Book Towns: Part I

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A Book Town is a trend that began in the 1960’s and refers to a town or village with a large number of used book or antiquarian book stores.
Along with their unique and plentiful bookstores they also host wonderful literary festivals

These book festivals attract book lovers and bibliophiles from all over the world. A number of towns are also members of the International Organisation of Book Towns.

Check out these first 6 awesome, yet quaint little book towns:

240-Montolieu-village-du-livre-Aude_focus_eventsMontolieu, France
Sometimes referred to as the “Village of Books.” Montolieu was the town that first introduced me to the concept of “Book Towns.” With a population of roughly only 747 people Montolieu contains fifteen bookshops, mostly specializing in second-hand and
16540322265_089531e1a8_zantiquarian books.
Every year the town offers many workshops such as: Used and antiquarian bookshops, Working craftspeople of books and art, The Arts and Crafts of the Book Museum, Bibliophilia stocks, Educational activities around the Book and its craft, and many more. These workshops attract approx. . 52 000 visitors each year.

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Hay-on-Wye
, Wales
The concept of book towns first came into being in the 1960s, when the fortunes of Hay-on-Wye, a small market town on the Welsh/English border, were transformed by the power of books. The opportunity to regenerate struggling villages and towns by opening up secondhand bookstores and welcoming literary events has since been embraced by many other locations around the world. The town of just under 2,000 also hosts an “honesty bookshop,” where you make your selection against a backdrop of some old ruins and leave your money in a box.

jimbocho1-300x270Jinbōchō, Tokyo
Known as Tokyo’s center of used-book stores and publishing houses, and as a popular antique and curio shopping area. In 1913, a large fire destroyed most of the area. In the wake of the fire, a university professor named Shigeo Iwanami opened a 10606993035_281805d4f6bookstore in Jinbōchō which eventually grew into today’s Iwanami Shoten publishing house. Over time, the area became popular with university students and intellectuals, and many small bookstores and cafes opened there.

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Hobart
, New York
Hobart is a historical village in Delaware County, New York, United States. This beautiful agricultural community has a population of approx. 441 (at the 2010 census.) The village has 5 bookstores, as well as 20 other book sellers within a 20 mile radius. In 1999 the town was a ghost town but by 2005 Don Dales (a local entrepreneur) and musician saved the town by establishing the first book town east of the Mississippi.
For a detailed story about this town’s amazing
329261_origjourney check out the article in this link:

 


800px-Urueña_vista2_louUrueña
, Spain
In the medieval town of Urueña, in Valladolid, you will find the first “Villa del Libro” in Spain. In the streets of this town you will find 12 bookshops selling old or out of print books, or wher e interesting activities take place: El Rincón Escrito, Alejandría Bookshop, “Wine Museum” Cellar Bookshop (specialising in science and fiction literature about wine), Alcuino Caligrafía (organises
26703331courses on calligraphy of other cultures, for all levels), El 7 Bookshop (specialising in the world of bullfighting), Samuel Bookshop, Alvacal, Boutique del Cuento, Almadí Bookshop, La Punta del Iceberg, Alcaraván Bookshop and the Artisan Book Binding Workshop of Urueña.
CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=167995

redu1Redu, Belgium
In the beautiful Ardennes region of Belgium, Redu is a lovely little village with a population of 500. Local villager Noel Anselot returned from a trip to Hay-on-Wye In 1979, and was so inspired that he decided to regenerate his own tiny village by attracting booksellers. He wrote to many book-dealers across the region, inviting them to set up shop in some of the original village buildings (such as barns, houses, and sheds) to keep the look of the village intact. The project was a success. Now 17 4584770426_5ef869f57fbookshops specializing in secondhand books and comics are based in the village. Redu holds a number of book-related exhibitions and events every year, including a book night when the bookshops stay open all night long. The town was officially declared a book town in 1984 after holding its first book festival.

I cannot get over how beautiful these towns are.
It would be a dream to visit any one of them. However, I think I need to save up so I can plan an around the book world in 80 days trip!

Have you been to any of these book towns? Which would you love to visit?

Stay tuned for Part II tomorrow evening! Now Available: Pt: II

Top International Cafés

coffee-house-largeI have shared with you the noteworthy coffee shops at the top of my list in the U.S.: Top U.S. Coffee Houses and now I will share those I found all over the world. Although there are far more than I could possible include, I hope justice is done.


