From director D W Young comes a documentary celebrating the wonderful world of books and bookshops – here’s our review.
One of my favourite things is hearing people speak about their passions. Even if I know nothing about the topic, I love hearing of the joy it brings them and seeing their faces light up as they talk about it. I also love books. A lot. That’s why this documentary is my idea of cinematic heaven. For 95 mins I got to watch lots of bibliophiles talk about their book collections and their lifelong passion for collecting books. That said, for those less impassioned about book fairs, book collections and books in general, there’s still something in it for you, too.
Good booksellers are underappreciated superheroes. Their detective skills rival Sherlock Holmes, as they scout out good reads and find the perfect book for the wanting buyer. This documentary visits a wide range of booksellers and, wonderfully, they regal us with stories. There are tales of celebrity collecting, of hard-won collections, of family businesses, rivalries and gems found in unexpected places. That’s just to name a few.
The documentary has a loose structure to how it orders and presents its stories, and sometimes we seem to hop from one account to the next with a tone that feels almost drifty. Granted, it replicates the experience of roaming around a bookshop, with no need to rush and the joyful uncertainty of not knowing what you’ll find. In that sense, this documentary is a true balm if you’re unsure as to when you’ll next be able to get to a physical store.
What quickly becomes apparent when watching is how essential books are to our culture and society in general, though. A single book can be a time capsule to the past yet also a reflection of our present and maybe even an indicator of the future that awaits us. This documentary serves as a reminder of these facts and reinforces them, all in the shape of a documentary that is the epitome of a Sunday afternoon sat in a cosy chair by a fireplace. Definitely one to watch and curl up to.
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