I wouldn’t exist without a bookshop. This may sound like hyperbole, but it’s strictly the case, as my mum and dad met through one – both he and my aunt (Mum’s sister) worked in what was then Dillons on Gower Street, near UCL. It’s now inevitably a Waterstone’s.
Given this biographical fact, it’s not surprising that I love bookshops. Waterstone’s don’t really count; to me they’re more booksupermarkets with the same selection in every branch. Having said that, I do make an exception for the Gower St one given that I owe it, you know, my life. But proper bookshops are best. My old favourite was Secession Books in Bath, but that’s sadly no more.
1) Prospero’s Books: my local.
2) The London Review Bookshop: owned by the London Review of Books. Great selection, and a fantastic cake shop.
3) Daunt Books: I love it a) because of the beautiful interior b) because it’s arranged by country, with travel guide books, histories and literature all together
4) Foyles: a good place to meet friends for a wandering chat among the shelves.
It strikes me though that these are all new bookshops. I like wandering up and around Charing Cross Road but I’ve yet to find a ‘favourite’ second-hand bookshop. Charity shops don’t count, I think, although that’s where I get most of my second hand books from. Hm… maybe I need to do a little more exploring.