Just like food, words are sources for both nutrition and delight. And just like food you can get them in various forms and qualities and in all kinds of places: you can get basic fast food at a snack bar or kiosk, buy mainstream staple food in plastic bags from a megastore and enjoy it at home or you can go to a restaurant and share your joy and delight with people you like in a pleasant and convenient environment. For every situation there seems to be a suitable place to go to for food or books.
Being a true glutton, I can hardly walk past an open book shop door. The smell of printed paper will most likely lure me inside and only empty pockets will save me from buying. Surely, a warm atmosphere will keep me longer than bright white neon lights but even airport kiosks more often than not manage to make me draw my credit card – plastic money in exchange for valuable paper.
Every once in a while my soul reminds me that food is much more than mere nutrition, that books are more than words. Then I look for a place where I will get some hot tea with my book and find a warm soul to talk about books, arts, music, love and life. There are few book shops of that kind, but they exist. I once found one in Dublin, with a view to the River Liffy – always a good reason to finish off a business meeting sooner than planned. But, fortunately, I don’t even have to leave Berlin to find such a place. Another Country is right here, right now: www.anothercountry.de. Another Country is somewhere between bookshop and library where can buy or borrow books, sip a tea, chat with whoever may be around or just browse the book shelves for pleasures and treasures, almost exclusively in English.
While reading tends to be rather an individual, single person- kind of adventure, it also has its social aspects. Not only do I communicate WITH my books – I read and write in them, sharing thoughts or leaving (more or less) witty comments as a reply to some inspiring quotation – I also love to talk ABOUT them, discuss their meanings, share my thoughts or the impressions they left. My favourite or ideal kind of bookshop offers all these features, but any shop that lures me with the smell and touch of a good book when I have enough time and money for browsing bookshelves and buying one or more books can become my favourite book shop of the day ;-)