Sunday, August 03, 2014
there's nothing like a really great bookstore
london's daunt books in marylebone oozes with atmosphere. it's quiet and was cool on an otherwise sweltering london day. i only had about 10 minutes to pop in on my way back from lunch with the wonderful beth and kristen (where yes, i made them build lego). there are tables heaped with inspiration for what to read, beautiful papers to select and take home, gorgeous old wooden floors interspersed with tiles, inviting chairs and an enormous curved window. i would love to have spent the rest of my afternoon there. but alas, i didn't. instead, i grabbed, without thinking too much, a few books from the delectable displays, feeling a bit like i was choosing macaroons in a fancy bakery. vasily grossman's an armenian sketchbook, audur ava olafsdottir's butterflies in november and one mistake, a pretentious crime novel called don't point that thing at me by kiril bonfiglioli, which i selected due to an attractive cover and an endorsement on said cover by none other than stephen fry (a mistake i made previously when i bought hugh laurie's atrocious attempt at a novel, but somehow conveniently forgot in the heat of the moment in daunt). the bonfiglioli was an utter waste of time, but i'm 80 pages into the grossman and savoring every word. the icelandic novel waits patiently beside my night table, still full of that mysterious possibility that all books you haven't yet read possess.
i miss bookstores. most of my books these days come from the library (which is awesome, but i do feel guilty writing in their books) or from amazon (mostly work-related), but there is still nothing like browsing a bookstore, especially one as charming as daunt, which i'd oddly never visited before on all my trips to london. it had a library-like hush and atmosphere that i breathed in during the few minutes i was there. the clerk behind the counter, with wrinkled shirt and ruffled hair, looked as if he'd just roused himself from a book to wander over to wait on me. he placed my purchases into a reusable cloth bag (not the green one, i didn't manage spend that much in 10 minutes) and i regretfully went on down the street. we just don't have any bookstores like that in my part of denmark (there are a couple still in copenhagen that fit the description, but i visit them far too seldom) and i miss them. we can do a lot on the internet these days, but there really is nothing like visiting a really great little bookstore.