Photo by Shakespeare and Sons
Shakespeare and Sons
The International Literaturfestival Berlin is on! From Sep 10-20, the city is a flutter in bookworm-y goodness. While a good chunk of the fest's happenings are in German, Berlin itself has no shortage of the written word in English. Here's where to go make a literature festival of your own.
Photos by Saint George's (Facebook), Ana Garcia De La Blanca, Another Country, Curious Fox (Facebook), Dussmann
With 30,000 mostly used books, including many new American and British titles, jam-packed into ceiling-high shelving and barely any seating save a dilapidated Chesterfield, St. George’s is a bookstore’s bookstore, its old-world, no-fuss British vibe accentuated by charmingly dour owner Paul Gurner.
Within pram-pushing distance, the smaller Shakespeare and Sons, spun off by Roman and Laurel Kratochvila from their bookstore in Prague, is the place to go for trendier new titles (Davids Foster Wallace and Eggers are both prominently displayed), readings and excellent bagels in the front-room cafe.
Chaotic Another Country is both a shop and a cult, with British expat and known Berlin personality Sophie (formerly Alan) Raphaeline as figurehead. In addition to a plethora of secondhand books – any of which can be brought back for a refund, minus €1.50 – they’ve got concerts, readings, quiz nights and gluttonous €5.50 suppers.
Open since November in a former “casino” on a still-gritty stretch of Flughafenstraße, The Curious Fox seeks to fill the void left by the spring closure of Dialogue in nearby Graefekiez. While the tiny shop’s selection of used and new titles is still growing, go for the lovingly curated kiddie corner or a quiet slice of cake and cup of tea with friendly Irish owners (and one-time Another Country acolytes) Dave Gordon and Orla Baumgarten.
Finally, for the chance to read through books in a comfy environment but relative anonymity, head to lit superstore Dussmann. A constant stream of customers, myriad nooks and crannies in its two-storey English section and lengthy opening hours make this the perfect place to hide out on a grey winter night.