Shorouk Bookstore: Cosy Bookshop in Dandy Mall
Located on the second floor of
Dandy Mall on the Cairo-Alexandria Desert Road, Shorouk Bookstore is inviting with a dark
wood interior that is in contrast with the otherwise stark, white mall that’s
clad in cold materials.
Stepping into the bookshop, one will find the checkout
counter to the left surrounded by a variety of stationary items that include
bookmarks designed in varying themes (20LE), small notepads in all sorts of colours
and floral patterns (40LE-50LE), as well as a selection of pencil cases. There
is also a stand with mainstream magazines close to the entrance.
As expected, the bookshop is divided into sections with the
usual titles such as ‘Art & Design’, ‘Self-Help’ and ‘Travel’. Apart from
these sections though, the books are pretty much separated into English and
Arabic where the former is to the left and the latter is to the right of the
space. Towards the very end, facing the entrance, is considerably large area dedicated to
children’s books .
Focusing on the English sections, we delved further into the
left-hand side of the shop. Lured by their classics section, we
set off to see what gems they have in store. Mostly Penguin publications, there is a reasonable variety of this literature. As well as older works by writers
such as Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Kafka and DH Lawrence, there was a selection of
modern classics by Kerouac, Arthur Miller and Ayn Rand. It didn’t make sense
however that The Fountainhead by the latter was priced at 87LE, while Oscar
Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray is just 48LE – both published
by Penguin. Perhaps the former is simply longer in text, but Arthur Miller’s
slim books also came to a similar high price.
Their interior design and architecture books are also
noteworthy. They have quite a selection and the books available are nicely
varied with a little of everything including decorating
(around 190LE), one particular book focused on table styling (171LE) and there was one titled Dreaming
While their design section is quite impressive, the art section was
lacking. Another section that
should have been more impressive was the cooking; they were few in number and
not exactly inspiring.
There is a small biography section that wasn’t too enthralling either with focus on a range of famous figures including Mick Jagger,
Barack Obama and Tony Blair. Their politics section on the other hand is jam-packed and
very current with many local publications on the current events. Alaa El Aswany’s
newest book On the State of Egypt is priced at 75LE.
Shorouk also has a ‘recommended’ section. Books such as the
Steve Jobs biography (195LE), Why Men Love Bitches (85LE) and most Jodi
Picoult books are included, as well as revolution-themed books such as Trafalgar to Tahrir by Rosemary Sabet (120LE) and Liberation Square by Ashraf Khalil (150LE). While taste is inarguable, we
had hoped to see more originality in the choices. Publications addressing the revolution are a given, but Why Men Love Bitches – really?
The staff were short at the time our visit with only one
attendant available to assist customers, which didn’t help with the awkward pile
up at the till. However, overall Shorouk is a more than adequate spot to go