Book Towns: Forty Five Paradises of the Printed Word

Book Towns: Forty Five Paradises of the Printed Word

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 i...

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Title:Book Towns: Forty Five Paradises of the Printed Word
Author:Alex Johnson
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Book Towns: Forty Five Paradises of the Printed Word Reviews

  • Kelly

    Book Towns does exactly what it says on the cover… it takes you around the world to visit various book towns giving each one around 4 pages in the book which contains a description of the towns themselves along with interesting titbits of information and stunning photography.

    This is a true ‘coffee table’ book for me. Literally a fascinating non-fiction book that can be left on the coffee table and picked up and perused for a few minutes with a cuppa each time. You don’t lose your place or feel

    Book Towns does exactly what it says on the cover… it takes you around the world to visit various book towns giving each one around 4 pages in the book which contains a description of the towns themselves along with interesting titbits of information and stunning photography.

    This is a true ‘coffee table’ book for me. Literally a fascinating non-fiction book that can be left on the coffee table and picked up and perused for a few minutes with a cuppa each time. You don’t lose your place or feel overwhelmed with information and it’s an absolute joy to read. A beautifully presented book, it contains information on 45 book towns around the world from Australia to France to South Africa to France again (there’s a lot of book towns in France) and of course I skipped right to Wigtown in Scotland before going back to start at the beginning.

    Each of the entries is interesting to read and it really comes across that the author has thoroughly researched each of them with information on how or why the town became a book town, what bookshops are in it including a little bit of background on some of them and also including other ‘book’ related businesses that have taken root in the town. It also includes information on book festivals that are either held in the town or nearby and the photography that accompanies each of the entries is stunning. This is book porn at its best! I loved looking at all the different arrangements in the towns and the amazing spaces that books are being sold from and each entry also includes a little ‘more information’ box that often gives the website address for the town or festival and opening hours in some cases.

    A beautifully bound and presented book that made me want to pack the family into a camper van to go and tour all the book towns of the world… I mean what could be better?!

  • Laura

    There are two things that I love to do: travel and read books. And whenever I do travel I always keep an eye out for bookshops, book stands, and libraries. I love coming home with a book I bought on my travels. So when I came across this book with the topic of Book Towns, I was instantly intrigued. What is a book town?

    In Book Town: Forty-Five Paradises of the Printed Word, the author describes a book town as "simply a small town, usually rural and scenic, full of bookshops and book-related indus

    There are two things that I love to do: travel and read books. And whenever I do travel I always keep an eye out for bookshops, book stands, and libraries. I love coming home with a book I bought on my travels. So when I came across this book with the topic of Book Towns, I was instantly intrigued. What is a book town?

    In Book Town: Forty-Five Paradises of the Printed Word, the author describes a book town as "simply a small town, usually rural and scenic, full of bookshops and book-related industries." The movement began when towns wanted to help their economy by focusing on sustainable tourism so that communities can thrive and the traditional book kept alive. Many of these villages hold literary festivals and other creative events that appeal to artists and tourists.

    Alex Johnson has compiled together the very first guide of 45 book towns from nearly 30 countries, giving us a brief history of the town, popular events that take place there and photos of its quaint landmarks. Each section ends with a small information box containing pertinent website links and how to best get to the town by car, train, or bus.

    I loved reading about these towns, many of which are in Europe. Each is unique in its own way. It stirred the travel bug in me, making me want to hop on a plane to visit and stroll through their streets, these towns that display their love of books in such creative ways.

    The author dedicates about 4 pages per town, with lots of photos and a short text that packs a punch of interesting info. One learns not only interesting historical tidbits but also fun information about the towns and its inhabitants. Some of these towns offer stunning scenery, making them the perfect place to buy and read a book. Truly paradisaical!

    What is also interesting is that many of the bookshops are also specialty bookshops, selling books on local history, religious books, banned books, old books or books that may not be found elsewhere.

    Book Towns is a great coffee table book and ideal to gift to the book lover who loves to travel. It is a book that is a testament to the love that people have of the printed written word, and to the ingenious ideas communities come up with, not only to survive, but in some cases to thrive through local artistry and craftsmanship. The love of books is universal as seen through the colorful pages of this book. It is heartwarming to read about the respect books are given in these towns.

    The next time I travel, I will make it a point to take photos of the bookshops I visit. If you find yourself in a book town, stop and visit their bookshops and buy a book or two. You will be supporting the town, the printed word and your own love of reading.

    Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book. I chose to read it and write my honest review.

  • Emily

    I now have 45 locations to visit added to my bucket list! There are a couple very small features I would change about the book, if I could do so. First, instead of featuring a quote about the location next to the write-up from that very same section, I think a small map of the book town’s location would be more beneficial. I also wish that the table of contents listed the name of the country with the city name to make referencing the passage easier at a later date. Each book town sounds like a w

    I now have 45 locations to visit added to my bucket list! There are a couple very small features I would change about the book, if I could do so. First, instead of featuring a quote about the location next to the write-up from that very same section, I think a small map of the book town’s location would be more beneficial. I also wish that the table of contents listed the name of the country with the city name to make referencing the passage easier at a later date. Each book town sounds like a wonderful place to visit, and the photographs featured in the book are beautiful.

  • Steffi

    Liebevoll gestaltetes, fotoreiches Buch, das Lust macht, die inzwischen zahlreichen Bücherstädte in der Welt zu besuchen. Ich wusste von Hay-on-Wye als berühmtester book town und persönlich kenne ich die Bücherstadt Wünsdorf-Waldstadt, weil sie von Berlin aus leicht zu erreichen ist.

    Nun weiß ich nicht nur von weiteren book towns in Europa, sondern auch in Australien, USA, Süd Korea und Südafrika. Aufgrund der Erreichbarkeit werden aber wohl das nordrhein-westfälische Langenberg oder das nieders

    Liebevoll gestaltetes, fotoreiches Buch, das Lust macht, die inzwischen zahlreichen Bücherstädte in der Welt zu besuchen. Ich wusste von Hay-on-Wye als berühmtester book town und persönlich kenne ich die Bücherstadt Wünsdorf-Waldstadt, weil sie von Berlin aus leicht zu erreichen ist.

    Nun weiß ich nicht nur von weiteren book towns in Europa, sondern auch in Australien, USA, Süd Korea und Südafrika. Aufgrund der Erreichbarkeit werden aber wohl das nordrhein-westfälische Langenberg oder das niedersächsische Katlenburg zu meinen nächsten Zielen gehören.

    Ein Buch, das ich nicht als Muß bezeichnen würde, außer für Menschen, die Bildbände über Bibliotheken und Buchhandlungen lieben (wie ich) und dies als Ergänzung zu selbigen nicht entbehren möchten.

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