There are readers. There are library people and there are bookstore people and while they aren’t mutually exclusive, they aren’t necessarily the same. Someone I know only likes libraries because of their neatness and order and can’t even abide the used book sale shelves we have in the library. Others love the unexpected you can find in a bookstore, especially a used book store…the clutter in the midst of which you find that book you didn’t know you were looking for.
The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell is primarily for the used book store lovers, although Ms. Campbell does mention several modern, pristine looking bookstores, as well. Segmented by geographic area, she picks out the unusual, the odd, the bookstore that will attract bookstore lovers. There is the bookstore that is on a 60 foot narrowboat that runs up and down the canals in Lichfield, UK, “…where there’s tea and biscuits and a sneaky glass of wine…there are sofas to sit on, and refreshments to be had…” Makes you want to go there, huh?
Or how about Wigtown, the National Book Town of Scotland where you will find The Bookshop. For a small fee, you can join the Random Book Club, in which they will send (anywhere in the world) you a random second hand book every month. I joined and Susan just received her first book. She can’t wait to read it. You MUST watch the video on their website.
There is Tell a Story in Portugal whose goal is to “…promote Portuguese literature by selling English translations of its works to British tourists from a bookshop van that tours the country.” The Libraria Acqua Alta in Venice which overlooks the canal. I can’t imagine the moisture in those book pages.
Fjaerland Book Town in Norway has a wonderful view of snow covered mountains. The Biblioburro in Colombia, South America is a man on his burro making sure people in the outskirts have material to read.
I could go on an on. There are famous bookstores, like the Strand in New York and unknown bookstores. The book includes comments by bookstore owners, many of whom had always wanted to own a bookstore but wouldn’t take the chance until retirement age. Ms. Campbell includes Bookish Facts, and Some Wonderful Things scattered throughout, as well as comments by authors, again both famous and somewhat less so. She covers six of the seven continents…no bookstores in Antarctica, I gather.
I found this to be a charming book and one I will consult as we plan our next trip, both here and abroad. Do yuou love bookstores? If so, go to your nearest one and pick up a copy of The Bookshop Book.