I took the opportunity of being in Dublin for Roger Waters’s concert to visit one of my favourite bookshops. I was a bit worried as someone had recently told me that he had seen that shop across from Trinity College (on College Green), but that it had closed down. To my relief, I found out that the shop was still there and open, and I could leave my feelings of mourning behind. I consequently felt it was my duty to buy a couple of books and did not feel too guilty about spending.
What is it that I like so much about Books Upstairs? Hard to say… The shop in itself is not that extraordinary, although I really like that little mezzanine.
I feel comfortable in this small cosy shop and love browsing books there. They have an excellent selection of books and a good choice of fiction that entice to discovery. I have often bought books there that I was not looking for and have enjoyed them. This is where I bought my first Carver! Before the few shelves dedicated to fiction, you will find two whole shelves of discounted new books. The prices of those books are more than decent and you will thus be less reluctant about buying a book you have never heard of.
I also really like their non-fiction selection, especially in literary criticism. I guess this is due to the fact that they are located near Trinity College. You won’t find the usual Oxford Very Short Introduction series, which you can find in any major bookstore, but you will find books from Routledge and others at affordable prices. For someone like me, who buys a lot of literary criticism books, it can become expensive and I tend to buy them second-hand on the internet. However, here, I have the pleasure of flicking the pages before buying, and they always have a few on sale.
You will find books that you don’t find everywhere, and I guess that’s what I like. Of course, they have some bestsellers and main stream new titles, but you might come across a gem you weren’t aware of. They also have some chapbooks and various journals, which is something you don’t see everywhere. If you’re ever in Dublin, I highly recommend you pop in and spend a few euros.
As I said, their choice of discounted books is amazing and you will be more willing to buy a book you do not know of. I treated myself with three books. The first is just a German phrasebook for my forthcoming trip; I was grateful to finally find one that costs less than a fiver. The second is by an author I have never heard of before: Denis Hamill. The title of his novel, Fork in the Road, caught my attention. After a quick look at the synopsis and reading the first page, I was convinced.
I also bought Amulet by Roberto Bolano. He is not an unknown author as his novel 2066 is much talked about, but I have not read anything by him. I was glad to find this book which is less intimidating than 2066 and tickled my curiosity.
I’m delighted with my findings and look forward to reading them!