Photo by Karen Sofie Egebo
The ashes of East of Eden are still smoldering, but already a phoenix is rising to take its place among Berlin’s expanding field of English-language bookstores – Dialogue Books. Headed by the indefatigable Sharmaine Lovegrove, it’s actually the store’s second incarnation. Before disappearing into internet exile Dialogue occupied the back of the T Room, a short-lived English tea house in Mitte.
Now Lovegrove’s gone solo: she’ll regularly host readings and other events in the tiny Graefekiez space, though it’s hard to imagine where. A bookshelf occupies one wall, opposite a small couch. Past these is a massive desk, cluttered with papers. Lovegrove sits there, queen-like, dispensing advice with aplomb to Stammgäste and other devotees (many customers are members of the Dialogue Book Club).
“Though we might not have the particular book you’re looking for at the moment,” she explains, “you’re absolutely certain to find something of equal or better quality in our hand-picked selection.” And if you’re absolutely certain you need that book, well, it can be ordered.
Indeed, the woman at the helm of Dialogue Books is what makes the place remarkable. Each visit provides the intimate, slightly intimidating feeling you get from a doctor’s visit (Lovegrove likes to call herself a ‘book doctor’). Bare your intimate literary proclivities, and Dr. Lovegrove will apply her generous, diligent expertise. What’s more, the consultation is free, though you’d be remiss to leave without the prescribed book in your hand.