Browse: The World in Bookshops

by Henry Hitchings (Editor)

Other authorsVarious (Contributor)
Hardcover, 2017




Pushkin Press, (2017).


A salute to the greatest kind of shop in the world, by a stellar cast of writers including Ali Smith, Andrey Kurkov, Pankaj Mishra and Daniel Kehlmann

User reviews

LibraryThing member jon1lambert
If you love bookshops, spend half your life in them, you will love this book. i really liked Ian Sansom and the account of his time as an employee at Foyle's. Ali Smith is great about the churn of books, the giving and the buying; what you find in books - I once found Bonnie Greer's appointment card for a chiropodist in a book; and the joy at finding a book you think you will never find.… (more)
LibraryThing member jphamilton
The editor took a group of authors from around the world, and asked them to write about their favorite bookshops. Just about every essay was fully engaging, and it was a wonderful look at the world through the bookstores that impress the very people that fill them with their works. Some of the essays were straightforward writings about why these bookshops were important to the author, but others were much more free-ranging, or even slightly experimental. Most of the time, you can't go wrong when you collect authors and let them loose on a topic that's near and dear to their hearts. If I ever traveled, this would be a great source of places to go.… (more)
LibraryThing member hardlyhardy
A passion for bookstores may not be universal in the sense of everyone, but perhaps it is in the sense of everywhere. That is the idea one gets from reading “Browse: The World in Bookshops,” edited by Henry Hitchings (2016).

Hitchings asked writers from around the world to reflect on their experiences in bookstores, and the results, most of them anyway, are fascinating, often inspiring.

British novelist Ian Sansom recalls working at Foyle's Bookshop in London as a young man and spending most of his working hours hiding from customers, and presumably his bosses, and reading.

"Literature was my homeland," writes Juan Gabriel Vasquez, whose other homeland is Colombia.

Kenyan Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor recalls visiting a Nairobi bookshop as a child. "We were in paradise," she writes, "because there was no (offending) school textbook in sight to destroy our illusions!"

"I would argue that under most circumstances the conversation of used book dealers or obsessive collectors is the best conversation in the world," says Michael Dirda, who writes about books for the Washington Post. In his essay he tells about using the hours before a predicted blizzard, while his wife is out of town, to search for treasures in a used bookstore.

Danish author Dorthe Nors tells of the thrill of seeing one's own book in a bookshop, although in her case the store manager, unimpressed, gets angry because Nors has moved her book to a more prominent position.

And so it goes, from Turkey to China to Ukraine to Italy and beyond. Some people may go to amusement parks for thrills. Others of us head for a bookshop.
… (more)


Local notes

A celebration of bookshops around the world, by an award-winning cast of writers. Henry Hitchings asks fifteen writers from around the world to consider the bookshops that have shaped them; each conjures a specific time and place.


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