Wednesday, November 12, 2014

In other words, he told the truth

I first discovered the Globe bookstore and café, which started out in 1993 in the Holešovice district in Prague, in 2006 when I was exporing the city on foot with my mother. Apparently five Americans decided to risk opening an English language bookstore and coffeehouse, with this motto, which describes its purpose perfectly: “in libris veritas; in kava vita...” (truth in books, life in coffee...). 

In 2000 the Globe moved to its current location, a beautiful building built in 1895. Even though the owners have changed, the Globe remains a fantastic independent bookstore, "which also hosts literary and musical events, serves as a gallery for the exhibitions of young local artists, but also gives you the possibility to chat over a coffee or a beer and enjoy their food" (

With an obvious focus on Czech writers, like Milan Kundera, and especially those from Prague such as Franz Kakfa, there's a focus on Central European literature and history. However, I loved their extensive selection of books by off-the-wall writers like Charles 'Hank' Bukowski, whos works I struggle to find in SA; they're neither in the bookstores nor public libraries. 

In my two coffee visits to the Globe, I got my hands on a few books, including a biography of Bukowski ('A laureate of American low life') and Kakfa Diaries (1910 - 1923), published by Schocken Books (New York). I chuckled at, "writers speak a stench," which Kakfa noted in 1910.

Then, in the Bukowski biography by Barry Miles, I loved his description of his work:

"In rereading Hank's books for this biography I found that his work was still fresh, it had not dated, it goes straight to the point. He gave a vice to the disenfranchised , the marginalised, the mad and the dysfunctional, the factory hand, the working people, the drunk and the disorderly. He made a point of always trying to write clearly so that people knew what he was saying. He did not use a dictionary. He avoided long words and tried to use the easiet, simplest words possible, He told Jean-Francois Duval: 'I like it raw, easy and simple. That way, I don't lie to myself.' In other words, he told the truth.

No comments: