Book Towns

 

I love books. And, equally, I love travel. 

If you are like me, then there could be hardly a more seductive title than this. Book Towns

Book towns – or 'paradises of the printed word', as the author aptly subtitles this book - are fascinating, and I can never resist making a detour when I hear of one somewhere. 

Hay-on-Wye, in Wales, is one I have visited a couple of times, and everything from its bookshop-lined main street to the random outdoor bookcase of 'swapping books' in the castle grounds, speaks to me as being my 'happy place'.

Then, too there was Cuisery, in rural France, and another in the Southern Highlands of NSW, Bowral. 

Wherever they are, book towns will always attract book-lovers, and, as we are a special tribe, you will find yourself instantly amongst kindred spirits.

This small yet fascinating book deals with 45 book towns around the world in places from Portugal to country Victoria, Iceland to New York, Germany to New Zealand and many more. And, unlike a bookshop which may attempt to place books in categories or a special order, here the entries are not listed by country, but instead, alphabetically.

Can't remember the name of a book town you may have heard of somewhere? Well, you might just have to read the whole book - which would not be a bad thing as you will come away with a very long bucket-list of places that you must include on upcoming travels.

In case you want more - there is a chapter at the end: Beyond the Book Town (when a book town is not quite a book town) which may only be at certain times when it has a pop-up spot or a literary festival.

Beautifully illustrated with photographs, and offering plenty of information, this book is for you, or anyone you know who loves reading and travelling – especially those with a big enough suitcase or baggage allowance to buy some more books to bring home!

++++

Book towns, by Alex Johnson, published by Allen & Unwin, April 2018, hardcover, illustrated, rrp A$29.99. 

- reviewed by Sally Hammond

 

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