Thursday, June 11, 2015

Literary Finds While Traveling

A dedicated reader will often find literature-related materials and experiences when she travels, whether they be unique and charming bookstores, libraries, museum exhibits, or public monuments. All of these are enjoyable to find (sometimes intentionally and sometimes serendipitously), and also give the traveler a sense of how a city or country values and honors literature in general and its own writers in particular. I wrote about this (6/28/14) after my Scandinavian trip last June, citing tributes to Henrik Ibsen and Hans Christian Andersen. On a trip to the Netherlands and Scotland last month, I explored several bookstores, the best of which I stumbled across in the beautiful and historic university town of St. Andrews, Scotland; there I spent a happy interval in the wonderful Topping and Company Booksellers. When I was in Edinburgh, Scotland, I noted the frequent mentions of Scotland's native son authors Sir Walter Scott, Robert Burns, and Robert Louis Stevenson. The most prominent example of this was the imposing statue of Sir Walter Scott, surrounded by a huge, tall, elegant monument, in a very central location of the city. It makes me happy to see evidence of a city’s pride in its literary figures, and especially to see such an author’s being given such a place of pride in its most visited landscape.
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