Pages with Patel, II: Idlewild Books

by Nishta Patel

Via Alex in Wanderland

Climbing the stairs to the main floor of Idlewild Books, one is greeted with displays of numerous travel tomes and language books. Presented on the shelves, are travel guides of virtually every country—anything from the architecture of London to the historic sights of Cambodia.

Specializing in travel, this shop is one of the last of its kind in the country. Accompanying the guides, there is literature and non-fiction placed in their respective country of origin. For example, there are numerous books written by Indian authors placed next to the India guides. One can even find the literature of South African, Iceland, Spain and more. While these are all in English, crossing over to the other side of the store, there is a vast array of language books.

French, Italian, and Spanish books are lined on the shelves. There, you can find “El Alquimist (The Alchemist), Il Gatto e Il Capello Matto (The Cat in the Hat), and the entire Harry Potter series translated into French and Spanish. The back shelves have a comprehensive selection of language dictionaries and workbooks in anything from Spanish to Chinese.

There is not a loss for things to see or do in this shop. Children’s toys line the bottom of the shelves. A display featuring maps of cities like Prague or the Italian Lake District sits at the register. In the far right of the store sits a large wooden table where customers can sit and pursue through books at their leisure. And, in the far back is a curtained off room that holds language classes on weekdays and weekends.

One of the most unique things about this bookstore is the collection of literature and non-fiction featuring authors from different countries. Not to mention, the multitude of language books and learning material. Combining the spirit of wanderlust with the desire to try new things, this is the perfect place to diversify your reading list, pick your next vacation destination, and learn a new language.

Nishta Patel is a Highlighter Staff Columnist. Email her at


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