London Bookshop Tour – Day 1
I’ve decided to explore the capital through its bookshops and I am quite spoilt for choice. At the weekend I joined the sea of tourists pouring out of Leicester Square tube and headed towards Cecil Court. It has the sort of peaceful serenity usually reserved for libraries and to be honest, any place void of bum bags and dawdling people with over-sized maps makes me happy.
My first port of call was Goldsboro Books – I was curious to see the place I’d sent so many of our books. Goldsboro specialises in first edition signed books and the shop is filled with lustrous pristine hardbacks. To my delight I spotted our very own The Devil’s Ribbon in a prime window spot. Dark hardwood floors, organised, attractive shelves – I was about ready to move in and set up camp or cart one of the cabinets home. In a matter of minutes, I’d found about eight titles I wanted. I think Sophie Robinson; first edition book collector has a ring to it.
Next I ventured up Charing Cross Road and into a completely different kind of bookshop. Any Amount of Books is filled with teetering towers of £3 books, rare editions and leather bound sets. Shelves are tightly packed with books of all of sizes and conditions, stretching up to the ceiling, wall to wall. You have to step over strategically placed ladders and other customers to navigate the shop floor, all the while keeping one eye on that wobbling tower of hardbacks over your head. It’s the kind of shop where I didn’t recognise any of the titles or authors and it felt great. When I’m in a bookshop I unconsciously scan for authors I know or titles people have been talking about. But in Any Amount of Books, I could only scour the beautiful unknown. I spent about an hour browsing the shelves and left feeling like I’d walked out of Narnia.
These bookshops are wonderful little pockets of another world and I can’t wait to visit again.