blog Pearls of Wisdom Quotes

Curated Quotes from Jorge Carrión’s Bookshops

“Every reader is a critic, but only those who make their opinions about their reading in some way public become literary critics.”

“Literary bookshops shape their discourse by creating a sophisticated tast that prefers difficulty.”

“…Paris, therefore, became the capital for those who proclaimed themselves to be stateless and above political laws: in a world, artists.” – Pascale Casanova, The World Republic of Letters

“The democracies are heirs to the French revolution…Islamic countries are now working to consolidate systems for repressing reading in order to ensure a future without plurality, dissension and irony.”

“I can think of few images that are sadder than an almost empty bookshop or the remains of a bonfire on which books have been burnt.”

“Bookshops tend to survive the writers who fed their mythology and their owners.”

“We travel to discover but also to recognize.”

“Chaos reigns in second-hand shops: the disorderly accumulation of knowledge.”

“I sometimes think the Internet is the limbo where the bookshops I could not experience personally await me. A limbo of virtual spectres.”

“It took me five trips to Paris to discover that of its hundreds of bookshops, perhaps the best three are Compagnie, L’ Ecume des Pages and La Hune.”

“A classic work is one that always offers a new reading. A classic is a writer who never goes out of fashion.”

“Paris establishes itself – as we have seen – as the International centre of literature and the visual arts. The city is a model for cultural grandeur.”

“The big chains are nearly always transnational conglomerates, where the bookseller has ceased to be simply that, because he has lost that direct-artisan-relationship with books and customers.”

“As booksellers, the challenge we face is satisfying the most intellectual customer without frightening off the least intellectual.”

“One must distinguish between world’s great bookshops and emergency bookshops. The latter supply our most urgent needs, the ones that cannot wait, bring light relief on a flight or a train journey.”

“Literature cannot be understood if one retains an anachronistic faith in frontiers.”

“If all religions share some things, it is the need for the book, the idea that walking brings one nearer to the gods and the conviction that the world will come to an end.”

“The essence of tourism is that echo from the past, and a classic bookshop, with its veneer of antiquity, must engineer a degree of disorder: an apparent chaos that gradually reveals its orderliness.”

“The split between the community of readers that allows the bookshop to exist and the tourists who come regularly to photograph it constitutes an essential feature of a bookshop in the 21st century.”

“Previously the bookshop became a tourist attraction when its historical importance and picturesque condition hit the radar; over recent years architectural originality, the grandiose and appeal to media has become a more influential marker than the two traditional ones.”

“Bookshops of today ought to have a grandeur that allows them to compete with the other cultural icons of contemporary architecture.”

“Modern bookshops follow a hierarchy. At the top is the architecture. At an intermediate level the stairs, picture windows, murals, sculptures, period furniture and lights. At the bottom comes the display of the books, the raison d’etre of the whole structure, which can never be as important as they were in the twentieth century when bookshops were made to measure, to fit our hands and eyes.”

“Intellectual pleasure fuses with voluptuous delight. Today’s bookshops are learning more than ever from the success of shops in contemporary art museums where catalogues are only part of what is on offer there alongside jewellery, clothese and industrial design pieces.”

“Literature is polemical, and is about the future and about books to imagine.”

“The confusion between private and public life parallels the confusion between bookshop and library.”

“There is no doubt that a bookshop is much more hospitable when, as a result of repeated visits or coincidence, you strike up a friendship with one of the booksellers.”

“Bookshops are cultural centers, myths, spaces for conversations and debate, friendships, and even amorous encounters.”

“While the library insists on remembering everything, the Bookshop selects, discards, adapts to the present thanks to a necessary forgetfulness.”

“Every good bookseller must be something of a doctor, chemist or psychologist. or Barman.”

“Young children should be brought up in private libraries.”

“My own experience of cities is shaped by the intersection between strolling and bookshops, so most of my usual itineraries cling to certain shops as my personal hubs.”

“All bookshops are compasses: when you study them they offer you interpretations of the contemporary world that are more finely tuned than those provided by other icons or spaces.”

“Reading is like walking, like breathing, something we do without even having to think.”

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