Tag Archives: Books

Reclaiming Lahore – LLF 2015

This article was originally published here

The Lahore Literary Festival came as a breath of fresh air on the city’s depleted cultural landscape


“Pata nahin kee hai, koi kitaaban da mela lagda hai,” one of the numerous policewomen deployed outside the Alhamra Arts Council last weekend was overheard saying perplexedly into her phone. It was easy to understand her confusion for it’s not every day that the city witnesses an event of the magnitude that was the Lahore Literary Festival (LLF).

Spread over three days, the festival put up a remarkable 75 sessions that gave the people of the city, as well as those who’d converged on to the Alhamra from various parts of Pakistan, a taste of literature, politics, culture and music. The sessions ranged from tributes to Pakistan’s legends such as Madam Noor Jehan and Faiz Ahmed Faiz to talks by the country’s new generation of fiction writers including Kamila Shamsie, Mohsin Hamid and Bilal Tanveer, interspersed by discussions on global and regional politics that engaged international journalists such as Roger Cohen of the NY Times and Lyse Doucet of BBC with local experts and politicians.

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Anarkali: Books Bazaar


Photo Courtesy :  Shiraz Hassan




The Joy of Used Books in Lahore

By Mohammad A. Qayyum
– Newbie Guide to Secondhand and/or cheap books around Lahore –

With the exchange rate ever spiraling away from us, reading English books in Lahore has become a prohibitively expensive past time. Moreover, the type of books in terms of substance and genre – why don’t we ever have original texts when we carry biographies and criticisms of writers is beyond me – is relatively limited. The old ports-of-call like Ferozesons on the Mall, Marwa books next to it and Variety Books in Liberty and the new (the lovely Last Word inside Hotspot in Gaddafi Stadium) tend to be expensive, so the book addict has to look elsewhere for his fix these days.

‘Readings’ on Main Boulevard above all stands as an oasis for the book reading public, a shop by a book lover for booklovers. The prices on new books are relatively low and while the secondhand books collection is now less than before, Readings does keep replenishing its stock. So, a regular visit is often merited. Lastly, and perhaps most significantly, the books available at Readings are not just limited to the old standards of English Literature that are found around town. A lot of the books you get at Readings are not available elsewhere (for any price, much less cut-price.)

The other must visit quasi-new-books bookshop in town is the basement bookshop next to Yummy 36 (behind the Shell petrol station) in Liberty. The owners there bring in containers of books (mostly from Australia) and one gets some really nice bargains. If you are looking for technical, management or computer books, this should be your first port of call. Continue reading

ANALYSIS: Unenlightened governance: no libraries! —Nadeem Ul Haque

When I go to my rich friends’ houses, I see no books. A million-dollar household with a hundred thousand-dollar sports car outside has no books. Rich people who spend thousands of dollars on a dinner do not even spend a hundred dollars annually on books

We have five polo grounds and three golf courses in Lahore; and one library in disrepair left to us by the colonial masters, and a ‘sort of’ bureaucratic library that we built in our sixty years. Says a lot about us, does it not? Continue reading

Old Lahore, old books

Posted by Raza Rumi


I grew up in Androon Shehr (old city) of Lahore in the 1980s.

Most of my childhood and teenage years were spent in my Nana Jan’s house located at Lodge Road in Old Anarkali. It was an old but large house, left by a Hindu migrant family, located inside a narrow street of hundreds of years old neighborhood with Jain Mandir (when it existed) just two blocks away and Mall Road merely a ten minutes walk.

Nana used to tell us that Gayan Chand, the head of that Hindu family, spent three long years building this house and it was a strange twist of fate that finally when it got completed in 1947 and he was just about to move in, partition took place. Not only did he lose his newly built house but he also had to flee the city where his forefathers had lived for centuries. Just like Nana Continue reading

Sex, spirituality and history: Searching Lahore?

