14-20 April 2017 #854

Literature and latté

Cafés in Kathmandu are no longer merely places to drink coffee
Clara Bullock

Clara Bullock

Cafés in Kathmandu are no longer merely places to drink coffee: people are going there to get work done, or study for classes. That means more and more cafés are offering books that patrons can buy or read while they enjoy their drinks. Whether you just want to relax with a good read or use the volumes to study is entirely up to you.

Bodhi Books and Bakes in Maharajgunj is one such café. It doesn’t just offer organic coffee and delicious, fresh pastries, but also a broad selection of books.

If you want to seriously study for school or college, Kataksha, also in Maharajgunj, is the place for you. The café also calls itself a mini-library and can provide food and drinks for your study group and even offers tuition. Student customers can join A-level classes in sociology, psychology and GP as well as prepare for the IELTS and TOEFL language tests and study in a caffeine-induced trance.

Sara Bakery started as an in-house bakery for Himalayan Beanz Coffee, but due to high demand for its pastries, opened a separate shop. Sara is best known for its customised cakes that can be ordered online. The outlet in Jawalakhel also offers books. Clients can bring their own or borrow one of the many books that line the walls of a separate library room dedicated to those who want to relax and enjoy a page-turner.

Café Soma in Jhamsikhel is another one of those places where you can chill out with a good book. Primarily a breakfast and brunch restaurant, customers can buy one of its many books and curl up at one of the corner tables.

The growth of the reading culture in Kathmandu is the result of many trends: the arrival of new publishing houses, the popularity of annual literature festivals, new up-and-coming cult authors and easy online access to information about literature. Book cafés started as a reaction to the sudden popularity of literature in Kathmandu but today they are contributing to the growth of that culture by helping to put books within easy reach of citizens.