Harley is a freelance writer currently based in Glasgow. To see her portfolio visit harleygriffiths.wordpress.com
Published August 2nd 2017
Get lost in the weird and wonderful world of books
If you're a sucker for the nostalgic smell of old books and that cosy feeling you get when you're wedged in between bookshelves, then this one is for you. Glasgow is home to some great hidden gems when it comes to bookshops, so make sure to do your inner bookworm a favour and stop by your local bookshop for a couple of hours of good old fashioned browsing.
Residing south of the Clyde is Young's Interesting Books, located on Skirving Street in Shawlands. Here, books are treated less as commodities and more as works of art. It's physically impossible to pass by the enticing front window display without going inside for a better look. With a motto of 'quality rather than quantity', Young's Interesting Books lives up to its name. Bookshelves are well-stocked without indulging excess. There is a noticeable selection process of particular genres, titles, editions, and overall aesthetic design that goes into making Young's Interesting Books, well, interesting. In addition to fiction, there are shelves dedicated to art, philosophy, history, local interest, and rare antiquarian finds.
Glasgow's West End is another great stop if you're in the mood for bookshops with some character. While there are quite a few scattered about the neighbourhood, Otago Street is a good starting point with the well-established Thistle Books and Voltaire & Rousseau tucked away just around the corner from Kelvingrove Park.
After navigating through what appears to be a car park off Otago Street, Thistle Books comes into view from its quiet hiding spot. It shares its space with Albamusick, so don't think you're in the wrong place when you see rows of sheet music as you walk in the door. Towards the back of the shop are the books. With floor-to-ceiling bookshelves lining the walls, you're almost guaranteed to find what you're after. Or, something just as good.
Practically next door on Otago Lane lies Voltaire & Rosseau, where it has been nestled for over forty years. Like a garden that hasn't been tended in decades, Voltaire & Rosseau is overgrown with an eccentric collection of books, filling the shop with a unique mixture of quirk and whimsy. The bookshop is notorious for its lack of organisation, although some piles of books are haphazardly labelled by genre. It's also notoriously precarious: if you think playing Jenga is fun, then Voltaire & Rosseau is the place for you. Though the aisles are claustrophobic, the books are unsteadily stacked, and you will probably never find the book you were looking for, Voltaire & Rosseau is a must-see bookshop and one you shouldn't miss out on if you're in Glasgow.
So, write down a list of all the bookshops you've been meaning to pop into and take a day to browse the weird and wonderful world of books in Glasgow. You'll be happy you did.