WHAT ARE YOU READING?
Duangruethai Asanachatang is a fixture in the Thai independent book-selling scene - a community of small, low-profile people who're rolling more on passion than on budget. Duangruethai runs the small publishing house Rawang Bantad, or Between the Lines, but she's better known as the owner of a bookshop called Candide, after Voltaire's novel.
Candide used to be on Tanao Road, flanked by shophouses in the old quarter. But after the lease expired, the shop is in the process of being moved to a new location, in the Jacm Factory project, by the river on Charoen Krung Road. It's due to open in a few months.
_ Kong Rithdee
What are you reading?
Rebel Bookseller: Why Indie Businesses Represent Everything You Want To Fight For _ From Free Speech To Buying Local To Building Communities, by Andrew Laties. I'm half-way through. The book is about the experiences of independent booksellers. It fires me up in what I'm doing.
What book have you always wanted to read but haven't? Why haven't you read it?
The Thai translation of Don Quixote. Whenever world-class literature is translated into Thai, I feel like supporting the publishers who venture to do so. But when I got Don Quixote I found that I hardly opened it _ maybe because it's a big, gold-embroidered hardback. It feels like a book that should be put on a pedestal [to worship], and yes, it ended up on a pedestal, or at least a shelf!
What's the last book that made you laugh?
Duangta Tee Sam (The Third Eye) by Dan-aran Saengthong. From the title I thought it was a religious book, but no, it's a romantic story and a Thai-style comedy. I laughed from cover to cover.
What's the last book that made you cry?
Bot Awasarn Khong Kochasarn (The Ending Of Kochasarn) by Kochasarn Tangyamaroon. It's not a sad book, but the writer is writing about his father, and that triggered memories of my own father who passed away. Tears just flowed.
How many books have you bought that you haven't read?
Countless. When I'm happy, sad, stressed, I walk into a bookstore. Books are on top, on the side and at the end of my bed. And I often read several at the same time.
Is there a book that made you want to become a bookseller?
Yes. Time Was Soft There by Jeremy Mercer. It's about a Canadian journalist who stayed at Shakespeare and Company, one of the oldest bookstores in Paris. It made me want to have a bookshop that can house guests upstairs too.
Your bookshop is called Candide, which is a book by Voltaire. What's special about that work?
Actually the person who suggested the name was Kittipol Sarakanont, and I agreed. There's a line in Candide that goes: "Our labour preserves us from three great evils _ weariness, vice and want." I think this is the gist of the novel, that no matter how much hardship we have to go through, it's our work that keeps us going, that keeps us living.