I frequently go for a stroll at lunch time – to pick up the odd errand or just to get a breath of fresh air and take a break from whatever copywriting project I have on my desk. It’s usually only for half an hour or so, but that plan often goes awry if I happen to pop into Keats and Chapman, the labyrinthine used book store on North Street in Belfast.
It was a stroke of genius to rebrand ten years ago as Keats and Chapman, especially for Flann O’Brien aficionados like myself. And even if you don’t ‘get‘ the connection, it’s still a more attractive name than The Bookstore, as it used to be known.
But what is it about dusty, musty second-hand book shops that draws us in? Maybe it’s the strong smell of vanilla and almonds as the compounds in old paper break down – a hint of what’s to come for us all, although my decomposing smell is unlikely to be anything as fragrant as vanilla and almonds!
Down through the years, I’ve picked up quite a few books here on art, copywriting, advertising and marketing, and also first or early editions of favoured authors. But I won’t disclose here precisely who those authors are in case the owner Bill suddenly ups his prices when he sees me coming.
So if you’re in Belfast city centre and want to unearth some old and obscure beauties, do look into Keats and Chapman. But allow yourself plenty of time!
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