I had my friend’s birthday coming up this weekend and thought it was the perfect excuse to revisit the lovely Persephone Bookshop on Lamb’s Conduit Street. As there were no tubes running in London due to the strike I had my first experience of getting lost around Bank and finally giving up and getting on a bus in central (which is something I have never done).
What makes Persephone Bookshop so unique is that it isn’t just a bookshop; it is the office of Persephone Books as well. As you wonder around the cosy little shop, at the back you can hear the murmuring of those working, the clicking of the computer keypads and the tinkling of the radio. Although this may seem daunting at first, it quickly becomes apparent how friendly and willing to help the staff are. I love the laid back atmosphere of this shop/work space, which is mirrored by the intimate, dimmed lighting (though this can make it difficult when trying to read some of the titles – I had that problem).
So, with the intention of only buying my friend a book and allowing myself one, I actually came back with three and I had no idea which one to part with. I wanted to keep them all!
From top to bottom:
- A Very Great Profession by Nicola Beauman (No.78) – first published in 1983, Beauman looks at the fictional representation of women between the two world wars from writers such as Virginia Woolf, as well as from film representations, such as the 1945 film, Brief Encounter.
- Flush: A Biography by Virginia Woolf (No.55) – Sally Beauman, who writes the preface to this book, describes it as: ‘Although ostensibly about the taming of a pedigree dog [that of Elizabeth Barratt Browing’s spaniel, to be precise], Flush addresses the way society tames and classifies women’.
- A Writer’s Diary by Virginia Woolf (No.98) – published in 1953, Woolf’s A Writer’s Diary consists of extracts from the diaries she kept from 1918-41, gathered and compiled by Leonard Woolf.
So after a lot of deliberation and changing my mind I finally decided to sacrifice Virginia Woolf’s Flush: A Biography (No.55) but I am really looking forward to reading the remaining two Persephone’s soon, as well as the other Persephone’s I have accumulated over the past year (many of them secondhand, surprisingly)!