Bookshops:  A Reader’s History, Jorge Carrion, 2017

This is the kind of book I would want to write—a conceptual piece of art in which Carrion, a native of Catalonia and resident of Barcelona, sets off across the globe to visit famous, historic bookstores.  Along the way he argues for the importance of these institutions in providing space and time for conversation, intellectual exchange, and, of course, reading material.  His knowledge of writers and bookstores proves to be encyclopedic and exhausting.  In contrast to many of the books about bookstores written by authors (My Favorite Bookstore) or focused on a particular element, Carrion is wide-ranging and engaging, though his references to bookstores in Latin America and in Europe had my English-only brain reeling.  This is a book for the real afficianado, not a casual, light read.  I’d use it primarily to read about bookstores in a city or cities which I was planning to visit.  To wit, I’ve recommend Librairie de Colonnes in Tangier (home to Paul Bowles, Kerouac, and Genet) to Becca and Joe who go to Morocco next month.   I hope they get me a bookmark.