Sunday, September 21, 2008

We all face dilemmas in our lives. Some more serious than others. Today I faced the dilemma of Sainsbury's or Waitrose. Yesterday, during a night out that goes straight in at No.1 on the Top Evenings in London list, my compatriot was juggling the dilemma of World Domination or reclusive Hampstead bookshop ownership. As I said, some dilemmas are more serious than others. And so, to help him in his decision I would like to offer up some inspiration in the form of...

The Camilla's Store Guide to the World's Best Bookshops

1) Yeats said he 'must lie down where all the ladders start, In the foul rag-and-bone shop of the heart', and for all others who have felt the same when down and out in Paris, the Shakespeare & Co. bookshop on the Left Bank is the place to head for. Rickety staircases, bohemian staff and hundreds of thousands of books makes this one of the most unique places to hang-out and browse.

2) Without ever having been there, I feel like I have visited City Lights Bookshop in San Francisco many times through the work of the Beats. I half hope that, when the time does come for me to visit, I'll find Jack, Allen and Neal waiting for me.

3) Often feted on the design websites, this converted church in Maastricht, Netherlands now houses an incredible selection of books, fusing aesthetics and learning.

4) Living in Austin, my friends and I often found ourselves whiling away our Sunday afternoons in Book People. Great for bumper stickers, the local rags, readings and an extensive selection of Moleskines not to mention three floors of books, books, books. Oh, and right next door to Amy's Ice Cream! Good times.

5) Not really a bookshop, but certainly a fab starting place for the discerning bibliophile. Our grand old British Museum's Reading Room. Makes you feel clever just being there.

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