I finished a book last night and wondered where the closest library was. Oh yes, the old main library on Rikhardinkatu. This beautiful building was originally built as a public library in 1881, the first one in the Nordic countries in a specifically designed building, and has always been a library. In the 1920’s an extra floor and a wing were added. It’s an absolutely delightful place with old shelves and furniture and nooks and hush quiet atmosphere. Wonderful for browsing and making discoveries. They say it has been haunted; the restless souls were asked to move on about three years ago.
I had some gift shopping to do so I went for a stroll. It’s cloudy, the temperature’s about +3C and you could drink that air!
I ended up in a book store, as I tend to. Well, several book stores. One of them was the much criticized Academic Bookstore. Once The Bookstore in Helsinki, one of the leading book stores in Europe, it has lost one floor of books and one floor of stationary etc. The number of languages in the selection has been cut and the magazines section is about the same as the in the kiosk around the corner. Slight exaggeration there, but the whole area taken over by Starbucks used to be for magazines. It used to be the magazine lover’s candy store. It used to be the book lover’s candy store. All these changes because it was sold to a Swedish book publisher and for a while had a director who didn’t come from the book world.
However – dare I even say this – now that the layout is different, now that is a strange place, I see books and authors I didn’t pay attention to earlier. I was listening to a conversation between a client and salesperson. There’s no denying his expertise and deep knowledge of things literary.
The Academic Bookstore may no longer be The Bookstore we grew up with. But it’s still a book store.
I'm Piisa and I will be sharing with you my thoughts on this and that, maybe even on whatever.