This is very surprising, the second month and I managed to stick to my new year’s resolution! I visited the second bookshop on my list – Daunt Books. I left work a bit earlier to be able to go to Marylebone on my way to the airport (weekend at home). It’s been ages since I’ve been to Baker Street and that area, somehow in recent years I tend to stick to South East London and rarely venture to the centre, so this was also a good opportunity to appreciate more of London again (and to yet again be terrified at how awfully overcrowded it is). After a short walk, I easily found the bookshop.
Daunt Books is a big bookshop and the first part is relatively typical, with your fictions and non-fiction, tables with new releases and promoted books. But what I was looking for is separated from the rest of the bookshop by a passage and it is this second part that makes this place special. Daunt Books has a special three-level section of the store organized by country, the fiction and non-fiction happily mix, crime next to history, all associated only by country. It is a very interesting idea and I really enjoyed this, as it makes you find some unexpected gems. Of course, I went straight to Eastern Europe section to see how Poland is represented and here I was slightly disappointed, I understand that for many people the only association with Poland is the WWII, but really believe me more things have happened in this country and also some good books have been written. Basically, the entire ‘Poland’ bookshelf (and it wasn’t a small one) was about the WWII and Holocaust, I managed to find maybe 5 books unrelated to war, one of them being The Captive Mind and another a bestseller crime series about Eberhard Mock starting with Death in Breslau. I was really hard pushed to find something I’d like to buy from the Polish shelf, I finally succeeded as you’ll see further down, but it was a challenge. From Poland, I moved on to Bulgaria (one of my friends comes from Bulgaria and I realised I haven’t read any book by a Bulgarian author in my life), with modest two shelves, but way more subject variety, here I managed to pick two books to expand my horizons. As one may expect France, Germany and Spain were very well represented, Portugal was quite limited, which I find surprising, but maybe this is down to language. I didn’t have much time to venture to the lower floor where the Americas and Asia-Pacific were represented, so I will definitely have to go back.
When I went to pay for my books a lovely surprise awaited me, I got a bookmark for each of the books and before I noticed all of them were packed into a Daunt Books canvas bag. I really enjoyed my visit in Daunt Books and definitely will be coming back, especially when I need the inspiration to expand my reading horizons, the idea of organizing books by country gives a different perspective and makes it easier to find many unexpected treasures.
Here are some photos from the store, as always forgive the quality, photography is definitely not one of my strong skills.
And here’s what I bought:
A Country in the Moon. Travels in the Search of the Heart of Poland – Michael Moran – One of not many not WWII related books in Polish bookshelf, I decided to see how people from other countries experience Poland.
Street Without a Name. Childhood and Other Misadventures in Bulgaria (r)- Kapka Kassabova – something to expand my horizons and the first book by a Bulgarian author I’ve ever read
East of the West. A Country in Stories – Miroslav Penkov (r) – a collection of short stories about Bulgaria