I just got back from 10 days hanging out with two of my best friends at their house in The Hague and a bit of a mini-break we all went on to Milan. Despite the fact that I had five books with me and was in two non-English speaking countries, I still managed to buy about 23 books. And all but one of them were in English.
I’ve already shown you my excursion into a glorious heap of used books I found in The Hague. But I managed to find a few other things along the way as well.
First off was a dedicated English-language bookstore that is charming and cozy for browsing. After about 7 years of visiting it, however, it has finally dawned on me that it is really just charming and cosy. The stock seems geared at the twee and/or obvious with lots of Englishy nostalgia items like Penguin merch. I had a bunch of UK titles that aren’t out yet in the US that I was hoping to find and this store only had one of them, and only one copy at that. It’s not a bad store by any means, but feels a bit like they might be missing the opportunity to broaden their offerings and still sell books–particularly when compared to other English language sections at other Dutch bookstores.
I asked my friend who is Canadian but has been living Europe since 1992 and in The Hague for a decade to take me to a good Dutch bookstore. I had never been in one in my visits. He took me to Van Stockum Boekverkopers where I was very impressed by the aesthetics of the store. If I spoke Dutch it might be possible that it wasn’t very comprehensive, how could something so stylish without tall shelves be comprehensive. Still, I quite liked it. They had a decent English section but I didn’t buy anything.
And then we were off to Milan. Just inside the world famous Galleria we bumped into Rizzoli Books which was disappointing only because most of the stock was in another language. Although that might have been a good thing. God only knows how much I would have purchased.
I cooled my jets in the Tauschen Store in Milan while my friends were in search of espresso and a toilet. If I was rich and had a huge library with special slanted reading tables, I would buy lots of Tauschen Books which tend to be enormous.
We had some time before our bus left Milano Centrale for the airport so I popped into the extremely good bookstore at the station. They had a pretty big English section. Reminded me of the the time in 1992 when I was a poor student passing through Rome and ran out of reading material. I found a copy of The Razor’s Edge at the Rome train station. It was a cheap mass market edition that cost me a whopping $15. Did I mention I was poor and it was 1992? I still bought it though, I was desperate. I wasn’t desperate this time but I bought books like I was.
As if I wasn’t laden enough with books, I couldn’t resist browsing a bookstore at Schipol Airport on my way home.
I can’t help following up on my previous post about the used bookstore in the Hague with these photos.
If at this point you are thinking this post random and poorly written, it kind of is. I will blame jet lag.