Even though I work in a bookshop I still love visiting other ones and I especially love going back to the bookshops I discovered when I lived in Bloomsbury.
I know in the good old days Charing Cross Road was the place for bookshops in London but I think Bloomsbury is a better area for bookshops these days because it has a large but cosy Waterstones on Gower Street and another big one on Tottenham Court Road, independent ones like the London Review Bookshop, Persephone Books and Gay’s the Word and second-hand ones like Skoob and Judd books. They are all in walking distance from each other and I love getting a chance to walk around my old neighborhood again.
As well as having celebrated my annual anniversary in September of the day I moved to London, my boyfriend Daniel and I also recently celebrated our 5th anniversary and like last year we chose to spend it browsing around bookshops together on a quiet Sunday in Bloomsbury. This is the books I found that day.
Devotion – Patti Smith
I have been eyeing Smith’s writing for a while now and been trying to decide where I should start but after seeing an interesting review of it on Instagram recently, as well as finding a pile laid out on one of the tables in Gower Street, I ended up picking this one. I had a little look at the language inside in the bookshop and it seems like an exquisite, melt-in-the-mouth kind of writing that I’m really looking forward to just let wash over me.
The History of Love – Nicole Krauss
I am in love with the design of this cover. Like, in love. I was actually pretty much done looking for books and had made my choices, when I walked past an abadoned trolley with books still to be shelved and spotted a copy of Restless I hadn’t been able to find on the shelf just 5 minutes before. When I walked around it I spotted the spine of this one, picked it up, turned it around and fell in love with the description along with the cover. I also have a thing for small books and loved the way it felt in my hand.
I have been looking at some of Krauss’ other books before like Forest Dark but hadn’t heard of this one, even though the plot just seems so me. This is what it said on the back.
Books v. Cigarettes – George Orwell
This is a small collection of Orwell essays in the cute and nicely designed Penguin Great Ideas editions. It includes an essay on whether Orwell spends more money on books or cigarettes and another on his time working in a bookshop, so you can probably guess why I picked this one up. It’s been on my wishlist for a while now and I think I might read it before the others, as the essays are pretty short and something I can read with my morning cup of tea.
Restless – William Boyd
I have only read one book by Boyd so far, so it might seem weird to say that I love his writing without actually being familiar with the others but Sweet Caress was such a fantastic book and I have heard from a lot of other people that his other books are just as good. The way he wrote about women’s life in Sweet Caress was incredible, so I can’t wait to read this one about a female, Russian emigree spy on her final assignment for the British Secret Service, an assignment that ends up involving her daughter, too. It’s the kind of book I’m hoping to read on a windy winter’s day under a blanket with a cup of sweet, steaming fruit tea.
Pachinko – Min Jin Lee
I have had this book on my wishlist for so long and I’m happy that I finally have my own copy. Ever since I read about it, I knew I had to add it to my collection of books about migrants and when I leafed through it in the bookshop it opened onto a page with a quote by Charles Dickens about home, so I just knew it was supposed to be mine. It’s quite a long book it seems, so it might be a while before I get around to reading it because I already have some other ones lined up for now but I will look forward to the day I get to it.
I have been pretty strict with my book buying this summer and apart from buying a single book together with my mum when she was here in July, I hadn’t actually bought any books since the end of June. So I might have gone a little crazy, especially since I had an old giftcard I wanted to use up and have had quite a few books building up on my wishlist.
I’m not really sure if the book buying ban thing actually worked because I might have bought the same amount of books spread over the time I have been denying myself to buy them. I live quite lagom and books are one of the few physical things I want, so maybe it’s ok, because just looking at them on my shelf and picking them up in my hands is making me feel truly happy.