Kia ora everyone. As 2010 winds down I hope things are going well for you, wherever you find yourself on the planet. It's been quite a full-on year for me, but a good one.
I'm spending my last night of 2010 (and first couple of days of 2011) in Hanoi, Vietnam. In amongst the Temple of Literature, Ho Chi Minh mausoleum, water puppet theatre and other assorted sight-seeing and food tasting, I've also stumbled across a truly excellent second hand bookstore: Bookworm Hanoi. It touts itself as the 'best bookstore in Southeast Asia', and in my opinion (having travelled Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam over the past three weeks), it certainly is. I've been reading a bit on this trip (four crime novels thusfar - PHNOM PENH EXPRESS by Johan Smits (good), BANGKOK HAUNTS by John Burdett (great), THE NEON RAIN by James Lee Burke (great) and PROBABLE CAUSE by Theresa Schwegel (good)), but largely from books I either brought from New Zealand or picked up at the Brunei or Bangkok airports at the start. There has been little in the way of good, available crime novels on my travels - the odd one here or there in a hotel book exchange; that's where I picked up the Shwegel book - but Bookworm has a truly terrific selection (several hundred books), at great and fair prices (from 25 cents to US$5 for most - compared to the US$13 that a Hoi Ann bookstore specialising in 'new' photocopied books wanted for a secondhand real Michael Connelly book). Could do with a few more Kiwi crime novels, but oh well.
Honestly, I could spend hours in Bookworm browsing the shelves. My better half had to drag me out yesterday - but I guess that makes up for all the times I've been waiting, eyes glazed over, in handbag/dress/souvenir/handicraft/shoestores on this trip. Haha.
I'd upload a photo, but the Internet can be temperamental here, so the logo above will just have to do. Click on it for more information. I talked to the owner yesterday, and he's looking to start holding some literary events here in the city in 2011, including perhaps some crime fiction ones. So watch this space, and pop on in, if you're in this part of the world.
I hope you all have a safe and wonderful New Years. See you in 2011.