On the most recent edition of the weekend wander, I posted about my intentions to wander my way around some of London’s many bookshops as part of the London Bookshop crawl. True to my word I spent much of Saturday visiting mainly bookshops I had never visited before, mainly in Central London, and mainly on my own. There are organised groups of fellow bookworms you can join for some ‘en masse’ bookshop visiting but I had left it too late to do that and I was very happy to do some solo wandering.
I had taken a little time to plan a flexible route which I could mainly walk. It was made easier by the map and lists of suggested routes provided by the organiser Bex when I signed up. I knew I would buy books, and had thought vaguely that I would quite like to pick up a Neville Shute novel, but other than that was open to what I came across.
I began my crawl at the stylish Rizzoli at Somerset House, where I picked up a lovely book I think may become a present along with a couple of postcards. I was gifted with a copy of a photographic book about the designer Valentino. I plan to post about Rizzolli at a later date so won’t say anything else apart form acknowledging its aesthetically pleasing displays. From there I wandered along to Charing Cross road and the aptly named Any Amount of Books. Stuffed to the gills with masses of books, rare books, first editions, modern literature, art and poetry. This is a real book lovers bookshop, permeated with the smell of old books and conversations about french literature and coveted first editions.
From Any amount of books to Skoob books (books backwards!) in the Brunswick Centre, Russell Square. This was my first visit to this incredible second hand book shop and it won’t be the last. Skoob is overflowing with books, friendly staff and a myriad of shelves housing collections of books on any subject you care to mention. I have so much to say about this shop but will leave it all for another day.
By this time I was a little weighed down with purchases so, thankfully my husband met me for lunch and proceeded to act as bag carrier. I wanted to go to The London Review Bookshop which I love and wanted to share with him. Lots of browsing but no purchasing here. I did pop in to the brilliant ‘Blades Rubber’, next door. Blades is a rubber stamp and scrap booking shop, If you haven’t yet discovered it, do seek it out, the staff are lovely, browsing is encouraged and they have almost any rubber stamp you never knew you absolutely needed in your life. For the record I bought one featuring a typewriter.
My final and unplanned stop was at Stanfords Travel Bookshop in Covent Garden. We came out with a trusty Lonely Planet as well as lots of inspiration for our travels. However legs were weary by this time and a restorative cup of tea was needed so although we did lots of browsing we barely scraped the surface of this three storey store. I plan to go back another time and enjoy it properly.
So my first properly planned bookshop crawl was a success. I didn’t find a Neville Shute, but other books were bought, new places I want to return to were discovered and I came away with a whole list of other bookshops I intend to visit in the future.
Did you take part in the London Bookshop Crawl or have you been on any others? I’d love to hear from you