I love cities where I find fellow readers. As I did in Prague. There were bookstores, book pubs, book cafés and “Antikvariats” around every corner, and you didn’t have to look long to find people reading in public – on the tram, in parks or just standing on the pavement deep in a book.
When I pack for a trip my books are always the most important to me, which means that my suitcase is always heavy. But I can rather do without clean clothes than without books. I pack notebooks, travel books, traveller’s tales, usually several travel diaries, guidebooks, maps, novels to read…….you name it. And the first thing I do unpacking in a new room is to stack my books, on the desk and on the night table.
Prague has always been a city of and for authors, poets and readers. It is the city of Franz Kafka, Milan Kundera, Rainer Maria Rilke, Karel Capek and several others. A couple of weeks ago I found a wonderful treasure at a junk sale here in Trondheim, Cesky Roman/A Czech Novel by Olga Capek. It is a huge book, hardbound from 1951, giving a lot of information about the city and the country, but most of all about Olga’s life with Karel. I did a search on amazon today to see if I could find more books by Olga, she must have written a lot, in between being a famous actor, but I did not have any luck. I found many by her husband though, and ordered a few, among them a travel book from his travel to Norway (I know I have read it before and used to have it in my shelves, but no it is nowhere to be found) and a book where he writes about his life as a gardener.
There were so many things we wanted to do during our three days in Prague, so there was not much time for browsing book stores. But the last night I had forgotten my three days tram ticket in the hotel room (NOT on purpose), so while Terje went back to find the ticket I had 15 minutes in the big book store near the tram station J Most of the books were in the local language, but I also found a good section with English books. And among them a lot of translated Czech literature. I bought “Prague in Black and Gold, the History of a Cit” by Peter Demetz, and “Prague Tales from the Little Quarter” by Jan Neruda.
I did not know very much about Czech literature before starting planning this summer, but give me a month or two and I will be a master J