After polishing off a good novel, there’s nothing better than discussing it with others who can shed light on forgotten passages, illuminate themes you may have missed, throw curveball interpretations and – there’s always one – tell you the whole thing was tripe. Local book club Bibliophiles – defined as ‘a lover of books’ – does exactly that: the club meets every three weeks on Saturdays at Caffè Nero in DIFC. Forthcoming novels up for discussion include The Turn of the Screw by Henry James and Regarding Ducks and Universes by Neve Maslakovic. For more book clubs, keep an eye on future issues of Time Out.
Book N Bean
This new second-hand bookshop (a spin-off of House of Prose) sells used books from Dhs25. Books can be returned either to Book N Bean or any of the House of Prose outlets, and on return you’ll receive half your money back to put towards the next book you buy. It stocks lots of fairly recent titles by best-selling authors, all in good condition, and there’s a small non-fiction section too. There’s even a loyalty scheme: if you buy nine books and/or coffees, you get the 10th cup of coffee free. Perfect for browsing while DIY fans stock up on supplies at ACE.
Open Sat-Wed 9am-10pm; Thu-Fri 9am-midnight. Inside ACE Hardware, Dubai Festival City (04 232 6992).
A cosy second-hand bookshop that feels like a backpacker’s paradise – Book World is stocked floor-to-ceiling with pre-loved titles, many still bearing the initial purchase date. As well as a selection of new books and authors including big sellers such as Paulo Coelho and Dan Brown, there’s also a unique collection of MAD, Archie and Betty and Veronica comics. As a bonus, return any book after reading to get half your money back.
Open Sat-Thu 9.30am-10am; Fri 3pm-10am. Al Hudaiba Street, opposite Al Maya Lal’s, Satwa (04 349 1914).
Otherwise known as the House of Literature, this Bastakiya destination offers year-round open-door events for aspiring writers, literature fans, poets and speakers, as well as being the perfect place for the younger generation to strike up an appreciation for the written word. It also holds book launches, signings and creative writing workshops.
The next Festival Book Club session will take place on Thursday March 8 at 7.30pm, hosted by Becky Kilsby. House 45, Bastakiya (04 353 4002).
House of Prose
This sets the standard for second-hand bookshops in Dubai, with many of its rivals now following suit and offering a money-back option when you return books you’ve read. The store now boasts two locations, one in Jumeirah and the other at Dubai Garden Centre, and it’s a perfect spot for the literati to check out what other people are reading. The Dubai Garden Centre branch also houses an in-store café selling RAW organic coffee (the best coffee in Dubai, no less), and offers views of the nursery, providing some much-needed respite from Dubai’s concrete jungle.
Open daily 9am-9pm. Dubai Garden Centre, near Gold & Diamond Park, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 340 0006). Other location: Jumeirah Plaza, Jumeirah Beach Road (04 344 9021).
Read N Enjoy
JBR is now home to this small library, which also provides online book rental (at www.readnenjoy.com/library) as well as home delivery service for those who don’t want to peel themselves away from their reading chair. As well as stocking adult, teen and children’s books, the library offers toys, party supplies and craft materials.
Open Sat-Thu 9.30am-8.30pm; Fri 2pm-8.30pm. Rimal 3, next to Figaro’s Pizza, JBR (04 448 7046).
The Old Library
A Ductac-based independent library that boasts a collection of more than 19,000 novels and is manned by Western-trained librarians – borrowing a book from The Old Library reminds us of our school days (and how old we are). As its name suggests, The Old Library, first set up by Dubai’s British ambassador’s wife in the ’70s, operates under the old-school library system: Dhs1 fines are imposed for every day the book is returned late, and books can be borrowed for four weeks at a time, once a one-year subscription (Dhs200 plus Dhs50 new joiner admin fee) has been paid.
10am-6pm Sat-Thu. Closed Fridays and public holidays. The Old Library, Ductac, Mall of the Emirates. www.theoldlibrary.ae (04 341 4777 ext 207).