Where to find good books in Dublin?
No.1 – The Secret Book and Record Store. A bookworms’ lair unfazed by fashions.
The Secret Book and Record Store is not all that secretly located in the city centre of Dublin. Around the corner from busy Grafton Street, amidst cafés and shops, a large yellow sign adorns the entrance. The corridor burrows away into the old building. At the end of it, boxes and tables and shelves full of books fill a low room almost to the ceiling.
All books are secondhand, but there are many in excellent condition. Prices are good: paperbacks that look barely read cost around €5, hardbacks around €10. The shelves at the wall are organised and labelled, literature, literary criticism, poetry, history, politics. The large central tables are a bit more casually arranged. Recent publications sit next to hardbacks with charming 1970s dustcovers; there are also old issues of magazines like The New Yorker.
One of the first things to greet me was my old friend Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond. It is a fascinating insight into the material history of humanity, and I recommend it highly.
Food and cookery books sit unmarked together on one corner of the table. The recipe books include several of Darina Allen‘s Simply Delicious books – the style of the cover photo and of her glasses hint at the publication dates through the decades. I saw some other interesting titles, on the history of tea or of sweets, for example, but the one that had to come away with me was Nigel Slater’s Toast. I liked the movie, but have not so far read the book, and with its episodic structure it is perfect to dip in and out of on the meandering bus rides in and out of town.
You should not get stuck on a bus without a book. Get your fix here.
The Secret Book and Record Store
15 Wicklow Street,
Dublin 2, Ireland
Mon – Sun 11.00 – 18.30 h
Tell me: What makes your favourite bookstore special?