A cabinet of curiosities, a time machine, a treasure trove - we love bookshops because they possess a unique kind of magic. In Browse Henry Hitchings asks fifteen writers from around the world to consider bookshops that have shaped them: each conjures a specific time and place.
Ali Smith chronicles the secrets and personal stories hidden within the pages of secondhand books; Alaa Al Aswany tells of the Cairo bookshop where revolutionaries gathered during the 2011 uprisings Elif Shafak evokes the bookstores of Istanbul, their chaos and diversity, their aroma of tobacco and coffee. Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor recalls the quandary of being asked to choose just one book at a favourite childhood store in Nairobi, while Iain Sinclair shares his grief on witnessing a beloved old haunt close down. Others explore bookshops they have stumbled upon, adored and become addicted to, from London to Bogotá.
These inquisitive, enchanting pieces are a collective celebration of bookshops - for anyone who has ever fallen under their spell.