A few weeks ago when I started this blog dedicated to the inimitable city Lahore; and was lazy to post original stuff – so whatever I found interesting I collated on this blog-space. Quite sheepishly I have to admit that I am most pleased with the way the surfers have stopped here and even commented. Like me, there are many a Lahore-lovers and hence the interest.

Though I was most amused why the traffic was going up – here are the top ten reasons why people halted at Lahore Nama – funny, real and of course revealing:

  1. sexy hot lahore
  2. name of books related culture of lahore
  3. toxic waste multan road shahbaz sharif
  4. old Lahore
  5. map of old lahore walled city
  6. hira mandi
  7. pics of sufi shrines
  8. shrines**
  9. online mujra/sexy mujra
  10. data sahib

I am wondering where is the sexy hot Lahore except the post on Mujras..

They say, LOL…

Top Ten Books on Lahore

1. City of Sin and Splendour: Writings on Lahore by Bapsi Sidhwa

2. Illustrated Views of the 19th Century by F.S. Aijazuddin

3. Lahore: Portrait of a Lost City by Som Anand

4. Lahore: A Memoir by Muhammad Saeed

5. Lahore: A Sentimental Journey by Pran Neville

6. Old Lahore by H.R. Goulding

7. The Dancing Girls of Lahore: Selling Love and Saving Dreams in Pakistan’s Pleasure District by Louise Brown

8. Amritsar to Lahore: A Journey Across the India-Pakistan Border by Stephen Alter

9. Lahore District Flora by Shiv Ram Kashyap

10. Beloved City Writings on Lahore by Bapsi Sidhwa Continue reading

New Lahore bookshop revives reading culture

By Kamila Hyat, for the Gulf News (April 28, 2008) 

Lahore:  For years, book lovers in Lahore, a city reputed for its literary history as well as its architectural inheritance, have mourned the apparent loss of the love of reading.

Many book shops have gradually vanished and in others, magazines have taken the place of more substantial tomes.

Teachers and parents have lamented the fact that in an age of television, DVDs, computer games and numerous other forms of jazzy electronic entertainment, children had turned away from books.

But, a single experimental idea has proved much of this conjecture about the relationship between Lahoris and books to be false.

The large Readings bookstore, which stocks row after row of used books, encyclopaedias and other literary material from the US, has within the two years or so of its existence become one of the most popular spots in the city. Continue reading

Lahore Book Shops: Gone With the Wind

Guest Post by Darwaish

Mall road is one of my favorite areas of Lahore and I have some wonderful childhood memories associated with it. There is no other road like it which we all love here in Lahore, probably because it’s so close to the heart of the old city.Yesterday while driving around the mall road, I decided to look for a book shop and buy 3 books which were long pending in one of my wish-list. So driving slowly, I started to recall the old books shops where I used to buy books with my father when I was a little child. To my great surprise and shock, I could only find Maqbool Academy which is located in famous Diyal Singh Mansion and Feroz Sons. All the other old book shops were either closed or they had changed their line of business.

First, I couldn’t believe that all those lovely book shops I once loved are really gone one by one but then I realized it had to happen, keeping in mind the ever dwindling lack of interest in reading book in our society. General public has lost interest in book reading and for sellers it is no longer a profitable business.

There used to be atleast 10 book shops at Mall Road only just 8 or 10 years ago but only TWO exist now.

For example, there used to be one small book shop near Regal Cinema gate inside the small lane (I forgot its name), where there are two flower vendors now. Also there was the Imperial Book Depot and across from Regal used to be the Classic Book House. Then across from Cathedral and High court was Russian Book House.

But my favorite was a small book shop at Regal, just on the left of Shireen Mehal. I think its name was Mirza Book Agency and not only they used to have the best ever collection of children”s edition of famous novels but also The Hardy Boys and every other comic collection. I still remember my father got me a pocket sized version of Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities from there long long time ago. This shop not only sold old books at low, affordable prices but they had a special taste in Urdu literature. The owner of that shop introduced me to some of the finest writers of Urdu literature and I can’t thank him enough for doing that (if only I can find him now). Continue reading