A new bookstore opened last year in April… I just found out about it two weeks ago! How I managed to stay ignorant for a year and a half is astonishing.
Needless to say, I had to pay a visit to the store as soon as was possible. (The minute I got back home I started writing to my sisters and friends, spreading the word of the thrilling discovery, singing praises at the top of my lungs. It turned out one of them knew about the shop all along. Somewhat disheartening.)
Anyway, as it happened, I did not go alone but with a friend (who knew nothing of the new bookstore). We stayed there for more than an hour and left excited and tremendously happy.
The bookstore is very pretty in its simplicity and the staff is particularly friendly and welcoming. Stepping in we found ourselves amongst the books written in/translated to Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian – fiction, poetry, essays, reference books…
I admit I moved on to the next room very quickly because I knew they had books in English. At the center of the room stood a large table with dozens of Wordsworths , then I caught the gaze of small black Penguins. Wonderful!
I was trying to decide whether to immediately purchase Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper and some of Conrad’s sea stories or novels when I saw something I could not ignore (which left this second section quite underexplored).
Used books, in English! The most pleasant surprise. I don’t think any of the bookstores in Sarajevo has them. What a marvelous idea!
The area is pretty large, with taburets and tables in the middle, as well as a tiny cafe corner right beside the window. There’s a coffee machine, and one is welcome to have a cup, take a book and read for as long as one wishes to. One can even borrow a book! It’s here we stayed the longest.
One of the shelves contains a delightful variety of non-fiction. From Sheep for Beginners to The Poser’s Guide, Attracting and Feeding Garden Birds to Tea Rooms of Britain, The GI Plan: Lose Weight Forever to The Loo Companion – Are You Sitting Comfortably; we had such a fun browsing through these titles.
Other shelves hold mostly romance and detective novels, but one can find some great things there as well. I came across my first Virago – The Virago Book of Women Gardeners! Then two more appeared – Angela Thirkell and Michele Roberts. By this point, I was ecstatic – not just because I found Viragos in Sarajevo, but because this allows me to hope, on a solid enough ground, that there could be more of these in time to come…
I brought home six new books:
- A Year in Provance. Peter Mayle – I’m not usually drawn to places that bask in the sun but Provance and Tuscany are enchanting.
- Making The World Legible. Edited by Julian Evans, it contains extracts from 36 books that Writers in Translation Programme has supported since its inception.
- High Rising. Angela Thirkell. Not my favorite of her works, still I couldn’t resist having it.
- Fair Exchange. Michèle Roberts. Never heard of her, I’m afraid, but since the novel tells about Mary Wollstonecraft and William Wordsworth I decided to take it with me.
- The Virago Book of Women Gardeners. edited by Deborah Kellaway. This one is self-explanatory.