There is something special about places in the world that you immediately feel at home. To me, this is Shakespeare & Company in Paris – the small bookstore with a great history. When I first visited, as soon as I walked through the door, time seemed to stop. If only for a moment, I had entered a world on its own: huge piles of books, so many of them that the tiny shelves were likely to crack under the heavy pressure. Listening to a piano player while browsing the book selection, I felt a lump in my throat when I left. Back in Berlin, we have Shakespeare & Sons.
Tag: book store
These surely aren’t the easiest of times for bookstores, though it didn’t look like it when I stopped by to take some pictures on a Monday morning at 11am. Visiting Mediterraneans were shopping for Hornby and Coupland, an academic on her way back home to the States was parting with her gorgeous Ottolenghi cookbook, and I, unable to help myself, bought a respectable stack of Lispector, Nothomb, and Lydia Davis. As the phone rang off its hook, orders were taken, and customers directed to relevant shelves, one girl just curled up on the old couch, deep inside a book the cover of which she was keeping to herself.
Hidden in a Skalitzer courtyard, Motto is a fantastic book store full of singular finds. Their selection is so great because Motto the store was actually born from Motto the distribution company, spreading the catalogues of over 150 publishers to more than 100 stores worldwide. The Kreuzberg Motto store was their first physical branch, opened in 2008 as a bookstore and venue for readings, book exhibitions, and many more events for Berlin’s bibliophiles.
Imagine your favorite book store, what would it look like? Of course it would have the variety, the well selected presentation tables with books you want to read immediately, rows and rows of interesting readables etc. Would it also have comfortable grandma-style chairs? Yes? And even more of that so everyone could start reading new found favorites immediately? Yes? And now imagine it also had a coffee bar with delicious bagels and cakes and other treats to make your stay even better? That would be the best, basically? Shakespear & Sons has all of this, no exaggeration necessary. Welcome to bibliophile’s heaven.
It is a rare thing to come upon a second-hand bookstore that’s bright and airy rather than shadowy and stuffy. Not that I mind the darker, more labyrinthine Antiquariate, don’t get me wrong; in a world of dwindling bookstores I’m happy to browse any shop for literary, or just beautifully bound, old treasures.