Five bookstores to write home about

As the saying goes, there’s nothing better than losing yourself in a good book. But if you ask us, it’s even better to lose yourself in a great bookstore.

LONDON Daunt Books This travel writing specialist on Marylebone High Street is well worth journeying to. Behind the Edwardian shop front, natural light pours into a long galleried room lined with oak balconies and herringbone parquet flooring. Books are arranged by country, regardless of genre, with destination guides and literature stacked wall-to-wall and floor to ceiling.

PORTO Livraria Lello J.K. Rowling is among those who have fallen under the spell of this bookstore opened in 1901 by brothers José and António Lello. She was said to be a frequent visitor when she taught English here. The neo-Gothic facade, with its art nouveau paintings representing art and science, bears more than a passing resemblance to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

MELBOURNE Books for Cooks Australia’s only specialty bookstore for foodies and wine lovers is appropriately housed in a row of listed mid-Victorian single story terraces within shouting distance of Queen Victoria Market, where dealers have been selling fruit and vegetables for more than 150 years. The store stocks an exhaustive range of new and antiquarian books on food, wine and cooking.

BUENOS AIRES El Ateneo Grand Splendid Regularly topping lists of the world’s most beautiful bookstores, this converted theater in the elegant Recoleta neighborhood first opened in 1919. The magnificent auditorium originally staged tango, ballet and opera, before switching to movies. Grab a cortado from the stage café which is framed by red velvet curtains and take in the original architecture.

PARIS Shakespeare and Company On the banks of the Seine, across from Notre-Dame, this cathedral of the written word was founded by George Whitman in 1951 and has long been the center of expat literary life in Paris, and aspiring writers and artists have slept amid the groaning shelves and piles of books in return for a few hours’ work. Signed photographs of Whitman with friends including Allen Ginsberg, Rudolf Nureyev and Ana?s Nin adorn the walls.

TEXT: Graeme Nadasy

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