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Grassroots Book Room
Photograph: Grassroots Book Room/Facebook

The best reading spots in Singapore

Find a peaceful slice of heaven in this bustling city and get stuck in the pages of your new book

Written by
Cam Khalid
&
Aiko Tun
Contributor
Cheryl Sekkappan
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While Singapore is dotted with a myriad of tranquil spots, off-shore islands and secret parks to escape the maddening crowds, nothing beats escaping reality with a book in hand. Melt the world away with a good book at a dedicated reading room, stunning library, hip café, or cavernous book store. No doubt, there's plenty of quiet corners in this bustling city to get lost in the pages of your latest fiction (or non-fiction). All better with a cosy seat to settle in and soothing beverage in hand.

RECOMMENDED: The best quiet cafés with free Wi-Fi to do work or study and the best libraries in Singapore

  • Shopping
  • Bookshops
  • Raffles Place

After a five-month closure because of the pandemic, Huggs-Epigram Coffee Bookshop is now open again. If reading more books is one of your new year resolutions, here's a good place to start. Spend the afternoon browsing over 400 books in the store (90 percent of the books are by local authors) while you sip on a latte. Some local titles you can expect are The Punkhawala and the Prostitute by Wesley Leon Aroozoo, A Mosque in the Jungle by Othman Wok, Chronicles of a Circuit Breaker by Joseph Chiang, and more. 

  • Restaurants
  • Tea rooms
  • Chinatown

This tea house in Chinatown is the perfect spot to immerse yourself in your favourite new book. Silk Tea Bar is a meditative space nestled on the second floor of a shophouse dedicated to the art of traditional Chinese tea. While you flip through a book, sip on cups of fragrant loose leaf teas from China served in elegant traditional wares and light bites of kueh kosui. Just remember to reserve a seat ahead as space is limited. 

 

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  • Shopping
  • Bookshops
  • Outram

Grassroots Book Room is an independent Chinese bookstore that dates back to 1995. Starting out across the National Library, it eventually settled at a quaint space on Bukit Pasoh Road. The book room carries an impressive collection of books covering Chinese history, politics, literature, philosophy film and drama, as well as local and international English-language titles. Pick one up and settle at the cafe in the back for an afternoon of deep reading with coffee and light bites. 

Library@Orchard
  • Things to do
  • Orchard

At the heart of the famous shopping belt, library@orchard treats visitors to a cornucopia amount of resources centred on lifestyle, design and applied art. Located on the third and fourth floors of Orchardgateway, the library splits into The Studio and The Loft which features a vast array of titles, as well as programme zones. Plus, its gorgeous interiors – think ceiling-to-floor shelves, wave-like racks and wooden seatings where you can sprawl with a book in hand – are a great excuse to grab a paperback or a magazine and chill indoors.

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  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • River Valley

Snug like a living room complete with comfy sofas and shelves lined with books, The Book Café's long been the local go-to for a much-needed catch up on a book, or a quiet spot to bang out a quick bit of work. And if you prefer your read with some bites on the side, look to their food menu with all-day breakfast options like pancakes and Eggs Benedicts.

  • Things to do
  • Harbourfront

With huge windows that overlook Sentosa, the spectacular waterfront views at the reading lounge in Library@Harbourfront would make anyone feel like they're reading by the beach. Take a break from the busy mall and step inside the library where you will find over 200,000 volumes of books, conducive reading and learning spaces for children, teens and adults, learning pods, augmented reality books and enhanced services for both avid readers and those keen to learn. 

 

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Hungry Heroes

A hero-themed eatery in Little India, Hungry Heroes stars memorabilia of Marvel and DC superheroes, including pictures, busts and figurines of your favourite fighters. Look forward to scouring their large collection of comic books, painstakingly built over the span of 25 years. Keep the hunger pangs at bay with their menu which features hearty dishes like Meat Fury's BBQ Pork Ribs and the Nice to Meat You platter of pork ribs, sirloin, chicken leg and pulled pork.

Cook & Tras Social Library
  • Restaurants
  • Singaporean

Cook & Tras Social Library is temporarily closed, but we're holding out hope that it'll reopen soon so we can return for a relaxing read. Located between Cook Street and Tras Street – hence its name – this social library at Six Senses Maxwell houses 3,000 books that visitors are free to pick up and browse. Settle into one of its plush velvet settees and choose between coffee, tea, kombucha or an alcoholic beverage if you so please. Or if you’re feeling peckish, sample Cook and Tras’ range of locally inspired dishes made with sustainable and organic produce. There’s the Iberico pork sate served with ketupat and achar as well as the more substantial barramundi bakar ($18), grilled fish marinated with chilli garam masala.

Find your new favourite paperback

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