Tuesday, 7 February 2012

For the love of books

As predicted, Lord Bassington-Bassington's solemn promise to not acquire new books for a month has led to His Lordship's bibliophilia running berserk. So today, a short ode to His Lordship's favourite bookshop.

Imagine walking (or waddling, in Lord Bassington-Bassington’s case) down a rather non-descript street in downtown Oslo, and suddenly spotting a bookshop that seems to specialize in second-hand books.

You enter, greeted by friendly staff, and suddenly is strikes you: It is as every book on the shelves is selected with you in mind. At least if your tastes are remotely similar to those of Lord Bassington-Bassington.

This is not by chance, either - the founders of the shop travel around the world seeking out fine books to bring home, to create a second-hand bookshop not cluttered by the crap that can make second-hand bookshops such a trial. And it sure feels good to know that there is at least one bookshop in the world without Dan Brown thrillers.

On Lord Bassington-Bassington’s last visit, His Lordship left with a book about heretical art, a Norwegian poetry magazine, a novel by Bård Torgersen, Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers by Tom Wolfe (perhaps the best book His Lordship has read on race), Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita, and a few other choice items. All this made possible by Cappelens Forslag’s eminently reasonable prices.

Oh, and this Yule His Lordship got a book about witchcraft persecutions in New England as a present. How Lovecraftian!

By all reckonings, shops such as Cappelens Forslag should not exist, at least not outside of short stories by Borges. But still, there it sits, centrally located in Oslo.

If you live close enough, and you care about independent shops, you owe it to yourself to drop by. If you don't live in Norway, you can always look them up on Facebook - most of their stock is in English and if their mail order service is anywhere near what they offer face to face, you are in excellent hands. Their selection of art prints is also very covetable.

It seems as if one is a particularly good customer, one might be invited to some spiffing parties.


  1. Hi,

    lovely prints indeed! Do they have a proper website or emailaddress? (I'm not on facebook and will never go there as it's evil and you can never leave)

  2. I'm not sure about their email, but I have asked them. But I understand your skepticism regarding Facebook.

  3. Sounds like a great shop! Speaking of books, last night my wife and I ordered a selected few. Among them was some short stories by Saki, bought on his Lordships recommendation.

  4. Ah, I hope Saki's stories will be to your taste! I really love them, especially the story about the talking cat.

  5. I feel sad whenever I hear news about the expansion of numeric books. Maybe I'm a bit of a pessimist but I wonder if there will still be some place for bookshops like this in the future.

  6. A message from the people at the bookshop, who seem to have trouble commenting here (damn Interweb thingy!)

    Send any and all enquiries to Cappelensforslag@gmail.com.
    We will get around to putting up a web site one of these years...

    the truffle swine at Cappelens Forslag

  7. What a wonderful shop. How do they stay in business

  8. I suspect it's subsidised by a design company they run or something. Nevertheless, it's a national treasure.