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Experimental bookshop: Topics

Looking for some bizarre fiction to fill your bookshelves? Head to a bookstore with no shelves, just boxes and some very odd genre sections – an apt space for hometown hero Peaches to launch her book "What Else is in the Teaches of Peaches" July 16.

Image for Experimental bookshop: Topics
Photo by Francesca Torricelli

Started by Israeli writers Amir Naaman and Doron Hamburger in a former mosque, Topics is an English-language bookstore with a concept: no shelves, just wooden boxes on the floor and walls, each holding 15-20 books that fall under one of 70 (soon to be 80) topics.

These range from standard (Dogs, Musicians, On Food), to oddly specific (Female Detectives, Amsterdam, Bizarre Disasters, Post-modern Westerns), to incredibly broad (Blue, Hedonism, Fire, Guerrilla) or just downright bizarre (Suicidal Writers, Fiction by Mystics).

Not so helpful if you’re looking for one specific title – especially since the pair plan on shifting around the books and topics constantly – but great for finding that novel about castration you didn’t know you needed. Priced on average at €11-15, the books are mostly new, with a few second-hand selections.

Open since March, Topics has plans for an artist’s studio and publishing house with a focus on illustrated books, such as a children’s story written by Hamburger and an anthology of horror comics, plus a programme of readings and events. And possibly even more: the store’s as malleable as its sorting system.

On July 16, hometown heroine Peaches launches her new photo book, What Else Is In the Teaches of Peaches, which include contributions from Yoko Ono and Ellen Page. Director of William S. Burroughs: A Man Within Yony Leyser heads the Q&A.

Originally published in issue #137, April 2015.