Friday, 11 December 2015

The art of browsing

Image from here

There's something special about the act of aimlessly browsing bookshelves. That act of letting the eye glide over the bumps and ridges of book spines like they're some new and undiscovered landscape. That easy, inquisitive searching for something you're not sure of yet. The way you allow yourself detours and unexpected pauses and forgiving seductions in unfamiliar directions. There's a satisfying and restorative absorption that goes with it. Time folds in on itself, a creased moment sheltered from the rest of the day.

I thought about this the other day when I discovered The Reader's Corner, a new, independent bookshop in Durban, and allowed myself that pause to just browse a bit and think about nothing but reading; what I had read and what I still wanted to. The experience reminded me of how the significance of browsing a bookshelf often goes unnoticed and yet it represents one of the first steps of the journey into books. It entices fingertips to reach for spines and pull out unexplored treasures. Of course, there's an art to the act of selection that might overwhelm an inexperienced reader, but the thrill of the new and unexpected is still there. It's powerful. To see. To touch. To page through the possibilities.

It doesn't matter how extensive the bookshelf is, or where it is; if it's at home or in a library or in a bookshop. As long as it's there and provides the opportunity for reader and book to meet. It made me wonder if more people wouldn't become readers then...

Image from here

The Readers Corner is a charming, really well-curated bookshop and well worth a visit if you're in Durban!


  1. You left me hanging--what did you choose? I was unable to read all of the titles on the shelf but I would definitely recommend Wolf Hall.

    1. I know! Such a great selection! I'm on the look-out for "Half a yellow sun" by Nigerian author Chimamanda Adichie. =)



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