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.
Jorge Carrión is a writer and literary critic. He studied at the University of Pompeu Fabra, where he now teaches literature and creative writing. His published works include essays, novellas, novels and travel writing, and his articles have appeared in National Geographic and Lonely Planet Magazine. Bookshops was a finalist in the Premio Anagrama de Ensayo, 2013.
PRAISE FOR BOOKSHOPS
“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.”—Publishers Weekly Starred Review
“Excellent...entertaining...this quietly intelligent little book speaks volumes” —Michael Dirda, Washington Post
“[Carrion's] purpose is to celebrate bookstores. And he does so by wandering the globe in search of those that play — or have played — a special role in the intellectual and social lives of their communities. They become Carrión’s personal mappa mundi.” — New York Times
“‘Every bookshop is a condensed version of the world,’ begins Mr. Carrión’s literary and unabashedly sentimental exploration of bookstores around the globe ... [Carrion] wanders through volume-laden aisles in Athens, Paris, Bratislava, Budapest, Tangier and Sydney, and invokes many other shops, both open and closed, telling stories about writers, readers and literary circles ... By the end, you may feel poorly read—but well armed with titles and bookshops to visit on your own." —Wall Street Journal
“Reveals a treasure trove of more obscure bits of book lore ... An exceptionally readable journey to the birth of the printed word...” —National Post
“A combination love letter, historical document, and analysis...”—Quill & Quire
“brilliant...[Carrión's] Borgesian book—it can be opened at any point and read forward, or backwards for that matter—is not at all sad. To read is to travel in time and space, and to travel from bookshop to bookshop is an ecstatic experience for Carrión, a joy he conveys page after page.”—Brian Bethune, Maclean’s
“A literate mappa mundi to bookstores ... no mere travel guide but rather a philosophical, reflective, wide-ranging inquiry into the world of books ... An insightful, educational, and erudite paean to bookshops.”—Kirkus
“[Carrión's] enthusiasm, his desire to tell the reader everything, is charming...a full, deep book.”—Globe & Mail
“A must read for bibliophiles everywhere.”—The National
“When is a book like a Swiss army knife? When it has as many tools for unlocking the mysteries of reading, books and bookstores as the famous gizmo. ... Bookshops comes from 20 years of travel, bookstore searching and musing.”— Winnipeg Free Press
“A brilliant, charming chronicle of bookstores around the world...[Carrión's] expertise shows in his delightful discussions.” —New Orleans Public Radio
“Carrión was a bibliotourist before that was a thing ... This is the ideal read for a cozy weekend trip.”— Fine Books
“A great read that makes you remember why you love the literary world and why it’s your place.” — Veronica Scott Esposito, Conversational Reading
“Bush’s translation is a delight to read, beginning with his decision to translate the title Librerías as Bookshops instead of “Bookstores” (Amazon is a bookstore, but it most certainly is not a bookshop).” —World Literature Today
“Filled with micro essays and deep contemplation, glimpses of booksellers both longstanding and soon-to-be forgotten and, yes, loving tributes too. This is a curious book and the way that it’s ordered would drive a researcher mad, but if you surrender to Carrión’s particular labyrinthine logic, it’s magical.” — A Geography of Reading
“Essential...Carrión makes a case for the importance of bookstores by exploring their vast history. Himself an expert in the field, he represents the perfect voice to bring this need to public attention.” —Seattle Book Review
“It’s fun to travel the world with Carrión, and to travel through history, too.” —Digital Insider
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