As a lot of you already know, I’m shadow judging The Sunday Times/Peters Fraser + Dunlop Young Writer Of The Year Award in association with The University Of Warwick.
This weekend saw me high tailing it pendalino style down to our capital from good old Stockport. Saturday afternoon was spent at The Groucho listening to the shortlisted authors reading excerpts from their books. More in this soon in a separated blog post. On Monday morning I am getting together with my fellow shadow judges to deliberate on our winner. Exciting! I think it’s going to be a very interesting morning!
So the plan for Sunday was to hit up some of London’s famous bookshops and in preparation I put out a little ‘help!’ tweet and the lovely bookish folk of Twitter gave me some excellent book shop suggestions.
We (my husband and I, just for reference he’s not a huge reading/book fan but he’s a diamond geezer and happy to chaperone me around London whilst I gaze adoringly at books) started out with brunch at The Drury on Drury Lane funnily enough. I was immediately drawn to the stacks of books, in the windows, on the tables and on various shelves around the place. The food was bloody delicious too so it was a win win situ.
Bolstered up by our hearty brunch we set off for our first official book shop stop, Foyles on Charing Cross Road. Unfortunately we got there a bit too early and had to wait for it to open but it was well worth the wait. (Which was only really 5 minutes or so in the biting cold wind).
I was a little dubious going in as I had been told by a couple of people that Foyles has no character and is a bit too big and soulless but I thought it was heaven. Which booklover wouldn’t enjoy a mooch through floor after floor of awesome books and gifts I ask ya?!
In here I bought 3 books, I actually had in my sweaty hands around 6 books but I exercised a little restraint as I knew there were more book shops ahead of us and I didn’t want to peak too soon!
The 3 books I plumped for were:
I’ve heard lots about Such Small Hands by Andres Barba and it sounds like a book I’d enjoy. I have Little Eve by Catriona Ward but have yet to read it, I’d seen Rawblood on Simon from Savidge Reads channel and thought it sounded amazing. Paradise Rot by Jenny Hval I have to admit was a pure impulse purchase. I’ve not heard of the book or the author before but I was drawn to the book so I bought it. It happens right?! We all do it.
Next up was Any Amount Of Books also on Charing Cross Road. I enjoyed having a rummage through the £1 books outside and was amazed at the newly released hardbacks inside selling for around £6 each.
In here I came away with just the one book (reserved right?!). I’ve heard lots about An Unremarkable Body by Elisa Lodato and have read and really enjoyed her book The Necessary Marriage, so I thought why the devil not?
From here we went to Hatchards (after a little stop off at Sipsmith for a cheeky little hot gingerbread gin, gorgeous!).
A couple of people had recommended Hatchards and I’m so glad we made the stop there. Such a charming, chilled out space in which to browse and the staff were lovely. One of the girls took a shine to my leopard print skirt and made me feel all fancy. I chose one book here but could have walked away with far more.
This was a cover purchase. How bloody stunning is it?! I can’t stop looking at it! It will be a beautiful addition to my short story collections and I’ve never read any Joyce Carol Oates.
From here we hot footed it to Kings Cross and headed to Word On The Water. I was really looking forward to seeing this boat full of books. It was a little busy and cramped but I still got the chance to have a good browse.
In a bit of a panic about time constraints we made our last trip Persephone Books. I’ve heard so many good things about this shop and it’s beautiful books that I knew I had to make it before it closed.
We got there just as the sun was setting which made it all the more beautiful. (I’ll gloss over the fact that I nearly keeled over walking up the 175 steps out of Russell Square tube station!).
I had enough time for a decent browse and plumped for There Were No Windows by Norah Hoult (no 59). I chose this one purely because I liked the synopsis. The story of an old woman during The Blitz who is slowly losing her mind. The end papers and matching bookmark are gorgeous. When I went to pay, the lovely lady on the till said she had been slowly making her way through all the books and this book was her next choice.
Those signature grey covers are a dream.
So that there was my day of book shopping in London. It was tiring, interesting and exciting. I’m sure there are loads more places to see but I also had to remember I have a husband who also wanted to go places……rude.
I’m off now to have a drink and some Minstrels because I’ve earned it. Hope I can fit all these books in my suitcase…….
See you soon.
Bookish Chat xxx