Here are my Top picks for Noteworthy Cafés internationally:

Cielito Querido Café (Mexico City, Mexico)

A unique place rich with the warmth and flavor of Latin history.
Full of color and aroma to tempt the senses.  

Coffee Collective (Copenhagen, Denmark)

The Coffee Collective is a micro roastery that drives to provide their customers with an exceptional coffee experience and to give better living conditions to coffee farmers.

Rosetta Roastery (Cape Town, South Africa)

Another South African jewel passionate about coffees that are unique and full of character, as much so as the people that are drawn to drink them.

Kaffeine (London, England)

Contemporary cafe with coffee tasting and brewing classes, turning out cakes, sandwiches and soups. The owner Colin Harmon is a 4-time
Irish Barista Champion, and has worked hard to establish his
world renown coffee bar.

Addison & Steele (Perth, Australia)

The name honors two 18th century Oxford scholars who brought together like-minded intellectuals in London’s first coffee shops to debate the revolutionary ideas of the Enlightenment. This bright and airy space on the corner of Fitzgerald and Wasley Streets in North Perth is sleek and inviting. There is plenty of space for eager caffeine addicts  

Mind the Cup (Athens, Greece)

Run by a World Barista Champion their motto focuses on moving forward steadily, concentrating on what you do, and always trying
to improve. It has served them well in establishing this charming
award-winning coffee house.

Kronotrop (Istanbul, Turkey)

Kronotrop is the first micro-roaster in Istanbul, with beans imported from all around the world, and branches in Cihangir, Maslak, and Sultanahmet. It is widely regarded as one of the first specialty coffee bar and roastery in all of Turkey.

Snickarbacken 7 ( Stockholm, Sweden)

Chic and spacious Snickerbacken 7 is located in the heart of Stockholm, in a building from the late 1800’s that used to be stables. Tucked away in a beautiful building with high ceilings and vintage charm this concept shop is also an art gallery.

L’oisiveThé (Paris, France)

Thé et Tricot. Paris’ original knit café owned by Aimée in Paris, France. This darling little café doubles as a knitting haven. The functionality of this adorable shop gives it a quaint pairing of beauty and comfort.

The Coffee Academics (Hong Kong, China)

The Coffee Academïcs Studio features professional espresso equipment and myriads of coffee accessories. With a commercial bar and a loft-like interior, they boast the most stylish coffee training centre in Hong Kong. With unique offerings such as lattes sweetened with organic raw agave nectar and spiced with ground black pepper.

All of these Cafés have there own persona unique touch and passion, and I have been happy to learn about them. I am sure their are many other worthy candidates, and I hope to discover them. 

“I remember that – you know, I didn’t receive a formal education. I was educated in the Montevideo cafe, in the cafes of Montevideo. There, I received my first lessons in the art of telling stories, storytelling.” ~ Eduardo Galeano

Tell me about your favorite café, what makes them special?

The World’s Top Bookstores II

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More of the Tour de librairie! This list has been a joy to make, exploring the beautiful world of books and the many cultures that embrace their wonder.

 

Here is part II of the Worlds top Bookstores:

Rizzoli Bookstore (New York, NY)
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Rizzoli is famed for its art books and foreign fashion magazines. After being forced out of there location by developers, Rizzoli has brought the character of its old space to the new one.
Lavishing the 1896 Beaux-Arts building with tables and chandeliers from the old store, and commissioning a sky-scape mural to run along the 18-foot ceilings.
imageThe new building also has stunning new windows.
Vogue man-about-town André Leon Talley has fashioned them with Vivienne Westwood, Gucci and Manolo Blahnik clothes and shoes, surrounded by Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons art books.

Libreria Acqua Alta (Venice , Italy)
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Luigi Frizzo, the eccentric manager speaks English and includes numerous English books in his collection. He has created a shop filled with
ambiance and culture,
if you have a boat, 9284900298_095f0df460_b.jpgyou can enter the bookshop from the Rio. The atmosphere is as quirky and friendly as the owner, and he has created a wonderful little shop. The name means “Library of High Water.”

