Thursday, December 09, 2010
English language bookshop opens in Fez
It was with great anticipation that we visited the brand new American Language Center bookshop in the Ville Nouvelle. It has been almost impossible to buy books in English in Fez until now.
The shop, situated at the Center at 2 Ave Ahmed Hiba, is run by former librarian Mary Conway. It's early days yet, and stock is limited. The shop will have text books for the students at the Arabic Language Institute, and carries a range of dictionaries and some books for the Moroccan students learning English that are graded according to their level.
There are some handsome photographic books on Moroccan architecture and design, and a couple of cookbooks (but the Clock Book is missing). The shop focuses on books about Morocco such as Edith Wharton's In Morocco, Fatima Mernissi's Dreams of Trespass, Peter Mayne's A Year in Marrakech, Paul Bowles' The Sheltering Sky and some of his short stories, and has some non-fiction by writers such as Fatima Sadiqi. Books written in English by Arab writers are also represented.
There is a large number of Penguin classics at only Dh20 each, but no modern fiction yet.
Sadly, the bookshop's policy of having only one copy of each book is simply bad retailing.
"We had a copy of Tahir Shah's The Caliph's House", said Mary, "but it's been sold". Likewise, there's one copy of Suzanna Clarke's popular A House in Fez, one copy of Lonely Planet's Marrakech Encounter, and so on.
The shop will accept second-hand books if they're in good condition.
The opening hours are 10am-1pm and 2-4.30pm Mondays to Fridays.