ATG Book of the Week: Bookshops: A Reader’s History

by | Feb 21, 2019 | 0 comments

Title: Bookshops: A Reader’s History (Biblioasis International Translation Series)
Author: Jorge Carrion; Translator: Peter Bush
Hardback: 978-1771961745, $24.95; Paperback:  978-1771962650, $15.95
Imprint: Windsor, ON: Biblioasis, 2018

Bookshops is the best kind of biblio-mystery, in which a cultivated and civilized detective guides us through the labyrinth of the world’s stores, stopping to talk for a while, before plunging off on the next fascinating diversion. Jorge Carrion brings page-turning excitement to the extended essay form.” ―Iain Sinclair

Jorge Carrion collects bookshops: from Gotham Book Mart and the Strand Bookstore in New York City to City Lights Bookshop and Green Apple Books in San Francisco and all the bright spots in between (Prairie Lights, Tattered Cover, and countless others). In this thought-provoking, vivid, and entertaining essay, Carrion meditates on the importance of the bookshop as a cultural and intellectual space. Filled with anecdotes from the histories of some of the famous (and not-so-famous) shops he visits on his travels, thoughtful considerations of challenges faced by bookstores, and fascinating digressions on their political and social impact, Bookshops is both a manifesto and a love letter to these spaces that transform readers’ lives.



“Carrión explores the fine lines between pilgrimage destination, touristy gimmick, and decent bookshop. This is the perfect book for those who feel compelled to visit every bookstore they see.”―Publishers Weekly Starred Review


“Excellent…entertaining…this quietly intelligent little book speaks volumes” ―Michael Dirda, Washington Post


“[Carrion’s] purpose is to celebrate bookstores. And he does so by wandering the globe in search of those that play ― or have played ― a special role in the intellectual and social lives of their communities. They become Carrión’s personal mappa mundi.” New York Times


“‘Every bookshop is a condensed version of the world,’ begins Mr. Carrión’s literary and unabashedly sentimental exploration of bookstores around the globe … [Carrion] wanders through volume-laden aisles in Athens, Paris, Bratislava, Budapest, Tangier and Sydney, and invokes many other shops, both open and closed, telling stories about writers, readers and literary circles … By the end, you may feel poorly read—but well armed with titles and bookshops to visit on your own.” —Wall Street Journal


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