I love books. I adore book shops and one of my top things to do on my bucket list was to visit Hay-on-Wye in Wales. That was until I read Book Towns: forty-five paradises of the printed word by Alex Johnson.
Book Towns: forty-five paradises of the printed word
Title: Book Towns: forty-five paradises of the printed word
Author: Alex Johnson
Genre: Travel, literature
Publisher: Quarto Publishing Group
Release Date: 22nd March 2018
The so-called “Book Towns” of the world are dedicated havens of literature, and the ultimate dream of book lovers everywhere. Book Towns takes readers on a richly illustrated tour of the 40 semi-officially recognized literary towns around the world and outlines the history and development of each community, and offers practical travel advice.
Many Book Towns have emerged in areas of marked attraction, such as Ureña in Spain or Fjaerland in Norway, where bookshops have been set up in buildings including former ferry waiting rooms and banks. While the UK has the best-known examples at Hay, Wigtown and Sedbergh, the book has a broad international appeal, featuring locations such as Jimbochu in Japan, College Street in Calcutta, and major unofficial “book cities” such as Buenos Aires.
Despite its unassuming and slightly uninspiring cover, this is a wonderful coffee table book. It showcases Book Towns around the world to explore, drool and fantasize over so is perfect to look at while you or visitors are having a cup of tea or coffee. If like me, you don’t know what book towns are they are towns dedicated to literature with book shops, festivals and history. They are bibliophiles’ dream locations. This non-fiction book covers over 40 of them and inspires with it’s stunning photographs, simple format and descriptions. It made me want to be there to experience the shops, smell the books and browse the endless bookshelves for the perfect book or two or three. I would love to visit them all especially Hay-on-Wye, Sedbergh and Wigtown as they are in the UK but I long to travel to Fjaerland in Norway. If I won the lottery I would go on a worldwide tour ticking them off one by one. It would take me to:
- New Zealand
- South Korea
- South Africa
- And more
Would I recommend?
It is an ideal addition to a bookcase and would make a lovely gift for book lovers and travellers. I long for a physical copy to treasure and dream over.
Now where is my passport?
Thank you NetGalley and Quarto Publishing Group – Frances Lincoln for an advanced copy to review in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. You have made this book dragon very happy.
Have you been to a book town? I would love to hear your experiences.
5 thoughts on “A dream come true: Book Towns by Alex Johnson”
This sounds like such an interesting book:)
It was a surprising gem.
I am glad you were honest here. It is a book I wouldn’t have picked up but now I will pop it on my every growing (with your help) TBR list.
Wow Kate, you brought back some memories of mine. Sydney is no longer the place it was in the 60-s, 70’s and even 80’s, though there are still some great bookshops to visit. When I was a kid, my father or grandfather would take me on a bookshop crawl throughout the city. (Second hand books only) It was a terrific day out and in spite of my aching feet, I would do all over again given the opportunity. Thank you for sharing. I must find this book, even if I never find one of these booktowns.
My geography is iffy for the UK never mind Australia but the towns it mentions are Clunes and Bowral. Book crawl sounds wonderful I miss access to independent bookshops