Bookshops have always had a special place in my heart. Not because I frequent them, but as they are associated with birthdays. Every birthday since I was a child, I would get free rein to buy one book. I had to make it a good one, because I had to wait a while for my next one. As I got older and my parents trusted my choices more, I had more opportunities to buy books. Gifts came as gift cards to bookshops. My most favourite one was of a local bookstore chain that had silver envelopes, where the presenter could fill out in sparkling pen the name and amount and even list out specifics in the body if required. Since I spent tons of money in the private libraries I am not complaining (We did not have the and still don’t have an extensive public library system in India) as well as well-meaning lenders (I have mentioned them often but they deserve a re-mention at every book related post)
In all the discussion in the current day about physical books and the trials in its future it is heartening to see how many people are keeping book reading traditions alive. Especially since it is an enormously uphill task. This book lists some of the odder details of the more out-of-the-way shops. There are interviews with a few writers and their feelings on books and bookshops. Odd information that will appeal to most people who live to read are hidden away in between and there are even pictures for those who want to visit the bookshops discussed but cannot really make it all the way!
I am abashed that I took so long to get through it but it is a book we can open up at random and peruse with no loss of enjoyment. The only reason it was not a five-star read was completely personal, I could not get so much data into my head at one go and it took me a month of bit by bit reading to finish it!