Monday, November 07, 2005

Book Hunting in Britain:

The best place to find them is Britain. That's where many of the best modern books were designed and manufactured, without much pretense, in the middle of the century by independent publishing houses like Faber & Faber, The Hogarth Press, Chatto & Windus, Secker & Warburg, Andre Deutsch, Jonathan Cape, Victor Gollancz, and, in paperback, Penguin. As a result, British shelves are where most of those books are to be found. Book shopping is also a pleasure in Britain because it's still a country filled with people who buy, read, and talk incessantly about books. In New York City, where I live, most street-level used- and rare-book shops have fallen victim to high rents, the Internet, and diminished interest. There's still the Strand, where schizophrenic vagrants and masochistic asthmatics can lose themselves in 18 miles of shelf, but not many other stores are left for browsing. London, by contrast, still has specialist and nonspecialist stores and dealers of nearly every description. There are dozens of excellent shops and a few that count as the best bookstores in the world.
12:35 PM