Friday, April 02, 2010

Literary Delights

Whilst some friends of mine are compiling shopping guides around UK ( read : 200 GBP for a handbag is cheap !! ) , I have very strong opinions about branded handbags, make up, shoes and other fluttery girly nonsense, but let's just keep that to myself shall we ? So, as I was saying, whilst the charming shopaholics are at their chosen pastime, I've been indulging in the poison of my choice, feeding my addiction for books, books and more books. I say poison because books here cost an arm, a leg and maybe throw in a few fingers to secure that good deal. 

I've been looking at bookstores all over UK and Europe, all of them literary heavens and cultural melting pots, I can't wait to go delve my greedy paws in mountains of printed paper, nevermind the fact that I won't be able to afford anything, it never hurts to dream, doesn't it ? So I thought I'd share a little of what I found with you guys here. Perhaps if you have anything to add, recommend or like me, you have a hunger for zooming off to foreign imaginary lands, hop along on this virtual drool-journey. 

Today, we're going to visit  independant bookstores,  jewels that are probably hidden in places you'll least expect to find a bookstore.

First up, is Daunt Books,
83, Marylebone High Street,
London W1U 4QW

Often regarded as a traveler's bookstore, Daunt Books has books separated according to countries, so you'll typically get travel guides, novels and memoirs all squished into the same section. Very useful for people who are reading according to countries .. I tend to do that, being obsessed with the Middle East some time back, I'm now progressing to India before I make a pit stop in US prior to zooming off somewhere else on my imaginary travels. 

The store is spread out over three floors, with books nestled in every corner. Would you just look at the beautiful wood paneling, and the entire Edwardian setting the bookstore has ? I think I would love getting lost here....wouldn't you? 

For our next stop, we'll hop over to Ireland, stopping by 
Hodges Figgis 
56-58 Dawson Street, 
Dublin 2, 

                         Photo credit 

Founded in 1768, the shop is the oldest yet in Ireland. In fact, if you're familiar with James Joyce's Ulysses, you'd probably have stumbled upon this book depository as the store gets referred to in his work, although the store has since been relocated from its original location. 

The shop is spread across four floors and is reputed to house a staggering number of 1.5 million books, and is the largest bookstore in Ireland, specializing in Irish titles, academic titles, fiction and bargain books ( bargain books go for around  .3.99 and 4.99 , compare that dollar to dollar with the price that we pay here and you've got your answer for "Why Malaysians don't read " ) 

Fashioned in green and gold livery, the store exudes an aura of an era past, a whiff of whimsical days when women probably walked around under parasols and both Chivalry and Gallantry still breathed. Unfortunately, the store is no longer an independent bookstore, having been bought over by the HMV Group which also owns Waterstones, a famous book chain in the UK. 

And with that last stop, let's wrap things up for the day. I'll continue posting interesting bookstores as I come across them but before we settle back on earth, here's a last thought. With all the books to be read and bought, possessed and digested .... Louis Vuitton who ?? 


smallkucing said...

I like the way you think:)

suituapui said...

Ah! You're exactly like my daughter. That's why she's the odd one out among her coursemates - they like dressing up, using all those accessories...take a long time to get ready to go out...and they speak Mandarin which is Greek to her. And like you, she loves books. I always tell her to buy whatever she wants and read and enjoy - after all she doesn't spend on anything else, except perhaps on food sometimes.

Matt said...

I spend a lot of time browsing through bookstores UK but didn't come to Daunt Books. Next time this is a must stop for me.

Anonymous said...

Tis is a good thing that u resist those branded staff in this greedy world. But i hv to said i dnt agree that those staff r use to cover de true face of people or attract guys who oni focus on appearance. we cant refuse to accept that ppl nid it. some ppl get back their confidence (u can say that they r cheap o watever, but it works.), a topic for chatting, enjoy their free time by shopping, etc.

Jacqulyn Teoh said...

Puisque vous seriez en Grande-Bretagne I recommend you pop over to Paris a weekend and check out Shakespeare & Company, 5th arrondissement. Just a heads up :)

Joanna said...

Kathy : Haha ... unfortunately some people will not agree, since I'm more radical and a little too outspoken. Learning to keep one's mouth shut is a virtue. :p

STP : LOL. I do so love hearing about people who are equally obsessed with books. Makes me feel less alien at least.. haha

Matt : well, hello there. Thank you for dropping by. Daunt Books, even the name is so full of promise isn't it ?

Anon : Wow, first off, when was it stated that branded stuff are used to attract guys and to cover up true appearances, neither was it ever stated that people who choose to live such lifestyles are cheap, the only reference I made to 'cheapness' was that after the rate of conversion 200GBP is not at all cheap... and it is equally sad that confidence has to be bought, how much people have to depend on goods to build up self esteem when they're already so perfect by being themselves. I've never criticized anyone who's into all this stuff, after all, fashion is a beautiful form of art, and fashion geniuses should receive their due credit. I just choose not to want that. To each his own as the saying goes... :)

Jacqulyn : Hello there :) It's been years !! And how delicious that you're recommending a bookstore. I have heard of the infamous Shakespeare & co, will definitely go there if the chance ever arises :)

Anonymous said...

yup, seems like all things were assumed by me. thanx for pointing it out. i might b misunderstood.

owl_order said...

wow planning to visit places even before reaching here. enjoy the many awesome bookstores in UK ;-), knowing you, they must be like heaven to you

Joanna said...

WenQi : LOL ... the keyword is 'aspiring' ... let's see how much I achieve at the end of the day :P

A Bookaholic said...

I like your blog! Especially the posts on books **salivate** Found something interesting on bookstores too: :) Hope you like it ;)