you outside of the comfort zones of your mind.”
A cosy environment eases your journey as you embark on your literary adventures. The shelves and walls are littered with beautifully designed covers, including exquisite collector’s editions of classics and pop culture novels like Doctor Who.
After you’ve found a title that caught your eye, sit back on one of the couches in the café, and get yourself a cup of freshly brewed coffee or tea. Or just chill out with your friends and catch up over a slice of chocolate cake. Like the books, the café menu is carefully curated to be inclusive. So whatever dietary restrictions you may have, you can take your pick among the mouth-watering selection of cakes and drinks, because most of them are vegan, gluten free, or both!
All these little touches make sure that everyone is welcome at The Moon, including the little ones.
“The Moon is not just a space for grown-ups who drink coffee or want to read a book,” Sarah shared, “you can just hang out here. It’s for people to bring their families and their kids, and experience reading together, which is something I experienced a lot of in my family.”
For a more intimate space to read or hang out, make your way upstairs to the reading room. You might need some time to convince yourself you didn’t just step into a fantasy land – just look at those fairy lights! – but once you curl up on the thick rug or one of the plush floor pillows, the comfort of home wraps you up. As if we need any more reason to lounge in the reading rooms all day, there’s also a small selection of second-hand books to keep you company.
Come evenings, the reading room will see more action as it also serves as an event space. It’s thoughtfully separated from the bookstore and café below, so that visitors who aren’t there for the event can still read or get your coffee without any disruption.
What kind of events can we expect? “A little bit of everything,” said Sarah.
It could be workshops, movie screenings, talks, song and dance, or whatever a guest suggests. Like the rest of the bookstore café, the main goal is to make you feel over the moon.
37 Mosque Street, Singapore 059515 ; Facebook