This weeks blog sees us peruse two new bookshops on a walk around London. On a Saturday, before snowmaggedon, we travelled to London and got the tube to Great Portland Street so that we could walk to Daunt Books. The walk saw us pass some pretty spectacular houses that only a substantial lottery win could buy, though we can dream, as well as seeing Harley Street. Small things please small minds! Daunt Books is on Marylebone High Street and we had a good look up and down there finding a few charity shops to trawl through where I found a book by Caitlin Moran who I follow on Twitter and Instagram and who makes me laugh. She’s been writing since a young age and I think I’ve always been aware of her as I kind of want to have her career! I have that healthy jealousy where I kind of hero worship her. That was a good job.
Daunt Books is a spectacular space and hubby wasn’t overly interested until I forced him into the main area with the beautiful mezzanine level. He fell in love! We explored all the areas and worked out that the main part of the book shop is separated into countries and regions, like Scandinavia. In that shelving area there are then books about the area like travel guides, antiquarian history and travel books and popular and modern fiction work from local authors. So I was excited about the Scandinavian area and the crime noir authors that I hadn’t heard of. Often bookshops offer you what is popular rather than what is available and of course that is a matter of space and business! But we don’t all want the same thing. So it is interesting to find new authors.
There is a small fiction area in the shop and a small children’s book area but mainly it is filled with travel books. I wouldn’t have thought that would be of particular interest to me but actually it was like exploring the world in a beautiful bookshop. We also were particularly in love with how it was a bit messy in there, it wasn’t beautifully curated, it wasn’t a showpiece, it was just a pretty magnificent bookshop!
On leaving this jewel of a bookshop we walked through Regents Park and as it was a Saturday we found fields and fields of boys in all colours of shirts playing football watched by their clearly cold parents! Boy it was cold out there! We crossed over the Regents Canal and over into the park that literally contains Primrose Hill which we walked through. I read that Primrose Hill was once part of Henry VIII’s hunting grounds but was bought in the 1800’s to be free space for the people of London. Crossing the park we came into the village of Primrose Hill which is filled with pretty coffee shops and high end retail but we found a little bookshop with an A Board outside which is what we were looking for. Primrose Books is a small well stocked bookshop and clearly popular as there were two other customers in there. That made it appear busy! There was nowhere to hide and just browse quietly though and I had to listen to a rather odd conversation the bookshop owner was subjected to by a customer who was asked to insert his card in the machine to pay, “said the actress to the bishop” apparently and the subsequent clarification from the bookshop owner about whether that was relevant and seemingly the customer though it was because the bishop was Catholic. Meanwhile a young child put a toy plane on top of a pile of books and the mother got remonstrated with by the bookshop owner. Ekk. I found the atmosphere terribly intimidating so I left but that shop could definitely have one of those books written about it containing what people say in bookshop and the daily happenings!
Once we left we walked down the canal towpath to Camden Market where all the people in the world had converged for the afternoon! I decided that the London guide books must suggest that Camden is a must visit on a Saturday because the pavements were four deep in people. Not for me!!!!
We had another super walk in London just because of the Bookshop Challenge 2018 and we found a lifelong favourite of a bookshop in Daunt Books. I love that the content is so specific in terms of travel but then opens up the world. And it is beautiful. You have got to walk around the balcony…
Have you found a new bookshop you can let me know about? It was great to hear about a place in Covent Garden as a result of sharing my love of Daunt Books on Instagram.