Published by Constable on October 2, 2014
Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble
We're not talking about rooms that are just full of books.
We're talking about bookshops in barns, disused factories, converted churches and underground car parks. Bookshops on boats, on buses, and in old run-down train stations. Fold-out bookshops, undercover bookshops, this-is-the-best-place-I've-ever-been-to-bookshops.
Meet Sarah and her Book Barge sailing across the sea to France; meet Sebastien, in Mongolia, who sells books to herders of the Altai mountains; meet the bookshop in Canada that's invented the world's first antiquarian book vending machine.
And that's just the beginning.
From the oldest bookshop in the world, to the smallest you could imagine, The Bookshop Book examines the history of books, talks to authors about their favourite places, and looks at over three hundred weirdly wonderful bookshops across six continents (sadly, we've yet to build a bookshop down in the South Pole).
The Bookshop Book is a love letter to bookshops all around the world.
"A good bookshop is not just about selling books from shelves, but reaching out into the world and making a difference." ~ David Almond
(The Bookshop Book includes interviews and quotes from David Almond, Ian Rankin, Tracy Chevalier, Audrey Niffenegger, Jacqueline Wilson, Jeanette Winterson and many, many others.)
The Bookshop Book is a book that only booklovers, and particularly bookshop lovers, will love… but for those of us who fall in that category, it’s delightful. Author and bookseller Jen Campbell alternates between longer pieces about the history of specific bookshops, “chats” with authors about bookshops in general and their favorites in particular, and brief but enticing descriptions of a whole host of other bookshops. My only quibble, and it’s a small one, is that I would have liked to know which of these Campbell has visited personally, and which she has not.
The scope is international, and the book is divided by geographic region. There are perhaps more British bookshops and fewer US shops than US readers might expect (or prefer), but since Campbell is herself a British bookseller, it’s understandable.
A handy index of bookshops in the back means you can quickly turn back to your favorites—provided you can remember their names! I came away with a lengthy list of bookshops I would like to visit someday, and I guarantee you will do the same.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- The Backlist Reader Challenge 2018