In a world where customers are often treated as numbers, I find that there’s a special value in the more personal relationship that I can have with independent suppliers and stores I shop from, and this extends beyond items to food and even banks. Today though, we’re talking books 😉 In London, out of all my usual haunts for book-therapy (I’m pretty sure this is now actually a thing), three Bookshops -that you have to visit if you haven’t already- stand out to me above all others. If you read this article though and I haven’t mentioned your favourite, just write me a comment- I’d love to hear from you!
As a student I’ve got to buy books for my courses, but the problem is that when I brng them home sometimes they are just so long or complicated that I can only look at them in dread. I’ve managed to decrease the chances of this happening by- and this is going to sound really strange- having them gift-wrapped. Somehow this fools me into feeling that Hobbes is a really exciting read (sorry to all the fans of Hobbes out there) and Quantitative Comparative analysis is something I want to learn about for the next two weeks. And it works!
If you’re concerned about the cost of having every book you buy giftwrapped- worry no more! It’s completely free (at least in Hatchards) 🙂
If I’m going to recommend the three most quirky places to get a book, it’ll be these:
John Sandoe. I adore this place, not only because of the unique finds, but perhaps more so because of how warm and beautiful the reading environment is. It’s easy to sit for hours, lost in one of the countless amazing books
you can find there, the soft carpet under your feet, surrounded by pillows.
What books to get there: I personally find that they’re fantastic for literature. On the bottom floor you’ll even find a tray with printed poems you can take home.
What to do after: It’s close to Belgravia, which is easily my favourite part of London- there you can enjoy a red velvet latte, cheese souffle at the incredible Cheese Cafe (I am literally always there- cheese lovers HAVE GOT to visit!), or go flower shopping at Neil Strain.
Daunt Books, Marylebone. Perfect for picking up a wonderful lifestyle read, though what makes this bookshop truly special is the extensive and interesting Travel collection that they have. Plus it’s absolutely
beautiful there- bring your phone/camera- you’ll need it 😉
What books to get there: Anything to do with travelling. They are incredible at finding really good reads for you.
What to do after: The list is endless: go for truffle butter at Daylesford, cheese at La Fromagerie, oysters at Fishworks, choux pastries at Maitre Choux and wonderful free range and organic products at Natural Kitchen. The super hungry should try Chiltern Firehouse. For non-food pleasures try Matches Fashion or the Wallace Collection.
Finally, and, I have to admit, my favourite… Hatchards. I love them because they always wrap my books beautifully, put special effort in finding unusual reads and orders for me, treat everyone in the kindest manner, and have a wonderful reading environment. This one is over 3 floors big- I think it must be at least 5? -and is filled with signed editions and really anything you would ever want to read.
What books to get there: I love the Art books there. I tend to buy the enormous ones which are too heavy to carry, making the delivery option a very good one. I realise though that I’ve been bombarding you with all these compliments for these places so I feel I’ve got to mention here that I’m not, nor have ever been, sponsored in any way by any company, here I’m just giving my personal opinion on which stores I’d recommend and what I like to do in the area 🙂 I just tend to go overboard on my enthusiasm for things (mostly cheese) 😛
Anyway: What to do after: This one is as colourful as the rest: go for more books at Maison Assouline, really strange and incredible sweets at Minamoto Kitchoan, cheese at Paxton and Whitfield (cheese again I know, now you see, I’m absolutely obsessed with it), or shopping at the Burlington Arcade. Fortnum’s is always fun too (while you’re there get some charcoal lemonade, black bagels and Blody Mary flavoured popcorn) and the RA has some lovely exhibitions which are unmissable for all the art-lovers out there :))