July 16, 2015

The Guardian recommends Desperate Literature, a new English bookstore in Madrid


"Write us a Poem" / Photo from travelingbanana.com

“Write us a Poem” / Photo from travelingbanana.com

A year after opening in Madrid, English-language bookstore Desperate Literature has garnered top reviews on Trip Advisor and a glowing recommendation this month from James Blick in The Guardian.

With a vintage typewriter for browsers to punch out poems, a chessboard and naughty kitten, Desperate Literature might initially seem affected. But Charlotte and Terry are pure in their desire to build a homely bolthole for book lovers. The typewriter is for typing, says Charlotte, not selfies. They offer tea and wine to customers (backpackers, expats, and locals) and they’re picky (there’s Raymond Chandler, Isaac Asimov and Laurie Lee – but no Danielle Steel or Dan Brown). There are also works in Spanish and French, and prices run from €3 to €9. Boxes of books continue arriving from New York and literary treasures are dug up in Madrid’s flea market.

Trip Advisor travelers note the the location of the bookstore (“just a few paces from the heart of the city”), the store’s stock for sale (“superb selection, including some very cool rare books”), the helpful staff (“extremely skilled and knowledgeable, and also very friendly and welcoming”), the events and readings (“readings and cocktail hours are taking place often as the owners of this fledgling shop try to carve a niche in the rich cultural landscape of Madrid”), and the apparently complimentary drinks (“they make a mean cocktail, if you ask the owner nicely”).

Blogger Hannah (aka travelingbanana.com) visited the shop and wrote up her own rave review with beautiful photos:

It’s not ONLY that this treasure box of a bookstore around the corner from the Palace has an incredibly well curated selection of English, French, and Spanish books (but wow, they DO have SUCH a great selection of thoughtfully chosen books!) that has me completely charmed.

Be sure to visit next time you find yourself in Madrid.

Desperate Literature
Calle Campomanes, 13, 28013 Madrid (near Opera Metro)
Hours: 10:30am-2:30pm and 5pm-10pm

Claire Kelley is the Director of Library and Academic Marketing at Melville House.