井底之蛙

7/12/2008

樂學書局: The Lexis Book Co.

Filed under: — K. M. Lawson @ 10:47 am

Thanks to a tip shared by a fellow graduate student I met here yesterday, I learnt about another excellent academic bookstore here in Taipei which is, I’m told, a favorite among those “in the know.” Its owner, a legendary Ms. Huang (who was out when I visited today) is apparently well-loved among scholars all over East Asia as well as sinologists in the United States. This was confirmed by two elderly Korean philosophy professors I had a chat with, from two separate Korean universities, who said that they had been visiting and ordering books from the place for many years. One of these professors yelled the owner’s name affectionately as he disembarked the elevator and seemed very disappointed to see she wasn’t around.

樂學書局, or the “Lexis Book Co.” as it is known in English has one of the most unusual locations of any bookstore I have had the chance to visit. Whereas the 學生書局 is conveniently located on 和平東路 near the entrance of the Shida night market and 唐山書店 is just out of view in a basement locale near Taiwan National University, this book store is found in what looks like a converted residence on the 10th floor of an apartment complex on 金山南路 (Chin-shan S. Road), perhaps 10 minutes walk from Guting station.

There are no signs at the street level suggesting that this residential high rise houses a bookstore with one of the greatest collections of academic Chinese language works in Taipei. However, as I passed the security guard at the entrance to the grounds, he stopped me and immediately asked with a knowing smile, “樂學書局?” When I responded in the affirmative he told me to go to the apartment complex to the right and take the elevator to the 10th floor. The whole experience felt like that scene in the movie “The Matrix” where the band of adventurers go to visit the mystical “Oracle” in her hidden home.

Inside the apartment/bookstore every room is filled with books, including the shelves above the kitchen sink. History books can be found in its own room in the back corner. There is a great selection of both pre-modern and modern history but look through all the shelves since their semi-sorted nature can be deceiving. While almost all the books are in Chinese, there was a series of shelves with dictionaries and publications in everything from Manchu to the various languages of Central Asia. Another one of the rooms also has a good collection of the English language publications of SMC Publishing.

If you are in Taipei and have an interest in history or literature, especially, this bookstore is definitely worth the visit:

樂學書局
臺北市金山南路二段138號10樓之1
(02) 23219033
lexis at ms6.hinet.net

Pictures of China

Filed under: — Alan Baumler @ 8:21 am

opium burning

Opium burning, 1917-1919. Beijing

Duke university has put the entire Sidney Gamble archive on-line. Some of these have been published already (Gamble is pretty well known) but this is the entire archive and it is searchable. Well worth looking at.

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