Voltaire & Rousseau – a bookshop

We had a lovely day out in the west end of Glasgow yesterday. Even the weather was perfect, sunny and about 65 F/18C.

The west end is always a nostalgia trip for us as my husband was a student at Glasgow Uni for 7 years with me as the breadwinner for the last 3 of them.

But nowadays it means books, and as we hadn’t been to Voltaire & Rousseau for years we thought it was time we paid a visit. It isn’t the easiest place to get to and you really have to know that it is there as it is situated in Otago Lane, which is off Otago Street, about a 10 minute walk from Great Western Road.

As you can see it is a mixture of heaven and hell for book lovers. There are thousands of used/second-hand books and although they are divided into sections, the stock spills all over the place, making it quite difficult to navigate your way around them all. The proprietor doesn’t mind you taking photographs either.

I found it really frustrating that I couldn’t reach any of the lovely old leather bound classics, the books piled in front of those shelves blocked them all off. It’s amazing though because I do usually find something that I’ve been looking for there and I’m obviously not the only one as a young lad waved a book in front of my face excitedly telling me that he had found what he was looking for – a miracle he thought. It was Around the World in Eighty Days.

So if you are in Glasgow and you are into books take a stroll down Otago Lane and the nearby Thistle Books which is in Otago Street and is very different as everything is neat and organised, which is all very professional and as it should be, but somehow not as exciting an experience as Voltaire and Rousseau.

6 thoughts on “Voltaire & Rousseau – a bookshop

  1. Wow, what a lovely shop! Though I’d be frustrated too because the book I wanted would probably be at the very bottom of one of those piles!

    • Yes, it’s always the way in shops like this and there is a real art to extracting the books from the bottom without setting off an avalanche. It all adds to the experience!

  2. Your Jack is an author? How wonderful, and how interesting. Katrina I don’t know your surname, so I can’t look him up. Perhaps I can persuade you to:
    1. Link to Jack’s books
    2. Write a post about Jack’s books.
    3. Or write a comment on “Reader in the Wilderness” about Jack’s books.
    4. Or get Jack to do it!


    Judith (Reader in the Wilderness)

    • I see you got Jack’s comment. At the moment he doesn’t have enough time for writing another novel, not enough thinking time he says. He’s hoping to get back into it when he retires from teaching. I’m not a great one for travelling so I (we) have never been to America. I really do want to wait for a transporter to be invented (as if!) but if we ever find ourselves over the pond, we’ll make a bee line for the Adirondacks – keeping our eyes peeled for bears!

  3. Is it a new or used bookshop? And it’s so funny that you mentioned Around the World in 80 Days, since I just checked it out of the library today. It’s obviously a sign that I should add this to my vacation reading.

    • It’s a used bookshop, or as we say second-hand. I much prefer that sort of bookshop as you just never know what you might find. I’ve come up with some real treasures over the years, leather bound and gold tipped page classics for about £2. I’ve never read Around the World in 80 Days although I have the very edition of it that the lad bought, I think it’s in the attic. I should dig it out.

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