BRIDGET WHELAN writer

Muse, News and Views

The 31 best places to be if you love books

Go here to visit a photographic collection of 30 stunning book places from around the world (although books seem to be pretty thin on the ground at the library in Beijing. It’s clear that some bathrooms can do better…) I can’t offer any pictures for the 31st best place. I can’t even name it. I was only there for an hour or so in September 1983 on the first night of autumn when the sizzling temperatures in Washington were finally beginning to fall.
I was staying in Georgetown with friends. We had borrowed an apartment for the weekend from a young attorney in the Ronald Reagan administration. (My first experience of a walk-in wardrobe – my soul has yearned for one ever since.) After visiting the Kennedy graves at Arlington, dinner in Alexandria, (a small town across the Potomac that, despite being only a few miles from the Capitol, was always in Southern hands during the civil war) and drinks with a trade unionist against the Reagan administration we went to a bookshop to buy some books, have another drink and listen to a cool jazz pianist.
At 3am.
Now that’s a bookshop. That’s the bookshop I’d like to run.
Had any interesting book buying experiences?

Got a bookshop fantasy?

book shop

Photograph by Phillip Capper of a theatre
converted into a bookshop in Buenos Aires

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4 comments on “The 31 best places to be if you love books

  1. ann perrin
    March 20, 2013

    My favourite one from the list is the crowded Shakespeare Company on the Left Back in Paris (my favourite city anyway) where they offered food and a bed to penniless authors – for half a century, the only rule is that they read a book a day – Jeanette Winterson revisited it last year.
    Met someone who had turned his front room into a second hand bookshop in who and never ever went out, relied on the milkman to bring essentials, which they did in those days.

    • bridget whelan
      March 20, 2013

      I read Jeanette Winterson’s article and fell in love with it – thanks for the reminder. Have you visited (or stayed over night)?

  2. Elizabeth Hein
    March 20, 2013

    I was fortunate enough to visit the Lello Bookstore in Porto last year. At the top of that magical red staircase, there is a charming lady selling tea and espresso. The atmosphere almost made me forget that I was cold and soaked to the bone. Portugal can be cold and wet in November.

    • bridget whelan
      March 20, 2013

      Ah, yes physical nourishment along with the intellectual kind, essential for a cold day in Portugal or any day In England

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This entry was posted on March 20, 2013 by in Views and tagged , , .
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