Book-hunting and bookshop browsing is always one of the most ‘looked forward to’ highlights for all my travels. As such, I had noted down some of the bookshops that I wanted to look out for (based on the suggestions gleaned from various sources), before setting off for my recent trip to the Netherlands and Paris. Special thanks to the helpful recommendations from Bundleofbooks for pointing me in the right direction.
This little gem of a bookshop had some real treats hidden down those stairs! If not for having read about this bookshop on Bundleofbooks’ blog, I would surely have missed out on this one. And that means I would not have found my two copies of Monica Dickens (Mariana, One Pair of Hands) and Christopher Isherwood’s memoir Christopher and His Kind for 2 Euro each. Two other titles which caught my eye but had to be left behind due to luggage constraint issues (as both were in bulky hardcover tomes) were a volume of Isak Dinesen’s Letters From Africa and Boswell’s London Journal. Like I said, who would have thought that a hidden little nook like this could have such treasures within?
And then there are those that had looked so promising as you enter but in the end, you find yourself coming out empty handed.
As abundant though, as the offering was to be found here, somehow I didn’t manage to come away with anything. The ones I had spotted and really wanted (ie: Elizabeth Bishop’s One Art: Letters and a couple of other literary biographies/ diaries) were either too bulky or too costly for my limited constraints. Sigh….
However, all is not lost, as I soon found my way to this :
When I entered the Straat Antiquaren, all I could see were shelves of books in languages that I wasn’t familiar with. As I made my way around the shop, skimming through the foreign titles on the rows of shelves thinking it’ll probably be another round of fruitless browsing, I came to the last row that was facing the walls on the right side of the shop. And voila! I found myself staring at shelves that were packed and stacked with English literature! How thrilling it felt. Although I came away with just two books (Katherine Mansfield: Letters & Journals, and D.E. Stevenson’s Miss Buncle’s Book), it was not for the lack of choice but rather due to budget and luggage contraints, as mentioned earlier. Otherwise, I would definitely have taken home with me the complete set of Virginia Woolf’s volumes of letters that were in almost pristine condition…..
Still, I have to say that I am pretty satisfied with the bounty from this trip, which had actually exceeded my expectations, as believe or not, I really wasn’t planning on buying that many books. Just a couple to serve as mementos for this trip, I had thought, would have been good enough. Really.
But I ended up with all these instead.
And oh, I think there’s just a couple more which are not in the picture. But no worries, we’ll come to that when we get to Paris.