Some time ago FlavorWire’s presented their choice of the most beautiful bookstores in the world.
I am not really into l’art pour l’art escapades of interior designers. Just as sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, shelves tend to be just shelves for most of the times. I might be an old fart but I do believe that the ultimate bookshop experience is given by its books and nothing more. Period. You can add a flower vase here or a picture there, but it all starts and ends there, with books.
Nevertheless, I jumped into my dream-body and took a little stroll around these most beautiful bookshops in the world.
It looks quite cozy and dreamy here in Atlantis bookshop on Santorini, in Greece. It seems light-years away from Syntagma Square. That suitcase looks very good. And the cat. I wonder if those old Karelia cigarettes still taste the same. It suddenly strikes me that this could be one of those Town of Cats places. So I move on, while it is still possible.
Paris is my next destination. And the very famus, legendary Shakes in Paris. The original was founded by Sylvia Beach between the World Wars. She had to close after she refused to sell her last copy of Joyce’s Finnegans Wake to a German officer. George Whitman opened in 1951 and soon became a legend. They were very good friends with Sylvia. Among other things he is famous for suggesting a good read by throwing a book from the third floor right on top of your head. Curiously, people still find bookshops relaxed, cozy places. Maybe one should rather wear a helmet.
Before I go on with the FlavorWire list – I would like to add couple of my own favorites. I already talked about Un Regard Moderne in Paris. So we move on to New York and Brazenhead Books.
Brazenhead Books is a secret bookshop. Please, process these words once again, really slowly: a secret bookshop. Voila! Not so long ago, Michael Seidenberg used to have a fairly normal antiquarian bookshop in Brooklyn, New York. Among many others, Jonathan Lethem used to work there. The usual shit happened and he had to close. Now he operates a secret bookshop on the appointment-only basis.
You might argue that there’s nothing particularly beautiful about a street bookseller. Yes, I agree. Now take a look at this guy who eleven years ago occupied a parking spot in upper Manhattan – and he hasn’t moved since. Charles Mysak is beautiful. And he has stories to tell. He also has tons of parking tickets and has been towed away, but he still manages to hold on to his spot.
By now you already see the thread. Here is my personal favorite from the FlavorWire list. I wish I could speak Mandarin. Yes, it’s true – the number of books seems oddly low. Everything else is just as it should be – very curious and suggestive. I wonder what kind of exchange is really taking place there. They don’t have that many books to sell. It looks like a good train station for dreams. Maybe they sell tickets. Certain details look like Joseph Beuys was a family friend. You open a drawer and keep a secret.
I would like to conclude this hyper-stroll through bookshops with a visit to a home of Anthony Pisano. It’s not even a bookshop. It’s home. It’s strange, beautiful and wonderful. It is a place. What changes an empty space into a place? Before and after – there’s nothing – vacancies to rent. It takes a lot of energy and a lots of love – to build a place out of an empty space.
(many thanks to Natalya and Rok)