When the local waterways rise they fill the store inches off the floor, which would normally destroy any stock. However, they have preserved this shop (and created it’s uniqueness) by keeping the books in various basins, boats, and bathtubs. This shop is simply exquisite in it’s in genuinely superb uniqueness. 

Livraria Lello (Porto, Portugal)
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Livraria Lello & Irmão, also known as Livraria Chardron or simply Livraria Lello is a bookstore located in central Porto, Portugal. Along with Bertrand in Lisbon, it is one of the oldest bookstores in Portugal. It is an exquisite store, with stained glass windows, wooden walls, and an elegant staircase. It is lavish and grand and a sight worth traveling to see, the beauty would stun any book lover.

 

pendulo2.jpgCafebreria El Pendulo
(Polanco, Mexico City)
Bookstore, Breakfast Spot, and Coffee Shop all in one. Of course I love a bookshop with a coffee shop in it, a happy combination. I adore the natural elements that drape this lovely store, I find it to be a beautiful book oasis. This is the kind of bookshop that could keep me entrapped and enchanted for days.

 

10329175_654890931258565_1775262130022328606_nWord on the Water
(The canals of London)
A bookshop that floats on a boat just outside Paddington station. The shop started up in the spring of 2012, and survived despite the recession. Thanks to donations and sourcing this adorable little jewel offers quality second-hand books sold at unbelievable prices; £3 for paperbacks and £4 for hardbacks, new editions are also available. When the weather is good, the impressive covers lining the top deck dsc_5312will make even the least of book lovers want to browse and buy. They also feature ad hoc music nights, book launches, and readings. In the chilly  winter’s season, they also offer lovely and affordible  mulled wine. Need I say more.


Boekhandel Dominicanen
(Maastricht, Netherlands)
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A regal gem, this bookshop towers with stunning beauty. The cathedral air of this beautiful shop is due to its history as a church: the thirteenth-century Boekhandel Selexyz Dominicanen in Maastricht, Netherlands.


The Last Bookstore
(Los Angeles)

This store is more like a magical portal, into the world of the stories and lives tucked in the adorning pages.  This airy book & record store offers new & used items in a multilevel space dressed with local art.

It is reminiscent of the enchanted rabbit hole that leads to a book wonderland. The shop is packed with cushiony comfort and beautifully decorated with the simple divinity of the books themselves.


This list was compiled based on research not experience, so of course there is room for error. I may find myself later wishing I had included others, or feeling like I did an injustice to an incredible store. It’s bound to happen considering how big and diverse our wonderful planet is, and I consider this a wonderful thing. If this list was not changeable or extendable it would make me very sad.

That being said, do you know of any other amazing bookstores?

See Part I

The World’s Top Bookstores I

images (4)There are so many wonderful and unique bookstores all over the world and I want to showcase the most amazing. It was hard to keep this to a reasonable list, so this is Part 1 of 2. Also, I focused on uniqueness, intrigue, and wow factors.


Here are my picks for the Top Bookstores in the World:

burnside-map-2015 - EditedPowell’s City of Books
(Portland, OR)

Powell’s is legendary;
The City of Books (headquarters) takes up an entire city block;
it has 68,000 square feet, nine (color-coded) rooms, three floors, and 3,500 sections. This Flagship location is the world’s largest used book store (carrying new and used, over 1 million books) and said to be the largest independent chain of bookstores on the planet.

They even provide a map for navigating the “city.” It is an amazing store, and one of my favorite places. I am a Portland local and adore this store, but although I am naturally biased, Powell’s reputation is renowned beyond local fans. National Geographic listed it in the top ten bookstores, and CNN listed it among the coolest bookstores in world. The inventory for its retail and online sales is over four million new, used, rare, and out-of-print books. Powell’s buys around 3,000 used books a day. Powell’s also holds many fun book related events; book tournaments, readings, story times for kids, and book groups.
locations-burnside-2015 - EditedIf you ever find yourself in or around the Portland area, I urge you to experience Powell’s City of Books. It is located downtown at the corner of 10th and west Burnside, and opened 365 days a year. Just be sure to give yourself a couple of days to fully take it all in.

