Yesterday I was desperately looking for a bookstore with the official name “Island Books Malta” here in Gozo, which according to Facebook would have some older copies available. After walking through long streets with the sun at its peak, I could finally find the place.
In Triq Birbuba in Gharb, village at the westernmost point of the island Gozo, in four-hundred-year-old Mediterranean lime-stone-villa lives an adorable woman and genuine art collector Liz. Forty years ago she decided to bind her life with Malta.
On the top floor she has the bookstore, where you are able to find such titles as Plato’s “Laws”, Oscar Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Grey”, Leo Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina”.
Besides those well known titles there are books on film science, where you can learn about Hollywood before television, and fashion history, where you dig into a meticulous study on the history of Costume through the epochs first published in Great Britain in 1928.
I was walking around the shelves like a child in a toy store, studying title after title. The most precious find of mine was three fashion plates carefully curved out of a newspaper dated 1889 and framed.
It was the time when the shopping mall culture started developing and Emile Zola’s “The Ladies’ Paradise” was the most read book by women, owing to its reach and colourful descriptions giving the mass market consumption a face.
Moreover, I could behold a few pieces of Maltese modern art belonging to Liz’s collection with some interesting stories added, as some of them Liz knew in person.
She also showed us her courtyard, which she had after a few years of hard work turned into a botanical oasis.
Sometimes life gives us scintillating gifts we haven’t asked for but those gifts give us precious memories which we carry with us through life. I can say that yesterday I received one of such scintillating gifts. I arrived as a reader but turned into a reading art consumer. Thank you Life and thank you Liz!