We adore Zagreb. There is always some sort of excitement with butterflies in our stomach when we go there for a business meeting. Of course, we always find time to take a walk down its charming streets and drink coffee in one of their finest cafes, maybe even have a croissant. Even if we are on a diet.
One of our stops is always a small soulful bookshop Hoču knjigu on Bogovičeva 5. It is one of those bookshops you have to take a look inside. And when you come inside, you get the nicest welcome, the best advice on the latest (or the oldest) book editions and it's quite easy to get into an hour-long conversation with the shop manager, Kata Njavro.
Polona chatted with Kata about this and that one summer afternoon.
P: What is the official title of your book shop?
K: Hoču knjigu, on Bogovičeva 5.
P: What differs you from other Hoču knjigu bookshops? What makes you unique?
K: It's a small bookshop with soul. It has regular costumers and new ones quickly become regulars. We have direct contact with them and they often wish for storekeepers to pick out books for them. All three storekeepers read a lot and give advice to costumers. The latter often visit at Saturdays; for a chat or a cup of coffee. Often they don't buy anything, they just want to be updated about any new books. They say that the visit of city center is not the same without a visit at Bogovičeva 5.
P: What do you like most about your job?
K: The most precious to me is constant contact with customers and supplyers. It is a very beautiful symbiosis despite differences filled pleasant moments during our work together.
P: All the storekeepers read a lot. Do you read everything that comes into your bookshop?
K: No, not everything. There are just too many books.
P: How do you pick what you are going to read?
K: Whatever suits my taste, whether i like the author or if the genre suits me.
P: So which genres usually suit you?
K: I like belletristics, that is very beautifully written fiction and publicistics, mostly contemporary political themes. I like author Mate Granić and very much enyojed Rosella Postorino's At the Wolf's Table (2018). It talks about Hitler's food tasters, women who tried his food to make sure it wasn't poisoned.
P: What was the last book you read?
K: An Orchestra of Minorities (2019). Before I read it I was very impressed with the author's other book: The Fishermen (2015).
P: Which book that you read this year would you recommend?
K: The Door (1987) by Magda Szabo and Mom & Me & Mom (2013) by Maya Angelou. It's an autobiography. It talks about her early life struggles when her mother sent all of her children to live with their aunt. She eventually took them back in and tried to make up for the time that had gone by.
P: Your taste in books is quite specific. I personally find that I can't often read books with heavy themes.
K: Some of my coworkers have mentioned that the books I read are quite odd. I don't think so. I even read Fifty Shades of Grey (2011). But for example The Fishermen intrigued me so much that I was reading it until 2 am. It talks about 5 children who take justice into their own hands and fall short. When I read it, I fell asleep with tears in my eyes.
P: If you could take anyone, living or dead, for a cup of coffee who would it be?
K: I think my answer my strike you as untypical. You see, I once did an interview with Knjižni list and was asked what book would I write if I was a writer. I replied to them saying I don't see myself as a writer, more as a quality reader. I don't think it was the answer they were looking for. So to answer your question: I already have coffee with the people I wish to have coffee with. Not just with my friends but also my customers, co-workers and supplyers.
P: Which is your favourite Polonapolona cup?
K: Frida, because she has a very artistic spirit and Albert who I find charmingly special.
Kata, thank you very much for taking your time.
We are very proud to collaborate with Hoču knjigu from Croatia and the amazing people from their team. Our collaboration began in May 2018 and we're certain it will be a long-lasting relationship.