nonfiction · Uncategorized · writing

My Love Affair (With Books)

I love book stores. New books, old books, makes no difference. If it’s a store full of books I’m all over that. The feel of a book in my hands, the paper, the smell of it. If I could make a perfume that smelled like books I would! That’s just how much I love them.

My love affair began at a very early age. I was taught to read by the time I was 4 years old. Since then there hasn’t been many times that I don’t have a book in my hands.

books (Photo credit: brody4)

After I got my first job, working in a JC Penney warehouse. I was a regular at my favorite book store in the mall. I would buy 5 or 6 books at a time. I was such a regular that they got to know my name! How cool is that?

I evolved of course in what kind of books I read. I started out with the usual suspects. The children’s books. Winnie the Pooh, fairy tales. As I grew  a little older my dad would find old Dick and Jane books at the used book store he went to. So I read those also. I would love to find some of those old books, but I know the Dick and Jane books are great collectables now and difficult to come by.

Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too
Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In my early teen years I became fascinated with Mythology. My school library had a whole section on mythology and I read every single one. I was in that library every chance I could get. Skipped lunch just so I had extra time to read.

Every place I would travel to I made sure to visit the local book store. They always had interesting books on either the history of the place, or local interest spots.  Plus I never could with stand the lure of a new book store to explore.

That got me to thinking of all the book stores I would love to visit some day! Not to mention the great places those book stores reside in! Here’s just a short list of a few of them I wanted to share with you.

Shakespeare and Co Antiquarian Books, Paris

This book store is supposedly the most photographed book store in the world. The heck with that! Let me in the door!  Maybe because of that  popularity I would visit it alone, but think of all those cool books inside! And  in Paris!

Photography by Simple Dolphin

Selexyz Bookstore in Maastricht, Holland

Now this bookstore is interesting because it’s inside an old Dominican church. Dating back to the 13th century, the structure was a Dominican church until Maastricht was invaded by Napoleon in 1794 and the group was forced out of the country. It looks like a beautiful place to browse your favorite books doesn’t it?

Photography by madcrow

The Lello bookstore in Porto, Portugal

Photography by delviking
Photography by stukinha

Proving that purpose-built bookshops can be every bit as beautiful as converted buildings, the divine Livraria Lello in Porto has been selling books in the most beautiful of settings since 1881. Featuring a staircase to heaven and beautifully intricate wooden panels and columns , stained glass ceilings and books – lots of lovely books. This place would be worth the trip to Portugal alone! Who wants to join me on a trip?

Bueno Aires’s Librería El Ateneo Grand Splendid

El Ateneo
El Ateneo (Photo credit: Only J.)

The stylish Librería El Ateneo Grand Splendid draws in bookstore patrons as much for its setting in a 1920s theater as for its shelves of books.

The building has been declared a landmark, but now the balcony, domed ceiling, cherubs, marble columns, and elaborate sconces embellish a first-class bookstore. You can get started on a good novel in one of the white and gold-leaf boxes or sip your coffee where the screen once hung.

Chairs are provided throughout the building, including the still-intact theatre boxes, where customers can dip into books before purchase, and there is now a café on the back of what was once the stage. The ceiling, the ornate carvings, the crimson stage curtains, the auditorium lighting and many architectural details remain. Despite the changes, the building still retains the feeling of the grand theatre it once was.

How’s that for shopping for books in style?