When I heard that this year’s Read! Fest theme was Voyage and about delving deeper into the past and imagining the future, I was especially excited to check it out! I’m sure we all have memories of reading time travel books or speculative fiction about the future and wonder how it would be brought to life. 🤔
Sadly, my family and friends couldn’t make it for the opening week activities at the National Library Building Plaza from 22- 30 June 2019, but that didn’t stop me from checking them out, even if it meant going by myself.
Upon reaching the Plaza, I was pleasantly surprised by how the place had been transformed. Comfy chairs were scattered around, inviting people to sit, read, and enjoy the various activities and performances.
Didn’t bring a book? There were plenty to borrow from the lovely book displays (and now with the increased loan quota, why not borrow ALL the books? or as many as your quota will allow!).
Chatting at the Book-ish Market
As a huge fan of reading and all things bookish (especially stationery), I couldn’t resist browsing the Book-ish Market, which included homegrown brands with their quirky line up of crafts and artisanal products.The pop-up market even supported independent bookstores, and there was a wide range of books, beautifully illustrated calligraphy cards and accessories! 😍
I chatted with the owner of LeftHandesign, who shared her struggles in opening her biodegradable stationery business, after leaving behind a comfortable corporate job. She was determined to pursue her passion in creating sustainable materials embedded with plant seeds, in order to give them a new lease of life. She even gave me some advice – “Don’t be in a rush to be an entrepreneur, your work experience comes in handy when you finally decide to start a business.”
Browsing through the collections by EthosBooks, the assistants revealed how they actually had a hand in bringing some of the stories to life. They penned true stories, of pain and vulnerability, shedding light on the lives of people living with disabilities.
Inspired, I couldn’t resist picking up a few titles! (Totally worth it!):
Interacting with Art Installations
Apart from the many meaningful conversations, I also had the opportunity to explore the various booths. One of my favourites was the “Digital Gamebook”, which allowed me to dictate how some of my favourite titles would play out—by choosing the actions of the various characters. I felt as though I was a part of the story! This is something I strongly encourage you to try.
Of the art installations,another one I particularly liked was “VoiceOver” where visitors can take part by recording their thoughts about voyage-related books or their vision for Singapore. These thoughts would then be played on retro-futuristic radios for other visitors to listen.
I definitely have no regrets exploring on my own, as there was so much to see and do. With Read! Fest ongoing till 28 July, be sure to check out the various other activities and programmes lined up. Don’t miss your chance to make new friends, and gain new experiences!