London

Cecil Court, London, UK
March 24, 2013

(Ten of) London’s Antiquarian Bookshops: Part I

I am a huge fan of antiquarian bookshops. Rummaging through aisles (and oftentimes stacks) of discoveries waiting to happen, reveling in the smell of a nineteenth century pulp book (or better yet: a vellum manuscript), and rationalizing whether one (actually) needs to buy the newly-found text are all common experiences for me and other fellow bibliophiles. Some of my favourite bookshops manifest as the most random, disorganized, and cluttered places, with friendly bookmongers waiting in the wings and happy to help locate your desired treasure—certainly not for the claustrophobic, but perfect hunting grounds for the ambitious booklover.

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March 2, 2013

London, thou art the flour of Cities all

After roughly seventeen hours of travel, I have finally arrived in London. The title of this post, which belongs to the sixteenth century poem “To the City of London” often ascribed to the Scottish makar William Dunbar (b. 1460), describes my experience well so far (though I think Vancouver, like many other wonderful urban centres around the world, presents an admirable rival for being “Soveraign of cities”). Indeed, London has proven to be a most welcoming and inviting city; I have chatted with quite a few folks on the streets, shared a glass of wine and good conversation with my new flatmates, and had a few people not only help me find my way around labyrinthine Paddington station, but also carry my heavy luggage bag up an entire flight of stairs. The immigration officer, an older gentleman, didn’t even ask me any questions at the border. Upon hearing I was a PhD student, the officer immediately perked up and revealed he had also once been a PhD Candidate (and then proceeded to reminisce about his long-abandoned PhD dissertation on a modernist Swiss writer).

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