Solidaridad Bookshop

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Welcome to Solidaridad
Oftentimes I’ve worried about the sad state of our country’s bookstores, digressing to worn out themes harping to the tune of The Hunger Games, Fifty Shades or John Greene. To be honest it is tiring and my drive to really dig into a bookstore’s shelves have waned. I crave for a bookstore that’s unique and well-curated, that isn’t afraid to not join the bandwagon and just be…well unique and independent. However reality-wise that really can’t work out, independent bookstores in the metro have a shelf-life as quick as butter left out on a very hot and humid day. However there are some that have withstood the test of time and one-such bookstore is none other than the institution known as Solidaridad Bookstore.

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Where the books are well curated
Owned and managed by the country’s literary giant and icon, F. Sionil Jose, hopes to rekindle our love for reading by inviting us into his store. His store complete with that classic window shop display akin to those old 50’s classic Americana stores is simply enticing.

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With nary a sign of grey or a girl on fire
Entering the store, visitors can expect to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of books. All corners of the shop’s small floor space are lined with it, floor to ceiling with Filipiniana titles enough to make Silahis Bookshop cry in frustration. As I browsed through the countless shelves, I saw familiar and unfamiliar titles, literary titans and giants, as well as some very interesting ones. There are shelves devoted to readers interested in Japan or in South (east) Asia, politics, history, and philosophy. The titles are limitless and the topics appeal to intellectual and academic readers, perfect considering its location near the country’s top state university.

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With topics from a wide-variety of places
Though it might seem off-putting that Solidaridad seems to cater to academics and intellectuals, their fiction space is just as good. There were beautiful volumes and versions of F. Sionil’s own books, a Nabokov, Alighieri, Bronte, Wolfe and some other big wigs were spotted here and there. In the time spent inside, neither a shade of grey nor a flicker of hunger and any of its iterations were spotted. I knew that this store didn’t follow the bandwagon.

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The store’s interior are lined with books from floor to ceiling
As I left Solidaridad,I left empty-handed, not because I didn’t find anything interesting I just found some of the interesting books expensive. Given it’s independent status, expect foreign publications to be bank-breaking expenditures versus locally published books. Despite that, I enjoyed connecting with F. Sionil Jose in a very personal way (even if he wasn’t there). I enjoyed the feel of how this little literary nook has withstood the test of time and continue to be a place where one can find a good book to read and enjoy.

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And there are some interesting (pricey) finds
Solidaridad Bookshop is located along Padre Faura Street, Manila
It is open Monday to Saturday from 9am-6pm.
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