seaslug

Kinokuniya!

I paid a visit to Kinokuniya Book World in Dubai Mall, yesterday.

Housed in, arguably, the largest shopping mall in the world, I presume that it is the biggest book store in the United Arab Emirates, if not the entire Middle East.

Orbiting through a 68,000 square foot half circle, Kinokuniya houses a very large collection of English, Chinese, Japanese, and Arabic language books, graphic novels, comics, writing materials, figurines and toys.

Comprised primarily of English language books, the choice in each section is incredibly diverse and expansive.

After wandering through my guilty pleasure of Fantasy and Science Fiction, I meandered all the way to the back of the store and into the huge Design section. Graphic design, interior design, package design, the range was incredibly comprehensive.

Reversing my course, I navigated back to the middle of the store. I passed through the comic books, the graphic novels and the manga. Back near the Fantasy section, a young woman passed me. Turning to her companions she alerted them to her destination, hissing, "Fantasy!" and eagerly pointing at the stacks. It warmed my heart because I felt the momentary human connection; that shared passion for being transported to another place and time for a little while.

Beyond the manga was the Kino Cafe. Closed because of Ramadan, it looked very comfortable. Quite large, and apparently with an excellent view.

Arriving at the other end of the store, I entered the also huge History section. Another personal favorite. Winding from aisle to aisle, I traveled further and further forward in time until I reached the back wall and Current Events.

I noticed that a number of the more expensive books, the coffee table books, and all of the manga, comics and graphic novels were shrink wrapped. No way to thumb through them.

At first I thought that this was strictly a capitalist measure. An attempt to prevent people from just grabbing a book and plopping down into a corner to read it all in the store. In fact, I've since learned that this shrink wrapping is common throughout the Middle and Far East, and is known in Europe. But I believe that this also helps to serve as an act of censorship, to protect the delicate sensibilities of the religious.

Either way, it tarnished my experience a bit. I left without buying anything. But I will go back at the earliest opportunity.