Coming November 2020
A history of bookshops, an autobiography of a reader, a travelogue, a love letter—and, most urgently, a manifesto.
Good bookshops are questions without answers. They are places that provoke you intellectually, encode riddles, surprise and offer challenges … A pleasing labyrinth where you can’t get lost: that comes later, at home, when you immerse yourself in the books you have bought; lose yourself in new questions, knowing you will find answers.
Picking up where the widely praised Bookshops: A Reader’s History left off, Against Amazon and Other Essays explores the increasing pressures of Amazon and other new technologies on bookshops and libraries. In essays on these vital social, cultural, and intellectual spaces, Jorge Carrión travels from London to Geneva, from Miami’s Little Havana to Argentina, from his own well-loved childhood library to the rosewood shelves of Jules Verne’s Nautilus and the innovative spaces that characterize South Korea’s bookshop renaissance. Including interviews with writers and librarians—including Alberto Manguel, Iain Sinclair, Luigi Amara, and Han Kang, among others—Against Amazon is equal parts a celebration of books and bookshops, an autobiography of a reader, a travelogue, a love letter—and, most urgently, a manifesto against the corrosive influence of late capitalism.
Praise for Jorge Carrión’s Bookshops: A Reader’s History
“The perfect merging of love of travel and literature.”—Buzzfeed
“[Carrión’s] purpose is to celebrate bookstores. And he does so by wandering the globe in search of those that play—or have played—a special role in the intellectual and social lives of their communities. They become Carrión’s personal mappa mundi.”—New York Times
“‘Every bookshop is a condensed version of the world,’ begins Mr. Carrión’s literary and unabashedly sentimental exploration of bookstores around the globe . . . [Carrion] wanders through volume-laden aisles in Athens, Paris, Bratislava, Budapest, Tangier and Sydney, and invokes many other shops, both open and closed, telling stories about writers, readers and literary circles . . . By the end, you may feel poorly read—but well armed with titles and bookshops to visit on your own.” —Wall Street Journal
“Carrión explores the fine lines between pilgrimage destination, touristy gimmick, and decent bookshop. This is the perfect book for those who feel compelled to visit every bookstore they see.”—Publishers Weekly (Starred review)
“Excellent . . . entertaining . . . this quietly intelligent little book speaks volumes.”—Michael Dirda, Washington Post
“Sublimely entrancing . . . brilliant . . . [Carrión’s] Borgesian book—it can be opened at any point and read forward, or backwards for that matter—is not at all sad. To read is to travel in time and space, and to travel from bookshop to bookshop is an ecstatic experience for Carrión, a joy he conveys page after page.”— Maclean’s