There are times when people proclaim either the death of reading, or the death of the book as a physical object, or the death of bookshops, and no matter how much sceptics try to kill off one of the most engaging and enriching human experiences, it prevails and with it does the book and its private and public homes: bookshops and libraries. As any passionate reader will verify, bookshops can be oases of literary bliss. Jorge Carrión travelled around the world to visit many of them and wrote a fervent reminder of why they matter: “Every bookshop is a condensed version of the world.” South African readers will delight in the mention of local authors and favourites places such as the Book Lounge: according to Carrión “the best bookshop in Cape Town”. Originally written in Spanish, Bookshops pays homage to literature and its practitioners, both writers and readers alike.
First published in the Cape Times, 17 February 2017.
Maclehose Press, 2016
Oh my, this sounds great and it’s not available in North America but I can order it from the UK. I visited South Africa a couple of years ago and my first stop was the Book Lounge. I was due to head out to the Eastern Cape so I put aside a stack of books and asked them to hold them for me. When I got back to Cape Town, on my first full day, I told the bemused manager of the B&B that I was heading into downtown to go to a bookstore, explaining that I was very fond of South African literature. He told me he thought that someone had left behind a Wilbur Smith, assuming, I guess, that he could save me the trip. I politely refused, explaining that I was interested in books not available outside the country!
Mind you, after leaving the Book Lounge with R2,000 worth of books I was nearly robbed. The risks we book lovers take for books.
What a wonderful story – thank you for sharing. Cheers to book lovers and the risks they are willing to take for books!