Remember the Julia Roberts and Huge Grant romantic comedy Notting Hill? A charming bookstore provides setting for their poignant scenes. It’s difficult to romanticize about the modern franchisee bookstores of today with their brisk antiseptic air, and lack of personal touch. Chain stores, with their stark CD, gift and toy sections, make book buying akin to grocery shopping. One wonders of the existence of the quaint, old world bookstores.
A probe into Pune’s nooks and crannies revealed that not only do these exist, but with a loyal customer base, they do not fear mega stores.
TWIST N TALES: A cozy store right out of the pages of a classic provides a prefect browsing experience at Gaikwad Nagar, Aundh. Its whacky bookshelves hold a small but exquisite collection of books, ranging from Fiction, Indian Writing to Theatre, Classics and a rare selection of children’s books. The cheerful decor, snippets of information dotting the walls and greenery, give it the right ambience to curl up with a book on the swing outside. The friendly knowledgably staff KNOW their customers, keep tabs on individual preferences, maintain a blog, provide book reviews and make book buying an art to savour.
CHAPTER AND VERSE: You feel as if you hve walked into a comfortable living room spilling over with books! No glossy covers here, the shelves abound in old texts on Literature, Poetry,Culture, obscure Travelogues and stacks of old National Geographic issues.A twisting balcony crammed with more books is aptly labelled the Book Walk. With it's inviting cane furniture, It's a quiet place to plod around separating the Jane Austen's from the Mulk Raj Anands.Locateed at Gera Plaza, Boat Club Road, it offers home delievery facility.
THE INTERNATIONAL BOOK SERVICE: On crossing the threshold you enter a different era, with black and white pictures of P.G Wodehouse, George Orwell and Iris Murdoch on the walls, old wooden racks, musty smell and faded gold letters categorizing the books .A favorite haunt for academic souls, the store contains books on Science, Humanities, Spirituality, History and rare Sanskrit texts. Established in 1931 it is one of the oldest bookstores in Pune, located at Deccan Gymkhana.
MANNEY’S: Manney’s turns 60 next year. Located at Moledina Road, it is an ideal place for the reader with a purpose. The store has a plethora of books on every topic, from Military History and Microwave cooking to Rock music .It also has a formidable Technical and English Language and Literature section. Enough to satiate the bibliophile. The hushed, cool, well lit ambiance, make spending time here a pleasure.
So if you are tired of standardized décor, impassive customer care and crave the perfect browsing experience, amble into one of these bookstores this weekend and feel time fly