Chapters.

Chapters has moved from Staple Street to a more central location at Joseph Lane, Bamba. They have a decent range of books, mostly fantasy and illustration, but what we really love about this bookshop is it’s so much more than a store: there’s a little coffee corner, some comfy sofas and even a DVD player with a movie collection.

Ambience

Well, as a bookworm, asking me to criticize the inside of a bookshop is a feat. That intoxicating smell of new pages, the sight of shelves upon shelves of stories – there’s your ambience right there. But Chapters is extra lovely because of this super comfortable seating space right in the center. You can grab a book and roll around here with no interruption all day.

In the verandah just before you enter the main book area, you get movies to your right and a coffee corner to your left. Grab a coffee, latte or milkshake for about Rs. 200 and head back inside to your sofa (yes, the management is actually willing to risk allowing you to handle their books and a mug of coffee at the same time), or grab a movie here (we saw Frozen, Rio 2, Oz the Great and Powerful among others) and pop it into the DVD player in the main room.

Hey, why is there a picture of a box of Lego in this post? The dumb Yamu reviewer must have messed up her pictures again. NOPE. WRONG. It’s because there’s a whole bunch of LEGO TOY SETS in the coffee section of Chapters. I know it says ages 5 to 12 but, come on, people, let’s be real here, we all secretly want to play with lego toys.

The books

So how good are the books? We saw a load of fantasy novels from C. S. Lewis to Tolkien, some classics, some more contemporary authors like Yann Martel and Sue Monk Kidd, some super illustration books (more on that later), a whole shelf for Garfield the lazy awesome cat, and then every local bookshop’s token selection of John Grisham, Michael Connelly and Judy Blume – alongside those Steve Jobs biographies and spiritual stuff.

Worth mentioning is that everything here – even the huge fantasy sagas – are generally from Rs. 600 to Rs. 1000 only, pretty affordable compared to some other bookstores in Colombo. The book range is a bit scattered, but if you’re into fantasy or illustration you’re going to love it here; the bulk of the books and movies available made me realize that their obvious target audience is intelligent book-reading children… and people like me.

I don’t know about you but as an adult and somebody who appreciates visuals just as much as text, I seriously enjoyed their collection of illustrative short stories. The artists behind these books include Quentin Blake, Tad Hills and Peter Harris, and most of the stories were very whimsical and original.

The only Sri Lankan authored book we found here was an illustrated one by Sybil Wettasinghe – and it’s a great treat for anybody with an active imagination.

Conclusion

We loved Chapters. Although the selection of books isn’t large and the bulk of it is not for everybody, you’re still bound to find something you like to read here (or listen to, if you’re into audio books). Or else you can always laze on the sofa, breeze through a Garfield comic, and sip on some coffee. Or try some love cake – they sell little boxes of Chapters love cake at the store too.

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