We recently featured the string of second hand bookshops off DR Wijewardene Mawatha.
These are excellent places to pick up those much loves little nuggets of ink and paper but finding something you really want to read among the endless stacks of 80s cold-war thrillers and soft porn novelettes is a bit of an ordeal. The browsing is part of the charm but if you want something to read in a hurry this is not the place to come.
Recently however we stepped into Senanayake Book Shop in Wellawatte for an altogether more efficient second-hand book experience. While it’s not quite as charming as Maradana’s second hand strip it’s much better laid out and the books seems to be curated- classics at the back, pulp and pop towards the front and a box of more serious contemporary novels on one side. There’s also a wonderful box full of cowboy novels from the 50’s which feature exceptional cover graphics.
Within just a few seconds browsing I found Oscar Wilde, Fitzegerald, Truman Capote, James Joyce. On top of a teetering pile of single books almost two meters high I was also thrilled to locate a copy of Thomans Mann’s wonderful Magic Mountain. In 10 minutes here I found more readable matter than in 30 mins in Maradana. The prices also seem to be lower with the friendly staff opening negotiations at Rs 100 or Rs 200 depending on the condition of the book. I mean at 100 Rs a book why negotiate further….
For second hand books in a hurry you cant do better.