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July 14, 2008 | by  | in Books |
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Borders Bookshop Review

226–256 Lambton Quay

Borders is Wellington’s biggest bookshop, and one of the newest. Prior to its opening there was apprehension that the 800-pound gorilla of chain bookstores would gobble up all the competition in town and replace it with 52-week Dan Brown festivals and sundry other tributes to the mediocre and blandly commercial. That these bleak visions have not come to pass reminds us that gorillas are vegetarians and not cannibals.

For me, the best thing about Borders is that it sticks to its knitting. It is a bookshop, and the focus is very clearly on books. There’s a certain trap I feared Borders would fall into, best summarized by the sentence: “It’s a bookshop, but it’s also an adult theatre and a bowling alley!” I have actually woken up some mornings thanking God that this didn’t happen. There is a café, but that’s par for the course nowadays. Everything has a café.

Coverage of the canon is excellent: superior to Unity on quantity, but inferior on density in that some lacklustre authors are represented out of proportion to their quality. The specialized sections are the highlight. This is, as far as I’m aware, the only bookshop in town to have both big scientific sections and a decent selection of gay & lesbian fiction, thus catering neatly to my two major interests in life: mathematics and sodomy.

The workers are non-snooty, but sometimes leave one with the impression they are overwhelmed by their inventory. While this isn’t the first shop I’d necessarily go to if I was looking for a specific book – I enjoy the thrill of the hunt in the second-hand stores too much for that – Borders is perfect for non-specific browsing. Don’t be shy. Go buy books.

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About the Author ()

BK Drinkwater's actual origins are shrouded in mystery, but it is said that he sprang from the summit of Taranaki fully formed, four days after the birth of Aristotle. He resents having been overshadowed in this way.

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  1. alofa says:

    Just wodering if this bk has arrived at your book shop.

    Going Public by David & Kelli Pritchard

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