Where to find good books in Dublin?
No.2 – Hodges Figgis. The name sounds like a Dickens character, the shopfront looks exactly how you would picture Dublin’s oldest bookstore. Huge windows full of books curve towards the door like a bell jar. Their frames and the door are dark green, like the leather inserts on a library table.
But the shop is not resting on its long and illustrious pedigree (which includes being mentioned in Ulysses, no less). From humanities, business and sciences on the top floor to the sweeping selection of classic and modern literature, Hodges Figgis is eminently knowledgeable without being snobbish.
The store fills four floors, including the stairs. The ground floor is dedicated to fiction – new releases at the main entrance, a room to the left for Irish literature in English and Gaelic. A quiet back corner features poetry, drama and literary criticism.
Creative nonfiction – essays in particular – are given their ceiling-high shelf space right beside the books on writing and writers. More is scattered throughout the premises, for example in the travel section in the basement, of which only about half the titles are guidebooks in the narrow sense. The others tell stories, personal or learned, about people and places and often, unsurprisingly, also food. My eye was caught by Helena Attlee’s The Land Where the Lemons Grow as well as by a range of storytelling books published under the Lonely Planet franchise.
The main food and cookery section is on the second floor, to your right as you come up the stairs. Fermentation or cocktails, baking or food politics, classics and new releases – they’re all here. I have my eye on Tom Nealon’s Food Fights and Culture Wars: A Secret History of Taste as well as Diana Henry’s Salt Sugar Smoke: How to Preserve Fruit, Vegetables, Meat and Fish. Can you have too many books? Hodges Figgis and I, we don’t think so.
58 Dawson Street,
Dublin 2, Ireland
Mon – Wed, Fri 09.00 – 19.00 h
Thu 09.00 – 20.00 h
Sat 09.00 – 18.00 h
Sun 12.00 – 18.00 h
Tell me: Where is your favourite bookstore?