On the corner of Gogol and Furmanova, tucked in under an overhang and almost hiding beside a large pharmacy (more on that later) sits a little bookshop called Академкнига (academic books - established in 1950). Now, don't get the wrong idea, Almaty has plenty of bookstores - we have the large, sterile, Barnes & Noble-esque establishments of Meloman and Booking, and the little tiny mall bookstores and even a couple of amazing Kazakh bookstores, but this shop is different. This shop is something pretty special.
Inside, behind the unassuming, yellow facade are more books than you can possibly imagine! There are shelves from floor to ceiling filled with books. There are books piled on carts that are taller than me. There are books in bins and books stacked on top of the books in the bins. There are books stacked neatly on the floor and books piled somewhat sloppily in corners. There are books in Russian, English, and Kazakh, and even a few books in Russian, English, and Kazakh all at the same time. There books tucked in little nooks and crannies that you might not see if not for the help of the shop assistants who all bear an eery resemblance that librarian we all knew as children. In this magical little shop there are books everywhere space can be found to put a book. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me at all to learn that the shop had somehow managed to defy the laws of physics and put a pile of books where there wasn't any place to put a book. With all of these books there really isn't much room to move, and squeezing between piles of books can be an adventure. To be quite honest though, the expanse of universes contained within those books more than makes up for their cramped housing. If you ever find yourself in Almaty (and you love books as much as I do) go find this shop and buy a book!
Incidentally - you know that pharmacy I mentioned earlier? It is pretty spectacular too. Two stories of everything you could ever need including (drum-roll please) the ever elusive Crest Toothpaste. Granted, you will almost certainly pay and arm and most of a leg for such luxuries but sometimes you just want to brush with Crest.