Bookshops A reader's history

Jorge Carrión, 1976-

Book - 2017

"Jorge Carrión 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, Carrión 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."--

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Series
Biblioasis international translation series ; no. 21.
Subjects
Published
Windsor, Ontario : Biblioasis 2017.
Language
English
Spanish
Item Description
Translation of: Librerías.
Translated from the Spanish by Peter Bush.
Physical Description
296 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages 285-296).
ISBN
9781771961745
1771961740
Main Author
Jorge Carrión, 1976- (author)
Other Authors
Peter R. Bush, 1946- (translator)
  • Introduction inspired by a Stefan Zweig short story
  • Always a journey
  • Athens: a possible beginning
  • The oldest bookshops in the world
  • Shakespeare and companies
  • Bookshops fated to be political
  • An oriental bookshop
  • America (I): "coast to coast"
  • America (II): from north to south
  • Paris without its myths
  • Book chains
  • Books and bookshops at the end of the world
  • The show must go on
  • Everyday bookshops
  • Epilogue: Virtual bookshops.
Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Spanish novelist and travel writer Carrión's English-language debut explores the place of bookshops (and books) in Western intellectual and consumer history. He weaves together an investigation of the different social functions of bookshops and libraries, a travelogue of bookshops he has visited, and a philosophical inquiry into the role of literature in the world. For Carrión, contemporary readers find in bookshops "the remains of cultural gods that have replaced the religious sort." He is alive to the contradictions inherent in reading and book collecting, activities that are simultaneously consumerist and spiritual. The idea of books and bookshops as sites of resistance to totalitarianism is discussed but not blindly romanticized; he notes that Hitler was a bestselling writer and Mao an erudite reader. Discussing destination bookshops, including Shakespeare and Company in Paris, the oldest bookshops in the world, and several that claim to be the biggest, 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. Agent: Nicole Witt, Mertin Agency. (Oct.) Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"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.

Jorge Carrion is a writer and literary critic. His published works include essays, novellas, novels and travel writing, and his articles have appeared in National Geographic and Lonely Planet Magazine.


Review by Publisher Summary 2

Love letter, travel-memoir, manifesto—Bookshops is a diverting cultural history of bookstores as spaces of creative energy and social change.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Love letter, travel-memoir, manifesto—Bookshops is a diverting cultural history of bookstores as spaces of creative energy and social change.