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Rare and Racy : And you, what is your little pleasure?

July 12, 2010

Have you ever wondered what you like the most in life?

For some people, it’s money, guilty pleasures, their family, their children and so on and so forth.

For me it’s just the simple little pleasures that life offers, like smelling the coffee in the house when waking up in the morning, licking my fingers melted by chocolate or reading a good book sitting under the shade of a tree in a park.

I reckon that I am a book geek, I love reading, I love books, and what I love the most is to enter a bookshop with no idea of which book I need, and finally spending hours looking for « The Book ». Finding a good book is a proper quest, but what you need the most is a good bookshop.

Last Thursday I was in town a bit bored, hanging around. I had just finished reading « Como Agua Para Chocolate » by the South American author Laura Esquivel, and I was desperately in need of a new book.

So I entered the first bookshop I saw on Devonshire street; « Rare and Racy ».

Rare and Racy is a bookshop established since 1969. There you can find a large range of books, mostly second hand for the readers, students and collectors.

Furthermore, they offer music for most tastes on vinyl records and compact discs and a selection of collector magazines, prints and original watercolours and oil paintings.

When you enter that place, you are welcome by a lovely 60 years old man hidden behind piles and piles of books listening Jazz music, then you realize that all the walls are covered with book shelves, records and posters.

You can smell that funny smell of old paper and printing ink. If you come closer to the shelves you can appreciate the large range of beautiful second hand books they have for reasonable prices from around £2.50. I would even have said they have beautiful antiquities, for example some very old editions of Dicken’s collection.

Then, you just take the way to your right, and end up in a tiny room where you have books from the floor to the ceiling, fiction on one side of the room, foreign literature and dictionaries on the other side. In the middle of that room there is a table with big boxes containing records that many collectors would die to have in their collections.

If you are able to move through all that cultural mess, you will reach a third room dedicated to old vinyl records and compact discs. All styles of music are represented, from classical to electro music, jazz, rhythm n blues, rock n roll…

What I found really interesting is that they promote Sheffield and South Yorkshire artists in general: local music bands, local writers, local artists.

So I stayed there for two hours, hanging around the different rooms, enjoying that leather covers and the ink smell, turning the thin and old pages of beautiful antique editions, reading the notes that other people have left in some books, underlining their favourite phrases, words, paragraphs. You realize then that books have a « soul » – they are alive, every reader leaves his proper traces in a book, everybody reacts differently to a book. You have to appropriate yourself a book, and make it alive.

When you buy a book in Rare and Racy, you are not only buying a good story in a book, you are also buying the story that book had.

Now it’s your turn, to go and enjoy that experience, and leave your own trace in a book, bought in Rare and Racy.

Rare and Racy

164/166 Devonshire Street

Sheffield S3 7SG

Tel. 0114 2701916

Tel/fax 0114 2493324


3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 13, 2010 7:17 am

    I love this shop! Your description of it is exactly spot on aswell.
    Time for another visit me thinks!

  2. July 15, 2010 10:25 pm

    I used to love this shop

  3. July 16, 2010 6:19 pm

    I have a bit of a problem when it comes to second hand bookshops…I just buy tons!

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