Books for Cooks (Melbourne, Australia)
Australia’s only retail store specializing exclusively in new and old books about wine, food and the culinary arts.
Books-For-Cooks.pngBooks for Cooks opened in Wattletree Rd, Melbourne in 1983. They carry over 40,000 titles in stock; from the 1780’s to the latest releases.
This bookshop is located on the ground floor of a beautiful double fronted early Victorian two-story terrace in Fitzroy. The building dates back to the 1850’s and was allegedly used as a sly grog shop almost 100 years ago. If you look closely you can even see handmade bricks in the wall. 

Shakespeare and Company (Paris, France)
Shakespeare-and-CompanyTourists, customers, dirty poems, a crowd of 40 or 50 mostly attentive listeners, Shakespeare and Company is notably one of the most famous bookshops in the world. It is the name of two independent bookstores that have existed on Paris’s Left Bank.

Bookstands surround an ornate drinking fountain, erected in the 19th century to service the area’s poor. Inside, there’s an extensive stock of second-hand books. Many famous writers have left their mark at Shakespeare’s; an estimated 30,000 aspiring writers bunked over the decades, sleeping on bug infested cots and benches scattered throughout the store in exchange for a couple of hours of work a day and a promise to spend at least some of their downtime reading and writing; a one-page autobiography is mandatory.

Atlantis Books (Santorini, Greece)
960x637xatlantis.jpg.pagespeed.ic_.eFX3tUibAHAtlantis’s bookshelves, which the staff built themselves, are filled with novels, poetry, short-story collections, biographies and philosophy tomes. The staff is happy to advise on their favorites. In the spring of 2002, Oliver and Craig spent a week on the island of Santorini. The land inspired them and there was no bookshop, so they drank some wine and decided to open one. Oliver named it Atlantis Books and the two laughed about how their children would run it someday. For a more detailed story on this beautiful shop: NY Times

Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights (Bath, UK)shop_montage
Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights is an independent bookshop in Bath. It was founded by former lawyer and derivatives trader Nic Bottomley. A charming bookshop full of friendly book-lovers and packed with quirky furniture. The shop also contains a reading booth for rent and free hot drinks. Mr. B’s specializes in great books, super fast customer orders, themed literary events, reading spas and reading year gifts.

homepage_slideshow3Munro’s Books
(Victoria, Canada)
A beautiful neo-classical building designed for the Royal Bank of Canada, in 1909 by Thomas Hooper, the architect of many of B.C.’s finest commercial and public buildings. Munro’s Books has been described by journalist Allan Fotheringham as “the most magnificent bookstore in Canada, possibly in North America.”

The store’s stock consisted almost entirely of paperbacks, at a time when many traditional booksellers considered anything other than hardback books to be beyond the pale, bordering on beneath contempt.

130828134135-nanjing-book-shop-15-horizontal-large-galleryLibrairie Avant-Garde
(Nanjing, China)
Located in a former underground parking garage and bomb shelter, Librairie Avant-Garde has been transformed into the most beautiful bookstore in China.
130828132831-nanjing-book-shop-7-horizontal-large-gallery

This bookshop features a cafe, pillars etched with famous verses and poems, sculptures, artwork, and one of the coolest features is a cashier counter built from thousands of old books. It is also adorned with tons of reading chairs, so you can get cozy, settle in, and forget the outside world.

This list was has been so fun to make, there are so many immensely interesting and amazing bookstores. I cannot wait to share with you the last 8 of The Top Bookstores in the World.

Which of these is your favorite?  Stay tuned for Part II coming soon!

“What is this life if full of care we have no time to stand and stare.” W.H.`Davies

Book Door Lookbook

Cafe Book Bean

There are so many creative way to display books, but of all of them hidden bookshelf doors are my favorite! I have a small home so I can really appreciate any idea that saves space, and adds a little quirky
fun design to a house.

Here are some great book doors. This first one gives me all kinds of ideas.

book-case-door-after-iiI think this is such a great idea, what an awesome way to utilize all the space in your home. If it was me, inside that door would be a cozy little book nook getaway!chestnut-hill-02I am such a fan of the sliding hidden shelves! Not only does it save space but it is also a bit of fun I think. double-bookcase-door-600This one may be my favorite (design wise,) but I’m not sure, they are all so lovely. I think this one is a bit more obvious then the others though…
I love…

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