This is the Irish cover of one of my favorite books ever. I have a copy originally given to me by Heather Curran, my English teacher in 11th and 12th grades, which is tattered and designed differently. One of the cool things I discovered today in touring three Dublin bookstores – Gutter Bookshop, Dubray Books, and Hodges Figgis – is that the covers to many books we also have in America are different here. In fact, they are significantly more lovely here. They have a great selection of books you can get in America, but also lots of other ones. And GET THIS: you can get paperbacks of all the books that are still in their hardcover run in the US.
Gutter Bookshop was small but packed and precious. Perhaps my favorite part about this store was the fact that it’s located on Cow Lane and had a clearance table the moment you walked in. Plus, I found Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight in the Biography section and I wanted to do a backflip.
On the way to the next bookstore, I found the Harley Davidson Dublin, which I didn’t know existed. Do they ride Harley’s in Ireland? Clearly they do. The shop was tiny, tucked away down a quaint cobble-stoned alley. I didn’t buy anything this time, but I’ll be back. (Dad, if you’re reading this, you know what kind of souvenir I’m bringing home for you).
Dubray Books was three floors and had massive buy three books for the price of two sales, which included paperback versions of books that are still hardcover bestsellers in the US like All the Light We Cannot See and Anne Tyler’s A Spool of Blue Thread. I ended up purchasing two books here, The Reason I Jump, which is about a thirteen year old with Autism who can’t speak and figures out a different way to communicate, and The Book Thief, which has a cover you can’t get in the US. I told myself I’d only buy one book, but The Reason I Jump isn’t easy to find in the US and I’ve been looking for it for a while and by the time I found it, my heart was already set on The Book Thief. So I bought both for a handsome 27 euro.
Hodges Figgis was also three floors and bigger than the other two combined. It was also more crowded than the other two, but the biography section was massive, and I always appreciate a bookstore with a good biography (and memoir) section. By the time we got to this store, I was doing the potty dance. All it took was a quiet plea and a genuine thanks before I was let into the secret back room and staff bathroom by a kind bookseller. She left me all alone back there too, so I must have come across as a harmless and desperate American tourist. Not what I was trying to convey, but sometimes it pays to be a tourist.
I’m still impressed I only purchased two books after sifting through hundreds, all of which had beautiful covers and tricky price tags listed in euros, which are so in value to the US dollar that it’s hard to forget that I lose 15 cents for every euro I spend. Books, of course, will always be worth it. There’s nothing like a Sunday spent touring bookstores, visiting a Parisian cafe with chandeliers and pastries so perfect they look plastic. Thankful for the time I have here in Dublin.