Theater of Cruelty

"Why do you read so much?"

Forfatter: Stuart Husband
Forlag: Horst Friedrichs Photographer (Storbritannia)
PHOTO / We do not need bookstores just to buy books… Photographer Horst Friedrichs has photographed places that are filled with books.


"Why do you read so much?" was a question I often heard growing up. The question was always accompanied by a wonder and curiosity for the power the books had over me. The small books, the big ones, the open ones and the unopened ones that were still waiting to lead me to a happy or sad ending, the covers and the smell, and the touch of the paper.

A sense of community, the notion that somewhere between Jakarta or Tahiti, Kyoto and Santa Fe, there were some who had the same questions and experienced the same hope, fear, love and loss. The same sunsets.

New York, London, Paris, Porto

Boken bookstores by photographer Horst Friedrichs and editor Stuart Husband takes us to some of the world's most extraordinary places filled with books. Places that not only sell dreams, but doubts and desires. Unique locations around the world, from famous classics such as the Rizzoli bookstore in New York or Daunt Books in London, to magical boats and barns, from Paris to the countryside outside Philadelphia. From vaulted ceilings to bare concrete. From light to shadow.

Bookstores. Cathedrals of hope and joy, laughter and the occasional rare tear.

#Bookstores. Cathedrals of hope and joy, laughter and the occasional rare tear, brick and mortar. Home. Places that offer refuge from the chaos outside and heat from the cold. Home. For those who come by by chance, for those who are looking for something special – adventure or crime, romance or autobiography.

bookstores is just that home. A home for book lovers, for those who appreciate them, and those who have changed how we see them and how we buy them.

Horst's photographs show stacks with Books and shelves, floors and ceilings, counters and drawers, and chairs waiting for someone to take a nap between the chapters. There are people hanging around on corners and in corridors, sitting or standing with a book in hand. Everything is the perfect layout for Stuart's stories.

To fill the walls

bookstores has the stories and the funny episodes about how the books changed each bookseller's story and path choices, and how each place found its place in the reader's heart. How some places became iconic because they played an active role in change. How others experienced that a story repeats itself where they found refuge in the bookstore – the only place they could seek refuge.

Or the faces behind the counters, behind the hands that gently bind the book you've been waiting for months – or the book you discovered by chance.

Books need readers. But they also need places to rest, between reading experiences. Between attempts to read books. We do not need bookstorese just to buy books, we need them to find ourselves in the chapters that bind them together.

This is not a book about walls or floors, paper or beautiful bindings. About reviews or reminders. bookstores is a book about why we need to fill the walls and floors with something. And the festive, call it a luck in the mishap, is that you have to buy the book to get to know it.

Yes, "why do you read so much?" – you may understand why.

João Vilela Geraldo
João Vilela Geraldo
Geraldo is a Portuguese cultural worker and curator.

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