Friday, April 21, 2006


That doesn't make much sense, I know, but it should be interpreted this way--mass o' lit(erature).

Don't blame me--I didn't make it up.

About five years ago, we enrolled J. in some karate classes. On the first day of his class, we were driving around the city trying to locate the building where the classes were to be held. As we drove on a street unfamiliar to me, I noticed a sign that said "English Books"--like that, in English. That was a real attention-getter, and I immediately resolved to investigate, so after we found the karate class and dropped off J, we went back to check it out.

It was truly a wonderful surprise to discover Massolit--a bookstore that sold used English books and American desserts (things like muffins, pie, and brownies). This cafe has a truly interesting atmosphere--they play music from the 30's and 40's, furnish the cafe with vintage (probably cast-off) chairs and tables, and cram as many books as possible onto their floor-to-ceiling built-in bookshelves.

Now, if I were to say that the folks who run this bookstore are left-leaning liberals it would be an understatement. Their bias is shown in many ways, from the snarky cartoons about George Bush on the walls, to their choice of periodicals, and to their sections on "Gay and Lesbian Studies." However, in spite of their bias, I have to appreciate the quality of the books they carry. So many used bookstores are packed with cheap best-sellers, pulp romances, and the latest "thrillers." This is not true of Massolit. They carry serious books--books on philosophy, books on culture, books on art, books on history. In short, books worth reading. Yes, there are plenty of titles I wouldn't bother with, but that's true of Barnes & and Noble and Amazon, too, and it doesn't stop me from buying and reading books that I do want to read.

One whole hallway is designated the "wall of classics," and is, as its name promises, nothing but titles of "classic" literature in the English language, along with a few foreign titles. There is a section of modern fiction, a section for children's books, and even a few "better" authors in the mystery and science-fiction genres. You are welcome to browse as much as you want, and even buy a cup of coffee or a muffin and sit and read all day. I love the fact that this store is here in Krakow! I was a little afraid that it might have closed during my year in the states, but no! It is still a going concern, and now they even have a website so you can check them out.

This is one of my sources of English books here in Poland, and any day I have the time to spare browsing among their books is a good day for me.


At 7:38 AM , Blogger Javamom said...


This must have been such a wonderful find for you! I'm glad they have a website, now, that you can share :-). My dh works (teaches) at a school with many, many Bush-bashing, liberal, literary types. Sigh.

Fascinating website, interesting titles!


At 6:07 AM , Blogger Phyllis said...

Okay, that does it. I'm coming to visit you . . . someday. :-)


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