According to the owners’ aspiration, this unconventional bookshop in the heart of the old town Bangkok is the gate to enter the world.
This true hidden gem of a bookshop located in a century-old house in the old neighbourhood of Bangkok has all the elements of a Curiosity Shop plus a Wonder Emporium. If you are a bookworm, you’d know what I am talking about. It was no surprise when I learned that the founders and proprietors of the bookshop “World at the Corner” are the dynamic siblings’ duo; Nat Prakobsantisuk – Thailand’s top fashion photographer, and his big sister, Sivika Prakobsantisuk – an acclaimed writer. Both siblings hold Bachelor’s degrees in Art, majoring in English Literature from Chulalongkorn University. They both grew up reading and travelling. And when they cannot travel physically, they travel mentally through reading good books.
Nat Prakobsantisuk took us on a tour of his gate to the world which he calls “World at the Corner”.
Q: What was your inspiration behind the founding of “World at The Corner”?
A: Sanctuary! At first, I was thinking of finding a place where I could retire and sit back peacefully while I had nothing to prove to this world anymore. My sister and I dreamt of having a bookshop of our own for a long time, and this seemed to be a good idea and a good time to start.
Books are always my precious things. They give me the world I fancy to know. They answer all my questions, and at the same time puzzle me further with another question for me to find the next answer. The idea of being among loads of books is thrilling me. And that’s the beginning of “World at the Corner“.
Q: When was the shop first open to the public?
A: On 4th July 2019. Thanks to one of my best friends who urged me to get started with the bookshop instead of just dreaming about it. Early in May 2019, we went to Beijing International Bookfair, tried to find a way to get into this business as two zero-experienced beginners. Thank god, the people we found there are all gentle and kind. As the blind and non-business mind, we’ve got tons of name cards and numbers. Some of them became our agents till today.
Q: What can we expect to see when visiting “World at The Corner”?
A: The World! At least the gate to enter the world. We love to travel and we have done it all around the world. We met lots of beliefs, believers, crafts, cultures, kind and ruthless people, nature, love, and hate… nearly everything.
After 25 years of traveling, there is one thing I realise in one word, it is RESPECT. You cannot be equal without this word. You cannot say what is right or wrong because your right might not always be right to other people from different cultures or circumstances. When you come into our shop you will find lots of books from authors who are writing about what they’ve been through or contemplating their aspects towards the world they live in. You will find answers and questions, an invitation or inspiration to visit the world where you’ll find the new aspect of life. And after that, you will find peace by paying respect to others. If the world spins around you, it also spins around other people as well.
Q: What kind of books do you carry at the shop? Why is the book concept ‘English’ only?
A: As I told you about the idea of getting to know others and the world by traveling, you need an international language to communicate. Sometimes you might not need it but mostly you do. English is the one language that people usually can speak. When you read English books, it will help you get used to the language and fluently speak them out.
In our shop, you will find fiction and non-fiction from writers from all over the world, cookbooks that provide recipes from all countries, handmade books, history adventures books, and memoirs. We also have lots of children’s books which we selected only the one which gives a productive influence to the kids. And of course, photography books which I did choose myself, anything that can inspire me or other photographers to create the new work.
Q: Besides books, and art & craft objects, is there another activity on offer at “World at The Corner”?
A: Before Covids appeared at the beginning of 2020, we used to organize workshops about all kinds of books we had, all experiences in craft and culture. But we had to stop when there was a covid situation.
Q: Is the house where the shop is also your residence?
A: No, it used to be my office before I converted only the first floor to be a bookshop. My house is just one block away, around 2 mins walk.
Q: How old is the house?
A: I guess it was built in the same era as my own house which is around 140 years of age.
Q: Can you share with us a brief history of the house?
A: The Owner of the house is my mom‘s friend. I talked to her and have a little clue about the history of the house. The first owner was a therapist working in the Royal Palace. Then he sold this house to her great grandfather. As the house has no parking space, the family moved out and had it rented since then.
Q: Your shop is definitely a hidden gem, is there any instructions you’d like to give to your customers prior to their visit?
A: The Shop is located in a small alley called Mahannop Soi 1 which is not friendly to any vehicles. So, please park your car at Chao Pho Suea Shrine. Or you can park on both sides of Mahannop Road till 4 pm, and you can park on both sides of the street all day on Sunday. There’s also a huge parking lot at Mahahanaparam Temple.
To be honest, this area has its reputation for a great wandering around on foot, enjoying both marvelous local foods and old town scenery. We can provide suggestions and an old-town map for the wanderer who is new to this neighbourhood.
WORLD AT THE CORNER BOOKSHOP
Address: 1 Mahannop 1 Alley, Sao Chingcha, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200
Opening Hour: The bookshop is open only on Friday, Saturday, Sunday from 10.00 – 19.00
For more information, please contact https://web.facebook.com/worldatthecorner