Because I can’t buy books in Australia (that should be read with lots of sarcasm), I went a bit crazy with my book purchasing while on holiday. I had allowed myself one book purchase at each of the bookshops I planned on visiting – one in Paris and one in London – however the excitement of being on holiday got to me and I couldn’t control myself. It didn’t help that the shop I visited in Paris had cool store stamps – the novelty of that was almost too much for me to handle.
My purchases were largely made at two shops, Shakespeare and Company in Paris, and Hatchards in London; they are both really beautiful shops if you’re ever in either of those cities. There are two Hatchards locations in London – one in Piccadilly and one at St Pancras station. I visited the St Pancras one as it was right around the corner from my hotel (inconveniently convenient, if you catch my drift), but I definitely plan on visiting the Piccadilly one next time. Probably the best thing about it was if the book you wanted wasn’t in store, if you place an order before 3pm they can have it in store by 5pm (only on Monday-Friday though) which is awesome if you’re in transit.
So my holiday turned out to be a little bit of an accidental literary adventure. I’ll go into more detail on this in later posts, but for now here are my purchases which I somehow managed to squish into my suitcase.
At Shakespeare and Company
Despite never having read Zweig, I’m kind of into him. I feel like he’s one of those authors I will love just because; so this purchase of the biography he wrote about Montaigne was basically necessary.
I’ve wanted to read Patrick Modiano ever since he was named as last years Nobel Prize winner for literature but his books aren’t that easy to get in Australia. I could have ordered from The Book Depository, but when I knew I was going to be visiting Paris I decided to wait until then to get one of his books. It seemed right that I buy a French author in Paris.
Wind/Pinball is my very first Murakami book which is really two books – why would I not get this? I love that it has two covers as well (the Wind side is my favourite). My final purchase was picked up on a whim.
I’ve never heard of The Man Who Planted Trees or its author, but something about it really appealed to me, but I’m still not sure what exactly. It just called to me.
I also picked up a copy of The Picture of Dorian Gray as a gift for my sister. We were chatting a while ago about the portrayal of Dorian Gray in both The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Penny Dreadful (for the record, Stuart Townsend’s Gray in Gentlemen is the winner for me), and she mentioned to me that she’d never read the book. No sister of mine can not have read this classic. So I found this lovely clothbound hardcover at Shakespeare and Company, had it stamped with the store stamp, and stuck an Instax picture inside it of the little garden around the corner.
I’m in love with just about anything from Pushkin Press and they had a whole bunch of these little books in Hatchards. I just picked up the one though – I was strong and restrained myself. But they’re so tiny I could have easily grabbed half a dozen of them and squished them in my suitcase.
Snowpiercer is my very first graphic novel and I’ve wanted to read it for ages. This served as the inspiration for the amazing film of the same name starring Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton. The novel was good, but I preferred the storyline of the film to be honest.
From other places
I couldn’t go to the British Library and not buy a book from their gift shop (which, by the way, is basically a book lovers dream shop). Also, a book called The Bookshop Book is obviously going to be amazing. AND it’s a signed copy! That’s what I call a holiday win.
Charles Dickens’s The Old Curiosity Shop was actually an accident. I picked it up at The Charles Dickens Museum (more about it in a later post) and I wasn’t going to buy a book from there until I discovered they stamped books with a special ‘Ex Libris’ stamp with Dickens’s face on it. Obviously I had to get something.