The English Book Shop
- Bookstoreused books
- The English Bookshop is a dingy affair -dusty and stuffy- but the wall-to-wall books of every genre, size and weight imaginable, easily make you forget that. As you might have guessed, it only sells English-language books, and it has a gentle tranquillity that quietly draws you in. Once there, you find a veritable book lover’s treasure trove, a reader’s cave made up of the spines of countless second-hand books. Browse to your heart’s content.
Located on the beautiful Ajuinlei right next to the canal in Ghent’s city centre, The English Bookshop is run by British expat Godfrey Mason. His clientele consists mostly of Flemish locals, but -not surprisingly, given the location- a lot of tourists too. Add to that international students who want to read up on the classics. Mason is happy to advise them.
The owner himself is interested in history, and it shows on the shelves (and floors and stairs) of his small shop. But he occasionally allows himself to be seduced by other subjects. Sometimes books come in that are so intriguing, he has no option but to read them -even if they are about unlikely subjects like mountaineering, and even if he’s unlikely (and unwilling) to ever climb a mountain.
To Mason, that’s the typical charm of a second hand bookshop.
“You might go in looking for a specific book in mind, but you’ll probably come out with something you never thought you’d buy.”
Another plus: you can go there literally every day of the week. Mason is nothing if not devoted to his trade. On the day of our visit, it happened to be his birthday. Why is he in the shop on his special day? “If you’re not open, what else is there to do?” he replied.
(An Gydé, Flanders Today, June 04 2008. http://www.denzil.be/documents/BookshopsFT.pdf)
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