Sunday, February 21, 2016

A book for every mood

Libreria, explain Silva and the shop’s director, former FT digital editor Sally Davies, will help with that very contemporary problem, an overload of information. Their solution is to tailor their stock and arrange it not according to standard categories – fiction, biography, science, and so forth – but in suggestive themes designed to provoke browsers into making unexpected connections; early examples include the sea and the sky, family, love, enchantment for the disenchanted, and mothers, madonnas and whores (“possibly my personal favourite,” says Davies). The spotlight will be on cutting-edge independent publishers; I notice a display of books from Fitzcarraldo Editions, the outfit behind highly praised titles such as Claire-Louise Bennett’s Pond, Agustín Fernández Mallo’s Nocilla Dream and the newly released Pretentiousness: Why It Matters by Dan Fox. Industry figures including Edwin Frank, editor of the New York Review of Books imprint, will also have a hand in selecting the shop’s offering. 
There is, of course, the obvious objection: if you know what you want – or if you’re prepared to devote yourself to clicks and algorithms – you’re fairly likely to be able to get a book more cheaply from a giant online retailer, and delivered to your door to boot. “This not about being an on-demand service; this is not about serving an instrumental need,” explains Davies. “This is instead about providing a space that celebrates curation, that allows you to get an overview of the intellectual landscape, that allows you to immerse yourself in the experience of being in the store"...

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