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The I Wonder Bookstore

Quirky and charming Japanese bestseller

As discerning readers and bookshop browsers, no doubt you’re familiar with all the great book emporiums within a 50-mile radius of your home. I am, however, willing to bet that you’ve never once visited a meta bookstore. So, with much fanfare, I’d like to introduce you to one, as presented to us in The I Wonder Bookstore by Shinsuke Yoshitake. This quirky Japanese bestseller reveals a typical day in the life of a bookstore that only sells books about books. Prepare to be charmed.

In the furthest corner of town, lies The I Wonder Bookstore, where the kindly, moustachioed owner can always locate the exact tome you want. You may think that selling only books about books is a somewhat niche market, but the flow of customers is steady and each purchase reveals some delightful aspect of the world of books.

For example, the books about paperback rescue dogs. Picture the classic St Bernard mountain rescue dog with its barrel of brandy, and imagine instead a rescue dog laden with paperbacks, trotting out into the neighbourhood to deliver them to those who are isolated or depressed. I love too, the book about ‘book people.’

‘We are all like books…we all have our own story, but just looking at us won’t reveal what is inside.’

Even though our own ‘covers’ fade and wrinkle over time, and our physical lifespan is finite, we too can pass along our spirit. Some of the books are philosophical, some whimsical, and others comical, as in the psychic detective who can solve a case by intuiting what the suspect has been reading.

‘…I know you read Embezzlement for Dummies.’

A bestselling author in his native Japan, Shinsuke Yoshitake writes and illustrates marvellously offbeat books of a philosophical nature. His illustrations here are detailed and absorbing, perfectly complementing this strange little book. A great gift for young abstract thinkers.

The I Wonder Bookstore by Shinsuke Yoshitake is published by Chronicle Books, 160 pages.

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