Wednesday, July 19, 2017

And boy are my arms tired...

I recently returned from a 13 day, 2400 mile, 7 country road trip across Europe with my wife Sarah and my friend Johnny the ginger Marine. I did the driving, they did the navigating. We had a great time, and I only visited two bookstores if you don't count museum shops.

The first was a lovely little place in Bruges called Books and Brunch. How could I pass it up? They had waffles AND books! And they had a nice selection of both. I admit only partook of the waffles, but I nearly grabbed a copy of Underground by Haruki Murakami, his interviews with survivors of the Tokyo sarin gas attack. Cheerful reading! I lugged too many books on vacation as usual, so I was given a moratorium by Sarah.

If you haven't seen Martin McDonagh's In Bruges you're missing out on one of the best crime films of recent vintage. It showcases the beautiful city very well, uses the scenery to make it integral to the plot, and stars Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, and Ralph Fiennes. Brutally funny.

Here's a look at Books and Brunch.

If you zoom in you can see they have good taste. Megan Abbott, Michael Koryta, Richard Price, all in Dutch. No Dutch Leonard, though. Damn shame.

A few days later we visited our friend Courtney in Maastricht in the Netherlands, and she took us to bookstore that truly worships books... Boekhandel; Dominicanen, a huge bookstore in a former Dominican church. The front door is a rusted metal masterpiece, and inside the vaulted marble ceilings make you reverent, even if you're giggling at a copy of I Love You Dick, by Chris Kraus.

Take a look:

Make a pilgrimage there if you happen to be in the area. It's not far from Aachen, Germany, home of the Aachendom, the church where Charlemagne's throne and grave sit. 

It's one of the most beautiful bookstores I've ever visited. I bought myself a fancy pen to commemorate the occasion. And I bought I Love You Dick. Because no one tells me I have too many books!

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