I am attempting to buy more of my books from bookshops this year (rather than online), inspired by The Matilda Project blog.
The first bookshop I visited in 2014 was the London Review Bookshop, which can be found down one of the myriad lanes that lead to the magnificent and daunting British Museum. I first read about the London Review Bookshop on the Time Out website for best bookshops to visit in London and loved the sound of a bookshop and café, selling homemade cakes. Books, cake and tea are just a few of my most favourite things and the idea of a shop that provides all three sounded like heaven. I decided I would visit on my day off this week and thought it was a magnificent little find.
As you enter the shop it seems like any other ordinary bookshop – the shelves are stacked high, the display tables are packed with interesting reads (as well as a number of sale items) and the books are arranged in categories, such as travel, biography and memoir, fiction, food, etc. However, as you walk down the narrowish room there is a short corridor that leads to a bustling and loud little café, perfect for an after-browsing treat. There is also a smaller downstairs where you can find the ancient classics, poetry, literary criticism, letters and diaries. I preferred this little room which had seats where you can rest and ponder the works of art around you, it seemed a lot more cosier and timeless than upstairs.
Of course, I had to treat myself to a brand new book and I decided on Marilynne Robinson’s When I Was a Child I Read Books. This essay explores the place literature has played in Robinson’s life and reminded me of Susan Hill’s Howards End is on the Landing in that respect. I possess all of Robinson’s novels (which are only three) and have, so far, only read one of them, Housekeeping, which I absolutely loved so I am looking forward to getting round to When I Was a Child I Read Books at some point this year. I was also given a free canvas bag to celebrate 10 years of the London Review Bookshop!