Perfect. Just perfect (5 stars)
Source- personal copy
Published by Constable, October 2014
I read the hardback edition which is 261 pages (of awesome)
I don’t even know if I can articulate just how much I loved this book, it is that freaking amazing. It left me with warm fuzzy feelings all the way through and then with a weird mixture of sadness and tearful satisfaction when I’d finished it. Sadness because it was over, but satisfaction because yes, there are such incredible bookshops out there and despite this frantically busy age that is infiltrated with all kinds of amazing, super-duper technologies, people still love to read. They love to browse new and old bookstores alike, seeking out obscure titles and tatty paperbacks on subjects and genres that they didn’t even know they wanted needed until that very moment. I just love that, I genuinely love that. This is the book that I wish I could give to those people I know who don’t ‘get’ quite why I adore reading so much, in the hopes that it will finally make them understand.
The Bookshop Book is truly a bibliophiles dream; a magnificent, beautiful book filled with poignant reminiscences from famous authors, booksellers and readers alike about what lured them into reading, descriptions of their own favourite bookstores, fun facts and the history of books generally. In its incredibly satisfying pages, over three hundred alluring bookstores around the globe are vividly portrayed. Yep. Three hundred. Seriously, if I could crawl into this book then I would.
There are so many aspects about this read that I enjoyed; from that glorious feeling of being an armchair traveller to reading about the early reading experiences of some of my favourite authors. The tone of the book feels really personal and cosy and I came away from this with even more reading recommendations, too. The book is also filled with some lovely reminiscences and thoughtful passages, brimming with some divine quotations about why people enjoy reading and just why bookstores are so important. In the digital age it is also wonderful to read about independent booksellers who are thriving.
You could dip in and out of this book if you wanted to as well. I didn’t however, I just couldn’t resist devouring it all in a few pleasurable reads. It’s also a handy tome for travellers who are intent on seeking out bookstores around the world; it’s safe to say I will be consulting its pages before heading off anywhere to ensure that I am not missing a trick.
The photos too, are stunning. It’s reassuring to know that I am not the only weird person who appreciates a picture of a really beautiful bookshop. In fact, this book has reassured me personally, in lots of ways!
I’m genuinely not sure if I could pick out a favourite bookstore from what I’ve read about in here; I’ll always be loyal to Barter Books (Northumberland) as it is one of my favourite places to visit and we spend a lot of time up in the north east of England. Likewise with Scarthin Books, which isn’t all too far from where I live.
That being said, I had serious bookstore envy in reading about The Monkey’s Paw and its ‘random book machine.’ Some of the ideas generated by these bookshops overseas are just incredible and I truly hope I get to go and experience some of them for myself one day. I’m off to Santorini later on this year for our mini-moon and I’m pretty sure I know what one of my first stops will be there: Atlantis Books!
Do yourself (or the bibliophile in your life) a favour: buy this book. It’s only January and I already know that this will be one of my favourite books this year.