A year ago I found myself absorbed in a new idea for the Warwick's website. I decided it would be intriguing if Warwick's could link up with other independent bookstores, located in different parts of the world, and establish a group of 15 or 20 foreign booksellers as regular contributors to our site. We would ask these booksellers to tell us about what they're reading, as well as the current "hot" read, in such far away places as Nairobi, Oslo, Barcelona, Beijing, Buenos Aires, Paris, Jaipur, London, etc.
We would post a picture of each bookseller, as well his or her bookstore, and look forward to some strong and passionate opinions, and, undoubtedly, many intriguing cultural insights. Imagine how fascinating it would be for our webmaster, Seth Marko, to host a monthly on-line book club with these fifteen or so booksellers from distant lands. Would such a group even survive a discussion of the Booker Prize? How I would love to follow such an exchange.
In the end, practical issues hampered my pursuit of the project. No one could figure out how such an initially time-consuming project could be supported by the store. I had to accept that my talented crew needed to focus their creative energies on existing endeavors that were already shortchanged by time constraints.
Notwithstanding, my enthusiasm for the project has remained steadfast and in the process of researching this idea I came across a rather beautiful website, Bookstore Guide, maintained by Sonya and Ivan, two young Eastern European booklovers. They provide a select listing of mostly independent, European bookstores, which include English-language books in their inventories. I particularly enjoyed the Top 5s page, which includes such groupings as Europe's Top 5: Travel Bookstores, Top 5: Oldest Bookstores, and Top 5: Impressive Bookstores. My heart skipped a few beats on this last page.
I'm unable to pursue the fanciful thoughts I've written about here, but I sure hope to someday visit these phenomenally fanciful bookstores.