For some reason, Science Fiction literature seems to be the dominante genre in Birmingahm, but its easy enough to buy other books as well. In the Town centre there is an excellent Waterstones in a very interesing building, as well as quite a few smaller more specialised shops. Waterstones are generally good, but this one is something else, with some really big sections for poetry and drama, frequent events, and staircases. In the normal scheme of things, staircases are not a feature I look for in a bookshop, but once you've swanned up and down these amazing flights a few times, you will understand my enthusiasm. Even on the hottest day, this is an airy bulidng and a pleasure to browse in. It feels really welcoming and they haven't gone in for coffee bar gimicks - just lots and lots and lots of really good books. It is well laid out, but the building itself is an odd shape, so it can be a bit hard to navigate at first. The staff are friendly,and I've now shopped there a few times and been very happy. Nostalgia and Games sells a range of comics and fan fiction, and there are several shops not far off the centre dedicated to fantasy and science Fiction. (There is a Forbidden Planet, but it seems to be doing more videos than books, which is a shame.) There are a couple of Publishers outlets selling cheap paperbacks, and there's usually a gem or two to find if you are perpaired to plough through the rest. To be honest, if you are seriously into literature, there are better places to go than Birmingham - Hay on Wye for example. If you are living near Birmingham and can't go anywhere else, its not too bad. There aren't as many second hand book shops in the centre as I would like - and therefore opportunities to pick up strange, out of print books are a bit limited. Fine if you want the latest bestseller and the mainstream fiction though and great if you want to try out the amazing Waterstones stairs. The sel
ection at Waterstones is pretty good, I'm just an old book fetishist!