Growing up, I got all of my books from Borders–a store that no longer exists. After Borders went out of business, I was left with what I thought was my only other choice: Barnes & Noble.
I admit I’ve always been envious of people who post pictures of local bookstores that are either packed to the ceiling with books, beautifully minimalistic, or somewhere in between. I simply believed that there were no such stores here on Oahu but I’m happy to announce that I was wrong!
My partner went on a search for such bookstores months ago and we finally got around to visiting Da Shop: Books + Curiosities today. It’s actually only around a 5 minute drive from where I live and I had no idea it existed.
According to indiebound.org, there are only 3 indie bookstores on Oahu: Da Shop, Bookends, and Bookoff. I’ve been to Bookoff several times starting in high school but it’s a used bookstore and though I absolutely love buying cheap books from there, I never considered it to be in the same category as the bookstores I loved to look at online.
The first thing that caught my eye about this store is that ITS SUPER CUTE. As we walked up to the entrance I actually said this out loud to my partner. I was so shocked at how nice the outside was that I forgot to take a picture!
When you walk in, you’ll be amazed by how aesthetically pleasing everything is. There are a mix of bookshelf types and decor but they go together extremely well.
Each table/shelf is organized by genre. Around half of store is dedicated to Hawaii books–no surprise. What I was surprised by, however, was how this store seemed dedicated to celebrating the voices of marginalized authors and characters, Hawaiian or otherwise. It was absolutely wonderful.
There were Hawaiian books, Asian books, African American books, Indigenous books, and more! There was even a section dedicated to a book club called The Greener Reader, a sustainability book club.
If you want to test out any of the books they have available, there are ample areas for reading in the store. In fact, one of the customers who came in after us mentioned that they sometimes even provide espresso for their customers.
If that wasn’t enough to convince you to check this place out, there are even cards next to some of the books that tell you why people (I assume the workers) love that book.
I didn’t buy anything this time around and I have a sneaking suspicious that it’s because I’ve become so accustomed to mainstream books that these books didn’t quite catch my attention just yet. Nevertheless, I definitely look forward to visiting this store again and expanding my reading material. As a woman of color, I am particularly interested in “seeing myself” more in the stories that I read.