Foreign Languages Bookstore Tonglou
If all you’re finding in Tianjin is Mao’s little red book at the antique markets, look no further than this book store which specializes in foreign (English) material.
While not as comprehensive as Beijing’s famous Book Worm, this shop, located on Wei Di Dao, has a fair selection of literature, kids books, novels, language help books and magazines to suit every taste. Books from authors such as George Orwell, Chuck Palahniuk, Mark Twain, Edgar Allan Poe, Gillian Flynn and Albert Camus are on sale. The magazines are usually Chinese publications, but the excellent World Of Chinese, from which I have learned a lot from, is found here. There is also a fairly sized classics section if Moby Dick tickles your fancy.
For Chinese readers, there are also English books transcribed into Mandarin and the usual TOEFL testing material on sale.
The staff is friendly and helpful to an extent - ordering a book or asking if they have anything else by an author you may like will simply get a blank expression. Another drawback is that over the course of my many visits to the store, I haven’t noticed many new arrivals (no Ready Player One, I had to purchase that during my trip to Canada). The English fiction and I believe many of the other sections are not alphabetized - but I have tried to help them by putting certain author’s books all together in one section - such as Stephen King, whom they have a lot of books by. The final inconvenience is that the name of the store is not in English on the building, so make sure to look for the sign on the photo.
So whether you are searching for The Governance of China or Animal Farm, this shop has you covered.